12 January 2006
A long time ago, I used to record Radio 1’s UK Top 40 on a Sunday evening using my radio cassette recorder. I could then take the songs everywhere with me on my portable stereo system. (It wasn’t made by Sony, so it technically wasn’t a Walkman.) Imagine being able to take a full ninety minutes worth of music with you wherever you went! The fact that the UK Top 40 went on for three hours meant you had to edit out Bruno Brookes and cleverly select which songs you wanted to record in advance. Of course, you could always carry more cassettes if you wanted to really go wild... but those days are long gone. You can now store more than 500 times that amount of music on a device that’s not much bigger than an old audio cassette. Amazing!
But just carrying music around with you is so 1980s. We want to be taking music videos, full-length feature films and TV series everywhere we go – just like they used to do in the future! Well kids, we’re living in the future now...
The other night, I finally learnt how to convert movies and DVDs to a format which would play on both my PSP and Suzy’s iPod without purchasing any software. Forget about buying Sony’s Image Converter 2 (£13.90) and Apple’s Quicktime Pro (£19.99) to convert your movies into a format that your PSP or iPod will recognise. You don’t even need to spend money on UMDs that you can only play on your PSP when you’ve already got the DVD. All you need is DVD Shrink and PSP Video 9. (Yes, despite the name, you can also use this to create videos for your fifth generation iPod Video too.)
DVB Shrink enables you to “backup” your DVDs to your computer (or another DVD), removing any unwanted menus or special features along the way; you can then use PSP Video 9 to convert the movie to a number of formats, depending on what encoding or quality you require. For more instructions on getting your videos onto your PSP, read Getting Started with PSP Video 9. If you’re converting your movies for use on your iPod, make sure transcode them using a compatible profile. I used the following:
Once you’ve transcoded the movie, you should be able to just open iTunes, add the file to your library and update your iPod.
Cheap and easy.
On a related note, Google recently added PSP support to Google Video. However, if you’re getting “Unsupported Data” error messages or having problems viewing the video after you’ve downloaded it to your PSP, you might want to check that you’re:
running firmware 2.00 or above – it seems the PSP downloads on Google Video are in AVC format, which apparently isn’t supported in earlier versions
naming the file correctly – i.e.
MAQ10001.MP4– where the
MAQ#####.MP4naming convention is used for AVC format movies (and SP format movies use
copying the movie to the right folder - i.e.
E:\MP_ROOT\100ANV01for AVC format (and
E:\MP_ROOT\100MNV01for SP format) where
E:\is the drive letter of your PSP
(I’ve only tried to download a couple of movies from Google Video, so let me know if I’m wrong about any of the above points.)