It's nice to see that people that still roast food over a fire with their bare hands have expanded their vocabulary. :iagree:
Divx these days is sort of universal.
Many DVD players are coming out / have come out with Divx support.
Divx will give very nice results compared to the Mpeg2 which is how most DVD's are encoded.
As chef has noted, H.264 is newer / better or in one frame of mind achieves better compression for the same quality, or better quality for the same file size. Support is still lacking in standalones though.
Back to the first question though .. if converting from a DVD to another video format, you will lose quality.