26 Oct 2008

Google video on your phone

I have a Nokia N73 "Music Edition" mobile phone. The "Music Edition" part isn't important to me, since I never listen to music when I'm on the run. I read. But sometimes I'm too tired to read, especially when I'm on my way home from work. But the subway takes 30 minutes so I'll have to do something.

Google releases a lot of technical video documentaries ("tech talks") that I hardly ever have time to watch. TED also have lots of interesting talks. My phone do support playing video - at least 3GP. The screen resolution is not that bad either, with 240x320 pixels. It also has a 2GB miniSD memory card, so storage shouldn't be a problem. You can download most of the Google videos (for "iPod/PSP") and TED talks. What you then get is a MPEG4 file. My phone does not play MPEG4, so how can I fix that?

There is some web-services that can convert video for you. Like zamzar.com, but in Zamazars case, it has a 100MB size-limit.

Luckily, ffmpeg can convert to and from anything.

1. Install:

  $ sudo aptitude install ffmpeg

2. Then, make sure the restricted codecs are installed. Follow the instruction from:


3. Download your favorite Google/TED video.

4. Convert:

  $ ffmpeg -i downloaded-google-video.mp4 -s qcif -vcodec h263 -acodec aac \
  -ac 1 -ar 44100 -r 25 -ab 64 -y converted-google-video.3gp

5. Upload to your phone using bluetooth. Just one quick note: I had to configure my phone to use the miniSD for saving incoming messages. The internal storage is too small for the video file(s).

6. Play! Works great.