Getting Your Mobile Videos Onto Your Phone - Get Ready for the Pocketcine Contest!

January 30, 2007 6:38 pm

This tutorial describes the different ways of getting mobile videos onto your phone. It may seem odd to work backways in this series on creating video for mobile phone playback, but it is a good idea to solve this problem now, rather than when you are up against a deadline and wondering how to test your mobile video on a cell phone. Of course you have to have a video enabled cell phone. But even if your phone does play video, you need extra software and hardware to get your own content on the phone, rather than the content offered by your cell phone provider. If your phone did not come with an iPod like downloading cable or it does not have Bluetooth, you may be puzzled by their phone's closed architecture. How do you test your finished short on the phone? In North America and other countries manybut not all--major carriers do not allow you to add content to your phone. The carriers preventing access to your phone require you to purchase content from a selection offered on their menu system, called "the deck." Fortunately for people who want to experiment with mobile media, there are carriers who do allow you to upload your own content to the phone. Let's explore the different ways of getting mobile videos onto the phone. Write an Application for the Phone The hard way to distribute video to cell phones is to write an application (like a J2ME midlet) that fetches your video from a server and plays it within an application you upload to your phone. This would be useful if the video was part of an interactive presentation or story. In the case of entertainment videos, meant to fill in a spare moment while you are roaming away from home, all you want to do is hit the play button and turn up the volume. Besides, an application is more complicated to install and run on a phone than playing through a built-in video player. That erects a barrier to its widespread deployment. Hacking Your Phone One result of the "walled garden" approach used by many carriers in North America is that they have created a hacker culture on the web, dedicated to freeing their phones from such limitations. One of the main sites is, a massive knowledge base on uploading and downloading content to closed architecture phones over USB cables. However, the legality of breaking into your own phone with hacker software and a cable and a knowledge of the codes to use to add content to it has not been tested. Assuming your carrier does permit adding content to your phone, here are the main options. Other Options Cable: If your phone came with a USB cable, or you can acquire one for it, you can upload content to the phone through the USB port of your computer. Do a web search, using your phone's brand and model and "phone cable." Usually the cable will come with software that works a lot like the type of software you might already be using to transfer files between computers using flash memory. Bluetooth: Bluetooth is an over the air transmission standard, allowing you to transfer content to and from your phone wirelessly. It requires a Bluetooth transmitter, usually attached to your computer's USB port. Inexpensive Bluetooth transmitters can be purchased on Ebay. Your phone has to be Bluetooth enabled. Even though your phone may have Bluetooth capability, check to make sure your carrier actually allows you to transfer files to and from your phone using it. Some carriers only allow you to use Bluetooth to attach such peripherals as wireless headphones. This approach requres enabling Bluetooth on your computer. Mobile Flash Card: Newer phones support mobile flash cards that come with a USB enclosure/ reader. Your phone may have software installed that organizes and streamlines the process of adding and deleting files on your phone. Or your phones flash card may appear as a volume on your computer. You can then simply drag and drop video files on your phones memory card. Infrared: Requires infrared on your PC and phone. It works similarly to Bluetooth. Email media from your phone to your PC. You can attach a media file to an email message and then send it to your phone using the email address format recommended by your carrier, usually your phone number @ the carrier mail address, for example: You then save the file to the folder on your phone containing videos. MMS (Multimedia Message Service): provided by your carrier, this allows you to send media rich messages to another phone with just a few clicks of the button. Although this has been hyped a lot by carriers, all kinds of glitches make this approach hazardous to your patience. Some phones limit the size of media files, making it impractical for everything but video clips only seconds long. In any event, it is meant for phone-to-phone communications, not PC to phone communications. Download from a WAP site using your phone's web browser. This uses a special web protocol for cell phones. Pocketcine provides a way for you to transfer data from your computer to your phone (or potentially other people's phones) using WAP. Our Phone Uploader service is free, although you will incur data charges with your carrier. We downloaded a 500kb movie to our phone for $0.15 cents. You send the image, sound, application (midlet) or video to our server and then use your phone's browser to download the media file to your phone. You will find the Phone Downloader on the Pocketcine site ( In the next tutorial in this series well describe the different ways to format your video so that it plays back properly on the phone. If you missed last week's article, please check it out here: Pocketcine Mobile Video Contest - The Short Guide to Creating Mobile Video

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(January 30, 2007)

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