When he launched the video-playing iPod (see our review), Steve Jobs also announced that the iTunes Music Store would start selling video content. In the US, that meant being able to buy TV shows but in the UK it’s a selection of music videos only - each costing the princely sum of £1.89 (compared to the Americans’ more pauperly $1.99, or £1.12). So if you balk at the high price, or fancy something different, here’s our guide to getting video onto the iPod.
The first thing to remember is that, at present, the video iPod only accepts quite specific video files. We’ve included the specs at the end of this story, but essentially the iPod will play either H.264 or MPEG-4 video at 320x240 pixels with AAC audio. Fortunately, you shouldn’t need to know that thanks to software applications that do the job for you…
Apple’s free Quicktime software can be upgraded for £20 to the ‘Pro’ version, which includes a new ‘Export Movie to iPod’ option in the Export menu. So any content on the web that’ll open in Quicktime can now be transferred to your iPod – such as trailers from quicktime.com or music videos from artist websites.
The big problem, though, is that even on a fast machine, exporting 3 minutes of video takes about half an hour – and there have been a few reports of the soundtrack not being exported properly, although we didn’t find that to be a problem.
If you have a computer with a TV card, you can probably export video in an iPod-compatible format. We used EyeTV on the Mac to export in the MPEG-4 format - you’ll need to make sure audio is in AAC and the resolution isn’t bigger than 320 x 240. The results were spectacular and it only took a minute or so to export a music video recorded from The Hits TV channel.