Encoding/Converting Video For G1

Unfortunately, for now, the T-Mobile G1 (aka HTC Dream, or Googlephone) isn't able to play the common video formats avi/divx/etc etc etc that you tend to find on the Internet. But it's easy enough, if a little time consuming, to encode/convert the videos to the video formats supported by the G1 for free. The resulting videos play perfectly and are of superb quality. I'm including here the details of video encoding that work with the T-Mobile G1, and also a choice of settings because as usual with video encoding, there is a compromise between video quality and file size.

These instructions are for Windows but you can use the same encoding settings with any video encoding software.

Firstly, download Super. You can find it here: http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/video_encoders/super.cfm at the time of writing this. Run Super, press Control+T and select your desired directory for the output videos

I have done some experimentation with the available settings and come up with these options:

Video Encoding For T-Mobile G1 Settings

A) "Great Quality"

Big videos, but maximum viewing pleasure. :-)

  1. Output container: mp4
  2. Output video codec: H264/AVC
  3. Output audio codec: AAC LC
  4. Video Scale Size: 480x320 (OR 480x272 for widescreen format)
  5. Video Frames/Sec: 23.976fps
  6. Video Bitrate: 864kbps
  7. Video Options: Untick Hi Quality and Top Quality - seems unnecessary for such a small screen
  8. Audio Sampling Frequency: 44100khz
  9. Audio Channels: 2 for headphones (OR 1 for using the internal speaker of the G1)
  10. Audio Bitrate: 112kbps
 
Video Encoding For T-Mobile G1 Settings

B) "Just Good Enough" Quality

Perfect if you want to cram as many videos onto your G1 as possible. The quality is crap if you watch it on a TV like this, but good enough on the G1's small screen.

  1. Output container: mp4
  2. Output video codec: H264/AVC
  3. Output audio codec: AAC LC
  4. Video Scale Size: 320x240 (OR 320x176 for widescreen format)
  5. Video Frames/Sec: 23.976fps
  6. Video Bitrate: 240kbps
  7. Video Options: Untick Hi Quality and Top Quality - seems unnecessary for such a small screen
  8. Audio Sampling Frequency: 44100khz
  9. Audio Channels: 1
  10. Audio Bitrate: 64kbps
 

Press Control+A and select the video(s) to convert, then press Encode. Now go down the pub and when you come back you can watch some great quality videos on your T-Mobile G1!

For your information, my test video came out at 8.04Mb at the "Great Quality" setting, and 2.63Mb at the "Just Good Enough" setting.

Notes

1 or 2 channel sound (mono or stereo) seems to make only a very small difference to the file size, but using mono sound does sound a lot better when using the (rubbish) internal G1 speaker. Also, dropping down to 64kbps for the audio bitrate is ok for economy quality speaker use, but really terrible when listening via headphones. Stay at 96kbps or above for that. Bear in mind that doubling the bitrate doubles the effective filesize (spit between audio and video).

Obviously, you can tweak the settings here till the cows come home, but these two options are what I go for and give a great compromise between great quality and small file size. Test the settings for yourself to get the compromise you want, but hopefully the above settings will be a starting point for you.

By the way, I'd recommend Meridian player for playing back the videos on the G1. It's available in the Android Market.

Have fun!