Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sony multimedia player

I plan to go for a relatively long travel in a couple of weeks and I borrowed Sony nwz-a818 player from a family member. As it has 8GB of memory, and a very nice screen (though small) I though that it would be not a bad idea to put some videos on it, besides mp3 music.

However it appears that it isn't so easy to find what video format is supported by that player, and how to encode to that format.

  • Sony NWZ-A818 supports MP4 video files
  • Frame size should be 320x240
  • DivX and Xdiv are MP4, but normal divx files will not be played by NWZ-A818
  • An easy and free solution that I found it to use Handbrake tool to convert my video files (and DVDs) to mp4 files compatible with that player
  • Handbrake can't open many types of source files, so another cost-free option is to use XviD4PSP utility. I like Handbrake better because it's easier to control output quality, whilte Xvid4PSP is a bit tricky.
Remark: Perhaps there are other (better) ways to achieve the same target, but this works fine for me.

Remark: the same applies to Sony NWZ-A816 player.

Step-by-step procedure for Handbrake:
  1. Download and install Handbrake from
  2. Select the source for conversion - a video file or DVD
  3. Select the destination - output MP4 file
  4. In "Encoder" field select Mpeg 4
  5. Leave default "Audio encoder" value at AAC
  6. Type correct values in "Size" i.e. 320 and 240
  7. Click "Video" tab, and select compression quality. For me the results were better by using the "Constant quality" slider - value around 85 works fine.
  8. Click "Audio & Subtitles" tab, and select in "Bitrate" field value 128.
  9. Click "Start" (in the left top corner)
  10. Copy the file from your PC to the player and enjoy :)
  11. If the size of converted file is too high, repeat the procedure above but use lower value in step 7.
  12. If the quality isn't good enough, repeat the procedure above but use higher value in step 7.

Step-by-step procedure for Xvid4PSP:
  1. Download and install Xvid4PSP tool from
  2. Open your video file (click Open) or your DVD (click DVD, then select correct stream)
  3. Under "Format" select MP4 iPod 5.5G
  4. Under "Video Encoding"select x264 1P 768K Turbo
  5. Under "Video Encoding" click "E" button to edit settings. Dialog window will appear.
  6. In the top right corner select MPEG 4 (next to "Codec")
  7. At the bottom (next to "FourCC" select MP4V)
  8. "Encoding mode": leave 1-Pass Bitrate
  9. "Bitrate" depends on your source. If it's already heavily compressed it's better to put maximum value of 1500. If your source is good quality (e.g. DVD) you could put something like 800.
  10. Click "Rate" tab. Enter the same bit rate value as in item 9 into "Maximum bitrate" field.
  11. Enter the same value as in item 10 into "Bitstream buffer size" field.
  12. You could click OK now, or you can first click "+" to save these settings for future use, then type the name and then click OK.
  13. Open menu item "Video", "Resolution/Aspect..."
  14. Select Output resolution to 320 x 240 and output aspect to 4:3, then click Apply, then OK.
  15. Click Encode to start re-coding, and define the output file name and destination when asked.
  16. Copy the file from your PC to the player and enjoy :)


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