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Videonauts: As Simple as 1, 2, 3...

As most Treonauts will know by now, since the release of The Core Pocket Media Player (TCPMP) back in April this year we have had the benefit of full, high quality movie playback on our Treo – anyone who has used it agrees that it is absolutely amazing and I personally still get a sense of awe from it whenever I play a new video.

Since my original review, the ‘video nirvana’ that TCPMP offers just keeps getting better and the last updated version 0.66 now supports even more audio codecs (AC3 + AAC unofficially) and file containers (MP4).  Additionally, as an open source project, TCPMP is also completely free (a small donation on your part to the developers however would go a long way to demonstrate both your appreciation and support).

However, having a great player and great device (our Treo) is only part of the equation.  The other one is naturally having content to view.  TCPMP will play pretty much any video that you may already have on your PC but chances are that you’ll also want to have the ability to watch recorded TV programs (I’m still working on this part) and DVD’s that you own.  On this last front, many people have written to me asking for an updated guide to my old post “Treo 600 DVD Movies: As Simple as 1, 2, 3…” and this is what I set out to do here. 

I have evaluated literally dozens of solutions but it’s taken me a very long time to find one that would not require an audio & video engineering degree but that was simple to use, well designed and produced outstanding results.  Now at long last I think that I may have found the solution that again could be as simple as 1, 2, 3.

Getting Started: What you’ll need

  1. Download and install TCPMP version 0.66 to your Treo (install all plugins in the zip file except the sonyhhe and zodiac which are not required) and also download and install the separate TCPMP AAC Plugin
  2. Download and install AnyDVD on your PC (21 days free trial then $39.00)
  3. Download and install Package 2 (NeroVision Express) which is part of the free trial version of Nero 6 Ultra Edition (21 days free trial then $29.99 for Nero Digital Pro).

Please note that like many I would have naturally preferred to provide you with a completely free solution but found that most of these are so marred by complexity that it would not prove appropriate for the majority of Treonauts.  I wanted a solution that emphasized simplicity and I was prepared to pay for one that delivered it.

Encoding your DVD for playback on TCPMP with Nero Recode 2

1. Launch Nero Recode 2 from the Nero folder in your Program Files and select “Recode DVD’s and Videos to Nero Digital” once it opens.

2. The main Nero Recode 2 window will open where you’ll be able to select either a DVD file on your hard drive or a physical DVD.  Click on the “Import Files” button at the top right.

A new window opens.  Under the “Name” colum you will see “Main Movie” and under this select “Title 1”. 

At the bottom right, first click “Add Title” which will quickly analyse your DVD movie then click “Close”.

Your selected “Title 1” will now appear under “My Disc” with its duration, size and output video quality.

The default size and video quality are set to fit a 74 or 80 min CD of approximately 700MB (equivalent to the SD card that you may have) but you can however manually choose to reduce your video to fit any size you want and the video quality will automatically be adjusted.

There are 7 preset sizes but you can also select “Custom” and for example set your movie to fit only 250MB.

3. Following this there really are no other settings to change and you can click “Next” at the bottom right.

A new window will open asking you to select a “Destination” – choose Hard Disk Drive – and also a “Target folder” – create a new one on your PC by clicking “Browse” (you’ll only need to do this once).

4. Finally, click on the “Burn” button and your movie will start the encoding process – Nero Recode 2 uses the MPEG4 video and AAC audio codecs to output an .mp4 file extension.  The encoding duration is typically 50% of the length of your movie so that a 120 min one will process in 60 min (in ideal circumstances you’ll have a spare second PC where you can do this).  At the end of the encoding a pop-up asks if you would like to save a log file, select “No” and then press “Next” or simply close Nero Recode 2 if you’re done.

Viewing your Movie on TCPMP:

  1. Transfer your newly encoded movie from your PC to your SD card (obviously a 1GB SD card is almost a required minimum for this) using your SD card reader.  You can create a new folder called “Video” for example anywhere on the card where you’ll transfer them.
  2. Launch TCPMP and fit your stereo headset
  3. In TCPMP’s Menu, select “Open files”, find your movie on the SD card, click OK and you’re ready to go! 

Please note that your movie may be in widescreen format and you might therefore want to select the TCPMP Pref button (bottom right), then Video button and change the Full Zoom to “Fit+30%”.  Also, if the audio is low, click the Pref button again, then Audio and increase the Preamp volume to 40 or 50.

Encoding Results:

  • Picture Quality: With a resolution of 720x320 pixels the image quality (automatically resized to fit the 320x320 screen on our Treo) is absolutely superb – no questions about it.
  • Audio Quality: Nero Recode 2 is believed to have the best AAC audio codec out there and it certainly does not disappoint.
  • Compression: probably the smallest size that you could get for a two hour video at a reasonable quality is a low 120MB to 150MB using a video quality setting of 64Kbps.  At 700MB the file is of good enough quality to watch on your PC without any problem.

Conclusion

The solution that I outline here may set you back some $80 in software and $200 in accessories (if you don’t already have an SD card, card reader and stereo headset) but there is no doubt that both the personal enjoyment that you (or the kids) will get from this is undeniable.

In my view, after many painful hours testing other complex and poorly designed options, the combination of TCPMP, AnyDVD and Nero Recode 2 form one of the best solutions for watching movies while on the go on our Treo.

Additionally, the dropped jaws and Wow!’s of non-Treonauts when they see that we’re watching full length, high quality movies on our Treo is absolutely priceless…

[Disclaimer: Treonauts does not in any way promote or seek to promote the illegal copying of copyright protected DVD’s.]

Videonauts
Do you watch videos on your Treo (movies/TV shows)?

Yes - Often
Yes - Sometimes
No - I tried but didn't like it
No - Never tried
Click Here to View Current Results

Treonauts always have a ton of fun on the go


Posted by Andrew on August 17, 2005 at 12:30 PM

Treo Software | Video

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Comments

1
by Mike Hardy | Aug 17, 2005 12:57:58 PM

Of course, for people not stuck paying for all software in the Windows world (i.e., those of us using Linux), there is the ever-so-fantastic DVD::Rip.

If you're on an RPM-based/Yum system, you can add the Dag RPM repository to your source list, and just "yum install dvdrip", put a DVD in your drive, run dvdrip, and that's pretty much it.

Free and open source, hard to beat.

2
by Jim McCoy | Aug 17, 2005 1:30:07 PM

For those with a Mac, the solution is just as easy as on Linux. Get Handbrake, set it to output an mp4 file, go to the picture window and select any scaling or cropping you want (e.g. drop to 300 in height and the width will auto-adjust, for widescreen films you will either need to use the crop facility in this window or drop the width to below 300 and let the height auto-adjust.) You should probably also drop the audio sampling rate to the lowest available (22KHz or so) and encode the audio at a lower bitrate to save space. Finally, decide on either the bitrate for the video encoding (200-250 kb works fine) or on the final size you want the file to end up at. Hit the Rip button and go get lunch.

Once encoded you use the Missing Sync app on your treo (connected via the USB cable) to get the SD card to mount on your Mac and drag and drop.

Piece of cake and other than Missing Sync (which you already have) it costs nothing.

3
by cyberhomie | Aug 17, 2005 3:13:21 PM

I posted an article a while back on Treo Addicts on DVD ripping to the Treo for the Mac. You can check it out here:
http://www.treoaddicts.com/archives/2005/06/16/converting-dvds-on-a-mac-to-watch-on-a-palm/

4
by Michael Batt | Aug 17, 2005 3:42:58 PM

For those of us who have already payed for Pocket-DVD Studio, TCPMP works just as well with movies encoded at 320x320. And the files are a LOT smaller.

5
by JTA | Aug 17, 2005 6:27:51 PM

What if I don't want a whole DVD and just a specific chapter? Can Nero do this or is there another recommended tool?

6
by JT | Aug 17, 2005 10:22:18 PM

For those experienced at ripping I highly recommend gordian knot(http://gordianknot.sourceforge.net/)it packages everything you need, for those not so experienced try out autogordian knot (http://www.autogk.me.uk/)

7
by esb | Aug 18, 2005 4:14:55 AM

I use this and it works perfectly.

videos look wonderful

and its all free.....

http://www.aximsite.com/boards/showthread.php?t=70567

8
by Geo | Aug 18, 2005 8:42:49 AM

I use Pocket-DVD Studio and it's MUCH easier and cheaper than the other stuff. I pop in a DVD, click one button and it rips away. I then pop it on the card and play!

Pocket-DVD Studio also has tons of options for sizing and space considerations.

Geo

9
by Mr. Peabody | Aug 18, 2005 10:57:43 AM

FYI, for the record, I have the latest version of TCPMP (.66), and be careful with regarding the playback of a MPEG4 video file. You get picture but no sound! Player message states "MPEG4 AAC Audio, AAC0 not supported." Per the developers, "There was a recompile of the initial release of v0.66. It removes the compiled AAC decoder by request of IP interest holder." So I ended up converting all my palm video files to .avi format. See forum thread from TCPMP site: http://www.corecodec.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=29&expv=0&topic=1769.0

10
by Lee | Aug 18, 2005 11:32:29 AM

question?

what is Any DVD for?
you mentioned to download it seems you only need Nero and TCPMP, as per your step by step instructions?

do I use Nero, AnyDVD or both ??

11
by Tony | Aug 18, 2005 12:39:25 PM

Have you tried ripping from a Tivo system?

12
by A. Davis | Aug 18, 2005 2:05:42 PM

'tis no where near being "on topic", but just wanted to take a minute to update you all that my mobile portal site has been moved from http://palm.nccomp.com to http://mobileoptimized.com. I've put a forward on the old site to point at the new site, but it'll take a few days to propagate out. Thus, the new site works right now, but the old site will appear to be broken for a day or so...

13
by James | Aug 18, 2005 5:58:23 PM

How about playback on the 600? That's what I have, with a one GB card, and I wonder if the problems I've been having with video clips are simply because my hardware isn't good enough.

14
by Giggo | Aug 19, 2005 3:45:36 AM

Very easy to use and completely free:
http://www.fairusewizard.com/

15
by Andrew | Aug 19, 2005 7:11:06 AM

Jim, Mike & cyberhomie - thanks a lot for the Linux and Mac versions.

Michael & Geo - PocketDVD does indeed work well but there is still a noticeable difference when you encode video at higher resolutions with Recode 2. Our Treo screen is already small so any resolution improvements do make a difference in my opinion.

Mr. Peabody - yes, TCPMP no longer officially supports AAC. However, the link that I provided will allow you to download the AAC plugin from a third party.

Tony - I use a Tivo but unfortunately have not gone anywhere near trying to hack it to get access to my recordings. I wish that there was a simple solution to do this.

James - there 'shouldn't' be any problem following this setup for the Treo 600 although you may prefer to encode at lower quality than for the 650 to take account of the slower processing speed.

JT & esb - thanks, I haven't tried GordianKnot but will based on your recommendation.

Giggo - I personally didn't find FairUseWizard easy to use at all.

Cheers, A.

16
by buster | Aug 21, 2005 10:53:56 PM

if your a pc user, this is what i do.

buy the dvd ;)

then make an iso image file of it using DVD Decrypter. (freeware) gets rid of encryption and macrovision.

then load the image file using Virtual Daemon Manager (freeware) mounts the file as a virtual dvd drive.

then convert it to mp4 with Nero. I bought the 6.6 Ultra Edition ($60), lot of apps, worth every penny.

17
by Raphael | Aug 22, 2005 11:26:23 AM

[Andrew]TCPMP will play pretty much any video that you may already have on your PC[/Andrew]
Well, not really. I have tried playing 30 fps 640x480 video clips from popular digital cameras like Canon SD500 and Casio Z750 and TCPMP skipped frames like crazy.
Read this for more info:
http://discussion.treocentral.com/showthread.php?t=84727

18
by Steve Packard | Aug 23, 2005 5:52:03 PM

I think watching movies on the treo is great, but I really like it for watching live television. I just got selected as a MobiTV for Treo beta tester. And all I can say is WOW! The video is really quite good. Not nearly broadcast quality, but better than I expected. It's pretty clear and good resolution adn the frame rate looks to be about 15 fps, dependin on how good a signal I have.

Unfortionately I only have a two week licence to try out the program and I'm going to be out of the country and out of coverage for most of that time. Also, please don't ask me for a copy of the mobiTV beta. It's bound to my treo and won't work on other devices. Plus, I had to agree not to distribute it.

-Steve

19
by Gary Kephart | Aug 27, 2005 2:27:21 AM

Lee: I think that AnyDVD inserts itself between the DVD and Nero automatically.

I copied Spiderman2 to my Treo600, but could not copy The Matrix. Nero didn't recognize it. The Spiderman2, though, impressed people. And on my 1GB card, it took up only 450MB, so I have room for another DVD.

20
by Diana | Sep 3, 2005 10:59:19 AM

When I attempted to transfer my MP4 movie to the card using the card reader in my CPU, TCPMP gave me this error message: "unknown file format!" However, when I used the Palm Quick Install, TCPMP played the movie with no problems.

Also, thanks to Buster for the procedure for using DVD Decrypter and Virtual Daemon Manager. The free solution worked great!

21
by Steve W | Mar 29, 2006 10:26:08 AM

You can use DVD43 (43=for free) found at www.dvd43.com instead of AnyDVD to decrypt dvd's. DVD43 is free and works great! It's also a little easier to use than DVD Decrypter.

22
by Missy | Jul 15, 2006 10:50:54 PM

First of all, kudos to this site--I've found an amazing amount of useful information and help.

Second, I've tried a couple of different programs to encode videos to watch on my Treo. The one that has been the easiest to use (for me) was FairUse Wizard http://fairusewizard.com/.

I encrypt with DVD Encryptor, encode with FU, and then watch using TCPMP. I know close to nothing about the technical details, but was able to do all of this using web tutorials. And of course, the best part is that all programs are free!

23
by Jenny | Apr 25, 2011 8:50:23 AM

This stealing of credit card passwords is also popular online. But thankfully we have certain laws by which the victim of theft does not have to worry. Still these illegal activities are alarming. One good method to encounter them is encryption.

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