How to Watch Movies on your Treo 700p using Mac OS X

I finally had a chance to take a break from the daily rush and sit down with my PowerBook and Treo 700p and see what other untapped capabilities I could discover. Since I still had over 1GB free on my SD expansion card I decided video would be a likely candidate. As I understand it, your mileage may vary depending on when you bought your phone and who your carrier is (I know Verizon subscribers who didn’t get a stereo headset in the box like I did and other Sprint users who can DUN without extra software like I needed…) so these instructions are for Sprint users who bought their phones in the last 6 months.

You will need:

  • Mac running OS X
  • Palm Treo 700p (tested for Sprint purchased after June 2006, might work on others)
  • Mac software: Handbrake (free)
  • Palm hardware: high speed SD expansion card
  • Palm software: Some form of USB card reader (you might be able to use syncing software — has not been tested)

STEP ONE: Download, install, and open Handbrake. This is the free software that will compress your video to a variety of formats.

STEP TWO: Tweak compression settings

After selecting the folder with your audio and video TS files you can select a shorter range of chapters from the disk if you like (the default is the entire DVD)

The recent Sprint Treos’ built in video player can play mp4 files, so choose this compression setting and the place where you would like to save your new movie

Here’s a trick that I picked up from my animation studies: A moving image still appears smooth all the way down to 15 frames per second. Though I found the performance of the Palm video player to be fine at 24 frames per second, you can save a LOT of space by choosing 15 frames per second for the framerate.

Another file size saver is to sample down the sound. I found 64kbps to be more than acceptable, even for music during shows.

Then click on the “Picture Settings” button and choose your screen size. Your palm’s screen is 320x320px. Most movies are 16:9 letterbox ratio so choose 320 for your width and the height will end up a little shorter.

STEP THREE: Click RIP and you’re off!

My Arrested Development Season Three (disk one) ended up at 97MB using the above settings.

STEP FOUR: Copy to phone.

I use a program called “Card Reader” which mounts the SD card on my desktop like a hard drive. On a whim I navigated into the folder DCIM and made a new folder called “Movies” and copied my new file there.

Upon navigating to “Pics and Videos” on the Palm you can see the folder showed up and the movie is recognized.


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