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How to convert video for the iPod

CNET editors give step-by-step instructions on how to convert video for the iPod.

CNET/Corinne Schulze

A key draw of the iPod as a portable video player (PVP) is the fact that its complementing software, iTunes, offers a cheap, easy, and legal way to get content that will play on the device. But what if you already own the video files you'd like to watch, but they're in any variety of formats that aren't natively supported by the iPod? iTunes has a built-in converter, but then you'd be limited to the file types that QuickTime supports. If you want the capability to convert from the full gamut of video file types, check out the tip below.

A note before starting: There's quite a selection of free software programs available that convert from nearly every file type to an iPod-friendly format, but many of the ones I tried in the service of this tutorial had drawbacks, such as processor hang ups and unclear conversion progress monitoring. In testing, I found that Videora didn't choke up my system, and it's so clear on its own that you'll scarcely need to follow this tutorial. If nothing else, the walkthrough below will at least give you a feel for the interface--including the extensive ad placement that lets you enjoy the software for free.

Cost: Free

Level: Beginner

Time commitment: Varies, but figure on about one hour per hour of video (unmonitored)

System requirements: Windows

  1. Download and install Videora iPod Converter
    Open Videora and select your iPod type. If you have more than one iPod, start with the one you use most for video. You can adjust settings later for different players.
  2. Add videos
    Click the Convert button at the top of the window, then select the Video File tab.
  3. Select user profile
    Click Normal Mode for the least amount of tweaking on your part. You can always go under the settings tab to adjust video output type, should you choose. For the iPod Touch (or iPhone), videos are automatically converted to H.264 at 480x320. For the iPod Classic or Nano, videos will be H.264 QVGA.
  4. Add video
    Click Select File, then navigate to the window that contains the video that you want to convert.
  5. Select output directory
    Click Browse, then navigate to the folder where you want your output file saved. I have a specific folder named iPod Videos for such purposes. Click Next.
  6. Name the video
    Type in a name for the video. This is how the title will be displayed on your iPod. Click Next.
  7. Adjust video settings
    The better the video quality you select, the larger the output file will be. I left the settings as is and the result was passable when played back on the iPod. Click Next.
  8. Convert video
    Click Start Converting.
  9. Monitor progress
    You'll be taken to a screen with two options. Click View Conversion in Process. You can also get to the monitoring screen by clicking the Convert button at the top of the screen, and then the Progress tab.
  10. Add files to the queue
    Repeat steps 2 through 9, adding as many videos as you wish to convert. I recommend doing this at night before you go to bed, as the process is time consuming and slows your machine somewhat. You can check the box labeled Shutdown When Complete if you want your computer to be automatically shut down at the end of the process.

Videora should automatically add the completed files to iTunes--it did for me most of the time. In the event that it fails to add a file, simply navigate to the output folder you selected and drag the file directly into the iTunes interface. Videos automatically show up under Movies unless you edit each one's information in iTunes. To do so, right click the file, select Get Info, then click the Video tab. Under the Video Kind drop-down, select the appropriate category. If it's a TV Show, you can add the show name, season number, and episode number.