Encoding Video for the PSP on a Mac

I thought I’d largely shaken my gaming bug for a while after leaving Origin, but the fact that I’ve asked my dear, long-suffering family for a Sony PSP for my upcoming birthday may indicate that I’m relapsing. Since one of my primary metrics for the utility of any piece of electronic gear is “Will it allow me to watch Mystery Science Theater 3000?” I’ve been spending some time reading up on video encoding tools for the unit.

Fortunately, it looks like there is some good software available on the Mac: ffmpegX wraps up a bunch of command-line encoding tools into a straightforward graphical interface, and will reencode existing video files of all sorts into the format the PSP likes. (It even has a preset for the PSP’s video format.) Additionally , Mac the Ripper will allow me to rip the DVDs that we own to a file so that we’ll be able to take our DVD movies on the road with us that way as well. [Update: It looks as though iPSP may provide some good functionality as well, including things like iTunes playlist support and iPhoto album management.]

It looks as though one should be able to store about 6 hours of video on a 1GB memory stick, and the battery should last a bit longer than that when viewing video that way. I expect this, combined with the units game-playing prowess, will be a nice way to help keep the kids entertained on trips.