Empowering Your New iPod: A Guide for Converting Videos for Your iPod or iPhone

As soon as I saw the screen on the iPod Touch, I instantly knew its destiny as a video destination for me. Roughly half the space of my iPod is taken up by videos. They’re great for long rides or when I get stuck waiting somewhere unexpectedly. Before I launch into my tutorial, I will mention that I have found episodic content to be a better pairing with the iPod than movies. Converting videos for your iPod is quite simple due to a free tool named Handbrake which works for Macs as well as Windows. I will also mention that the iTunes store has many TV shows and movies which you can download, and they will all work with your iPod without hassle. This guide is for other videos you legally (or not so legally) obtain which you’d like to add to your iPod.

If the video you want to put on your iPod is on a DVD, you first need to get the file onto your computer (skip to next paragraph if the file is already on your computer). Commercial DVDs are encrypted, and breaking the encryption is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the USA, and not something I recommend you do for the obvious legal and ethical reasons. With that said, there is an extremely easy to use Windows program called DVDFab HD Decryptor which will allow you to copy a DVD to your hard drive. If you need help with DVDFab HD Decryptor, there is a guide here. If you are using Mac OS X, Handbrake can handle the decryption for you.

Once the windows users have the files on their computer (obviously needing to be more complicated than their Mac counterpart) open up Handbrake. In the source box, browse to the file or folder with the video and select it. Handbrake can handle a wide variety of input formats. Next, under source, click on the Titles drop down and manually select the video you want to convert. If you leave it set on automatic, there is a chance Handbrake will choose the wrong title. Next, under Destination, click browse, and select where you want to save the new video stream, and type in a file name. Under “Save as,” select m4v. Now here’s the critical part, on the right side under presets, click “iPhone/iPod Touch” or another iPod option depending on what you have. Under output settings, the encoder should be set as H.264 and the Audio Encoder as AAC. Make sure “Insert iPod Atom” is selected. That’s it! Now all you have to do is click start and give your computer some time to crunch away. There are a million tweaks you can make with Handbrake, including using a queue to convert many files at once, so feel free to explore once you get comfortable.

When Handbrake is finished creating the file, open up iTunes, go to File, Add File to iTunes, and select the file you just created ending in .m4v. The video should now show up under movies in iTunes. Now plug in your iPod. Once iTunes has loaded it, select your iPod from within iTunes. Go to the movies tab under your iPod’s properties within iTunes, and tell iTunes to either sink all your videos, or just the one you created. Voila! Next time you sync your iPod, you should have your video on your shiny device to take with you anywhere.

-Jewbin

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