Video To Go

I've been watching videos on my Treo for a couple years now but since recently upgrading to a Treo 650 (which has a nice fast processor and a gorgeous 320x320 screen) I've found it even more compelling to do so. Another factor is the increasing prevalence of video on the web: screencasts, movies, video podcasting... There's a ton of content out there.

The best program for viewing videos on the Treo is the free TCPMP. It does an excellent job at smoothly handling many formats and is a lot more stable than MMplayer, my previous choice.

So... We have a device and a player. Now we need content and we usually need to convert it to a mobile format. There's no use in putting a DVD quality AVI file on your PDA or phone if it has a small screen and when storage space is at a relative premium.

I won't discuss where to get content, assuming you already have a number sources at your disposal from DVDs and other media you own and/or thanks to sites by google, yahoo, and a host of others where you can download content.

Once you have that content, here are the two programs that I've found extremely useful for preparing it for your mobile device are PQ DVD and SUPER:

  • Pocket DVD Studio (or PQ DVD) is a low cost ($32) Windows tool that will take a DVD or video file (it supports .avi, .wmv, .mpg, and .rm among others) as input and re-encode it according to your specs. This allows you to pick the optimum resolution, bitrate, audio quality, etc. for you iPod, Pocket PC, Palm, or PSP. The software is very easy to use and quite powerful. The interface feels a little klunky but you get used to it and PQ DVD delivers good results
  • SUPER won't work with DVDs directly (though it apparently handles VOBs), nor can you pick segments of a file to re-encode as you can with PQ DVD. However it makes up for this in versatility. SUPER supports a ton of formats. I originally came across it because I was searching for a way to convert Flash videos (.flv files) into AVIs. Flash videos are popular these days because they're basically a combo player and video in a single file, and are therefore nicely cross platform, thanks to Flash. They're useless to me on my Palm though and SUPER does a great job at conversion. Oh yeah, did I mention it was free? :-)

One word of caution re: SUPER. I have no evidence to base this on but you might do well to install free software in a virtual environment so as to protect your host machine. SUPER runs fine for me in VMware and that way I know I don't need to worry about spyware. Better safe than sorry.