A press release today from SanDisk and DivX has announced that the two companies have signed an agreement that allows SanDisk to use the DivX codec in their Sansa portable media players.
This means that the video capable Sansa’s will be able to re-play DivX content, a major improvement over the Motion Jpeg that they currently support.
It should be quite interesting to see if the Sansa range increases from just solid state to include HDD or large capacity solid state players in the future.
It's also interesting from the DivX point of view. Not only does it show their ongoing commitment to the Stage6 project, but also the that they are looking to push their media portal to end users through a variety of playback devices.
Their own GejBox HDMI playback device is currently in beta testing. If the next generation of Sansa players include some form of WiFi capability, you could theoretically include streaming directly from the Stage6 site on the internet.
This may lead to another entrant into the iTunes market place. Stage6 already has a good catalogue of content, and may be able to temp some of the studio's into releasing some of their episodes or perhaps even HD movie's through the system. If that is what the DivX team is trying to do, then they may have a tough time fighting the already established Apple system.
The Stage6 portal however is interesting, as at the moment, a good proportion of the content is user uploaded, and because of that can be considered to perhaps be a portal for Video Blogging (think of it as a HD version of YouTube).
Interesting times ahead in the video playback media players, as the DivX format is arguably the closest competition to QuickTime in quality/size, and the Sansa players are the closest in sales to the iPod, will the inclusion of the DivX technology allow the Sansa to close the gap to the Apple players.
SanDisk has not yet said if it will offer firmware upgrades to current players to enable the feature.