Monday, March 31, 2008

Power of PSP

When I got PSP for my son I had no idea what it is capable of other than playing games and UMD movies. I bet over 95% of PSP owners still think the same of this beautiful powerful hand held and I was one of them until last weekend.

For a while I read a lot about the power you can bring to PSP by hacking and about the PSP Homebrew community. Hacking never interested me much as I had better things to do in life than to hack a hand held game console. So, I am not even going to discuss about the hacks but I can say they are amazing hacks out there.

Some basic feature like built-in Wi-Fi, internet browser, and availability of higher capacity memory sticks got me interested to look at what PSP can do.

Initially, I started using it to subscribe some fun RSS News Feeds, then browsed web at airports and malls, used it as Digital photo album, MP3 player, and most recently to download lot of free sample games from Playstation Network which are almost as good as a real games for someone who can't go past first few rounds. Those are just tip of the monstrous feature list PSP has as I am not even going to mention all the cool features that become available with PSP once you own PS3 or Sony LocationFree System which I happened to own.

While Googling about setting up my LocationFree with PSP to watch cricket from my home Dish Network from anywhere, I found interesting things like converting your DVD collection to PSP format. As an experiment, I converted my favorite movie Nuvvu Naaku Nachavu on to PSP and it was an instant hit with my kids, wife and myself. We all loved enjoying our PSP as if it's our new toy. That motivated me to convert few more favorites like Pokiri, Athadu, and Okkadu and they all look incredible on PSP's lovely screen.

All this new energy and excitement got me to do something I have kept pending for over 9 years - converting my home videos from MiniDV tapes to DVD. I thought once I convert them to DVDs, I can convert them to MPEG-4 format PSP supports and watch them on PSP. I used my Sony VRD-MC5 DVDDirect to convert all my MiniDV tapes to DVD. DVDDirect can covert MiniDV tapes to DVD at real-time speed. That is, one hour on DV tape will take one hour to be copied on DVD. Also, DVDDirect can also burn the new HiDef video format AVCHD used on all Sony and many Panasonic HiDef Camcorders to DVDs which can be played on most Blu-Ray players and PS3. This thing is so fast that I converted literally all my 30+ miniDV tapes to DVD in one weekend. Then I also converted all 30+ HomeVideo DVDs that weekend to MP4 format to play on our PSPs.

Why did I convert Home Videos to PSP format (MPEG_4)?
One can wonder why I need to convert them instead of just watching them on TV played from DVD player! Well, the answer is how many of us really take time to watch Home Video on TV except maybe once? Having them in MPEG-4 format makes the content very portable and can be easily uploaded to a website or can be used on several devices like iPhone, MP3 Players, iPod, smart phones, etc PLUS you can easily e-mail them to friends and family.

Advantages to having them on PSP
I think PSP is a more appropriate device to enjoy Family Videos as the screen is excellent and makes the videos look better and more fun to be watched anywhere and especially it brings lot of interest for kids to watch them. Depending on resolution and quality you select a 1-hour video takes about 200-350MB memory. I did convert it to the highest resolution PSP supports (720X480) and used 2-Pass encoding to get the best possible quality. The current 8GB Memory Stick Duo runs around in $80s and it can store over 25 hours of video at highest quality. It's about 10-15 years of video coverage any active dad with two kids can record.

Optimum Tools and Settings to convert your Family DVDs to PSP:
If you use your best friend - google to find the right tools to do this job - you will be overwhelmed with the amount of tools you will find. To make things simple I will recommend two groups of tools. One is FREE and the other one is free for 21 days and costs after that. I loved the later as I thought it is very simple to use, does perfect job and I was also able to covert some of the videos to 3gp format to use on my cell phone. I wanted to convert the content to highest resolution PSP supports as it will help if you ever want to connect your PSP to a TV and watch the video. So, I went with 720X480 resolution in MPEG-4 AVC format using 2-Pass encoding. You can get even better quality with 3-Pass but that means it will take 30% longer to convert.

Free Solution
Use DVD Decrypter to rip the DVD and use PSP Video 9 to convert the VOB files created by DVD DeCrypter to MP4 and them let PSP Video 9 copy to PSP as the files need to be in certain folder for PSP to recognize them as Vide (VIDEO folder with a jpg file to be used as Video's thumbnail which should be in 160X120 format)

Try and Buy Solution
Use CloneDVD mobile from SlySoft. I love this and is worth paying them for making such an easy and great product.


Anonymous said...

Dear Krishna(garu),It's very interesting to know that you are from LPS,Nallapadu. Im a LOYOLITE too and I would like to know more about you.

Krishna said...

Ashok, I completed my ICSE(10th) from LPS in 1983. I started there in 1973. I heard Sivaiah is still there. He used to work in Small hostel. I went by my full name while in LPS. Siva rama Krishna. I captained Kostka team and we won the championship in 1983.

Some photos from LPS

Anonymous said...

Ya he's still there. And Im Ashok and I was the ASPL and AHPl of the 2k4-2k5 batch

Anonymous said...

My e-mail id :

You can check out our schools latest pics in my orkut albums.

Vincent said...

Here's also a MP4 to DVD converter.