Sony PSP: Turning your PSP into a Portable Digital Video Player

Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) users enjoy an excellent 4.3" 16:9 widescreen TFT screaming for video content. While there are currently over 430 Universal Media Disc (UMD) movies, fewer movie studios including Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video are releasing their movies on the UMD format due to much lower than expected sales for UMD movies. Most PSP owners simply do not want to purchase two copies (a DVD and a UMD) of their favorite movies. So with a dwindling UMD video market, but an incredible portable video screen, what are PSP users to do?

Granted, you cannot use the simplistic iTunes interface to purchase and download TV shows or movies, there are still plenty of choices for PSP users depending on the content and source for the video you would like to watch on your PSP.

For instance, you can use an MPEG-4 recorder such as the
Neuros MPEG-4 Recorder 2 to record video content from live TV, camcorder, DVR, DVD or VCR. The various MPEG-4 recorders are similar to VCRs in that the content being recorded must be played through the device in real-time. The "tape" is a memory card where a MPEG-4 file is saved. These recorders tend to have settings for different quality settings which allow for either a better picture at higher quality settings or more content at the lower quality settings. MPEG-4 recorders are simple to use and allow the average electronics consumer the ability to easily transfer video content to their PSP without having to worry about hacking their TiVo and using various conversion applications.

Instead of recording video to a memory card, you can "placeshift" your video content to the PSP. Sony's PSP and LocationFree TV are two products that work seamless together. With LocationFree, you can stream TV or movies from your home over broadband internet to your PSP system. Using LocationFree and PSP's wireless capabilities, you can stream video content to your PSP while walking around your home. This option allows you to change channels, pause or record on your components in your home using the LocationFree's onscreen universal remote. In addition to Sony's LocationFree product, HAVA Wireless is rumored to have a PSP client giving you another choice in the placeshifting market. You can stream video content from whatever components are connection to the different placeshifting devices including: live TV, camcorder, DVR, DVD and VCR.

If you have a TiVo, you can sync recorded shows to your PSP using TiVoToGo. For $24.95, you can get the TiVo Desktop Plus upgrade for Windows to automatically convert your TiVoToGo transfers for your PSP.

Also if you have a hacked TiVo, you can extract video that you want to watch on your PSP to your PC. You then will need to perform format conversions, name the file appropriately and figure out where to place the video file you created on the PSP using the USB cable. Sony made the PSP very particular about the video format, file name and folder that video files must reside adding complexity to this solution.

In addition to TV content, you can view video content on your PSP from online video sites including Youtube and Google Video. Depending on your current PSP firmware version, downloading and copying video content from Google Video can be as simple as finding the video you want to watch, choosing "Video iPod/Sony PSP" next to the Download button and clicking the Download button. Once the file is downloaded on your PC you then simply copy it over to a "VIDEO" folder on your memory stick. This requires firmware version 2.80 or later. Otherwise, if you are a PSP homebrewer, you need to convert the video format, rename the file according to PSP standards and place the video file in a special directory to view. Youtube requires that you save the Flash movie (using a tool like the Greasemonkey script) then convert the video format, rename the file and place the video file in the proper directory. Another great source for video content on the PSP is PSP Connect. PSP Connect provides free video downloads for your PSP already converted to the proper format.

Over the next week we will post more detailed instructions on how to enjoy various video content on your PSP so be sure to check back.