The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Windows) | iLounge Article


The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Windows)

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Home Movies

The final type of content that many people will be converting involves home video content, either from a digital camcorder or older analog video tape.

DVD Home Movies

Naturally, if your home movies are on DVD, the conversion process for these is essentially the same as the process for commercial DVDs discussed at the beginning of this article. Tools such as Handbrake or Roxio Crunch can be useful at extracting this DVD content into a more usable format. While your own home movie DVDs will not likely be protected by CSS encryption, the normal layout of a DVD may make specific VOB files difficult to locate on the DVD, and longer content may even be split up into separate VOB files. Handbrake and MacTheRipper can both sort this out by ripping content based on title and chapter, saving you the trouble of having to wander through your VIDEO_TS folder for the right VOB file.

Digital Camcorder Home Movies

For converting movies from your digital camcorder, Windows Movie Maker is still the simplest tool. It comes bundled with Windows XP, and provides support for a wide variety of FireWire and even some USB digital camcorders.

Windows Movie Maker allows enough video editing capabilities for anybody looking to convert and edit home movies. Once the movie is edited and ready to be saved, simply select the “Save Movie” option from the “File” menu, and choose “My Computer” as the movie location.

The only significant limitation is its lack of output formats. As a Microsoft tool, almost all of its output formats use the Windows Media Video (WMV) codec, which is not directly compatible with the iPod or iTunes:

While the resulting WMV files can be passed to another conversion tool, it generally does not make much sense to compress the video to WMV and then convert it to another format due the nature of lossy compression. Fortunately, Windows Movie Maker does offer a raw uncompressed DV-AVI output setting. This will generally produce the best quality source for further conversion operations, although it will take up significantly more disk space:

The resulting AVI file can then be converted into an Apple-ready format using any of the conversion tools that we have previously discussed.

It should also be noted that some newer digital camcorders, particularly models that use internal hard drives or DVD media, actually now store videos in MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 format directly. When converting videos from these formats, the standalone conversion tools discussed earlier can easily be used in lieu of Windows Movie Maker, unless the advanced video editing features of Movie Maker are also desired.

VHS Home Movies

For older VHS video tapes, the conversion process will generally require a video capture device to digitize the analog signal from your VCR into your PC. There are numerous video capture cards and other devices that can be used for this purpose, and many FireWire-based digital camcorders can even be used as a bridge device simply by connecting the VCR output into the camcorder input, and then connecting the camcorder, via FireWire, into the PC.

Although many Windows-based tools exist for the conversion of captured video into MPEG-2, AVI, and other formats, at this time, there are not any notable Windows-based conversion tools for taking captured content directly into an Apple-ready format. As a result, the simplest way to do this is to use a video capture card and its related software to convert the video into a format such as DV-AVI, and then pass it to another conversion tool.

Windows Movie Maker, described above, can also be used for this task, using either a FireWire video camera as a bridge, or a dedicated video capture device.

Getting it all sorted out

Once your videos are converted and imported into your iTunes library, the next step is to tag and catalog them. This is particularly important for TV shows, which also require fields such as show name and other episode information to be completed before they will properly display in the “TV Shows” section on the iPod or Apple TV.

Our Complete Guide to Managing iTunes Videos provides detail on the best way to get your video content tagged, sorted, and synchronized properly to your portable device or Apple TV.


With Apple’s new line of consumer media devices, the number of options and conversion tools continues to evolve. We have already noticed some very significant changes in the number of products and tools available since the first fifth-generation iPod was released almost two years ago, and the newer devices such as the iPhone and Apple TV have created additional challenges for third-party software developers to keep up with the different resolutions and encoding formats that are now available.

This article is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to every single possible tool available, but simply to provide some information on the more popular tools that are used for the various types of content and video conversion projects and provide some guidelines on the methods for obtaining the best results from these.

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Is it possible to get this guide as a PDF?  And the other guides, too?

Posted by GrilledGrouper on September 4, 2007 at 10:16 PM (CDT)


how to use in sim cade contan, how to transfer music & Videos to the Iphone & How to Converting Videos & Audios Plz Tail my about.

Posted by mohd.afzal on May 9, 2008 at 8:06 AM (CDT)


Good !!!

Posted by pRinCy on May 19, 2008 at 5:55 AM (CDT)


I Downloaded some Movies and When i tried to play them on my 80 GB Ipod Classic It Said TV Out Enabled. Please Connect Video Accessory. What does that mean and how do i do that?

Thank-you for all your help.

Posted by Garrett on May 24, 2008 at 5:18 PM (CDT)


That message implies that you have the “TV Out” option turned on under Video, Settings.  Simply go to that menu and turn it off, unless you actually do want to watch your videos on a TV screen, in which case you will need to attach an iPod classic compatible video out accessory.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on May 25, 2008 at 3:05 PM (CDT)


Can you retreive lost songs, if so how do you?

Posted by catilyn abercrombie on June 8, 2008 at 12:53 PM (CDT)


Hi Jesse,
Do DVDdecrypter and DVD43 run on windows Vista yet?

Posted by phillipjfry on July 6, 2008 at 11:48 PM (CDT)


I got an iphone 3g 8g!  Incredible…However, I am trying to add movies that I burned on my hard drive and I keep getting the “Ghostbusters” sign.  Is it possible that the movies are ripped at an mpeg4 instead of another format?  If so, which format?  Do I have to rip it again (entire movie)? or can I just rip the mpeg4 to the correct format.  Thanks!


Posted by Jason on July 12, 2008 at 12:33 PM (CDT)


Great guide; can you help with this issue?  When trying to use the iTunes conversion option (for video podcasts I have downloaded via iTunes or for external h.264 video, for example) iTunes will start the conversion process, then after a few minutes will give me an error message that “the disk could not be read from or written to.”  This happens whether I have the iPod connected, or not. Any advice about what’s up with that?

Posted by Lee on September 5, 2008 at 11:47 AM (CDT)


Hey, thanks for the great help. I have a queiry though…I have copied a couple of videos onto itunes which is fine but then when I tried syncing them with my ipod nano (latest 8gb version) it said that the format was not conpatible.  So I tried clicking on it as you said to ‘convert to ipod’ but it didn’t come up at all, does this mean I should download Handbrake and see if it works that way?  Also my digital camera records in AVI format, itunes is not resistering anything in that file at all so can I convert them for use on my ipod with Handbrake?

Posted by Nina on September 14, 2008 at 10:09 AM (CDT)


can you walk me though the process for copying videos from my hard drive to my i-pod touch?

Posted by ccpot on October 4, 2008 at 5:49 PM (CDT)


i had a quick question- my friend sent me a movie.. and im not sure how to get it into my itunes in order to put in onto my ipod
what do i do?
i tried importing it.. and nothing happend!
thanks so much!

Posted by tals on October 24, 2008 at 6:49 AM (CDT)


trouble adding second ipod on my computer

Posted by bill price on November 25, 2008 at 12:18 PM (CST)


How do I make my 30 G ipod compatable with my windows vista and re arrange songs in folders???? please reply

Posted by Howard Griffith on December 1, 2008 at 2:46 PM (CST)


I have my video ipod connected to a tv through the headphone jack and when I try and play my ipod, I get a message “please connect video accessory”  I thought it was connected?  What’s the deal?

Posted by Jacobb on December 25, 2008 at 12:34 AM (CST)


You should really change the title of this guide to “DVD to Ipod/Iphone/Apple TV” because this said nothing about avi/mpeg/wmv video conversion.

Posted by andy on December 30, 2008 at 2:33 AM (CST)


Hi Jesse,
This doesn’t really have anything to do with avi/mpeg/wmv video conversion, but it’s great help for other purposes. Anyway, I have an ipod touch 2G 8gb and I want to put videos into it but it only allows “MPEG-4” files. Do you reccomend any programs I can use to convert different files into “MPEG-4”?  Please help.

Posted by cathh on January 15, 2009 at 11:44 PM (CST)


i got an ipod touch and i recently purcahsed applications and it wont let me sync them on my ipod its making very frustrated please help me.
thank you

Posted by brooke crenter on January 22, 2009 at 8:13 PM (CST)


I have the newest version of HandBrake, 0.9.3, for windows, the GUI version, and I have a 3rd generation video nano iPod.  I use DVD43 to encode them and then use HandBrake, but the movies won’t fit on my iPod because I can’t change the aspect ratio to 1.33:1.  Do you know how to change the aspect ratio on HandBrake 0.9.3 for windows?  Thank you please help me!!!

Posted by Danny on March 28, 2009 at 3:17 PM (CDT)


Nevermind, I fixed it using custom crop.  By the way this is a nice page for help on converting.

Posted by Danny on March 29, 2009 at 9:18 AM (CDT)


After following this process I converted several DVD’s but when playing the movies there is a noticeable lag between audio and video tracks.  How is this solved?

Posted by Mathew on July 20, 2009 at 8:10 PM (CDT)


I tried to put a WMV type file into itunes so I could convert it but nothing happened when I tried to import it into iTunes.

Posted by Raine on July 27, 2009 at 5:24 PM (CDT)


My ipod is frozen how do I unfreeze it?

Thanks,  Karen Nencka

Posted by karen Nencka on August 20, 2009 at 9:23 PM (CDT)


omg , i can not get this music video on my new ipod touch . i dont know what to do , im a dumb blondee and im confusedd . pleasee helpp me !!!!!!!!!!

Posted by katiee on November 13, 2009 at 9:34 PM (CST)


i just added a new hard drive and transfered my itunes to it. I don’t know why but it copied everything twice and I’m looking for an easy way to delete the copies. I have over 14,000 songs so doing it one by one is not an option. Thanks for your help.

Posted by michael on November 19, 2009 at 8:39 PM (CST)


You have a rare gift for explaining things so that they can be understood!  I’ve been all through the Apple support for iTunesU, but wish I’d started here first!

Is wmv a mpeg1 or mpeg2 encoding? I ask because I get the same issue—after converting an avi to ipod format with QT pro, I’ve got no audio.


Posted by DEMETRI on December 19, 2009 at 8:18 AM (CST)


sorry, typo above. i am converting avi to ipod with QT pro and getting a file with no audio. VLC seems to work.

Posted by DEMETRI on December 19, 2009 at 8:37 AM (CST)


I have an IPod Nano vers. 1.3.1.  I cannot get it to turn off.  Any thoughts?

Posted by tim on March 20, 2010 at 3:43 PM (CDT)


how to put sim card in iphone 3G S?

Posted by syamlal on June 23, 2010 at 11:45 AM (CDT)


lol u just look on top and u will see a small hole put the thing that u received with ur iphone in the and it pops up

Posted by nla d on June 29, 2010 at 4:31 PM (CDT)


Mediacoder is an excellent freeware converter which is not mentioned in this article.

Posted by Dinesh on August 13, 2010 at 3:31 PM (CDT)


pls i just got an ipod and i am finding it difficult to access the internet,some basic features and application.

Posted by Ndubueze W.Ofokaja on June 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM (CDT)

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