I’ve had a PSP for nearly three years now. I’ve gone through various stages of obsession with it. Usually I’ll get a new game and play it until I finish it or it frustrates me. Then my PSP will (literally) collect dust for a few months before I notice it again.
Usually I bring it when traveling, but for this Christmas trip, I had the idea to use it as a portable video player. At a year old, the battery in my MacBook Pro lasts 2 hours only if I’m lucky and I’d rather save the battery for other stuff like email.
I had bought a 1GB Memory Stick for my PSP a while ago, so it was just a matter of getting the video onto it.
I tried ffmpegX, but I seemed to get a lot of videos that wouldn’t play on the PSP. I tried PSPVideo9 (running under Parallels) and it worked, but it was horrendously slow, filled with obnoxious ads, and poorly designed. Finally I decided to pony up $20 for VisualHub. Using the default PSP settings, it did a fast and beautiful job. Unlike the other programs I tried, it even created thumnails and a title file so I wouldn’t have to guess what the cryptic file names the PSP requires meant.
As for using the PSP as a mobile video player, it’s pretty nice. The screen is big and wide (bigger than any iP[h]o[ne|d].) The volume could be louder, but wasn’t really a problem with my noise-canceling headphones. The best part is the battery life: I watched 4 1-hour shows and still had over half the battery left. That’s clearly something I couldn’t do on my laptop. Having no moving parts has its advantages.
Even when I filled up the 1GB card, I could have more video ready to go on my laptop. I just connected it up and filled it up again. There’s no need to carry around physical DVDs either.
The one thing I wish is that there was an easier way to hold the PSP. It gets uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time at a good distance and angle. Otherwise, it’s nice use of technology I had lying around for passing them time on long flights.