The PSP has an ackward video file naming system. Depending on the video format it needs to be placed in a particular directory on the PSP, and it needs a certain predefined filename too (ex. ‘M4V31337.MP4’). This is due to a backwards compatibility issue for other Sony devices like Clie PDA’s. The PSP supports mp4 video files encoded in mpeg4 or the newer H.264 (AVC) format. The combination of these factors (directory, filename, format) doesn’t make it straightforward to put video on your PSP (this article give you clue how to do it). Recenlty several tools became available to make it more easy to transfer video to your PSP.
I was using PSP Video 9 (Win/free), Nero Recode 2 (Win/part of Nero 6 suite) or PSPWare (Mac) to transfer video to my PSP.
Nero Recode has a specific PSP profile which outputs directly to your PSP (in the correct folder, with a correct filename) or to a local directory (which would then require you to change the filename manualy to play on the PSP). Although Recode supports the AVC (Advanced Video Coding) format, it used standard mpeg4 for the PSP profile, which is a bummer. A positive feature is the fact that you can determine the target filesize (ex. 200MB for a ‘hometaped’ DVR TV movie), and it groups the DVD movie video files into a single video file. I found the result more than acceptable (if they are not too action packed/fast moving that is) For example a 1h30min movie converted to a 195MB file in MPEG-4 236kbps video and AAC64 kbps audio at 320×240 resolution. You could put 4-5 full movies onto a single 1GB memory stick this way. If I remember correctly, conversion happened in about 50 minutes (but that completely depends on your pc’s capabilities).
PSP Video 9 supports AVC, but doesn’t convert a DVD movie into a single file (you’ll get 3/4 files for a single movie), but each movie clip has its own thumbnail. V9 allows you to pre-encode the movie locally, and then manage you video files between your PC and the PSP. You can use several different preconfigured quality profiles, or set one yourself (example on this blog).
Recently Sony released PSP Media Manager. I believe it should have been available with you PSP purchase, but they sell it separate for about 20$. It has a nice interface to manage the files on your PSP: pictures, movies, backups, etc. For video it has two settings, a low and high AVC format. It is dummy proof, but for the more advanced, it would be nice that we could set our own profiles. These two profiles give you either a 340MB file or a 550MB file for a 1h30min movie (into a single file with thumbnail). Yes, quality is superior to the Nero Recode mpeg4 version, but you can only store 2 movies on the same 1GB MS. Another thing is that you cannot pre-encode the files, the PSP needs to be connected, which is a pain in the butt. And last but not least, it took 4,5 hours to encode a 1h30min movie, which is way too long to be any practical I think (or should I just upgrade my PC, a 2 year old P4/2.66?). And it doens’t have a ‘Shutdown pc after completion’ feature as we see in Nero and V9, to run the encoding at night.