The Microsoft Zune – Video Creation and Loading

Once I got the Zune working, which was a big pain for me, I wanted to start loading content onto the thing. Audio is easy. Ripping CDs to mp3 is easy, and any albums one might aquire over p2p networks generally have good tagging and are categorized well.

So I decided to concentrate on two things: Images and Videos.

The Zune currently only supports the Windows Media Player format of video file. This looks like a file ending in the .WMV extension with the following properties:

  • Format: Windows Media Video (.wmv)
  • Video codec: Windows Media Video 9 (Simple, Main, and Advanced Profiles), Windows Media Video 9 Screen, Windows Media Video 9 Image Version 2, Windows Media Video 9 VCM.
  • Video resolution: up to 320×240 (QVGA) or 320×180 (16:9 QVGA)
  • Maximum video bit rate: 500 Kbps (recommended for the best balance of optimal battery life and video quality) up to 1.5 Mbps
  • Video peak bit rate: up to 1.5 Mbps
  • Complexity or profile: Main profile, VBR
  • Audio codec: Windows Media Audio (.wma)
  • Maximum audio bit rate: WMA Standard, CBR, 128 Kbps (recommended), up to 192 Kbps, Stereo, 44.1 kHz
  • Maximum total bit rate: 1.692 Mbps, 1.5 Mbps for peak video plus 192 Kbps for audio

That list comes from the Zune.net page on “How to provide content for Zune.”
Like most people, I have a collection of DVD’s as my personal video stockpile which would be great to put on the Zune. Here is the process I followed:

  1. Rip a DVD to its base .vob files. Use DVD Shrink, it will get you there with few problems.
  2. Convert the DVD .vob files into not just .wmv files but .wmv files that fall under the long set of guidelines bulleted above. For this I recommend Xilisoft Zune Video Converter. There are lots of supposed solutions out there for converting video for the Zune. This is one where all the work is done for you.
  3. Join the WMV files. Since DVDs generally have multiple .vob files, you’ll end up with multiple .wmv files. Most of the time you’re going to want all of these joined into a single movie. It makes file management easier, and they are easier to share then. I suggest the freeware tool AsfTools for this.
  4. Sync. This should be the easiest part but it isn’t. Drop the resulting .wmv file into a directory in your Zune library and cross your fingers. If you’re lucky the file won’t need to be converted. If it does than something got screwed up.

Update: As of the Zune 1.2 firmware release you can’t really categorize movies. There is a work around for this, have a look at this thread for more information.

One thought on “The Microsoft Zune – Video Creation and Loading”

  1. I find windows movie maker the best free way of converting video.
    Other free versions have a big watermark, have bad sound quality or only convert like 60% of your files.
    while windows movie maker takes longer, it gets the job done well.

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