iTunes and iPod video format compatibility

Q: I have recently been importing all of my existing MPEG-4 and .mov videos into iTunes 6, and all have been playing perfectly. My question is if a video (not from the Music Store) can be successfully imported into iTunes 6, then does this imply that it is compatible with the 5th Generation iPod?

– Mac

A: Absolutely not, and we can’t stress this enough. iTunes will accept a staggering range of video formats (anything that QuickTime will, in fact), but the iPod itself can only support the following two (more detail here):

  • H.264 Codec at a maximum of 320×240 resolution, 30 frames per second, and 768kbps
  • MPEG-4 Codec at a maximum of 480×480 resolution, 30 frames per second, and 2500kbps

It is also important to note that while MPEG-4 and H.264 are video codecs, .mov is not. Files with the extension *.mov can utilize many different video codecs, most of them incompatible with the current iPod.

There are several ways to convert existing videos into acceptable formats, including the use of software like QuickTime Pro 7 (Mac, PC: $29), Videora (PC: free) and HandBrake (Mac: free). Detailed iLounge tutorials on how to execute this conversion process will be posted in the very near future… stay tuned!

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