DivX Launches Its Own YouTube, Stage6

DivX, the video company well known for its coding and compression technology, quietly launched a YouTube-style online video sharing community, Stage6, a few weeks ago. While there seems to be no end to the video-sharing sites out there, DivX’s site already has a pretty impressive set of high quality videos. Check out the difference between that well known “Dancing” video on Stage6 vs YouTube’s (sorry to make you see those jerky moves twice.)

The company is already touting a “hot 6” videos section on its site, highlighting the most popular videos. Users rate each others videos with ‘mod points’ and develop ‘Karma’ based on how much they participate in the community. More Karma can bring more privileges. Company FAQ says Stage6 will give video makers a cut of some of the revenues that videos receive. Site “channels,” also already feature professional content made by video game channel G4, music videos and Diggnation clips.
We could only watch videos by downloading the DivX media player, and video makers can only upload content with DivX-encoded files — both of which can be a barrier to wide adoption. Right now all the content is offered for free, but the company says they are working on a download-to-own service. A major boost for Stage6 could come from the 1,800 consumer electronics models (mostly DVD players) that use DivX’s technology, and DivX says Stage6 content can be played across those devices.

Stage6 could be just another way to ride the buzz of video sharing sites like YouTube. DivX registered for an IPO in May that could raise as much as $135 million, so perhaps this is part of the overall plan to make a public splash. In its S1, the company says it needs to strengthen and maintain its brand. Though, we’re not sure Stage6 is the way to do it.

Other video sharing sites are also targeting the Internet video quality gap. We got a pitch from a company called Dovetail.tv today, which says it is launching in a few weeks and is aiming for the high-quality Internet video market. Instant Media is looking to tap similar users too. Companies working on peer to peer architecture could also have an edge in splitting up bandwidth.

Maybe DivX can use its future IPO funds to help boost Stage6 beyond a me-too site for quality videos. We plan to talk to company execs next week, and we’ll bring you more details then.