You think you're cool, sitting on the bus with your iPod Shuffle hanging round your neck like a piece of techno-jewellery. Heck, you might even make a power statement to the gadget cognoscenti with some 'better than thou' white Sennheisers.
So how will you feel when you glance over and you see someone with an Archos AV480? Like a technological laggard, that's how. This season, it's all about watching last night's episode of The Apprentice on the way to work, so you can get some tips on impressing your boss. It's also about having over 100 movies in the palm of your hand. And all this is possible thanks to DivX video -- which effectively shrinks a full DVD movie to the size of a CD.
We used the latest DivX 6.0 software ($20, about £11, from the DivX site) to check just how easy all this theory is to put into practice, and while the results are indistinguishable from the original DVD when played on the Archos, it's certainly not as easy as ripping a CD in iTunes. Those clever Hollywood studios have their DVDs locked up like Fort Knox, and you'll have to download some legally dubious software to crack it. And even then, it'll take well over an hour for even an uber-PC like the Alienware to convert it to DivX.
Clearly though, DivX works best in conjunction with a digital TV adaptor like the Terratec T2. Use it to set up a recording schedule for your favourite programmes and get DivX to convert them and a half-hour programme will take far less time. They're also perfect bite-size chunks of programming to watch on the way to work, if you have an Archos player.
So, is DivX the MP3 of video? Well, DivX 6.0 has some cool features -- it can now create DVD-style menus and you can burn your movies for playback in the Nissan DV100 or Toshiba SD-150E. It might not be as easy as MP3, but if you're as sold on portable media centres as we are, DivX is a must-buy. -GC