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Easy export options format your guilty TV pleasures for an iPod.
If you want to watch video on an iPod, an iPhone, the Web, and even on a PlayStation Portable (PSP), you need to reformat it several times, and this is where Popcorn comes in. Popcorn specializes in DVD copying and recompression, and it’s a great tool for exporting video files for many situations. Pros will want a more powerful compression tool for mastering videos, though.
Popcorn feels like an offshoot of Roxio’s Toast disc-burning software, which in some respects, it is. Popcorn imports nearly any video format and can burn those files to a movie DVD. It also copies and recompresses video DVDs, including iDVD masters. But because of the ins and outs of copy protection, Popcorn doesn’t directly burn backups of commercially made DVDs. Should you have a DVD movie without copy protection, Popcorn will recompress its 9GB size into a still-crisp 4.7GB DVD. It even gives you options to export that DVD file for an iPod, Apple TV, Xbox 360, and other common devices. Or you can send your own iMovies, clips, and other source files to a movie DVD or reformat them for a portable device.
While Popcorn is best in a few specific situations, we ran into too many limits. We wanted to quickly trim commercials from video files, but Popcorn doesn’t allow any edits. (Seems like a natural fit with the included TiVo Transfer utility, which works with TiVoToGo-compatible DVRs.) Popcorn can process several videos in a batch, but it can’t export different formats within that group. Slick iPod chapter markers make iPod-formatted videos easy to fast-forward or resume, but users can’t designate the marker points. (Chapters are only added at regular intervals.)
The bottom line. Popcorn works well for basic video compression for a DVD, iPod, or other portable device, but it tastes more like a snack than a meal.
REQUIREMENTS: G4 or later or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.4.10 or later, up to 15GB of temporary buffer space
Exports video to many preconfigured device formats. Batch export runs several tasks in succession. Optional Turbo.264 accelerator ($100) greatly speeds processing. Compresses dual-layer movie DVDs into single-layer discs.
Doesn’t work with copy-protected movies. No simple editing option. Cropping not possible.