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DivX Pulls Plug on Stage6 84

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the your-users-are-asking-for-ways-to-pay-you dept.
Xelios writes "DivX announced today that it will be shutting down Stage6, its high-quality video sharing site. 'So why are we shutting the service down? Well, the short answer is that the continued operation of Stage6 is a very expensive enterprise that requires an enormous amount of attention and resources that we are not in a position to continue to provide. There are a lot of other details involved, but at the end of the day its really as simple as that.' The news comes after the former CEO of DivX stepped down last year to head Stage6, which was to become a separate company, and the still ongoing legal battle with UMG."
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DivX Pulls Plug on Stage6

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  • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:52PM (#22551178) Homepage Journal
    ...when I say that we'll miss you stage6. You provided us with an alternative to the much lower quality videos on youtube and many other like sites. Great job divx.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553)
      XviD shits on DivX. Project Mayo forever.

      Scumbags.
    • by ChaosWeevil (1004221) on Monday February 25, 2008 @06:01PM (#22551280)
      I rather disagree. Stage6 was indeed high quality, which was nice, but the plugin required for it was hideous. It caused my browser to crash many, many times, and half the time it didn't work, providing the message "Could not download video file." I'm a rather glad to see it go, if only because I won't have to deal the plugin anymore.
      • by webrunner (108849)
        Is there a single other site that can compare to stage 6 in terms of quality and video length?
        • by log0n (18224)
          Not familiar with Stage6 or it's content.. but Vimeo? It's a better quality (and smaller) Youtube.
          • I think I speak for everyone, when I say just how much I'll miss this latest attempt to duplicate "America's Funniest Home Videos."

            Those white kids from Omaha, lip-syncing Fiddy-Cent. I NEEDED the higher resolution!
            • Actually, stage6 was awesome because nobody used it for that. It was all trailers, promotional videos, movies, and TV show episodes, from what I saw. With the magic of wget I got the 9th series of Top Gear from stage6 in VERY nice quality.
      • by Sangui (1128165)
        Why are you glad?
        If you didn't like it, why were you still using it?
        Why didn't you just not use it??
      • by springbox (853816) on Monday February 25, 2008 @07:03PM (#22551994)
        All you had to do was copy the URL to the .divx file from the page, download the file, change the extension to .avi and enjoy.
        • by haruchai (17472) on Monday February 25, 2008 @10:38PM (#22554238)
          Actually, renaming the extension wasn't necessary if you used VLC
            as your media player
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by smurfsurf (892933)
          And there is a download button built-in on every page.
          • by WK2 (1072560)
            Yes, but that only downloads the divx player. If you want to download the videos, you have to jump through one hoop or another.

            A download button would have been nice. I never heard of stage6 until this article, but after I just navigated the site a bit, the lack of a simple user interface (such as a download button) is one thing that would have kept me away from it.
            • by smurfsurf (892933)
              Oh, maybe you have to install the plugin first, although it is not needed for the download itself.

              When I open a page with the video, I see a still image of the video and in its center big play and download buttons. Both are just plain HTML link elements (only after pressing play the still image is replaced by the player object).
              • by WK2 (1072560)
                Stage6 doesn't actually require the plug-in. With a little hoop jumping (getting the link from the "embed" box, you can still download or stream the videos with something like mplayer. However, stage6 doesn't do the little things, like add an HTML download button.

                There is certainly no play and download buttons in the center of a video, at least not on my screen. It says instead, "For Linux support try mplayer". These are the little things I'm talking about. Consistency, for one. Also, not trying to control
        • by elrous0 (869638) *
          And the fact that you had to go to all this extra trouble just to get the damn thing to work right points to exactly why it never caught on. Youtube has shit video quality, but at least it works consistently and simply.
        • No referrer checking, no attempt to keep people from leeching their bandwidth, no advertising, no promotion.

          You need to sell your better mousetrap. The world won't beat a path to your door if they don't know about it, and your competitors are shifting the merchandise from your loading dock.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by orkysoft (93727)
        Huh? I never heard of the site before, but I tested it today, and the videos load just fine with mplayer-plugin, which is a rather general plugin for playing all kinds of media files. No need for specialized plugins.

        The video quality is quite nice, actually. A lot better than Youtube's.
      • by rucs_hack (784150)
        I don't know if anyone else found this, but when I installed the divx web player on my Vista machine, it killed Explorer, causing a constant cycle of 'explorer has stopped responding and will be restarted'.

        I ended up having to re-install, and lost lots of data because I couldn't even get it to copy things off the machine.
      • I'm not doubting you or anything but for me at least Stage6 worked like a charm. I don't think ever once had any trouble with it.

        Obviously results varied.
    • by CSMatt (1175471)
      I'd say "We still have Revver," but Revver as of late has been whoring its ads, making them pop up over the video and requiring the viewer to close them. This is just an annoyance, but where I draw the line is the inappropriate 10-second video ads occasionally appearing before and after the video. I'd like to watch a clip without worrying whether the inevitable shoulder-watcher thinks I'm willingly looking at an ad for Girls Gone Wild.
    • It looked much better I gotta agree I mean 960x540 for in game footage at good compression but damned you required quite a pc because it required quite a bit of your processor to run. That was its downside really, the fact that the pc it runs on needs to be up to snuff else it drops frames!
    • by Hatta (162192)
      I think you speak for everyone who hasn't discovered bittorrent.
      • I think you speak for everyone who hasn't discovered bittorrent.

        Streaming is much better than bittorrent for the following reasons:
        • You don't have to wait for a seeder to appear before you can download (especially if it's a rare media file where there are usually no seeders in BT trackers)
        • Download rates are usually higher for streaming media than for bittorrent (and I'm *NOT* behind Comcast)
        • You can only wait one or two minutes before you can enjoy your show, as opposed to waiting 30-240 minutes with bittorre
        • by Wildclaw (15718)

          ou don't have to wait for a seeder to appear before you can download (especially if it's a rare media file where there are usually no seeders in BT trackers)

          Download rates are usually higher for streaming media than for bittorrent (and I'm *NOT* behind Comcast)

          The above statements are comparing apples and oranges

          Of course you get higher speed from a streaming site since they are spend lots and lots of cash on providing more bandwidth, which is why they usually havelow quality video. (or get shut down like Stage6). Most torrents however are files distributed by ordinary people that don't have the money to pay for that kind of resources. If you were to try streaming from such as user you would have to wait for ever and ever.

          If another company used bittorrent and s

        • by jmcnaught (915264)

          I had always hoped that Dijjer [dijjer.net] would take off. It's peer to peer, and really easy to use (you just have to append "http://dijjer.net/get" to the beginning of any url). It also starts from the beginning of the file, so it could be used for streaming.

          Unfortunately it doesn't even seem as though the website works at all now. The front page is there, but none of the links work.

          Using something like Dijjer could dramatically reduce the costs of doing something like stage6.

          • by darthflo (1095225)
            I must admit to never having really used Dijjer, but what you're describing ain't peer-to-peer. Prepending http://dijjer.net/ [dijjer.net] to any url will make your browser send an HTTP request to the server at dijjer.net (client-server, here we go) causing it to retrieve the file (by whatever means, peer-to-peer or direct download) and transmit it over to you.
            As oppossed to directly downloading, this will cause at least twice, probably more traffic. The dijjer server needs to retrieve it, file's transmitted once; you
    • by zymano (581466)
      www.vimeo.com ?
  • by Sangui (1128165)
    The loss of Stage6 saddens me. I hope Veoh gets more stuff on it.
  • Translation: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:59PM (#22551246) Journal

    very expensive enterprise that requires an enormous amount of attention and resources
    In other words...
    The bandwidth costs are killing them and they're not making enough money from their content partners & advertising.

    The real bread & butter of Divx is licensing the codec.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CSMatt (1175471)
      Or they just couldn't compete with YouTube.
      • Re:Translation: (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pinkocommie (696223) on Monday February 25, 2008 @06:49PM (#22551864)
        Or they never even tried to compete? Most people didn't even know it existed, there was no marketing push only of late have I noticed the embed url's to link to the videos directly etc. Far more importantly though they didn't try to offset costs. I'm sure they could've come up with a P2P based variant wherein users could have active clients helping them distribute the load with them providing heavy bandwidth sources reducing their costs pretty dramatically.
        • Most people didn't even know it existed

          Yep, that would be me. Never heard of them before this article, and I like to think I'm still fairly hip to what happens on the 'tubes these days and...shit. Those fucking kids are on my lawn again!
        • I don't think I ever heard of it until today.
  • Anyone want to throw out some good alternatives to Stage6 for higher quality stuff than you can find on YouTube? Most of the video sharing sites I've found are littered entirely with bad rips of whatever is currently in the box office. Stage6 had a much wider variety of material on it.
    • Divx/Xvid files on TPB. Where else can you get a full length feature film that fits on a CD-R with virtually no perceivable lost of quality.
  • Aside from Stage6 and there very elegant player, seems to me that DivX and Xvid are equivalent. What is going to give them the edge now?
    • Re:What now for DivX (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday February 25, 2008 @07:06PM (#22552032) Journal
      That's because DivX and XviD both sprang from the open source Project Mayo. They used the "assign your copyright to us when you contribute" scheme that MySQL uses. Then suddenly the project was shut down, and all the Project Mayo code suddenly became the closed source DivX project. XviD was created by the pissed off Project Mayo contributers.
  • by szyzyg (7313) on Monday February 25, 2008 @06:16PM (#22551450)
    For a long time stage6 had better video than most other sites because they were one of the few not using flash as a video player. But now h264 video support is part of flash I see a load of sites doing high quality video that leaves stage6 looking kinda ho hum in comparison.

    • What sites are you referring to?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by szyzyg (7313)
        Well it might be bad form to blow my own horn, but you did ask - imeem.com [imeem.com] is doing h264 video compare the indiana jones [imeem.com] trailer on imeem versus the same video on youtube [youtube.com]
        (be sure to hit the full screen button for best effect, and make sure your flash player is a recent one).

        imeem is better known as a place to upload and share mp3s, but the video support is pretty good too.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by FornaxChemica (968594)
          Shouldn't possible alternatives be compared with Stage6 rather than with YouTube ? A lot of sites may have a better version of a video than YouTube, but where is the one that can match Stage6's standards ? Not only in terms of compression but also speed, accessibility, etc. Most of the other sites are just modeled after YouTube, even their video player is.
          • by szyzyg (7313)
            OK while it lasts - here's the stage6 link - in awesome 1080p -
            http://www.stage6.com/Lion-Gate/video/2217528/Indiana-Jones-4-Full-HD-Trailer [stage6.com]
            the video quality is better than what we have at imeem, but even on my office connection it sat there buffering for several minutes, and when it did start to play it only managed about 5fps. Those still frames do look mighty fine though.

            It's all a compromise and we've tried to hit the sweet spot where people with moderately good connections (~1megabit) and computers bui
            • by smurfsurf (892933)
              imeem does not work for me. When I hit play, firefox shows that it tries to connect to the surfing history tracking slimey bastards doubleclick for a minute and that's it. I can't go further than the spinner.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by doas777 (1138627)
      I'd say they lost the advantage when they closed the source and betrayed us all, and then when XVID came along, it became pretty darn undesirable. h264 is just the next step.
      • by Xelios (822510)
        That's true, but could the open source community have created something like Stage6 with it? I don't agree with what they did to the DivX codec, but at least they tried to give something back too, even if it was just a market venture for them.

        I have a cracked version of the DivX encoder though, eye for an eye no?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      No. There aren't currently any major sites using H.264 encoded video to stream to a Flash front-end. Flash Media Server still hasn't been updated to support H.264 yet. What people forget is that there are a few codecs that Flash actually supports. YouTube uses the ancient VP3, as to many others, to avoid licensing costs since the codec is now open source. VP6 has existed for a while, and is actually a fantastic codec for the bit rates it's used at. It's nearly as good as H.264 in practice. Stage6 had bett
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by szyzyg (7313)
        "No. There aren't currently any major sites using H.264 encoded video to stream to a Flash front-end."

        Sorry, completely wrong, because imeem.com has been doing this for a while now, I know because I was part of the team implementing this, feature. I pointed out the new Indiana Jones Trailer [imeem.com] on imeem which is delivered at a resolution of 768x360 and 800kbit/sec, and when it's played full screen it looks pretty darn nice.
        • what if i want to watch it at its native resolution rather than full screen? you should add that imo, unless I'm the only one with that preference.
          • by szyzyg (7313)
            I'll tell the guy who wrote the player. I've no doubt that there are presentation improvements that we can make, and will make when we get time.
          • by nullchar (446050)
            Agreed. Why would I watch anything on the web in full screen? I'm surfing the web to slack it and randomly click links. I'm not making popcorn and sitting patiently for long clips to buffer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mxs (42717)
      I have heard this argument a few times in the past day.

      Can you please cite even one site that offers comparable quality and usability ? When I doubleclick the video, I want instant fullscreen with crisp video. I also want the option to download stuff for later use.
      None of the video sites come to mind.

      H.264 not a good video site makes. You need a little more than just a codec.
      • by illectro (697914)
        "Can you please cite even one site that offers comparable quality and usability "

        I think the 'Usability' of stage6 largely came from sites like tvlinks which indexed all the material that people wanted to see.

        So are you seriously saying that stage6 was best because a doubleclick on the video makes it full screen, whereas lesser sites like imeem/dailymotion/vimeo could only offer a little button on the video player to make the full screen player kick in?
        What kind of UI nazi are you?

        Downloads make make the si
        • by mxs (42717)

          So are you seriously saying that stage6 was best because a doubleclick on the video makes it full screen, whereas lesser sites like imeem/dailymotion/vimeo could only offer a little button on the video player to make the full screen player kick in?
          What kind of UI nazi are you?

          Thanks for invoking Godwin sir, you loose.

          It's little things like that which make the difference. If your user interface puts "cool, whizbang design" first and usability second, you automatically loose -- though if you are lucky, you'll get some stupid VC firm to buy into that whizbang look.

          Downloads make make the site better for the users, but they reduce the potential for displaying ads and making revenue as well as increasing potential legal liability, so while the site may be better, it may not be 'successful' and I think stage6's demise only reinforces this hypothesis.

          Legal liability ? Hogwash. That's exactly the same with both approaches.

          If you want an adfarm, build an adfarm. Caring about the user's experience is a more important part of the whole. If your users don't like your si

      • by zymano (581466)
        http://www.vimeo.com/ [vimeo.com] ????????
        • by mxs (42717)

          http://www.vimeo.com/ ????????

          Really ? That many question marks ? Are you not sure ?

          Your link does not satisfy even one of the requirements. No ability to download. No doubleclick=fullscreen, and if you do go fullscreen, it is not slick and fast, but takes a second, at least the first few times.

          Usability ? Please. The navigation elements in the video are astonishingly badly placed. "Embed" and "Share" belong on the page, not in the video. Clicking anywhere in the video has absolutely no effect. Sure, nice, rounded edges ... But why, oh

  • Traffic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by miscz (888242)
    Stage6 was quite popular due to availability of many TV shows but they've started to seriously fight it 2 or 3 months ago. It was THE place to get many british sitcoms. I wonder if this has anything to do with the shutdown.
  • This came as a real shock. I haven't found a video website that offers the same video resolution and strong content.

    Can anyone point me to a replacement site?
  • Maybe if everyone clicks like mad on their ads during those two days left, they'll earn millions, save the site, and everyone will live happily ever after. No ?
  • Sites that hotlink stage6.com are probably to blame here, specifically http://legalmovies.tv/ [legalmovies.tv]
    • It probably isn't the problem, if it was they could have easily prevented them from hotlinking the videos. On the contrary, hotlinking probably helped Stage6 to get known. Personally that's by browsing their videos on another site that I first heard about them.
  • nooo (Score:5, Informative)

    by sentientbrendan (316150) on Monday February 25, 2008 @08:28PM (#22553018)
    stage6 was by far the best video site out there in terms of video quality and the ability to watch things full screen.

    It seems stupid to me that they couldn't make their business model work. They had excellent technology, but obviously like so many online ventures they didn't think very hard about how they were going to make money.

    It seems obvious to me that they could have gotten significant cash on advertising if they did speach to text translation on the videos and then did some context based ads on that text. However, they seemed to have almost no advertising on their site, and thus no way to recoup losses.

    Additionally, they could have tried a model that required users to subscribe to stage6 as basically an internet television service. However, they seemed like they weren't really willing to try *anything* to recoup expenses, and just killed the project by inaction.

    This worries me because the same problems basically face youtube, and similarly google has done pretty much nothing to make the site profitable since purchasing it. The only real change has been the removal of copyrighted material from the site, and that can hardly be called an improvement.

    Hopefully divx will license out the stage6 browser plugin and serving infrastructure to other companies so the technology won't die.
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      It seems stupid to me that they couldn't make their business model work

      If you looked at their most contributing members, they were all uploading illegal content (as evidenced by joox.net). That's not a sustainable business model for a company that wants to be legit.

      Hopefully divx will license out the stage6 browser plugin and serving infrastructure to other companies so the technology won't die

      Why not let it die, they ripped off the open source community to get the code for it in the first place.
      • >Why not let it die, they ripped off the open source community to get the code for it in the first place.
        If you assign your copyright over to some open source group, you risk them relicensing it in a way you won't like. My understanding is that is what happened to divx.

        That's why I've always considered the FSF scheme of forcing you to give them copyright before you can commit something to say, GCC, as kind of a scam. For instance, I much prefer V2 of the GPL to V3, so if I commit anything to GCC under V2
    • The videos on stage6 also clearly used several times more bandwidth then youtube. The latest h.264 in flash is not any worse then divx. Infact, divx has been lagging for a while now and the only reason stage6 looked so much better was because it was far more bandwidth intensive. The operating cost of stage6 is going to be much more then youtube per view.
    • One of the things I loved about Stage6 was the clean, fast interface. It was intuitive, unlike many other streaming sites (YouTube, Veoh), it was simple, yet looked very nice, (once again, unlike many streaming sites) and so on.

      I bet ads would've highly detracted from this...but yeah, I'd be willing to sacrifice some of the interface if I still got my uber fast loading high quality videos.

      On a side note, what do people recommend as a good alternative to Stage6? I took one glance at Veoh (what Stage6 seems t
  • Sad day.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    As a long time Anime watcher, I've tried loads of streaming media websites but nothing beats the quality of stage6. I used to watch episodes on youtube, crunchyroll etc. in the worst quality possible until a stage6 turned up in a random search.. Now i only go to another website if stage6 doesn't have what I want.
    I was very sad when they announced the site's going to die on thursday. I looked for 'make a donation' or some similar link to send them money .. Does anyone know if they are taking donations to st
  • The decision to shut Stage6 down may have something to do with sites like quicksilverscreen.com using it to host full movies. They might not be able to fix the hole that makes such hosting possible, and they probably don't want to deal with the liability.

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