Thursday, October 13, 2005

Simple guide to portable videos

£1.89 per Lost episode? Right...

Why not just get the physical DVD and rip it yourself giving yourself a good quality version for your 30" telly and a portable version for your train journey to Scotland. In glorious Mpeg-4 quality too. Not some Quicktime crap.

What you need:

DVDDecrypter to rip DVDs
XMpeg to encode em
Recommended advance encoder: VirtualDub
Automated: AutoGK

Recommended codecs:
DivX or XviD

TCPMP for Pocket PC
TCPMP for PalmOS

I won't bore you with a step by step guide into how to get videos from your DVD into your PDA. Just a little guide into what actually works best (IMO) based on my experiences.

1. Rip DVD
2. Encode using XMpeg (in some cases it is possible to encode directly from the DVD itself without ripping)
3. Transfer end files to device

General settings (that works for me):

2-pass up to 1600kbps DivX 6 for Axim x50v, (using hardware optimization) Probably works on iPAQ hx4700 and those nice Archos PMP devices
2-pass up to 1200kbps DivX 6 for Pocket PC VGA devices (no optimization)
2-pass up to 1000kbps DivX 6 for Pocket PC QVGA devices (no optimization)
2-pass up to 700kbps DivX 6 for Palm Tungsten T3 (HVGA 400Mhz - lower bitrate for Sony Clies)

For my previous QVGA devices I used 2-pass 400kbps DivX 5/64kbps LameMP3 setting for widescreen films. For Kill Bill Vol. 1 a file size of 360Mb is achievable. You can push it further for animations by lowering the framerate (okay for television animations). Simpsons/Futurama at 35Mb. No problem.

With DivX 6 I found a 2-pass 1000kbps setting for widescreen VGA films is good enough (I Robot taking only 740Mb). The quality is excellent and equivalent to those nice demos of the Sony PSP I have seen playing Spiderman 2 (which plays from 1.8Gb UMD discs).

There are commercial video encoders out there that aims to 'speed up' the process and make things 'easier' for the end user by 'dumping down'. If you want to try them do so but based on my own experience there are usually problems with the way aspect ratio is handled and also audio/video sync issues so be wary.

I have been using FlaskMpeg/XMpeg/VirtualDub for many years now since the ancient days of DivX 3 ;-) and find them very easy to use. All are easy to use freewares and in the case of VirtualDub, even has moderate editing capabilities.

Good luck.

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