Friday, December 17, 2010

DivX Streaming website evolution

We came a long way from relativly slow bittorrent downloads which cannot be streamed (because the pieces are not downloaded in-order) and I thought this history is worth mentioning somewhere so here is my version of how it came to be with high quality divx/xvid/avi video streaming websites, also a good way to conclude the end of this year 2010.

1st generation:
It all started when DivX, Inc. created what appeared to be an answer to youtube, a competing video host/streaming site called stage6.
An ambitious idea indeed, actually I thought it was great and hopped it would take off and really be something great. I actually think they could have evolved it further the way youtube started working with copyright holders, record label companies and movie production companies/film studios. Anyway as the webpage says "Stage6 Is No More", they opened up the market for other hosting companies to arise on February 28, 2008 [1] and initially they recommended veoh which did mostly flash based video but with their own spyware software would allow downloading divx, that died in popularity with the HQ lovers like me.

2nd generation:
As it happens stage6 search engine sucked and when it came to copyrighted files (be it music videos, movies or shows) they got deleted often when names were obvious so the tech-savvy users renamed them and posted to private community type sites. One of these sites which I liked a lot was joox (still active). When stage6 announced it goes down, or when it actually went down the search for another host has begun and megaupload (also still active, still the best file host) had the biggest file size limits at the time. This was used with joox for some time until it had some issues and was offline for a long time which brings us to 3ed gen...

3ed generation:
A new search has started and there were (and still are) many websites coming up, going down all the time but this focuses on what I liked the most but in this case it was so widely liked that ninjavideo(no longer active) became a household name like MTV or something. They still used megaupload as the host but they had a very special virtual software that was run on java (not to be confused with javascript), once accepted the warning by opening the "ninjavideo helper" normally followed by a version # which means it was activly being developed, this allowed you to stream divx/xvid avi videos in blazing fast speeds. This special embedding was so good that the only way I found out it uses megaupload is by sniffing the packets and looking up the IP addresses, in other words users would never know where they are hosted.
This was honky dory until the domain name was seized by the united states government on grounds of copyright infringing.

4th generation:
This brings us today to icefilms, yet again using megaupload (notice a common denominator?) and being very useful with searching (google's custom search) and organizing which goes by movies, shows, genre, popularity, real release date and by added to the site date they are all very convenient. There are also great features that I enjoy which is page scraping from imdb, linking to imdb and to youtube for trailers (searches youtube!). All this and even great speed at adding videos from forum posting (unlike ninjavideo's judgment ridden forums). Great speed at new releases and also a great decision is to avoid CAM movies which I hated on ninjavdeo.... just cause it's out there doesn't mean I want this low quality video!
This is all possible with a special "ICE Quick Stream" greasemonkey add-on script which takes the megaupload pages and turns them into embedded divx web player type pages. But I still enjoy using the manual streaming with VLC when installing the plugin script isn't a good option.

Overall this forth generation is the best right now, it does worry me a little that it's using a common denominator (megaupload) but we should change our copyright law's anyway and this will not be a huge concern.

Let me know your thoughts!