Monday, December 26, 2005

iPod Video

The big gift under the tree this year was a video iPod, and I’m in love. I’ve already started loading it up with some video blogs, and I’m currently experimenting with the best way to rip DVDs to video that the iPod can see. So far, the easiest option seems to be PQ DVD, which will cost $35 if I want to rip more than 5-10 minutes at a time. An early test of the Springsteen Born to Run DVD seemed to convert pretty well.

Mark Pilgrim has a detailed how-to if you own a Mac, but of course, I don’t own a Mac. Engadget has a decent write-up on going a similar route with Windows, but I ran into a problem with DVDx that prevented me from proceeding (something about an “auth.dll” process not working), so I had to try something else. In the comments to the Engadget thread, there was a recommendation to use Fair Use Wizard, a free option but which takes a long (really long) time and my first test resulted in an unplayable file (codec problems).

Bottom line? Ripping video is clearly nowhere near as straightforward as ripping audio; it will likely (hopefully!) get easier. TiVo’s got a soon-to-be-released upgrade that will let me transfer my TiVo recordings to my iPod — which is a great answer for TV. Wonder whether iTunes will come up with a way to rip DVDs that’ll satisfy the studios but allow me to playback my movies on the device (you have to assume they will).

Anyone have any other recommendations for ripping video reliably to the iPod? I’m hesitant to pay for anything, since I assume that a future version of iTunes will include the ability to do this natively (though I could certainly be wrong).

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