How to convert videos for your Android tablet

How to convert videos for your Android tablet


One thing that you gotta give iTunes and its closed iOS ecosystem is the strict compatibility – everything works. If you buy a movie through iTunes then you know that it will work on your iPhone iPad and Apple TV. This seamless integration between hardware and software is what helped make iTunes the world’s biggest digital retailer.

The reality is however that I never buy anything off of iTunes. I hate the software and I’ve always been able to find my album/movie of interest elsewhere so my library consists of movies stored in a multitude of formats.


Handbrake makes conversion easy.

This doesn’t bother me though; I’m a geek. Both you and I are savvy enough to be able to get everything working and reap the benefits that this open market – and its myriad vendors and methods of distribution – brings.

Extended preamble now concluded what I’ll show you today is how to convert any of your videos – regardless of (non-DRMed) source – to play on your Android tablet. For the purposes of this I’ll be using my Motorola XOOM as an example but the settings should be the same for any Android 3.x tablet.

First up you need to go download Handbrake (Win Linux and Mac) from here. Handbrake comes ready with presets for iOS devices but it’s a cinch to create a preset for my XOOM.

Open up Handbrake and after selecting the video you wish to encode select ‘High Profile’ under the ‘Regular’ preset heading to the right of the main window.

I’d recommend limiting the resolution to 720p as there is no real need to watch 1080p on your 1280 x 800 screen. To do this click on the ‘Picture’ tab and then limit the width to 1280 (this will make most videos 720p while making sure those shot in super-wide formats still fill your screen). There is no need to do this if the source videos are less than 720p.

Next up click on the ‘Advanced’ tab and in text box down the bottom replace the text with:

cabac=0:bframes=0:weightp=0:8x8dct=0

That’s all the setup you need to get started however I’d recommend saving the preset for future encoding sessions. To do this click on the ‘Add’ button at the bottom of the preset panel on the right. Name it however you deem fit. If you make any changes to the settings just right-click on the name of the preset and click ‘Save changes.’ Click ‘yes’ when it asks you if you want to save picture settings.

The actual encoding will take time (how long depends on your CPU) and this I concede is where the freedom I alluded to earlier does fall flat. In light of this I recommend hitting the ‘Add to Queue’ button – rather than the ‘Start’ button – and then adding up all the movies you want for the foreseeable future and letting it run overnight or while you’re at work/school/court.

Once the encoding has finished you can transfer the files onto your Android tablet and they’ll appear in the Gallery ready to be watched in the default movie player.