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Last week I mentioned that you can use TCPMP on Windows Mobile Smartphones and Pocket PCs to view H.264 encoded MP4s. I glossed over a few details, so here’s a quick guide for getting everything running.

What You Need:

  • TCPMP: download the latest version for Pocket PC or Smartphone (currently 0.72RC1)- Link
  • H.264 ffmpeg plugin: under “additional plugins” – Link
  • AAC plugin: grab the Windows Mobile download under the “BetaPlayer AAC plugin” heading – Link

You’ll also need your Smartphone or Pocket PC, a PC with ActiveSync, and enough space on the device (or SDCard) for storing the video you want to watch.

Install the Files:
The TCPMP download is a CAB file. You can either drop this on an SDCard in the device or copy it to the device with ActiveSync. Once it’s there, use the file explorer on the device to find the CAB and execute it to begin the install.

After you’ve installed TCPMP, you’ll need to also install the H.264 and AAC codecs so that you can view and hear videos encoded for the iPod. Both of these plugins are downloaded as a ZIP file. Inside you’ll find EXE and CAB installers for the Smartphone and Pocket PC Windows Mobile platforms. You can install the CAB files just like you did with TCPMP, or you can execute the EXE installer on your synced PC and ActiveSync will take care of moving it to the device for you.

Transfer and Play Videos on the Device
The fastest way to get large video files to your device is just to drop them on a large SD or MiniSD card and insert it into your device. I did this with a few MP4s I had lying around from MAKE podcasts and Google Video downloads.

You’ll find the TCPMP/Core icon in your Start Menu. After executing, you can choose “File->Open” to browse and select an MP4 file to play. There are some settings under options to adjust the video buffer and playback settings. You’ll have to experiment to see what works best for your device.

On my test Smartphone, the MP4 video playback is pretty poor, but it does work. The audio doesn’t skip, but there are a bunch of dropped video frames during playback. From what I can tell, the device just doesn’t have the CPU muscle to decode the video fast enough without hardware acceleration. I have a feeling the Pocket PC hardware might be more up to the task. Please leave a comment if you can confirm this.