Sony, DivX pact for online downloads

Deal lets company compete with Microsoft

LAS VEGAS — After years of knocking on Hollywood’s door, DivX finally got an answer from Sony Pictures.

Company’s video software is broadly used online and has been installed on over 100 million electronics devices, like DVD players and computers. Although DivX is generally considered to be the highest quality way to encode video online, most studios have thus far resisted partnering because its software is very widely used for piracy

Sony Pictures TV, was the first to change course, signing a deal that lets online retailers offer downloads of the studio’s films and skeins using DivX encoding and digital rights management.

Deal should let DivX compete with Microsoft, whose Windows Media has thus far been the de facto standard for video downloads outside of iTunes, which uses proprietary Apple technology.

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“This has been a long time coming for us and it’s a groundbreaking change in our business,” DivX CEO Kevin Hell said in an interview at CES.

Next up, trying to convince more studios to follow Sony’s lead and getting online retailers to start offering video downloads in DivX format.