Apple's iPod line of mobile media players has evolved a great deal in its first decade. The basic model, which launched in 2001, has expanded into a range of devices that can browse the Web, play videos, organize documents, and, of course, store and play hours of music [source: Biersdorfer].
Media has kept pace with these revolutionary machines. Between the movies, videos and TV shows available at Apple's iTunes Store, and countless sites where savvy users can download free demos, trailers and preview clips, there's a nearly limitless supply of media out there to fill any user's playlists.
Video is the newest media to become widely available for screen-equipped iPods, and it can sometimes be tricky to download video content -- especially from sites other than the iTunes store. It's far from a difficult task, though. Follow this simple guide, and you'll be downloading and watching movies and TV shows on your iPod in no time.
With the exception of the Web-enabled iPod Touch, which can download online content directly, iPods must by synched with the iTunes file library on your computer to take your music and media mobile.
The easiest way to do this is through iTunes' Autosynch feature: Connect your iPod to your computer using a USB cable, and iTunes automatically launches the iPod Setup Assistant. You can simply select the option "automatically synch songs to my iPod," and iTunes will add any new content in its libraries to your iPod.
You can also manually move files from iTunes to your iPod -- this may be your preferred option if you only have one or two videos you wish to watch. Open iTunes and select the folder containing the desired media file. Highlight that file, and drag it to the iPod icon. Congratulations; you can now watch the selected video on your iPod [source: Biersdorfer]. Read on for a few more tips!
Of course, with the different versions of the iPod that are available, there are different options for downloading material.
If you own an iPod Touch, then you're in luck. This incredibly flexible device allows you to access the Internet anywhere you have access to a wireless signal. The ability to go directly online with the iPod Touch opens a new door for videos: Along with watching videos downloaded from your computer's iTunes library, you can pull videos straight off of the Web.
Online video repository YouTube, for example, offers a version of its Web site that's optimized for the iPod Touch. The functionality is similar to that of its computer-oriented counterpart, but it works better on the iPod Touch interface.
Keep in mind, as you're searching for videos to watch, that not all video and streaming video file formats, such as Real or certain versions of QuickTime, are supported by the iPod Touch. Many of today's online videos are encoded in compatible formats, however, so look for videos encoded in H.264 format. And if all else fails, pay a visit to Apple's Web site. The computer giant hosts a wide range of videos and trailers on its pages, all in iPod Touch-compatible formats.
Whether you choose to pull video from your iTunes library or directly off of the Web, your screen-equipped iPod is a powerful tool. There are few other devices on the market that can store, organize and play the kind of data that iPods are designed to handle, and making the most of one puts a wide range of media -- literally -- into the palm of your hand [source: Biersdorfer].
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