Sunday, November 27, 2005

Got an Apple iPod with video? Now what?

Like alot of folks, I was lucky enough to get an Apple iPod with Video. But now that I have this wonder, what can I do with it?

First, and foremost, get iTunes and install the iPod software. This alone lets you now sync up your music on your computer with your iPod. For those Mac users, this is a DUH! For Windows users it may not be so apparent. The basic way to include your music, etc. is to use either "Add File to Library" or "Add Folder to Library". I prefer the "add folder" option because it allows new files to be included in the sync as they moved into these folders. Then create playlists and drag the desired files from the Library list into the playlist.

This method works for music, but equally well for any other media forms. I have additional playlists for Movie Trailers; Movies; TV Shows; Personal Videos; Videos; and others.

The biggest question I had was how to get "content". iTunes offers music; movie trailers; some TV shows; podcasts and more.

The number one reason I got the iPod was for audio and video podcasts. Most of these are free and run the gambit of topics. Podcasts are available from iTunes, but not all. (Who knows why not) You subscribe to the iTunes podcast from the Podcast Directory and this could not be easier. To add a podcast not offered by iTunes, you use the Advanced --> Subscribe to Podcast menu item and enter the "feed" URL.

Movie Trailers - I love the Apple movie trailers and with QuickTime Pro, it could not be easier to watch a trailer and then say "save as movie" or export to iPod format directly. Other trailer formats will require conversion. More on this later.

Movies - you can use the instructions at http://www.videora.com/en-us/Converter/guides.html to convert DVDs for your iPod. Check out the section below to see what I purchased for this purpose.

TV Shows and Videos - There is a free converter called Videora which takes any MPEG and converts it to iPod format. It can be found at http://www.videora.com/en-us/Converter/iPod/

However, all this said, I went over to http://www.pqdvd.com/dvd-to-ipod-video-converter.html and purchased PQDVD. For my needs it converts everything I have to iPod format. In my case, I use the Windows Media Center (format:dvr-ms) which PQDVD handles well. The resolution and speed are exceptional. This allows you to convert almost any format to the iPod, so various trailers can easily be converted.

The "vipod" {Apple iPod with video} is great for standard TV and your videos. Music is of course its focus and it does this quite well. But movies are not yet a "pleasure" to view on this model. Full screen movies might work fine, but not widescreens. The image is simply too small to be satisfying.

I have 4 movies; 100 podcasts and videocasts; 300 songs; 30 TV shows; calendar; contacts; 300 recipes; 500 photos and miscellaneous files transferred from my computer stored on my iPod. Having received the 60GB model, I have yet to come close to filling up the space.

One warning, battery life sucks when viewing high quality video. I bet they will get this corrected eventually, but for now it looks like about 2 hours of video display is the max.

Last word, I love the vipod. Unexpectedly, it has become my "viewer" of choice since it has everything I need in one place. The only 2 things that it lacks is network connectivity (this can be added) and widescreen (AKA PSP). But I leave that for Apple to resolve in the next gen of the iPod.

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