How to fill your Apple iPod with video content

“Last week, I took a look at Apple Computer’s latest iPod, which blends all the great features we’ve come to expect from the premier MP3 player on the market with a brand-new feature: video support. The problem, of course, is how to get video content from a PC or Macintosh into the new iPod. As it turns out, you have a variety of ways to do so. Let’s take a look,” Paul Thurrott writes for Connected Home Media.

Thurrott covers various methods, including:
• Buy Videos and TV Show Episodes from iTunes
• Converting Home Movies:
– “Both Mac and PC users can use Apple’s excellent QuickTime Pro 7 ($29) to convert MPEG-2 or AVI video to an iPod-friendly format.”
– “Windows users might also consider a free tool called Videora iPod Converter, which can convert various video formats into iPod-friendly 320 x 240 H.264 video.”
• Converting DVD Movies:
– “Although it’s technically still illegal to back up a DVD movie for personal use, I’ll temporarily thumb my nose at the ill-conceived Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and at least discuss the process. After all, you paid for the movie. Why shouldn’t you be able to watch it on your own iPod? Mac users will want to check out a free (and open-source) tool called Handbrake… On the PC side, I use a variety of tools to rip DVD movies. Slysoft AnyDVD ($39) unprotects Hollywood DVD movies, letting you use conventional software tools to duplicate or rip them for backup purposes. And I use a free tool called Auto Gordian Knot (AutoGK,) to convert unprotected DVD movie files into XviD or DivX videos.”

Full article here.

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Related article:
Rip your DVDs for playing on Apple’s new video-capable 5G iPod – October 31, 2005
Free AppleScript converts Quicktime Player’s frontmost movie into iPod-readable video – October 28, 2005
Podner will reformat your movie collection for Apple iPod and iTunes – October 27, 2005
Using QuickTime Pro to create videos for playback in new Apple iPods – October 13, 2005


  1. Or screen record some toilet quality network broadcasts of cbs shows at, convert them to iPod format, and then watch a bunch of fuzzy pixels while riding the train into work.


  2. I also like OSex for the Mac. Does a nice job of ripping the VOB file from a DVD. Then you can use whatever (OpenShiva is my fav) to recompress to a smaller format, or just watch the file in its original VOB form using VLC.

    Lots of ways to go to transport your movies–great for the kids on a road trip, since you can pack dozens of movies on the laptop hard drive and not have to cart around all those fragile DVDs in a hot car.

  3. Who wrote this article… said: “and what has he done with the real Thurrott?!?!?”

    {Once had the same question}

    “O.K., I’ve finally figured it out!

    “Thurrott” is not a person. No, “Thurrott” is a franchise. Kind of like “Santa Claus” or the “Tooth Fairy”.
    You see, somewhere in India (probably Bangalore), there is a sweat shop of “writers” that stamp out the various “Thurrott” articles on this and that. Sometimes (purely by chance) the Indian, sweat shop “writer” is competent on things relating to Macintosh. Result: the article makes sense. Mostly though someone dimmer than a pen light, writes the articles saying things like Bill Gates invented the Macintosh.

    I’m glad it finally came to me; “Thurrott’s” seeming multiple personalities was driving me nuts!”

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  4. His info is a little thin, here’s more:

    To me, in terms of movies, the most powerful video feature in the 5G iPod is the widescreen option. This allows a single rendering to be played full or wide screen, internally or externally – you can even change mid movie. H.264 maxes out at 320×240, so anything letterbox has to be MPEG-4, therefore:

    All movies are MPEG-4, rendered at a height of greater than 240. I like 640 wide x whatever. At this size for high quality movies (like The 5th Element), I’m going with 1000. For everything else, I’m going with 500. At this resolution, file sizes seem to be 1.1 meg for each kbps (averaging for time), so expect 650 (+/-100) meg out of 500 kbps

    TV shows are another matter. West Wing renders well under H.264 @ 250 kbps, allowing entire seasons to be loaded with ease. H.264 is wonderful for TV material. Using 320×240 @ 250 v + 80 a (video/audio kbps), 45 minutes of programming comes in around 100 meg each, or under 1.5 gig per season.

    In working with file sizes, kbps is kbps and final file size is a combination of video bit rate and audio bit rate times time ((V+A)xT). So 256 kbps video + 128 kbps audio equals 384 kbps total. You want small files, you gotta squeeze both.

    In testing, the smallest full audio setting is indeed 128. An excellent budget setting and the one I will use for TV shows is 80. Go with 64 if you have poor hearing or poor original content and don’t go under 64 unless its mono or it really doesn’t matter.

    I’m in a house with multiple Macs and have established background rendering works very well. Rather than waiting for Xgrid, just do it manually.

    If your housemates will let you, 1) set up second user accounts on each, with multi user switching enabled. 2) Install your favorite flavor of HandBrake (ie, ipod compatible 264 version). 3) Set up a rendering schedule, load each machine with a DVD, and set HB to work. 4) Log back into the users own account.

    HandBrake will take all unused CPU time and apply it to your ripping batch (the queue feature is fairly reliable). You get 2+ computers running all day and all night, and users don’t see anything running or any change in performance. I’m using Mac Mini’s and getting one batch (4 – 45 minutes episodes) every 12 hours. I visit each machine at noon and midnight, cranking out 1 full DVD (two sides) every 24 hours, per Mini.

    1) Configure iTunes not to “add music to library” before dragging in your mp4’s and you won’t have 2 copies to deal with.

    2) Leave “references” for your mp4s sitting in iTunes and you can delete the original files (AFTER syncing with your iPod) and they will stay in your iPod along with your auto-sync’d music.

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