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The iPad is a great device for playing audio and video files, but it can't play every audio and video file that you throw at it. In this movie, we'll look at how to prepare media files for playback on your iPad. We'll start with audio files. The iPad can play all audio files that are compatible with iTunes. So you can find out what those are by going to iTunes > Preferences, clicking the Import Settings, and clicking the Import Using menu. You see that it supports AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, MP3, and WAV Encoder.
Now, the majority of audio files that you will encounter are in one of these formats, but if you're using a Windows PC, you might see some older WMA files. And on the Internet, it's possible to find audio files in the Ogg and FLAC formats. Normally, when discussing Windows and the Mac, you have to find different software solutions when you're talking about converting audio and video. In this case, you don't need to for audio because the free Switch Audio Converter from NCH software is available in versions for both Mac and Windows.
Here's the web site. It's an Australian site, and this application switch is free for both platforms. So let's see how it works. Okay, so let's launch Switch. There it is, and here's our window for converting files. So I have got some Ogg files and some FLAC files here that I'd like to convert. I will grab an Ogg file and a FLAC file, drag them into the window, and here they are, ready to be converted.
You have a number of output options here. You notice that I've chosen .m4a. This is the AAC format that iTunes likes. If you choose AAC instead, these files will not be compatible with iTunes. So instead, choose .m4a if you want an AAC file, or you can always choose an MP3 file. Stick with that. Look at our Encoder options. Average Bitrate at 256 kilobits per second is good. This is the same format that they use at the iTunes store. So I like that. I will click OK to confirm that.
Right now, we have our output set for the Desktop, which is a good place because we can actually see it happen, select our files, and click Convert. All right! We will remove this window, so we can see what's going on, expose iTunes, select our two files that are now AAC files, bring them into iTunes, and sure enough, they're copied. And here they are, ready to be synced to the iPad.
Now before we leave converting audio formats, I should also mention that the Windows version of iTunes will convert unprotected WMA files, meaning those that don't have any kind of copy protection applied to them. Just drag your WMA files into iTunes's main window and the files will be encoded using iTunes currently selected encoder, and again you find that setting up in Preferences and in Import Settings. Now, let's talk about video.
Video both is and isn't trickier. It is because you could load movies into iTunes that play perfectly well, but when you try to sync them to your iPad you're told that they're not compatible, and the reason that some of them aren't is not because of their file format-- rather, it's because they're likely a too high a resolution and/or a bitrate. Fortunately, iTunes can fix that for you. So let's find a movie, and we've got this terrific movie here. Very high resolution, great-looking movie, but I would not be able to sync this movie to my iPad because it's not in the right format.
This is a QuickTime movie that uses the .mov file extension. So what we're going to do instead is we will select that movie. I will then go to the Advanced setting, and I choose Create iPad or Apple TV Version. I select that and then iTunes will go about converting the movie. You can see the Converting command down here, and then you can watch the progress of this as it converts the movie.
Okay, now our movie is converted. So we go back to Movies, and now we have two versions of the movie, so which is which? Well, to find out, we select one, go to the File menu, and choose Get Info, and we see this is the QuickTime movie right here, QuickTime movie file. You see the same entry in the Windows version of the program. Select the other one, File > Get Info, and here we have the MPEG-4 video file format, and this is the version that will sync with your iPad.
Your face one additional problem here. If you select your iPad, go to Movies, you'll see that both versions are available to you. Well, which one do you sync? Unless you rename one of them, you're going to end up with a problem. So, in this case let's rename this one Travel Podcast iPad. Of course the other option you have is if you don't want to look at the thing in iTunes, you can always take the original QuickTime version and delete it, and then you're not going to have that problem.
Okay, but what about those movies that aren't compatible with iTunes at all? There is a solution for that as well, and that solution is the free HandBrake, which you can get at handbrake.fr. Like Switch, HandBrake comes in versions for both the Mac and Windows, and I'll show you how it works on the Mac. So I am going to launch HandBrake, and it pops open, and it's going to ask me for the movie that I'd like to convert. I have a .AVI file on the desktop, and there is my daughter.
I will click Open and HandBrake loads the movie. Off to the right we see the presets. If you don't see them, just click the Toggle Presets button and you'll see you have a number of presets here. In this case, we're going to choose iPad because that's the device we'll encode for. And all you have to do at this point is click Start. You can watch the progress bar at the bottom of the window, and this isn't going to take very long. We will click OK.
I'll minimize that window. And here is our converted file on the Desktop. Move over to iTunes, grab the file, drag it into iTunes, and here's my file. I can even play the movie within iTunes if I like. (video playing) Isn't she looked cutest thing? Yes, she is. Okay, that's her proud father speaking. So we will close that, and now at this point, I can go to my iPad, Movies.
You see that I now have the option to sync that movie to my iPad if I like to. So with these tools and the built-in talents of iTunes, you should have very little difficulty getting just about any audio or video file you want onto your iPad.
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