Converting DVD or VOB files to Palm using Handbrake

Two years ago I picked up a Palm TX for the wife to keep track of contacts and schedule. I went with the TX as it was the ‘Cadillac’ model at the time with all the features. Also, I thought it’d be fun to copy movies to it for the kids to watch in a pinch. Two years on I finally got around to this task.

palm TX PDA

palm TX PDA

palm TX PDA Intel ARM-based processor 312MHz 320 x 480 TFT IrDA Bluetooth WirelessLAN

Unfortunately, I just discovered that the WiFi is broken on the unit. It’s a bummer because that was a fun feature, but not terribly useful as the included browser ‘Blazer’ sucked. The symptoms were strange: everytime I turned on the Wifi radio, the TX would immediately reset. I’m sure it was a software problem so after hard reseting and clearing data a couple times, even with Palm tech support, I gave up. I even tried loading a new ROM from here with no luck.

Back on topic… I keep all the movies I have in their original VOB format off the DVD. That means we can watch them on the TV at the same quality in which they came off the disk, and transcoding for projects like this becomes a bit easier and higher quality. Space wise it’s not a problem now that we have 1.5TB disks…

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 3.5

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 3.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive)

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive)

To start, download and install the Handbrake GUI (it includes the command line tool) from here to your PC.

Then download from here:

…extract the files and install these to your Palm TX

  • tcpmp.prc
  • tcpmp_mp3_plugin.prc
  • tcpmp_mpeg4_plugin.prc

You can install these others, but the free xvid video and mp3 audio codecs above work well enough. I’d recommend these for flexibility as they support the DVD video and audio formats:


After getting the above software installed and collect the VOBs or AVIs of the movies you’d like to transfer, open handbrake and configure these options (click to see the full size image):

Configure the Handbrake main page for the Palm TX
1) Select file
2) Browse for the VOB you’d like to convert
3) Enter an output name with an .avi extension
4) Select the XVID video encoder
5) Select the MP3 audio encoder
6) Set the size to 480×320 the maximum dimensions of the TX display.
7) Optionally de-interlace the video. This is very technical, but if the source is interlaced (likely) and you don’t de-interlace, the output on the TX will look terrible. If the source is not Interlaced, you don’t need this. I don’t think de-interlacing a non-interlaced source will hurt so you may want to always set this.

Then select the video tab (8)

Configure the Handbrake video page for the Palm TX

9) Set the bit rate to 400. This looks reasonably good. You may want to set it higher (5 or 6 hundred) for a higher quality movie.

Click ‘Start’ and wait. One hour of video takes about an hour to transcode on a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo.

Copy the new avi file to the Palm TX via an SD card and enjoy. Be sure to rotate the display and view in ‘full screen’ mode.

Note, for those who prefer the command line, here’s the above settings for the Handbrake command line too:

“c:\Program Files\Handbrake\HandBrakeCLI.exe” -i <SOURCE_FILE> -o <OUTPUT_FILE> -w 480 -l 320 -d -E lame -e xvid

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