The fact that conventional codecs are related to formats, which confused people between codecs and formats. Sorenson could only be found in MOV files before because its codec was once only accepted by Apple. People often mixed DivX with AVI for the fact that the initial DivX codec was applied in the initial pirated AVI movies as a hacked Microsoft MPEG-4 codec. After the non-standard AVI has been changed into DIVX, people understand that a .divx file should definitely use the DivX codec.
However, besides Sorenson, MOV supports a number of other codecs, which goes the same for AVI and DIVX. It is able for you to use a WMV stream in an AVI or MOV file, as you can use a Sorenson stream in a WMV file in theory. In practical, the potential lack of format’s support for the codec’s high-level capabilities. Actually MOV files support DivX video streams and can convert mov to avi for Mac. It is common for a MOV to have an MP3 audio track. But you are not given the chance to use this codec for audio by the standard QuickTime software. And even if the DivX and MP3 codec are not allowed to use according to the initial AVI statement, people in millions use AVI files with these codecs.
It is good as well as bad for the tendency to hard-link a format with a kind of codec or kinds of codecs. On the one hand, it is good for that you can know immediately what codec such a file uses. On the other hand, it is bad for that you may be restrained by that codec. The both good and bad thing is ok for the average users while frustrating for those professional users. As QuickTime permit use of any codec, it becomes a popular format for video-editing. Different kind of codecs can be sustained in a MOV.
A list of popular video codecs and the formats
WMV: it is a codec with the Windows Media format which you can see from its name. Never ask me how it works. Since it came into being a short time after non-standard MPEG-4 of Microsoft, I they might be created out of the same theory. With the development of technology, it has been updated. At the same time, MS has the absolute control over this format, which becomes the major reason why it is pushing it. DRM, whose official name is Digital Rights Management and whose common name is Digital Restrictions Management is featured by this kind of specialty.
See more: How to convert WMV to MOV format
DivX: DivX 3, as the first version of DivX, was actually only a pirated version of the MS MPEG-4 codec. Since most movies have the ability to suit with one CDR in an okay image quality, the increase of pirated movies has been started, which is why the the AVI format was hijacked. Audio is the other hacked codec, no matter it is MP3 or WMA. For playing, WMV was used in some early pirated AVI movies （mp4 to avi Mac OS X). In order to improve it to be legal, the developers of DivX updated the codec by making a version 4. More and more advanced versions appears and the ‘pirated’ AVI format has been renamed as DIVX by DivX, which is started from version 6.
XviD: As you can see, it is the vice versa of DivX, which was created as a clone of the DivX 3 codec. Since the DivX 4 codec, it developed by itself and their video streams are almost compatible since both are belong to MPEG-4. However, with the updating of its versions, the XviD codec do as well as the DivX codec or even better than it.