Get Your Own Movies on to an iPod

Girl holding an MP3 player

In our constantly on the go society, you need more to keep you entertained on the train or bus or wherever you may be, and what you want is to get your own movies on to an iPod. Even if you're an avowed technophobe, this is considerably easier than you may think, and the bit of effort you have to spend will pay off when you're in a long line somewhere and can use the time to catch up on some viewing.

How to Get Your Own Movies Onto an iPod

According to anti-circumvention law, it is illegal to copy DVDs for iPod viewing. However, making a copy of a DVD for personal use is acceptable. If you are using a DVD you already own, you have nothing to worry about legally or ethically.

The Apple Web site can guide you through the steps needed to download, although of course they prefer that you download podcasts from iTunes. In any case, iPods support two video formats: the H.264 and MPEG-4. Neither of these have outstanding resolutions, but you already know from the size of your iPod's screen that, while it may be easy enough to get your own movies on to an iPod, actually watching them will place something of a strain on your eyes. The effect will be nothing like watching on TV. This is not the format for watching a James Bond or Godzilla film.

The hardest part about loading your movies into the iPod is copying them from their existing formats to one compatible with a video conversion utility. There are several ways to try it. If you use a Mac, download MacTheRipper to rip the DVD and HandBrake, which will convert the movie to a format readable by the iPod. For Windows, you can use a PSP, which is easiest, or dapreview and then QuickTime Pro, although many users find QuickTime frustrating to use.

Speaking of QuickTime, Apple suggests you use the paid for version at $29.99 and then also purchase an MPEG-2 plug for $19.99 in order to get your own movies on to an iPod. People who have tried it complain that this is cumbersome and takes far too long. One minute of video can take 45 minutes to convert. If you don't mind spending some money initially, the PSP Video 9 software will convert 30 minutes of video to a readable format in 16 minutes, in fewer steps as well.

There is also a Videora converter that is free and will convert video into the H.264 format, although please note this is for Windows only.

Downloading Online Video

If you wish to download free movies from Google Video, you can do so easily using iTunes 7.0. Here is what you do:

  • Choose the video you wish to download.
  • Select "Video iPod/Sony PSP" from the menu, then click "download." If these options are not available, the movie cannot be downloaded.
  • Save the video to your desktop
  • Connect your iPod to your computer and open iTunes.
  • Select "File" and "Add File to Library." Select your title and click "Open."
  • Select the "Movies" tab.
  • Tick the "Sync Movies" box.
  • Tick "Apply."

Your selected video is now available to you whenever you wish to watch it, wherever you are.

Movies on iPods vs. iPhones

The new iPhone will also play video, and from all appearances, it will provide better resolution and an overall more pleasant viewing experience than the iPod. However, the iPhones are at present only available through a single carrier and are expensive. Additionally, unless you are a serious technophile, it is not recommended that you purchase a new device on its initial debut. But if you wish to watch movies on the go regularly, keep an eye on the iPhone, because it does feature a much wider screen at 3 1/2 inches and the touch controls are simple and efficient. You can also sync your iTunes content to your computer and from there to the iPhone with ease. In the near future, this will be the ideal way to go.

Get Your Own Movies on to an iPod