Annoyed at iPod video

Monday 26 January 2009This is over 14 years old. Be careful.

I recently bought a new iPod nano, and I’ve had trouble twice with getting videos onto it. First, I purchased Dr. Horrible from the iTunes store, and didn’t realize I was buying the HD version. When I tried to sync it to my iPod, I was told that the video wasn’t transferring because it couldn’t be played on my device. Why can’t iTunes transcode it down to the resolution needed? (Dr. Horrible is funny, by the way, you should see it.)

Then I tried to load the Arabic Typography presentations, which are Quicktime files. Again, I was told they couldn’t be played. I know these aren’t HD, I’m not sure in what way they are incompatible.

Searching online, I find that Quicktime Pro will do the conversion for me. But I just paid Apple $200 for a piece of hardware, and am getting video content using their format, in one case paying Apple to download it. Why do I have to pay them again to be able to use the two together?

I tried using Handbrake to convert the video. It worked great on an .AVI file I tried, but crashed when attempting the .MOV conversion. Grr....

» 10 reactions


Welcome to the wonderful world of Apple proprietary content.
iSquint was perfect for this! Unfortunately it's been discontinued. If you'd like me to zip up my copy and email it to you, I'd be happy to, just drop me an email. Oh, and I totally agree with you. iSquint proves that it's possible, and it was built by a single developer! At this point, automatic, seamless, on the fly video transcoding (when needed) should be built into iTunes (or QuickTime).
I have had the same problem with some media that I've downloaded; however, iTunes has a built-in function to make the proper conversion: Advanced | Create iPod or iPhone Version.

@Steve - there's nothing proprietary about h264, or what Ned is trying to do. The reason the ipod didn't transfer it was due to resolution. Not DRM, custom encoding or any other baloney. You can use an ipod without using proprietary codecs or DRM.

@ned - What Gyro said, I too use HandBrake/iSquint/Visualhub. I can also give you copies of any of those if you want.
@Gyro: I didn't know that! Thank you!
I think the best app to convert videos is the Videora iPod Converter. It has a lot of ads, but converts anything that is not flash, does it faster than any other app I tried, and already imports into iTunes for you.
I got started with this:

and later found some 2-pass H.264 incantations to use with FFMPEG for my iPod Touch (2Gen). I'd suggest preserving the aspect ratio if at all possible while converting, but you may have to shrink down the video using the FFMPEG -s switch.

@Gyro: I have problems with iTunes refusing to transcode video using the "Create iPod Version" feature. FFMPEG works for me (albeit slowly, especially when doing a 2-pass H.264 transcode).
Gah, I would have bought it in HD if it was available in that format on iTunes Australia.

I have the DVD in my hands now. The extras are well worth the purchase alone.
Hi Ned,

I know a free program called Super will do the trick. I had to convert all sorts of videos to iPod format a few years ago and it handled the task easily.
@Gyro: WTF!? Now I don't know whether to be happy that iTunes provides the feature I need, or angry that it was so unhelpful just when I needed it! Rather than display an error message about not being able to play the video, how about asking, "Do you want to convert it?" with a button? Or even just, "You can convert it with Advanced - Create iPod Version"?


Everyone else, thanks for the great pointers to other solutions!

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