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iriverter - encoding XviD for the Zen Vision and other portables

I was fortunate to receive a Zen Vision:M for Christmas. I'll probably post a review here at some point. I mainly chose the Zen due to the build in FM tuner, and larger number of video formats it supports when compared to the iPod and Zune.

The Zen Vision line is nice in that they support MPEG4 videos encoded in Simple Profile settings without image stabilization, meaning most common XviD and DivX files. Unfortunately, the current firmware doesn't support DivX files encoded by DrDivX, which was my encoder of choice.

I found tutorials on how to use GordianKnot and other complex encoders to format video for the Zen, and also more complex ones on how to rip DVD's and convert them. It worked, but took a lot of time and effort.

I was happy to discover a utility, called iriverter, that most iRiver enthusiasts are already aware of. iriverter is a very user friendly XviD encoder that now has profiles for the Zen Vision, along with the iRiver and a few other portables.
Just select "Zen Vision:M" in the devices menu, then set your resolution. Drag and drop the target file or directory onto iriverter to queue it up. Hit the convert button and wait. Converting iPod compatible MPEG4's to XviD only takes a few minutes, converting MPEG2 to XviD at 640 x 480 usually happens at about 60 to 80 Frames Per Second on my Pentium D 2.66 CPU.
iriverter supports lots of input file formats, and can convert single files or whole directories.
Output files are tagged with a suffix to tell you what device they were targeted for. (I.E. TVShow11.mpg outputs a new file titled TVShow11.zvm.avi.)

iriverter also supports ripping unencrypted DVD's to XviD files. You have to tell it which "Title" on the disc contains the main movie and it'll rip it to one complete AVI. (Keep in mind circumventing DRM on commercial DVD's is technically a DMCA violation in the US. You shouldn't steal movies. Just use it to copy your home movies of your kid's soccer games from DVD to XviD, that's perfectly fine.)

I've been using it to convert my scheduled TV recordings from GB-PVR into portable XviD files to watch on my lunch hour at work. An hour of TV usually fits in somwhere between 500 to 750 MB at 640 x 480. I've been favoring 640 x 480 instead of 320 x 240 (native screen res of the Vision:M) because I often output my archived shows to my TV from my computer. (I may cover more about using GBPVR for this in a later post.) 640 x 480 looks pretty good when output over S-Video to a Standard Definition TV. (No HDTV in my home yet)

So, if you're frustrated with other compression utilities, give iriverter a shot. You can click on the title of this post to go to the Sourceforge page for iriverter.

[Edit - 2/26/08 iriverter is now hosted at ]

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