* Note: this tutorial is out of date *
This tutorial describes the basics of how to convert videos for your PlayStation Portable. Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll update it with more information.

A PlayStation Portable with firmware 2.0 or later.

SUPER. I’ve tried many video converters for making PSP videos and SUPER (which is free) is the one that produces the best quality videos and works better than many programs that you have to pay for.

You also need a video you want to convert. Preferably DivX or XviD avi file. You can also convert vob files that you’ve ripped from a DVD, but if you just convert it straight up you’ll end up with too low sound volume and other issues. I’ll cover DVD ripping and sound normalization in another tutorial.

A photo editing program is also nice to have, but not necessary.

Start by checking the aspect ratio of your video. You need to know this to be able to choose the correct size for the PSP video. The Aspect ratio is the how wide the video is compared to how high it is. A full-screen video has an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 1.33:1 and a regular wide-screen video has an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 1.78:1, but it may vary.

Look up the dimensions of the video in your media player or in explorer in Windows.

Look up the dimensions

Calculate the aspect ratio by dividing the width with the height. If the resulting number is about 1.33 it’s full-screen and if it’s close to 1.78 it’s wide-screen. For example, the dimensions 640×480 have the aspect ratio 4:3 (1.33).

full-screen wide-screen letter-box

Aspect ratio PSP video size
4:3 full-screen 320×240
16:9 wide-screen 368×208
4:3 letter-box 320×240

If you want to get rid of the black borders in letter-boxed videos you have to crop the video. This is currently not possible when making a H.264/AVC video in SUPER so you’ll have to pre-process the video in AviSynth or VirtualDub before converting it with SUPER (I won’t go into that here).

There’s a trick you can use if you want your video to have a “pretty” name the video menu on your PSP. You can’t edit the name SUPER writes in the video description, but you can trick it to write what you want.

This is how: Rename your original video file to the name you want to be displayed. For example, if you have a video called “Ai Otsuka - Happy days.avi” but you want the displayed name to be “Ai Otsuka ~ Happy Days PV” you rename the file from “Ai Otsuka - Happy days.avi” to “Ai Otsuka ~ Happy Days PV”. You’ll get a warning about changing the file extension, but don’t worry about it. You can change the file name back later.

This looks like a lot of steps, but most values are the default values and SUPER will remember your settings for the next time you use it.

Start SUPER.

Settings

Settings:

  1. Select output container - Sony PSP
  2. Select output video codec - H.264/AVC
  3. Select output audio codec - AAC (this should be the only value available)
  4. Do not use Direct Show. You can try it if you want, but I prefer not to use it.
  5. Select video scale size - This is where you use the size from the previous section. Set it to either 320×240 or 368×208. It will automatically fill in the aspect ratio.
  6. Select bit rate - I use 384 kbps for lives and music videos with earthy tones. Use a higher value like 672 if your video has very bright colours and much motion. Basically if you’re not happy with the quality at the lower bit rate, use a higher value.
  7. Check the “High quality” option.
  8. Set H264 profile to “Main” level “2.1″. I’ve read somewhere that PSP 2.80 only can play videos with that profile or lower if you play them from the Video folder, but I haven’t confirmed it.
  9. Under “other options” - Don’t check anything.
  10. Set audio bit rate - 64 kbps is good.
  11. Audio stream track - default
  12. Under “Other opts” - Don’t check anything (see “The thumbnail” below).

H264 profile

Drag and drop your video to the area that says “Drop a valid multimedia file here”. The file appears in the list. Click the “Encode” button and SUPER starts working. This can take a few minutes depending on how fast your computer is and how long your video is.

Encode

When the video has been converted SUPER will open the folder where it saved the video. This is by default a subfolder to the folder where you installed SUPER.

SUPER automatically gives your converted file a valid name, for example MAQ00001.mp4. If you want to change the file name you may only change the numbers or it won’t play on the PSP.

The thumbnail is the image that is shown next to the video in the menu on your PSP. The THM file is just a jpg image that is 160px wide and 120px high. If you let SUPER generate a thumbnail for you (the setting is under “Other opts”) you’ll end up with a stretched thumbnail if your video is wide-screen. I prefer to add black letter-box borders to the image to avoid stretching it. This can be done in just about any photo editing program. Take a screen shot of your video. In Photoshop you just resize the image to 160px wide (height should be 90px if it’s wide-screen) and then change the height of the canvas (filling it with black) to 120px. After that, all you have to do is save the image as jpg and rename it to the same name as your video file, but with the extension THM. For example, if your video file is called MAQ00001.mp4 you should rename the thumbnail to MAQ00001.THM.

To play the video, copy the video and the thumbnail file to a folder called \MP_ROOT\1XXANV01 (where X is a digit). For example, if your memory stick shows up as drive M on your computer the path where you should put the files is M:\MP_ROOT\100ANV01.

You can find more details about the folders in my tutorial for playing the videos I’ve uploaded to this site.