The Optoma PICO Projector is the smallest projector I have ever seen. It’s about the size of an iphone but three times thicker. It’s an amazing piece of kit. However, in my opinion, Optoma (who are generally a fab company for its good quality projectors) have let themselves down in terms of the instructions that come with this neat little gadget. In fact, I found the instructions next to useless telling – especially the section on how to transfer video files over to your Optoma Pico Projector. Their instructions gave me a headache and I spent around a total of 40 hours on the net (in parts, of course) only to find that a) LOADS of people were experiencing the same problem b) THEY SAID Optoma were terrible with their support and advice and c) NO ONE on the net had a good enough solution. So, after hours of playing around (and getting myself into a right state), I finally found a way. I am sharing this with you because I do not wish for you to get an Optoma-induced headache. I want you to have a good relationship with your new gadget.
INSTALLING THE SOFTWARE
There are four software programs to download and install. DON’T BE AFRAID – this is much easier than it sounds. Once installed, everything is a breeze. In fact, installing all four products is a breeze too and ONLY NEEDS TO BE DONE THE ONCE.
- First of all, click ‘My Computer’ and select ‘properties’ and under ‘system type’ look to determine which type of windows you have installed – 32 bit is most common but some (especially laptops) can have 64 bit version installed.
- Install DVD 43 (there is only one version which supports both 32 and 64 bit windows). Restart computer
- Install VLC ( select the right type – 32 bit or 64 bit version). Restart computer
- Install Handbrake software (to copy the video files) – ( select the right type – 32 bit or 64 bit version).
- Now install the final program – DVD fab. Go to DVD Fab: http://www.dvdfab.com/ . Click Products > DVDFab HD Decrypter. Click on the download file and install it. This will install a whole family of DVDFab software products (all of which are safe) – please don’t be put off by this.
There are two steps to transferring a DVD over to the Optoma Pico Projector. I will describe the process for both models PK201 and PK301 models.
- First COPY THE DVD FILES OVER TO YOUR HARD DRIVE to your computer as VOB files – don’t worry if you don’t know what this means (use DVDFab software)
- Then CONVERT THOSE FILES to the type that works with the Optoma Projector – I tend to use mp4 files (use Handbrake software).
STEP 1: COPYING DVD TO HARD DRIVE (using DVD Fab)
- Double click the DVDFab logo to open it.
- Then click ‘Start DVD Fab’ button at the bottom right. This will open a new window.
- Now click on ‘DVD Copy’ and then select ‘Main Movie’.
- Select your DVD from the ‘Source’ field.
- Set the ‘Target’ field to where you want to store the files on your computer.
- Select DVD-9 for Quality, then click next.
- This will copy the DVD over to your hard drive as something called VOB files. VOB (Video Object) is the container format in DVD-Video media. Files in VOB format have .vob filename extension and are typically stored in the VIDEO_TS folder at the root of a DVD or the place where you have decided to copy your DVDs over to your hard drive.
STEP TWO: CONVERT THE COPIED DVD FILES TO MP4 FORMAT FOR THE OPTOMA PICO PROJECTOR (using Handbrake)
Most DVDs are around 3Gb in size. The problem with the Optoma pico projector (PK201 and PK301) is that the maximum size of a file it can play is 2Gb. So, there are two things you can do.
- The first is to reduce the quality of the picture so that the file overall is smaller in size (i.e. less than 2 Gb) – THIS IS AN OPTION I DO NOT RECOMMEND. So, let’s go for the second.
- The second involves splitting the copied DVD into two MP4 files of roughly equal size. So, if the file is 3Gb in size, each MP4 file will be around 1.5Gb in size – and therefore playable on the Optoma pico projector without a loss in quality. The snag is that you end up with a Film-part one and a Film-part two. But the way I see it, the end of part one serves as an ideal time to take a break for refreshment – an interlude! This is the option that I will cover below.
- Under SOURCE, select OPEN FOLDER
- Navigate to your film and select the VIDEO_TS folder containing your VOB files
- Let handbrake load it into its system (takes around 30 seconds)
- Under the chapters field, select the first half of the chapters (so, for a film with 18 chapters, copy chapters 1à9 in the first copy and 10à18 in the second).
- Set the destination folder
- Set the name of the film e.g DooDah-part1
Then select the ‘Picture’ tab
- Select ‘none’ for Anamorphic.
- Then tick the ‘keep aspect ratio’ box.
Then click on ‘Video’ tab
- Select MPEG4 – not hh264
- Select variable
- Drag QP to 1
Finally, select the ‘Audio’ tab
- Increase audio GAIN to 10db (increases the volume)
- Language is English (or whatever you want)
- Select a subtitle if needs be
- When copying part 2 – don’t forget to add ‘part 2’ or a similar identifier (otherwise part 2 will overwrite part 1!).
- NOW CLICK THE GREEN START BUTTON AT THE TOP
- THEN TRANSFER THE TWO MP4 FILES OVER TO YOUR OPTOMA PICO PROJECTOR (via the cable provided or put the microSD card into an SD adapter and then into your SD slot on the computer)
Native max resolution = 854 x 480; Max resolution input = 1280 x 800
The PK320 can decode an unusually large number of file formats, including
- AVI, MOV, MP4, 3GP, CMB, FLV, WMV, and ASF video; (I use MP4)
- JPEG and BMP still images;
- MP3, AAC, ASF, WMA, FLAC, RA, OGG, and WAV audio;
- PowerPoint, Word, and Excel files (both legacy and XML); and PDF documents.
- You need a class 4 or above SD card because the video will stutter if played from a class 2.
- Internal video player software cannot play variable bit-rate MP4 encodings. It does, however, play constant bit rate, quality, or quantization videos.
- MP4, Level 5, 720x408p (yes, 408 – remember it’s 16×9), 29.97fps, constant quality 13, 128kbps AAC 48khz audio.
- Sometimes you may see the screen splitted (part of top comes into bottom). This is due to resolution, just change the video resolution back. I set mine to 1068×768 or 1280×720.
- File Conversion PDF instruction sheet that Optoma gave me which I thought was a bit rubbish.
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