The Nokia 5800 XPress Music, an S60 touch device with a large 3.2” bright screen and a 3.5 mm audio jack is well suited for watching long clips and movies. I set out to find out the best solution for watching videos on this mobile device.
All applications that I set out to review and evaluate are native Symbian applications in the .sis or .sisx format. Video converters are Windows applications that are compatible with Windows XP SP3.
A worthy solution should have the following features:
- Ease and speed of converting videos to a S60-friendly format
- Video Players on the S60 mobile device – good quality playback and support for many video formats
- Ease of transferring content to the mobile
- Easy availability of content
In Part 1 we will look at SmartMovie Player from Lonely Cat Games.
Converting videos to a mobile-friendly format
SmartMovie supports the Video Playback Formats 3GP, MP4, FLV and AVI formats. It comes with a Windows-based desktop application called SmartMovie Converter and a video player called SmartMovie Player for the S60 device. The desktop application optimizes, resizes and and prepares videos in MPG or AVI formats.
The SmartMovie Mobile Video Coverter It supports 4 video codecs – uncompressed, Divx 6.8.5 codec, Xvid Encoder and XviD MPEG-4 Codec. Choosing one of the four options are quite a challenge for the uninitiated.
I used SmartMove to optimize a 500 Megabyte AVI file using the XviD MPEG-4 encoder. SmartMovie lets you choose the Nokia mobile device for which the video should be optimized and has presents for each device. For the Nokia 5800, the video bit rate is 224 kbps and screen size is 320 x 180. The audio frequency is 16000 Hz at a bit rate of 40 kbps. Video conversion to avi took about 25 minutes and a file of size just 145 Megabytes was created. Playback quality was great.
Next I used the XviD encoder. The results were similar. It took about 25 minutes to optimize the file and the new file was 254 Megabytes of size. Playback quality was great too. Remember NOT to open a file as Read-only when you are going to encode it.
Divx 6.8.5 codec is an optimized version for PCs with multi-core processors and so I didn’t bother to use it since it will not give a better video for the Nokia 5800, which is a single core device.
For converting DVD formats to play on the S60, the SmartMovie DVD Guide recommends that the VOB file should be converted to AVI using other tools like DVDx before using SmartMovie to optimize, resize and prepare the video for playback on a mobile device. SmartMovie retains the file format after the optimization.
I also tried transferred an avi file directly without optimizing it using the SmartMovie Converter. Playback and audio was good but the audio and video was grossly out of sync and it took several attempts to get them to sync.
The SmartMovie Converter clearly prefers avi files for optimization but didn’t handle all avi files well. It threw a conversion error and crashed with many avi files. Overall, it was a hit or miss. SmartMovie Converter optimized some files but failed to convert many others.
Playback on the SmartMovie player was smooth with little frame loss. I found that there were minor out-of-sync issues on videos optimized using the SmartMovie player too but they could be fixed using the AV Sync option.
It has simple animated controls and a nifty seek option that shows a preview of the frame you seek.
SmartMovie Player lets you sync Audio and Video by introducing a delay or by increasing playback speed in multiples of .02 seconds. You can adjust brightness, contrast and saturation.
SmartMovie Player responds to touch well. The volume can be adjusted by just moving the volume bar up or down. A slider is available at the top of the screen to forward and reverse the video using the finger or stylus.
Like I said earlier in this post, conversion of AVI files was hit or miss. Some conversions failed while some succeeded. I sorely missed the function in the SmartMovie Converter to transfer videos to the s60 mobile device immediately after conversion.
SmartMovie Converter converts videos at a very fast rate. Twenty five minutes for a full length movie is quite good. But lets find out how other video converters fare in this regard. I had very few problems playing video using the SmartMovie Player. The SmartMovie Player lets you play 60 minutes of free video before it locks out.
SmartMovie could enhance user experience greatly in this regard. SmartMovie can be downloaded here.
In Part 1, we reviewed the SmartMovie Video Converter and SmartMovie Video Player.
In Part 2, we will continue exploring other applications that convert videos for playback on the S60 mobile device in various supported mobile video formats. We will also look at other video players available.
In Part 3, we will talk about transferring content and availability of content.