James O'Neill's Blog

February 5, 2010

Video, Windows 7 and Windows Phone

Filed under: Mobility,Music and Media — jamesone111 @ 1:59 pm

I keep thinking back to the theft of my laptop last year. I’ve had maybe a dozen laptops over the years and I haven’t really the same bond with them that I have with, say, my cameras. Even so whichever laptop I happen to have at the time goes everywhere with me like some kind of comfort blanket. It might be a business machine, but I do personal stuff on it. There’s business payoff to that that, the fact I am on-line and signed into Exchange and Office Communications Server when I’m editing photos (for example) means that colleagues from the other side of the world can get hold of me at all kinds of odd hours, but it’s my choice of hours.  Windows 7 is the first time that we have put Media Center into the Professional and Enterprise editions of the product, so now I have a machine which is both protected with Bitlocker (good for IT) and when I’m travelling I can take the USB TV receiver or programmes I’ve recorded on the Media Center at home.

With the new phone I thought I’d try taking a TV recording I’d made under Windows 7 and moving it over from the Sync panel in Windows Media player. This works, but with the downside that the video is resized down below the resolution of the screen and I went off round the following loop.

Click for a larger version * Expansys can supply me with a Video cable for the phone
* I now have a 16GB memory card in the phone. [This was a special offer from Expansys, £30.47 including taxes shipping etc –my memory of prices gone by makes this seem so cheap. How much cheaper will memory be in a year or two.]
* If I convert my TV recordings to 480p resolution WMV I can then play these from the phone to a TV or whatever

Then I came to a stop because:

(a) The 480p / 30 Frames per second video that came out of Movie maker was too much for the phone (it might be speed of reading from the card or CPU/Graphics chip might not be up to the job, it might work better with a different codec)
(b) I’m probably going to have to power the phone because this will chomp through the battery at quite a speed. Where will the power supply be ? In the bag with my laptop, along with the video cable.  – or more likely if I’m travelling I will charge the phone from the laptop.

In short the phone is a nice music player but it is best suited to playing low-res video. If I’m anywhere that I can use a big screen I’ll have my laptop. Since Windows 7 gives me media centre why would I waste time with the other stuff ? 

Just on music front, I’m expecting to have a combined USB / Jack plug connection box in my car soon, it can play MP3 files via USB or anything the phone can output (via another connection adapter) to a jack plug. I have put voice command 1.6 on the phone so I can control Windows Media player by tapping my bluetooth earpiece and saying “Play artist/Album/whatever” – which is always a fun trick when the phone is in one room and you are in another. In the days when 512MB was a big storage card it made a lot of sense to use WMA files as used less space than Mp3 for the same quality. But depending how well the MP3 side of the adapter integrates with the existing stereo controls I want to use the phone’s ability to go into “Mass storage class” mode and act like a USB stick, which which will mean transcoding (or re-ripping) music to play in the car. I’ll be spending enough time doing that to not want to bother doing the same for video. Heck, I still have a decent pile of vinyl albums I keep saying I will digitize and haven’t got round to.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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