Monday, August 23, 2010

iPod Video on Ubuntu - gTkpod

I've just finished a long round of encoding up a lot of my video files and DVDs so that I can play them on both my PS3 (via mediatomb or a USB brick) and my iPod video.

The two devices place some restrictions on which audio/video codecs they can handle and also on the range of bitrates that are accessible. I'll post my ffmpeg script next time. The main points to mention are that the video size must be 640x480 or 340x240 for the iPod (5.5g) and the audio rate must be 160k or less for both devices. I went for the xvid codec (I would prefer to have used h.264 but I had many many problems getting this to work on both devices consistently).

Anyway the coding is now done and the videos look fine on my large TV but the files aren't so big that they fill up my iPod. To transfer files onto the iPod using the Ubuntu Linux operating system I use gTkpod . I found this to be superb. Multiple iPods are not a problem.

The best feature is the repository option. One can create separate repositories to separate content for different iPods. My wife and I have a lot of overlap in our musical tastes but there is a lot of music of hers I don't want on my iPod and vice-versa. gTkpod makes this simple. We each set up our own repository and populate this with our music choices from our shared collection giving us each our own personal library.

Another good new feature of gTkpod is the ability to tag video files. This way one can divide video into Movies, TV and Music video and label season and episode Nos. Be careful here. The tags aren't embedded into the video files as metadata and so if you move the file to a different folder then your tags will be lost. That's my only criticism - I wish that tag information could be associated with a file even if it isn't embedded.

Anyway I now have The Big Bang Theory Season 1 and The Sopranos Season 3 to keep me occupied when I'm on the move.

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