IFExpress Exclusive: DivX Is Back!


Okay, they never really left. With the new DivX IFE solution, Omniview, they are about to enter the IFE industry again, offering a streaming video entertainment product. If you remember back in 2003, the DivX hardware/software solution found it’s home on the digEcor line of handheld inflight video players. On February 5, 2015 DivX announced a new solution for video streaming applications and you are about to see a lot more from them! “DivX, LLC, a leading provider of next-generation digital video technologies, today announced the launch of its secure, In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) solution. An extension to DivX® OmniView, the new solution enables airlines and aircraft manufacturers to differentiate their in-flight entertainment experience and reduce costs. The release went on: “The DivX OmniView solution for OTT video delivery includes video encoding and packaging, studio-approved DivX DRM technology and secure players for multiple devices and platforms including iOS, Android, Smart TVs, set-top boxes and PCs. With the DivX OmniView solution on board, airlines will be able to offer passengers secure video on phones, tablets and PCs in-flight, with our without a connection to ground internet.”  The big deal here is the ability of airlines to load encrypted video entertainment on their servers and for travelers to securely stream the latest movies (or whatever) to their portable devices, preloaded with an airline’s DivX enabled App.

DivX has been around for 15 years and their core technology has been in video compression. The company has gone through several bouts of ownership but their focus has been on Internet video streaming. They admit that their technology has been installed on “billions of devices” and they have worked with all the major (and minor) studios in the process of protecting copyrighted content both in hardware and in software. Historically, DivX strength has been in the protection of content streamed via the Internet; however, their new inflight entertainment solution does not require Internet connectivity. Since they have developed a disconnected DivX DRM licensing server, they have a capability to operate without it. We note their solution works with Android, iOS and, Windows devices.

Here is how the system works (see the graphic above). DivX encoded movies and content are loaded via USB or SSD devices on the ground onto the aircraft Content Distribution Network hard drive. Prior to content loading, the DivX Omniview codec software is installed on the server. The DivX encoded content on the CDN server provides the streaming “intelligence” for transmission (via Wi-Fi) inside the plane. Passengers who have downloaded the airline App that contains the DivX “reader” software, can now view the secured movie on their device. The server software and the passenger device work out the secure network coding to enable the movie to play flawlessly. “By using a built-in feature called “‘quick start” which ensures DivX is first to frame 1, reducing the amount of time spent watching the spinning wheel and keeping viewers engaged,” the company said. They make a point that spooling can reduce viewings and reduce revenue. “DivX encoding profiles and device certification enable the service to reduce buffering, reducing the number of viewers that quit a program before its finished.”

Hans Baumgartner, Senior Director of Product Management told IFExpress, “On the plane, we provide the codec software, usually on LINUX platform, and DivX requires a very low CPU requirement so it is just software on the airline server. We also provide Player Packs for Android (or whatever) app developers from the airlines to build the downloadable software for passengers.”

And speaking of codec’s here is bit more on how they work: DivX uses industry-standard h.264 and HEVC codecs for their streaming technologies, and their secret sauce can be found in their streaming and security technologies. For now, most PEDs will use H.264 for video playback, but HEVC is making its way into new devices for a 30-50% bitrate savings! For adaptive streaming, DivX has created a set end of end set of codec profiles that are used both for the configure encoders and to certify playback solutions. The DivX rules configure the file structure and buffer rules to allow playback on any type of device, from phone to 84” TV, using the same batch of files. Consumer electronic products and playback software are thoroughly tested as part of the DivX Certification program at one of their test labs around the world. This allows DivX players to reliably and seamlessly switch between bitrates and resolutions as well as change audio and subtitle languages. All the media files are stored separately on the server to save space. The DivX Players dynamically pull down the individual segments of video, audio and subtitle files and combine them in the player so the server doesn’t have to package up all of the combinations of videos and languages. This scheme saves storage space, bandwidth and server horsepower… especially useful on a plane. DivX also allows a user to full-screen fast-forward and rewind through a streaming movie as if it were playing from a local disc. Behind the scenes, this is done with a special DivX trick-play-track that lets the user seek without hogging bandwidth or suffering through a bunch of buffering. For security, DivX provides supports both software-based and hardware-based security to meet studio robustness rules all the way up to 4k (but don’t expect 4k on the plane real soon!).

IFExpress asked the DivX team why they entered the inflight entertainment market at this juncture. They told us they knew they had the technology, and wanted to build a system that is better targeted for the IFE market… a secure system, even when “disconnected from the ground.” Mr. Baumgartner noted that when talking to top industry vendors, they saw a real need for the product because of the growing BYOD (bring your own device) demand and a need for an improved offering. With the acceleration of first run movies (early release), they understand the issues of the studios. The President and CEO, Dr. Kanaan Jemili said: “The new inflight entertainment capability of the DivX® OmniView solution furthers the DivX brand promise of delivering a better video experience across multiple screens. DivX is already delivering that experience at home and on the go, and now we’re extending our reach and capabilities to 30,000ft above the ground.”

Lastly, the DivX team told IFExpress that their product was very price competitive, both airlines and vendors will like that, but we like the idea of first run movies. This looks to be a Win-Win solution. And if you want to talk with the DivX winners at AIX Hamburg they will be walking the floor. Contact: Jamie Potter, Senior Sales Manager, 858-882-0893, Jamie.Potter@divx.com for more information.

(Editors Note: MPEG-4 is still the standard under APEX 0403, we think HEVC is coming and will be addressed at the May APEX Technology Conference – but 0403 does not specify a DRM. Going forward the DRMs with the greatest likelihood of getting content provider approval are the DRMs codified in UltraViolet. The six UltraViolet DRMs are: Widevine, Marlin, OMA, Microsoft PlayReady, Adobe Primetime, and DivX, at least that is what we understand. We also note, Industry consultant Bryan Rusenko commented that as one of the approved DRM technologies available in DECE’s UltraViolet system DivX has been vetted by content owners. This is a huge advantage for content delivery, whether as part of a streaming solution, or a future configuration. Also, as of a few weeks ago, DivX is now part of NeuLion… the folks who power the top live sports apps for the NBA, NFL, NHL, UFC and many others, so there may be more cool stuff on the way!)

Start thinking about your April travel schedule – Aircraft Interiors is April 14-16, 2015, Hamburg, Germany… See You There!

A Redmond ,WA. Inflight Entertainment System Company, Aircraft Cabin Systems, is looking for a Mechanical Design Engineer to manage and assist in the development of straightforward designs for commercial and business aviation video installation for video monitors and assemblies, as experience will be a strong consideration for the prospective candidate. 3D drawing capability is required. Knowledge of FAA mechanical in-cabin requirements and specifications will be useful in this position. Other duties will be involved in this job opportunity such as the design of the mechanical hardware needed inside video display products. Actual aviation industry experience is desirable, but not a prerequisite, for the position. Interested individuals should contact Yukio Sugimoto (sugimotoy@aircraftcabinsystems.com) for more information.

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