iphone-video-camera.jpgNow that iPhones and video iPods have become so popular, you may be wondering how you can convert your videos to work on these devices. Luckily, several developers have created easy-to-use, often free, programs that make video playback and conversion as simple as a click.

If you already have a video that you want to convert for your iPod/iPhone, then the free iSquint is just what the doctor ordered. iSquint is a video conversion app for Mac OS X that’s many times faster than QuickTime Pro, works with almost all popular video formats, and is also really easy to use. You just drag in your file, choose “TV” or “iPod” size, set your quality, and then click start.

If you want to be able to convert just about any video to any format, the same developer makes an inexpensive program called VisualHub. The nice thing about this software is that it has preset choices for the iPod, TiVo or web sites that remove all of the technical complexities of video conversion while still allowing you to tweak the settings manually if you prefer.

But what if you just want to play a particular video in iTunes or QuickTime? In that case, a video codec for the particular format must be installed. To cover most of the bases, make sure you’ve installed the two most important video codecs that Apple does not include: Perian and Flip4Mac.

Perian, while not a video codec by itself, installs a preference pane which contains most current video codecs that Apple doesn’t license and many older and lesser used video codecs. Flip4mac installs the Macintosh versions of the Windows Media codecs. Unfortunately, if the video is using a DRM-protected version of Windows Media, you won’t be able to play it in on your Mac until Microsoft allows it.

If you’ve found a stubborn video file that still won’t play, and you’re sure it isn’t a DRM protected Windows Media file, don’t give up yet. The free VLC Player can play just about any video file.

How about the DVD that you’d like to watch on the plane without taking the disk? If it’s a Disney DVD or other commercial studio DVD, it is probably encoded with Macrovision, and the free MacTheRipper will allow you to copy the DVD to your hard drive without the Macrovision or region code for your private, non-commercial use only.

If you’d like to convert that decoded DVD you just saved for your iPod or iPhone, then the free HandBrake program is fast and easy. Even better, if the DVD isn’t Macrovision encoded, you can just run HandBrake.

With these tools, you should be able to watch just about any DVD or video on your Mac, iPod, or iPhone. Don’t forget to thank or donate to the hard working developers who made this possible, and enjoy your videos!