PSP Accessories

I’ve had a PSP for a week or so now, and am somewhat surprised at how quickly it integrated into my synching/media workflows- especially on the Mac platform (which hasn’t always benefitted from Sony’s proprietary media handling and PC bias). However, it certainly wasn’t turnkey out of the box. Although I do love the PSP games (Lumines, Untold Legends and Wipeout:Pure being my faves), the media capabilities of the PSP are what I really get excited about. I do lots of side work on video clips (compositing/fx/motion graphics) and being able to tote around proofs/comps of work in progress is priceless. Christian Cantrell had asked me what accessories I’d consider must-haves, so here’s a rundown of what I’d recommend for first-time PSP users (bias towards Macs as that’s what I use the most, of course):

  • At least one larger Memory Stick Duo- recommend at least a 512 or 1gb stick if you carry a lot of video, pictures and MP3s.
  • A good case (the soft sleeve that comes stock isn’t much protection), the Logitech PlayGear Pocket is a great combo cover/flip stand/glare shield. Don’t get the Intec Aluminum case- it looks really cool but is poorly-dimensioned to hold the unit right and keep it safe. Pretty poor construction, actually.
  • For Macs: Nullriver Software’s PSPWare– converts movie clips to PSP/MP4 format intuitively and allows slick synching of selected playlists/albums in iTunes and iPhoto. Indispensible, a must have.
  • For PCs: PSP Video 9 (how did they get to v9 so quickly?)- converts movie clips to PSP format very well (you’re on your own for photos/music, though).
  • XLink Kai, a great global network gaming bridge. Only supported on Macs with an Airport Extreme card (much wider support for PC-based wireless cards), and well worth the effort to hook up and configure. Otherwise you can only play PSP games with people close to you in meatspace- this basically opens up the floodgates to anyone anywhere (and supports PS2, XBox and GameCubes too!).

Hope these recommendations help if you’re just thinking about diving into the wonderful world of PSPs afresh. My gamertag/nick on both XLink KAI and XBox Live is ‘ihatei’, so drop me a note if/when you’re online and wanna play…

23 Responses to PSP Accessories

  1. PaulC says:

    A word of warning, Sony’s Image Converter2 software is absolute garbage. Video output options are extremely limited, and EVERYTHING gets the 320 X 240 treatment, even if the source was widescreen. (e.g. Ripped from a DVD.) If you need to resize images, save yourself $20 and download Picasa.

  2. Scott Fegette says:

    100% agreed, Paul- my personal experience with Sony’s accessory software has always been incredibly poor (and for the most part PC-only- which as a staunch X-platform user I find totally unacceptable), I’ve had far better luck with third-party solutions. Which is pretty pathetic, given the relative coolness of Sony’s hardware… ;-)Video is my key concern, though (hence my Mac/PC recommendations above- PSPWare and PSP Video 9)- as it’s reasonably easy to transfer image and sound files as .JPGs/.MP3s (I use a Fireworks batch script that rips out image conversions/downsamplings beautifully, and MP3s are fine as-is if originally encoded at the correct bit rates). PSPWare makes it even easier for Mac users- you just ‘syndicate’ selected playlists in iTunes and albums in iPhoto, it handles the rest. Beautiful- and the way it should be IMHO. Sure wish there was a correlary on PCs.However, PSP video files are not exactly ‘stock’ MP4s- they take a separate .THM file (thumbnail image) in the same directory to drive the PSP’s list views, and include some extra metadata in the MP4 file’s header (looking for exact details on this now- any pointers?). Vanilla MP4 videos out of Compressor/Quicktime/After Effects/Premiere Pro/Final Cut Pro didn’t work for me, even at the correct 4:3/16:9 settings – which is highly annoying. Instead of ripping out a low-res comp at small file sizes from my editing/compositing apps, I found I have to rip it first uncompressed and then downconvert to PSP/MP4 for the best quality (otherwise you compress it twice- and the PSP can be rather harsh with overcompressed video). Again- PSPware is the clear winner here- drag-and-drop conversion and synching that is pretty bulletproof. As long as Quicktime can read the original file, PSPWare can convert it without issue. You can even specify 4:3/16:9 aspect ratios during the conversion.Anyway, that’s been my experience. I do detest Sony’s stock software, but it’s been hard to find much fault with the hardware so far…

  3. Jake says:

    Yeah, I’m totally impressed at the amazing things that have been created by hackers and tinkerers. Wow.I’m loving my PSP and each day brings yet another thing I’m digging.

  4. Scott Fegette says:

    Agreed, Jake- each day seems to get better than the last. The hackability is really amazing with these things. Have you tried the RSS/browsing hack with the Wipeout:Pure game? Pretty sick (although I can only really use that productively at home due to the heavy wireless security here in the MM office).I’m just now getting a really solid video workflow together (added some scripts for After Effects to autocrop/resize/re-render downloaded/processed source files w/less compression artifacts), and finding the PSP more handy than even my iPod. However, a 1GB memory stick (at least) is a necessity as I progress- wish they were cheaper… ;-)

  5. Steven says:

    Scott,Not sure if you are still monitoring this thread or not..I found your post very informative. I am a rep for a CGI ,retouching, commercial photo studio in the Detroit area, and a mac user also. I am looking for a player to carry video samples and still samples to my clients. Many people in my business have been jumping on the ipod wagon, but the size and quality of the video puts me do you still like your PSP? is it still working out for you? also I found this case and thought I would pass it along for your thoughts.. it might be a nice presentation case for clients and others working on a project. Steve

  6. Hi, Steven-Yep, I do keep an eye on all comments- glad you found the post helpful! I own both the PSP and a 60gb video iPod, and am glad to share my thoughts on both in relation.I actually use both video devices for slightly different purposes these days- the iPod is surprisingly effective (screen is very bright and crisp for it’s size, and it can hold a TON of footage), but for overall image quality I lean on the PSP (which has a less bright and slightly more soft screen but with MUCH more real-estate- at the expense of storage media).For client work/meetings, I usually carry a copy of *everything* on the video iPod- but the critical comps get copied to the PSP as well, where they can be looked at with a bit more clarity. In general however, both devices have been VERY effective at getting a point across whenever needed. ;-)At home, I keep my own DVD rips, test comps/renders, DVR recordings and footage archive on a media server in both full-size/original format for watching on the big living room screen, and in MP4 format for the mobile devices (as opposed to H.264- which is currently only supported on the PSP). General workflow is iPod for archiving/storage/occasional viewing, PSP for whatever I need the most quality on, that particular day.(Before you ask about the daunting task of converting all this media to the intermediate/mobile formats, I’ll simply say that ffmpeg is the greatest command-line utility ever- a combo of shell scripting and ffmpeg can churn thru just about anything you’ve got, granted the processor time.) ;-)Hope that’s a bit helpful, if not rambly?BTW- I watched a movie with a friends Theater Experience case recently and it was pretty nice! The case itself is a bit physically large for me, though- so I alternate between the Logitech Playgear Pocket and a custom-made titanium low-profile case for my PSP these days.

  7. (almost forgot)… for actual client *meetings*, I’ve been using my Altec Lansing InMotion speakers as the portable solution – nice dock for the iPod, and the PSP can also connect to it via 1/8″ TRS jumper cable. Easier to sell the shot with clear audio, most definitely. ;-)

  8. steve says:

    Scott,Thanks so much for getting back to me so soon!your post was very helpful..I am leaning towards the PSP right now..although a bit large for the pocket it is smaller than carrying my G4! not as intimidating also to busy art directors who only have a couple minutes to spare, and would be nice at a restaurant table for client lunches..I am also looking into the creative zen vision..none around me that I can look at however, so it makes it difficult to compare quality of the image..the ipod is the handiest(is that a word?.. lol ) but it is sooo small! I am surprised they didn’t make the whole thing a screen on one side..I’ll let my CGI techs worry about getting the spots on to what ever I get lol, I know just enough to get me into trouble! Thanks again Scott..Steve

  9. HHCory says:

    about to buy the PSP one question though is there a way to convert the Usb on the Psp to a AV out to play it on a TV.

  10. HHCory – sorry, I’m not aware of a way to get a video out from a PSP at this time, even using the USB port.

  11. HHCory says:

    Because there is a converter that will convert av to usb. I was just wondering if someone had tried that or not. I know it will work sending from a camera to a pc, and from pc to tv. that would be interesting to find out.

  12. Sorry- those types of ‘converters’ (actually, they’re usually just projectors) require a device that has the ability to send video over USB, which the PSP does not. My opinion- it’s never gonna happen. The upcoming Playstation 3 is rumored to have DVR functionality as either a stock or ‘add-in’ feature – and connect/share content easily with the PSP- so I’d bet my farm that Sony would rather you either use the PS3 to store/manage/move videos to your PSP or the Location Free player that’s included in the PSP (current firmware) to ‘placeshift’ your PS3-based videos.Personally- I don’t see the PSP ever supporting video out, and given the resolution it would be able to project at (same as the video iPod, which I also own and does support vid-out), I wouldn’t really care if it did- as it’s a very substandard picture when blown up. PSP/iPod/etc. are best for mobile copies of my full-rez programs back home, IMHO.(But that’s just me… ;-)

  13. Timothy says:

    I just happened to stumble on to your page and decided to add my 2 cents in. I see that the post are over a month old but you might still be able to use the information. The are several devices that allow you to veiw your PSP on the TV. Click on the picture above and it will direct you toward the site. There are 2 types. One is a device that you place over the screen of your PSP and it scans it(this has a slow delay effect on the screen). The Second is an actual modification to the PSP but is a lot clearer. Both however would not be advised for viewing movies off of Memory(It dosent look DVD quality even with a UMD Movie.) Here is the Link also..

  14. Hi, Timothy- indeed, this is a year-old post (and I’ve done LOT with my PSP since then)! I’ve used the optical adaptors myself, and really was not impressed by the quality at all. Rather horrible, in fact, when compared to the video out of my video iPod using the *same MP4 movie I watched on the PSP*. No contest.The real problem here is that (at least so far) there are no ‘official’ ways to do this as it would require the firmware be changed to send video out the USB port to do this effectively. Now as it’s only USB 1.1 I would then have concerns as to quality/frame rate (USB 2 is more capable, of course), but there are rumblings that upcoming firmware updates in timing with the Playstation 3’s release will allow some form of video out- but the more solid rumors suggest that the PS3 would actually act as a DVR/video storage device and only push videos OUT to the PSP, not the other way around.We shall see of course, but at least for right now the PSP is still my favorite PMP device (also use the afore-mentioned video iPod and a iRiver U10). It may not last with the new wave of PMPs, however… ;-)

  15. tbone7467 says:

    Do you think that a firmware upgrade could enable Video out through USB? if so how come no one has asked the home brew community to try this? they seem to be doing some great things. I am interested in getting a IPOD or PSP an would prefer the PSP but what video out so I can plug it into TV or even mobile video systems. This would allow passengers to be comfortable in their own seats instead of huddled around the PSP’s screen.

  16. Hey, T-Bone-Perhaps, although I’m not as familiar with the PSP’s hardware API so it really depends. One limitation I could predict immediately is that (IIRC) the PSP supports USB 1, whereas I’d see USB 2 having much faster transfer rates for live video. That being said, it’s rumored that a webcam for the PSP is on the horizon- which I’d assume will connect via USB. The real key is how much resolution it’ll support.Having used the iPod quite a bit as well, the 320×240 resolution is pretty blocky/banded on my home TV. I’d consider it a better solution for solo watching than ‘projected’ uses along with the PSP. The viliv PMPs support higher-resolution playback, however – and also have video out – so you may want to look into one of those: I’m skipping ’em as I prefer the gaming on the PSP and the codec support on the vilivs has also been reportedly very finicky.)HTH!

  17. DamTran says:

    I need software Sony PSP Image converter2, Thank!

  18. LangTu says:

    I need Sony PSP Image converter2Thank!

  19. sky says:

    PSP Movie Creator also acts as a powerful PSP video management tool. It has very nice features designed for dummies. You can use it to maintain your video library, capture video thumbnails, change video title, etc.

  20. PSP Movie Download says:

    A word of warning, Sony’s Image Converter2 software is absolute garbage. Video output options suck.

  21. kelvin says:

    if u convert your videos using an mp4 converter,what should you do to be able to play it on ur psp?do you put it in a specail folder?if yes,what folder,it’s name.what should be done to play movies and mp3s too.

  22. Create the following directory structure on your PSP (mount the memory stick on your desktop):/MP_ROOT/100MNV01/Then, place your MP4 movie files in the 100MNV01 directory, using the following naming convention:M4Vxxxxx.MP4xxxxx being any 5 digits, for example M4V00001.MP4.That’s all it takes to place your converted MP4 files on your PSP.