Thursday, January 28, 2010

How to Convert Videos for Your BlackBerry Using a Mac or a PC


With specs similar to that of a year 2000 era PC, the BlackBerry is an impressive little mobile computer. With screen resolution getting bigger with every year, I’m finding that video is all the more watchable on your device. So for those of you with a long bus, train, or chopper commute, here’s how to convert video for your BlackBerry.

PC users should watch this demonstration on how to use the Roxio Media Manager for Blackberry. The Media Manager is easy to use and works well, if you don’t have it yet, download it here.

Mac users don’t benefit from a supported video conversion suite but not to worry: the process is not that much harder to do. All you have to do is choose a file type you would like to convert to, choose the settings appropriate to your device, then drop the completed file into iTunes and sync using the BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac.

Choose a file type

BlackBerrys can play a number of video formats. I find that 3GP, MP4 and WMV perform well on the BlackBerry, and can be used on other mobile devices you may want to play back on too.

3GP is a file type made with mobile phones in mind and is based on the MPEG-4 video compression. Choose this file type if you also wish to load the video on to a non-smartphone too.

MP4 is a flexible codec that can perform well on everything from a small iPod or mobile phone, to a 1080p Blu-ray. Choose this file type if you wish to also sync with a video-enabled iPod.

WMV or Windows Media Video is a proprietary video codec developed by Microsoft. Originally designed as a streaming RealVideo competitor, WMV now stands on it’s own as a bona fide codec for Windows Mobile devices, Xbox 360, and Blu-ray. If there are a lot of static images in your video, WMV is perfect for reducing file sizes.

You can also convert to .AVI and .MOV if you like. Make sure you use H.263, H.264, or MPEG 4 settings if you plan to make a .MOV file.

Convert your video

Your videos will look their best if they are converted for your exact BlackBerry screen size, with the most frames per second, and with the highest data rate that your device can handle. Here is a slimmed-down list of the video-enabled BlackBerrys. If you need a detailed chart go to RIM’s detailed video codec device page.

    Bold 9700: 480×360, 2000 kbps @ 30 fps Storm Series, and Tour Series: 480×360, 2000 kbps @30 fps Curve 8900: 480×360, 1500 kbps @ 24 fps Bold 9000: 480×320, 1500 kbps @ 24 fps Curve Series w/ trackpad: 320×240, 1500 kbps @ 24 fps Curve Series w/ trackball and 8800: 320×240, 769 kbps @ 24 fps Pearl: 240×260, 768 kbps, @ 24 fps

Here are a few free video conversion programs for Mac. With these you can rip DVDs, or convert nearly any video file to a format suitable for BlackBerry.

Redux Encoder


Prism Video Converter

Sync with your BlackBerry

Before loading anything on to your BlackBerry it’s a safe practice to back it up first. Once you have your converted video file, drag it into iTunes and then sync your media to your device using the media tab of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac.

© Matt Cameron aka W4LNUT for BlackBerry Cool, 2010

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