The new fifth-generation iPods are here and yes, they support video. A larger screen and support for MPEG4 results in a surprisingly good experience. You can watch TV, music videos, and movies. But how do you get content onto your iPod?
In this article, I’ll show you how you can fill your 60-gigabyte iPod and have you begging for a 1-terabyte iPod.
First, the Facts about iPod Video Support
In the beginning of 2005, Steve Jobs announced it would be the year of High Definition, or HD. A stream of products from Apple came out that either support or create HD content. The iPod is not one of them. Sorry about that. In fact, the video playback is more like a VHS player than anything else.
The facts are these. The video frame rate is 30 FPS (frames per second), which is better than TV (27 FPS) and much better than movies (24 FPS). The audio will also play back at rates up to 320Kbps, which is better than CD quality. The size of the video viewing area is only 320 pixels by 240 pixels, which is about 25 percent smaller than your regular TV screen and more than 50 percent smaller than the lowest HD specifications. The result is that the video looks great on the iPod (remember that it is a really small screen) but only so-so when played back on your TV through the iPod media cables.
Although the playback is not fantastic on a TV, the size of the video screen is designed for your iPod. The benefit you get is that video files are significantly smaller than HD equivalents. This is really important because you are delivering video over the Internet. Although large files might look nicer, it isn’t good if nobody can download your 150Mb size files for only 4 minutes of content.
The bottom line is that Apple is obviously walking softly into the video market for the iPod and watching for what the consumer wants. Expect a lot of changes to the video settings in the iTunes Music Store. Also, I would argue that we can expect a new iPod in September 2006 that will have a 16:9 screen akin to the PSP that will boast support for HD content.