Converting DVDs and Videos for the Video iPod

I have to admit that it has been harder than I thought to find a free
solution for converting DVDs and various other digital movies into the
right format for the iPod … on Windows.  Yes, yes … I know …
if I was using a Mac then it would just be there.  But I’m not …
yet.  (NOTE:  I’m seriously interested in buying a iBook,
PowerBook, MacBook at some point soon … and I will.)  For now,
my primary laptop is running Windows, with Linux in Virtual PC. 
My Tablet PC is also running Windows.  So I want a Windows
solution.  There are a number of commercial application that look
good … but I wanted to see what I could find for free.

I bought an iPod Video a while back, and have been doing most of my
experimenting and research on the audio side of things.  I moved
from the music and smart playlists into podcasts.  I’ve learned a
lot, and see some very interesting ways that this platform can be
leveraged into new businesses and business models.  So what about

I’ve had a long experience with video and video editing … starting
with 3/4″ tape decks in the late 70’s … and all the way up to my
current digital video editing set-up.  I wanted to know how to
easily take a DVD, or existing digital video content, and get it
converted to MPEG4 format and moved into my iPod.  Here’s what I
found that seems to work:

  1. For doing the conversion of content I’m pleased with Videora and their Videora iPod Converter.  Based on the Open Source FFmpeg
    project, this is a clean – and free! – application.  It installed,
    and was easy to figure out and use.  Once you install it, you can
    do “One Click” conversions, or create a queue of conversions and just
    allow your machine to run all night.  Videora has an insteresting
    add-on that I might look at which is their automatic downloading tool –
    Videora.  So that is the solution for converting video to the proper format.
  2. For grabbing video from a DVD, I found the Open Source DVDx
    project at SourceForge.  I’m going to test this tonight, however
    the claim is that it will rip a DVD to various digital video formats
    … which I can then feed into my Videora iPod Converter.  It
    appears to work easy enough, and there are other people using this tool
    for this same purpose.

So I’m about to jump into really using my Video iPod and seeing what
might be interesting to take on the road.  In my initial test, I’m
impressed by the size and video image … I’ll have to watch a few
videos to really see if I like it or not.  In either case, I now
have two key tools to be able to get content into the right formats for
the iPod!

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