Well, after most of Sunday studying various websites I’ve ordered a New! Shiny! replacement for the dead iPod.
I’d decided that something that did video as well would be a good idea for whiling away time spend travelling, and the biggest decision seemed to be based around screen size. Archos make a few superb player with video recording capability and up to a seven inch screen, but that would be a bit too bulky. And the 2.5″ screen of the iPod sized devices was just way too small. So I decided on the 4″ or so size as the best compromise: enough to watch from a train or plane seat, but still small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. And, after the iPod, Creative seem to be the most popular and do consistently well in reviews. I settled on the Vision:W.
I’m expecting to have to do some work to get my iTunes library converted – some of the files are in MP4 format, others are protected apple proprietary ones (but there’s ways around that). And it looks like CloneDVD mobile will be enough to get some DVDs downloaded. I tried this out and discovered that you really need to add their AnyDVD product to the mix to be able to consistently rip DVDs, and it does take a while to do all the transcoding necessary – something like 1/2 the normal play time on my PC.
I noticed, though, that the CPU use was only about 57% when converting a DVD to an avi file, so, since I have dual DVD drives in myPC and a hypertreading CPU, I tried converting two DVDs simultaneously. CPU utilisation jumped to 100% but the PC remained responsive, and it didn’t take much longer than doing a single DVD. I’m not going to be taking the approach I did with the music CDs when I got the iPod and converting everything; that’s far too much like hard work at an hour or so per DVD. I’ll aim for the top twenty or so and then convert new stuff as it arrives.
The Creative players don’t have Archos’s DVR (Digital Video Recorder), but I don’t watch much TV that SWMBO doesn’t want to watch, so that’s not much of a limitation. More reports to come!