Sony PSP: Frustratingly Beautiful

No Conversion

After we got past the initial shock of the UMD format, we went running to to look for another movie. And we were in for a disappointment - only two titles were in stock. But no matter, there was the Memory Stick Duo. So we ran out and bought one with more capacity than the bundled 32 MB, connected the PSP to the PC via USB and... nothing. The PSP can only play its own proprietary AVC format, a variant of MPEG-4.

While annoyed, before deciding to jump off a bridge, we took a look at the documentation and read that transcoding into that format is possible, but that for more information we had to go to the Memory Stick site. After looking everywhere, we learned that in order to convert you need software called Image Converter 2. Okay, after searching for it for a long time, we ended up at the Sony online store, which sells it. Disgusted at having to pay $20 for software that should be bundled, we ordered it anyway - just to get the heartbreaking response: "Not yet available."

At this point we admit that we felt like going to eBay to sell the PSP immediately.

Sony is obviously not encouraging users to play video on this console other than what's available on UMD. That may be understandable, but what's infuriating is that you get the impression you're being taken for an imbecile. Sony says it's possible, then does everything to make it impossible. We might have accepted paying a lot of money for a Memory Stick and only being able to store one video at a time so we could watch our favorite series on this magnificent screen; but this was too much.

No, But...

Still, you know us - we're the type that doesn't give up easily (editor's note: some people in particular!) After a little Web search, we found what we were looking for: PSP Video 9 ( This is a freeware application that has unbelievably good ergonomics. Provided you have the right codecs installed on your PC, it can transcode any video to the PSP's AVC format. It also renames the video with the PSP nomenclature, so there'll be no problem recognizing it. The copy is made in a specific folder on the Memory Stick, and there again the software takes care of everything.

All you'll need to do is be sure to resize the screen dimensions to get full-screen video with the best possible quality. So you take your favorite series, recorded in quality DivX format, run it through PSP Video 9, and you can then watch it on the go with quality that's unmatched by any other A/V player. With a compression adjustment that won't decrease the quality of standard DivX, you can put a 90-minute movie on a 512-MB Memory Stick.

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