Now Playing: Video on the iPod

At a Glance
  • Apple iPod Video 5th Generation 30GB MP3 Player - Black (30GB Internal Hard Drive)

You can watch downloaded TV shows on the Apple iPod.
You can watch downloaded TV shows on the Apple iPod.
Given the brouhaha surrounding Apple's latest player, one might assume its name is the Video iPod. Think again: It's an iPod that can do video, not a dedicated video player.

Don't get me wrong: The 2.5-inch screen on my $299, 30GB, black shipping model (the company also has a white 30GB version, plus $399, black and white 60GB versions) is absolutely beautiful. The 320-by-240-pixel screen is bright and sharp, and videos look great on it. In my hands-on tests it offered crisp playback with smooth movement. The unit ran videos at roughly 30 frames per second, the same as a broadcast TV signal.

My only complaint with the image quality is that details in shadows were often hard to see. Other nits to pick: The glossy surface of the player's faceplate tends to reflect lights, and although the unit weighs under 5 ounces, holding it up close for long periods can get a bit uncomfortable.

Videos appear as a new item on the top menu and are divided by category below that (including TV shows, video podcasts, and a rather tantalizing movies category). The new iPod supports downloading videos from iTunes 6, as well as video encoded as H.264 or MPEG-4 (in my experience, however, not all third-party encoders worked). iTunes' inability to convert existing video into an iPod-friendly format is its biggest failing.

The battery life of the new iPod is reasonable. When I played back my videos, the device lasted around 2.5 hours.

If you're looking for a player mostly for audio use but also for occasional video viewing, this is a great choice. If video playback is your main focus, though, look elsewhere.

Apple iPod

PCW Rating

The new iPod adds video capabilities, but its great-looking screen is a bit too small for extended viewing.
Price when reviewed: $299 (30GB version), $399 (60GB version)
Current prices (if available)

This story, "Now Playing: Video on the iPod" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Apple iPod Video 5th Generation 30GB MP3 Player - Black (30GB Internal Hard Drive)

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