December 11, 2005

TECH QUESTIONS: First, is the Video iPod really as good as Warren Bell says it is? I mean, he’s a TV guy and everything, but still …

Second, I’d like to interview people by phone for podcasts. Is one of the various computer-based VOIP setups — e.g., Skype, Vonage, Google Talk, etc. — easier to use? I’d like to call people on Skype or whatever, record the results to a .wav file, then edit it in Adobe Audition. Will Skype or whatever let you record your calls, or are there third-party solutions to do that? (Is it reWire compatible?)

And is there something that makes it easy to do the same kind of thing with video, to create a video podcast? I’ve been meaning to research this, but why not cut out the middleman and ask you folks . . . .

UPDATE: Spoons emails:

It’s every bit as good as you’ve heard. There are other machines that might be better pure video devices, but iPod is hands down the best MP3 player around, due largely to its integration with the phenomenal iTunes. With the ever-expanding library of video and TV offerings there, not to mention some fantastic video podcasts, there’s plenty of video content available. While flying to Texas for Frank J and Sarah K’s wedding, I watched the entire first season of “The Office”, one of several shows available through iTunes.

As for the gadget itself, the screen is phenomenal. It’s incredibly bright, clear, and crisp. It’s also amazingly easy to watch a screen of that size, even for semi-extended periods of time. If you’re already familar with iPods, you know the controls are simple and intuitive.

I bought the 60GB version not because I think I’ll ever fill more than 30 gigs, but because the battery life is significantly better. Video does suck juice quickly, but even on the 30 you ought to be able to get about 2 hours. I can get at least 3 with the 60. Of course, if you stick to music, the battery will last much longer.

If you’re tempted to buy the video iPod — buy it. You won’t be disappointed.

Dang. I was afraid of that. And Rob Port emails:

First, the video iPod is amazing. My girlfriend and I got each other one (using my PJ Media money) for Christmas. Its my first iPod, and I’m blown way. I wasn’t sure I’d like watching video on the small screen, but its actually pretty good. And hooking the iPod up to my TV is even better. The picture is about what you’d get over an antenna. Perfectly acceptable.

As for podcasting using Skype, I’ve been using a program called Mix Cast Live to record my podcasts with a state Rep. here in ND over Google Talk. It works pretty great. A little bit of echo on the person I’m calling’s end, but that doesn’t show up on the recording and can be minimized by adjusting volume. It works good. Not broadcast quality, but good enough for my purposes.

Thanks.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Don Wolff sends a link to this review from G4TV — they like the Creative Zen Vision better in many ways.

MORE: Evan Coyne Maloney emails:

You ask: “is the Video iPod really as good as Warren Bell says it is?”

One word answer: YES!!!

Also, as a provider of video content, I am impressed with how easy it is to add video podcasts to the iTunes Music Store. There’s a little bit of a wait before the entry appears, but other than submitting the podcast URL and picking a category for it, you really don’t have to do anything. As someone with virtually zero musical talent, it is pretty cool to be able to type your name into the iTunes Music Store and see a listing come up.

Very cool. I’m weakening . . . . Especially as Ian Schwartz emails:

By the way, about the video iPod. I got one about 2 weeks ago and am extremely happy with it. I just ordered a nice skin at www.iskin.com, which I strongly suggest getting if you like to keep your product clean. I used to own an iPod, an old one, and the back of [the metal part] is stained with every finger print on it. Also, tonight I just got this program that lets you convert .wmv to .mp4 (the file type that is used to put video on an iPod) .. so now with videos I put on my site, I put a download link for .mp4 so people can put video on their iPod. Pretty cool if you ask me.

So, basically, all the cool video guys like it.

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