17 Comments

Summary:

The Apple TV and iPod are often maligned for being proprietary. Designed to work with all the content you’ve acquired and ripped into iTunes, they work primarily with music, TV shows, and films you’ve acquired from the iTunes store, or with your iPhoto library. But step […]

iSquint logoThe Apple TV and iPod are often maligned for being proprietary. Designed to work with all the content you’ve acquired and ripped into iTunes, they work primarily with music, TV shows, and films you’ve acquired from the iTunes store, or with your iPhoto library. But step outside these file formats and you’re pretty much out of luck.

I’ve been using a program called iSquint to convert .AVI files to play in iTunes, my iPod and via the Apple TV. Now, if you have a friend’s home videos sent to you in .AVI, or you download a video from the Web in .AVI, you can get them onto your big screen.

Using iSquint to make the conversion is simple.

1) Drag the .avi file from your hard drive to the application.
2) Choose to optimize for iPod or TV.
3) Select a quality range, from “Tiny” to “Go Nuts”.
4) Check the “Add to iTunes” box.

iSquint Small
iSquint in Action

A few minutes later, when the conversion is complete, you’ve created a brand new .mp4 file, alongside the original .AVI file, and can see it in the “Movies” section of iTunes. If your Apple TV, iPod or iPhone are set to sync, then you’ll have the video the next time you do.

While there are very likely other solutions out there, this is one I’ve found that makes the process simple. If you’re not using iSquint, what have you used to bridge the gap?

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Techspansion also makes Visual Hub, which does quite a lot more than iSquint. While it’s not free, it’s well worth the $23 in my opinion.

    http://www.techspansion.com/visualhub/

  2. I’ve been using VisualHub for quite some time, and yes, it’s well worth the money. It converts a lot more formats too, including Flash, PSP, DVD and WMV.

  3. David Chartier Monday, December 31, 2007

    If by “proprietary” you mean “open and widely-adopted standards” like mpeg-4 and H.264, then yes, I think you can join other ignorant critics in calling the Apple TV proprietary.

    Truth is, most complaints are based on the Apple TV not supporting the cloudy AVI file container and the DiVX video codec. This is probably due to both being largely used for pirated video, not to mention that most of the industry tried to do away with AVI due to too many of its faults a lot time ago. Some consumers appear to hang onto the file format either out of habit or a fear of change.

    The WMA/WMV issue, as far as I know, is still a mute one. Windows still doesn’t support QuickTime or even the open AAC standard out of the box in the same way that Mac OS X doesn’t support Microsoft’s formats.

  4. I use ViddyUp and I’m quite pleased with it. When I tested it agains iSquint, ViddyUp was quite faster.

    It costs 10$ and is shareware.

    http://www.splasm.com/viddyup/index.html

  5. I am glad to hear about iSquint. You can also convert .AVI files using Quicktime Pro (the paid version) by exporting (for Apple TV or iPod). You end up with a .m4v file.

    I have done this from .avi files downloaded from the Internet.

  6. Ditto VisualHub – I started out with iSquint, then a friend suggested I try VisualHub.

    I also use MPEG Streamclip a lot – which is uberpowerful, and free – however something about VisualHub just made it worth paying for.

    MPEG Streamclip: http://www.squared5.com/ – I just noticed there’s a Windows version too.

  7. Quick tip for iSquint, to get 640×480 resolution (best for iPod video output to your TV) mark the H.264 check box, and select “Optimize for TV”. The final converted file will playback fine on any video enabled iPod or even the iPhone. Enjoy

  8. DO these video conversions really take a toll on your system? I’d like to start watching all my videoo on tv via the ipod but I don’t want to burn out my Mac or significantly shorten its life.

  9. Ugh, sorry for the cranky post earlier. I should never comment when in such a bad mood.

    I’d like to toss in another vote for iSquint and its commercial brother VisualHub. Been using VisualHub for about a year or so and can’t imagine using anything else.

    Also, to #9 Luke: I don’t think you have to worry about damaging your Mac by doing this kind of work. I’ve run both desktop and notebook Macs day and night doing lots of video conversions in a row and never noticed any kind of long-term problems. Never heard of any found in more scientific tests either.

    Depending on your Mac’s configuration though, you could consider upgrading your RAM to help the conversation process or if you want to be able to work on your Mac while doing conversions.

Comments have been disabled for this post