If you've ever tried to compress a video file, you know that such files are already pretty dense and don't have much room to compress further, and also that video playback quality tends to suffer the more a file is compressed. But that doesn't mean you don't have options when you need to compress video for storage or bandwidth needs. XviD Video Codec is a free, open-source MPEG-4 codec that's specifically designed to maximize compression without sacrificing video quality. Its algorithms remove the parts of a video file that don't affect the viewer's perception of quality, making XviD the closest thing to a ZIP archive tool for video.
When you install XviD, you can associate it with DivX, 3VIX, and other MPEG files. If you've installed codecs before, it was probably part of a "pack" that may have provided only a minimal user interface, if any. But XviD Video Codec is much more than a codec: it's a full package of tools. We clicked XviD's Start Menu folder with low expectations but were surprised to see a full menu of options, including both Encoder and Decoder Configuration tools, an Uninstaller, an update checker, a cool Mini Converter, and an Advanced menu offering yet more tools, including a calculator and a stats tool.
We started with the Encoder. The Main Settings offer many levels of MPEG-4 encoding, single or twopass encoding, and the ability to add more items to each. A slider let us choose between maximum quality and maximum compression. We could also configure Zones and Quality Presets, and some advanced options on the Other Options sheet.
Since we were most interested in XviD's compression capabilities, we ran it out to max compression and applied it to some video files. XviD worked quickly, depending on our settings, of course (for instance, Real Time quality took significantly longer than General Purpose for similar files). XviD was able to compress our files to sizes we've never been able to achieve before, though of course not ZIP levels; again, there's not much "give" in media files. But XviD not only reduced our video files but also left them still watchable.