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Video Experience

The latest version of the iPod includes a video function that has attracted a lot of attention. Why? Well, I’m not really sure. First, the screen size is only 2.5 inches. I mean, who wants to watch a movie on such a small screen? Second, all audio has to go through the headphone port. In other words, if I want to show someone else a video, I either have to carry around an external speaker system, or share my waxy ear speaker. Third, the video quality is really not all that great, at least when you compare it to that of a PSP.

Now, the PSP sports a much larger screen that does those 16:9 formatted movies some justice. Just to illustrate, Figure 1 shows a relative comparison of the PSP and iPod screens (gray=iPod, blue=PSP, red=2.5-inch screen diameter).

Figure 1

Figure 1 Screen comparison.

If that isn’t enough, the PSP screen boasts a true 16 million colors, whereas the iPod is sitting at around 260,000 colors. The difference? Well, just try changing your color settings on your computer and see how the two compare. You’ll quickly realize that while 260,000 colors is a lot, it’s like comparing crayon art to Picasso. Finally, external speakers (in addition to a headphone jack) on the PSP allow you to truly share the video experience with others. The following table compares the features.



  • MPEG-4 video: 480×272 pixels
  • Colors: 16.77 million
  • Size: 4.3 inches
  • MPEG-4 video: 480×480 pixels
  • Colors: 260,000
  • Size: 2.5 inches
  • H.264 video: 320×240 (QuickTime)

Despite all its shortcomings, the iPod did get one thing right when it comes to the new video addition; you can connect it to a TV and output the content to the big screen via an adapter. The PSP requires a costly, technically challenging, and rather clunky-looking device that basically captures and redirects the content to the TV screen. Good thinking, Apple.

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