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Video To Go for your Treo with Kinoma

Kinoma Producer 3.0.1 ($29.99) and Kinoma Player 3EX ($19.99) are a powerful combination for video conversion and playback on your Treo.  Both were recently updated and offer an array of features, while making things 'point and click' simple to use.  The most significant advance is the ability to create and play MPEG4 and .MOV as well as Kinoma video.  You can also now play AAC (not purchased from iTunes) audio as well as as photos, but we have decided to only focus on the video aspects of the programs for this article.

While Andrew focused his usage from the PC perspective, I (your loyal Mac Treonaut) utilized my Powerbook to assure our readers that this can be a fully cross-platform experience.  Assuming you have some video content lying around (home movies, downloads, music videos, etc.) you can bring them into the Kinoma Producer to convert for usage on your Treo.  I happen to have a pretty good array of stuff here so I was able to really give this a solid test and I am happy to report the results for you... 

Kinoma Producer

Kinoma Producer is the creator component and is only required if you plan to convert your own material rather than simply playback existing mp4 video.  Kinoma is a very capable conversion tool for video.  As listed on their website:

Kinoma Producer 3 encodes from a wide range of file formats into MP4, MOV, or the Kinoma movie format for playback on Palm handhelds. It supports AVI, DivX, DV, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, and QuickTime video file formats. For animation, it supports Flash, FLC, and GIF. For audio, it supports AIFF, AU, AAC, MP3, and WAVE. For still images it supports BMP, GIF, JPEG, PICT, PNG, and TIFF. On Windows, Producer includes DirectShow support, which enables ASF/WMV, WMA, DVR-MS, and MPEG-2, along with many other DirectShow-supported files.

As you can see, Kinoma Producer offers a wide choice of both Brand and Model as well as the option to further tweak the settings for your PDA.


I've found it best to go with the settings Kinoma has handily pre-selected (this applies equally in a PC environment) for the device on which you plan to watch - your Treo 600 or 650 but also many others.

Once you've decided on your device and settings (trust me, stick with the defaults) you need to find some stuff to convert for your Treo.  I had a few interesting things handy so I began the conversion process with the following:  A PalmOne Treo Commercial; An Audi Commercial; A Mocean Worker Video (Chick a Boom Boom Boom); An episode of The Chappelle Show and The Best of Elmo from a DVD I own. 

I converted my DVD video on the Mac using a tool called Handbrake.  It's a free, fairly simple tool that will encode a DVD from your drive or use the Video_TS folder if you've saved a copy of the disc on your drive.  You can choose whether to encode directly to MP4 or to AVI first.  I've been converting to AVI and then to MP4 via the Kinoma Producer which optimizes the file for my Treo.  I have not found the right combination of settings yet to convert directly from Handbrake which has kept me using this two-step process. (As you know, one of Andrew's most popular posts explains how to convert your DVD's for playback on your Treo using a PC instead.)

Kinoma puts everything in alphabetical order when you convert a group of files...


Conversion time is very reasonable considering the processor intensive nature of the task.  On average, the time to convert is only in the 20-40% range of the full original.  It was quite easy to setup a list of items, hit Convert and leave it in the background on my machine until it was all done.  I was able to do quite a few things while this happened including talking to Andrew on Skype at one point!  The only time I noticed a longer time to convert was when I used media that was on a network drive.  This is an obvious change as the network will never be read as quickly as your local drive.

When you configure Producer, you can say where you would like the converted files to go.  I've been letting them go back on my hard drive, but if you are tapped for space, you can have them copy directly to your SD card if it is mounted on your system.

So you can get a handle on what Kinoma can do, I've taken an additional screenshot of the more detailed Audio / Video settings tab. 


If you play with the Settings pulldown from this window you can see how each device or quality setting changes things so you can try to improve or degrade the quality based on space available and power of your device.  As I mentioned earlier, I've found very good results with the defaults for the Treo 600.  Changing things is easy and will only cost you the time it takes to convert.

Just to give you a sense of how well things compress to MP4, here's that initial list of things I used and their converted sizes:

PalmOne Treo Commercial - 1.1MB .mov converted - 400kb .mp4
Audi Commercial - 5.1MB .mov converted - 760kb .mp4
Mocean Worker Video - 45.7MB .mov converted - 4.4MB .mp4
The Chappelle Show - 175MB .avi converted - 23.8MB .mp4
The Best of Elmo - 257.7MB .avi converted - 33.6MB .mp4

Kinoma Player

Once things are converted, it's time (unless you had converted files automatically go to the card) to move things to your Treo.  You have two choices for where to store files --  palm\programs\kinoma\ or palm\launcher.  Mine are in palm\programs\kinoma\ and I have not experienced any issues so you might want to match that for ease of use.  If you hotsync, I believe the files get placed in palm\launcher which should work, but you will lose a degree of organization in file management later on.  One thing I wish Kinoma supported was the use of subfolders.  I'd really like to be able to store content by type - in the examples I converted earlier, I would use TV, Music Videos, Commericals and Movies.  For now though you just keep it all in a single folder and scroll through what you have when you want to play something.


5-Way support could be greatly improved.  While you can navigate the list and press the center button to play and pause, you can't navigate at all once you are actively playing something which means your finger or stylus has to be used in order to change media or switch to full screen mode.  This is more of an annoyance than a real issue, but if you use it often enough, you'll probably agree it could be much better.  However, a Kinoma spokesperson assured us that they are continuously looking for ways of "futher taking advantage of the 5-Way" and so we anticipate the navigation to be improved in future updates.

Kinoma0000  Kinoma0002

Kinoma0003  Kinoma0004

Overall playback quality is excellent although you will naturally see a noticeable difference in the resolution if you are using the low-res Treo 600 instead of the high-res Treo 650.  We did not experience any noticeable lip-sync delays even after fast-forwarding repeatedly and the video would instantly resume after any pause or forwarding.

Jonathan's Take:
Overall, I really like Kinoma.  While I don't think I would use it everyday in my travels, I might use it more frequently if I was more of a road warrior and always in airports or on trains.  The content is easy to manage and easy to play.  The quality is excellent considering the somewhat restrained multimedia capabilities of my Treo 600.

Andrew's Take:
I had given up on using Kinoma in the past because the .pdb output video files created were simply too large and the overall process too long.  However, after testing the new 3.0 versions of Kinoma Producer and Player I am now most definitely a renewed convert.  I am delighted that - compared to my previous conversion tool of choice (DrDiVx) - I now have a much simpler tool (Producer) which is optimized for my Treo and can rapidly convert literally all of the video content on my PC in very small files while at the same time providing me with a robust and stable Player to watch these on my Treo.  Given a little more time to get to know it better, I feel that I might soon go from really liking it to absolutely loving it.  The Kinoma Producer and Player bundle are definitely on my PC and Treo to stay.

Kinoma has been kind enough to forward an exclusive offer to all Treonauts consisting of a $5.00 discount on both their Producer and Player.

To claim this discount simply type the code Treonauts5 in the Kinoma Shopping Cart.

Alternatively you can follow any of the links below which will take you directly to the Shopping Cart and automatically discount the $5.00.

Kinoma Player 3EX
Kinoma Producer 3 Mac
Kinoma Producer 3 Windows

Treonauts love movies on the go...

Posted by atmasphere on December 9, 2004 at 02:27 PM

Treo Software | Entertainment

| Permalink


by Uncle Ward | Dec 10, 2004 4:34:27 PM

Kinoma is a real winner! Just a note to Mac fans. The Windows producer version is much more robust and support many, many more file types. If you have a Windows PC machine around, it's probably a better choice if you want to be able to convert .WMV movies, etc.

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