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DIVX, not to be confused with the video codec DivX, was an attempt, by Circuit City[?], to create an alternative to video rental in the United States. The idea was to sell customers a DIVX disc (similar to a DVD) at a low cost. This DIVX disc had a limited viewing period (generally 48 hours) that started after its initial viewing. After this period, the disc could be viewed by paying a continuation fee (generally $3.25). DIVX discs required a special DVD player to be able to view them.

After the DIVX disc was viewed, the disc could be kept for future viewing, resold, given away, or discarded. The physical disc was not altered in any way by playing it, only the account that the DIVX player is.

The DIVX rental system was created in 1998 in time for the holiday season and was discontinued in June of 1999 due to the costs of introducing the format. Over two years, the DIVX system was to be discontinued. Customers could still view all their DIVX discs and were given a $100 refund for every player that was purchased before June 16, 1999. All discs that were unsold at the end of the summer of 1999 were destroyed. The program officially cut off access to accounts on July 7, 2001.

There was a large movement on the Internet, particularly in home theater forums, against DIVX. Many people were afraid that there would be DIVX exclusive releases, and that the then fledgling DVD format would suffer as a result. Disney, for instance, had some DIVX-only releases planned, and other studios would probably have followed suit. Many were relieved when the format was abandoned, for this reason.

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