Monday, December 8, 2008

The iPod Video

Recently, there has been a whole lot of clamor about the new iPod video. So, couple of days ago, I decided to test-drive this new fad by borrowing one from a close friend of mine.

One of the first things I realized about the iPod is that I never needed to open the instruction manual to figure out how to use it. I have to admit, after a couple seconds of holding the iPod in my hands, the controls felt very natural and the navigation was surprisingly straightforward and intuitive—just slide the touch-sensitive wheel and you immediately see its effect on the screen. This fifth generation iPod provides an optional new way of interaction though, called the iPod Remote. Simply connect the iPod to your TV via the also optional universal dock, and you can check out a slide show of color pictures with your family and friends.

The revamped 2.5-inch color LCD screen is actually a smidgen wider than the ones on the previous four generations. Viewing a video on the 65000+ color screen was amazingly smooth even during intense graphic sequences. Alright, I admit that it would be better to view them on, say, a 3-inch + display, but I can settle for this one. Despite the excellent video display, there have been many negative things said about the new iPod’s video playing capabilities. Some say the battery life becomes horrendously short or that the load times for videos are sometimes long. Apple advertises its battery life as 14 hours for the 30 GB model and 20 hours for the 60 GB. Realistically though, you definitely won’t be getting this much. A good way to conserve life is to turn off the backlight; the display is quite readable with sufficient indoor light. For the casual movie users though, there is no need to worry about battery life too much. Unless you plan to watch the entire series of “The Godfather” on one charge, you’ll be more than satisfied with what this iPod can put out.

Concerning compatibility issues, the iPod Video is remarkably versatile; it can display most of the conventional media formats out there: MPEG-4, H.264, quicktime mov, just to name a few. Regardless of format, whatever you download from the iTunes store (now one of the largest online media providers in existence) is guaranteed to work. One of the more popular ways of getting media on to your iPod has been through third-party conversion software. There are plenty of converters that will transform anything playable by your computer's QuickTime Player to an iPod-compatible format. Some of these are freeware programs like Videora’s Converter for Windows, while some are purchasable that tend to be of better quality and speed such as QuickTime 7 Pro or Roxio’s Toast 7.

Despite the rather scratch-prone surface, the new iPod Video is a huge jump in value for the iPod line. Whether you’re an iPod aficionado or newbie, you’ll love the added features, capabilities, and accessories. It’s slightly sleeker and more comfortable design adds a touch of grace to this already eye-catching piece. Compared to other competitors, it’s a fantastic deal. Kudos to Apple!