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Old 04-08-2009, 01:13 PM
mikiem mikiem is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3
Default Compatible Fuze video - what I found

The video the Fuze accepts & will play has an internal flag or marker identifying it as DivX – usually the free Xvid codec works interchangeably with DivX – the DivX 5 flag reported doesn’t necessarily mean it’s version 5, since that’s often just a more generic DivX flag commonly used. Otherwise software like MediaInfo, that report details of a media file, look in common places for common flags – If SMC generated video has an unknown flag(s) in an unknown place(s), it remains unknown until someone really disassembles either one or both the SMC or video’s code.

In a nutshell, looking at what details are reported for SMC produced, Fuze compatible video, appears to be useless for anything but a broad guideline of what not to use, what optional features of the codec to turn off. Further, most video software uses the video/audio codecs [COmpressor / DECompressor] installed on your PC. If you have DivX &/or Xvid installed, chances are video editing / conversion software will use them... the encoding dialog boxes & settings available will be identical because no matter the program you’re using, these are part of the installed codec & remain the same. Encoding DivX/Xvid video you hope will be Fuze compatible, **using the same installed codecs**, isn’t likely to produce different results using 5 or 10 or 20 different programs.

BUT, some video programs also come with their own codecs, that you can only use inside the program. Some, usually older software includes (usually older) versions of DivX, though these programs also, usually & unfortunately greatly limit what changes you can make to the DivX encoding settings. The old ATI MMC comes to mind. As DivX & Xvid have improved & evolved, they’ve added features to make the video look better. It’s very possible, even likely that rather than Sansa adding some kind of special flag or requirement to video making it Fuze compatible, the Fuze’s decoding electronics are instead (for lack of a better word) Dumb. The Fuze simply may not be able to cope with anywhere near current DivX/Xvid features, even if they’re turned off, because the video for example has a flag or something the Fuze simply can’t understand. IF someone wanted to spend the time & effort, there’s a good chance then that they might come up with an existing, older program that can produce Fuze compatible video. [Note: SMC adds a second file with the thumbnail picture displayed in the Fuze menu]

A more practical solution, in my opinion anyway, is to convert SMC to a Portable App as detailed in another post. That pretty much eliminates the damage it can do to your Windows install, providing a solution that can be used hopefully for some years to come since SMC is old code, unlikely to be updated... they couldn’t bother to even update the help file to reflect this latest version. As it is Vista is on the verge of being replaced as Microsoft’s mainstream OS, and the program window’s display is still not compatible, & I’d guess the Fuze is end-of-life judging from the number of stores selling remans. – when a manufacturer no longer needs reman stock for anticipated warranty claims, they’ll often flood the market.

As with any of these small portables, if you’re really concerned about video quality, & yes a lot of people do consider video on a <2" screen watchable, do all of your pre-conversion work elsewhere than SMC. As an example, I put “Big Buck Bunny” [] on the Fuze I borrowed for a few hours. After downloading a 854x480 version I used AviSynth to resize & import it into VirtualDub. The script for AviSynth was simply:
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DirectShowSource("C:\My Download Files\big_buck_bunny_480p_stereo.avi")
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In VirtualDub I added the Resize filter for letterboxing – that’s why I used 126 instead of the Fuze’s 176 height – cut the frame rate from 24 to 20 fps [another Fuze requirement], and saved the video using a motion jpeg codec (mjpeg), which has far less compression than most. The audio was stereo wav, & I left it that way. This imported into SMC portable, which did the conversion and stuck it on the Fuze. Compared to the same video produced by SMC importing & converting the downloaded file directly, there was a small but definite increase in quality.
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