Did the latest iPod software update increase the 5G iPod’s video life to over 6 hours? - Macenstein

Did the latest iPod software update increase the 5G iPod’s video life to over 6 hours?

Posted by Helper Monkey

When Apple announced the updated 5.5 generation video iPods, I was a bit jealous. I had just gotten my 60GB 5th generation video iPod a week or two earlier as part of the discount given to educators who buy a Mac and an iPod at the same time. While I did not really need the extra storage of the new 80GB model over my 60GB, I was jealous of the battery life claims, particularly for video playback. Apple’s site claims the new 5.5G video iPod can get 6.5 hours of video playback, where my 5G should only get 4 hours (during the original iTunes 7 event, Steve Jobs for some reason claimed only 2.5 hours of video battery life for the 5G and 3.5 for the new 5.5G models). See this chart from playlistmag.com.

On the same day Apple announced the new iPods, they also announced iTunes 7, and support for “full screen� video playback on both the 5G and 5.5G iPod models, as long as you updated your iPod with some new software. So I downloaded iTunes 7 and installed the latest iPod updater. And I noticed I something interesting.

I now consistently get just over 6 hours of video playback on my 5G iPod after running the update. As a test, I watched the entire 3hr 48 minute Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (credits and all), the 1 hr 29 minute classic Office Space, and the first hour of Sin City before the iPod’s battery finally gave up the ghost. My volume was set at 50%, and the brightness was set to full brightness.

[Disclaimer: These are of course all hypothetical examples, as none of these movies are available for download from the iTunes store at this time, therefore there is NO WAY I could have them on my iPod… but if I DID, they would have all been encoded at the new 640 size limit offered by Compressor and QuickTime Pro.]

So, my question to any of you lucky 5.5G iPod owners is, how long does your new 80GB iPod’s video playback last? Is it even longer than 6.5 hours? Or did the new iPod updater make us all equal, and Apple marketing is just not mentioning that the “old� video iPods now get the same improved amount of video playback? I realize you guys have brighter screens now, so getting the same battery life with increased brightness is still something to crow about, but I am wondering why Apple did not mention this as a feature of the new iPod updater.

24 Responses to “Did the latest iPod software update increase the 5G iPod’s video life to over 6 hours?”
  1. Phil from NYC says:

    Hmm.. I’ll do a test. Can’t say I have ever tried to wear down the iPod from a full charge using just video. It would be cool though (I also have a 5th gen iPod). I would like to think I could make it from New York to LA on a single charge!

  2. Bilbo says:

    Maybe if you ordered it recently, they put in whatever new battery the latest 80Gb ones have?

  3. j. says:

    There is a two-fold approach to better battery life for the 5.5G iPod. First is better power management in the firmware, and second is improved power efficiency in the new generation screen.

    All 5G iPods can take advantage of the improved power management by updating the firmware. It’s been rumored that some of the latest 5Gs that shipped already had the new generation screen installed.

  4. d says:

    My 30gb battery life has double also. 30 minutes of video use to drop the battery 1/3 or more, no it barely dents the batery life!

  5. d says:

    my 30gb has shown improved battery life too

  6. Mat says:

    “6.5 hours of battery life refers to 80GB model and is based on H.264 1.5-Mbps video at 640-by-480 resolution combined with 128-Kbps audio.”
    What codec are your videos in? I think de-coding h.264 may require more battery power? What do you think?

  7. Adam says:

    Yes, I have noticed this too. I have found that the Harddrive caches less and I seem to get a longer lasting battery life. Although I havn’t tested this out with the video capabilities, I can vouch for it on the audio playback.

  8. Dadzilla says:

    The update did put a brightness control on my old 5G ipod, so maybe that is part of the difference.

  9. Matt,

    I have also heard MPG-4 videos, while bulkier, require less horsepower to decode than H.264, so it is possible those might even last longer.

    All my test movies (which again, are ALL hypothetical examples) would have been compressed in Compressor with the default 640 setting at 1100 kbs and the new H.264 640 setting to make the 640 iPod videos.

    I have not tried regular old MPG-4 videos yet. I find the new 640 H.264 to be very nice looking, and would not switch back to MPG-4 unless it gave me something ridiculous like 10 hours of video life.

    Also something to note, if I HAD done this test, I had the screen set to full brightness. I have not tried a lower brightness setting to see how much (if at all) that extends the batttery life even further. Please post here if any of you do!

    -Helper Monkey

  10. juan says:

    yeah i just had my ipod stole, but i got a new refurbished one hope it works. also i got a 5o dollar discount so basically i got a ref. ipod video for 100 bucks, thank you god!!!!

  11. Way Cool Jr. says:

    OK, so assuming this is right, AND assuming the new 80GB iPods also get the same 6-6.5 hours of life as the 5th gens, the only thing different in these new iPods is a brighter screen and a larger drive? (and in the 30 GB, not even a larger drive!)

    Kind of much ado about nothing, and probably why Apple isn’t mentioning the firmware extends the 5G battery life too. TIME magazine wouldn’t have been as inpressed with the updated iPod if they knew it was just brighter.

  12. News Doggy says:

    I couldn’t wait anylonger so I went out the weekend of the announcement of the new 5.5G iPods and got the 80GB Video. Being an iPod noob I am very happy iwth this thing. I think I need a Mac now. Never had one and being a Windows System admin it will probably force a change of career. 🙂

  13. TFS says:

    News Doggy, my Mac conversion started with a 60Gig iPod video. I then got an iBook, and a G4 Mac mini which is now my media center PC, and I’m placing my order for one of the new 24″ iMacs at the end of the week…my day job is still supporting a corporate windows environment though, so no career change yet 😉

    As for the increased battery life, I’ve got a 7 hour flight coming up, so I need to do some testing with a few theoretical movies I think 😉

  14. El Gris says:

    Well, I use Windows with my iPod 5G and I would like to know what is the iPod updater version you used. Is it the iPod Updater 2006-06-28 for Windows or is it for the Mac or any other later updater?

    Thank you and greets from Spain.

  15. d says:

    El Gris,

    Download and install iTunes 7. When you connect the iPod there should be an iPod update to download and install through ITunes 7.

  16. MacWorks says:

    And now that you can adjust the brightness setting of your 5.x screen, you can get even more battery life!

  17. Midge says:

    Hmmm, It might be awhile before I can check this out for myself…

    I ‘upgraded’ to 7.0.1, now iTunes says it cannot sync my iPod because the software on my iPod needs to be updated via the ‘Summary’ page. I go to summary page and it states my iPod is using the most recent version…

  18. Anonymous says:

    As far as i know 5G users don’t have the search function in Music > Search even with the update to firmware version 1.2. Also the LCD is basically the same, it has just brighter LEDs.

    Midge: Copy your ipod_contol folder and everything else to your pc/mac/whatever and restore your iPod. Then copy everything back. Maybe that works.

  19. wal says:

    I bought my 5G in january 2006, and I just did a test playing a 11’39” clip in a continuous loop on full brightness and volume halfway up (no headphones were plugged in though).
    The test movie was a 320×240 MPEG4 file, AAC sound of nearly 75MB. The iPod lasted almost 5hrs.
    Not bad, though I should’ve plugged headphones in, but I ‘m done testing now.

  20. Jim says:

    My converter supports 640×480 H.264 and MPEG4, my battery can only play two and a half hours when playing the 640×480 H.264 video.

    Here’s the converter’s link, in case you’re interested:

  21. Well, I use Windows with my iPod 5G and I would like to know what is the iPod updater version you used. Is it the iPod Updater 2006-06-28 for Windows or is it for the Mac or any other later updater?

  22. Joey Lange says:

    The battery life also has a lot to do with how often the hard drive spins up. My guess is that the 5.5G iPods have more RAM, resulting in more video data read and temporarily stored before it has to spin up the hard drive again.

    5Gs are just lucky, I think that’s a combination between smarter decompression coding, and better power management.

  23. slyvanus says:

    Am having a problem with my ipod.ther is a message on it”DISK MODE with a CORRECT sign and written at the buttom OK TO DISCONNECT.with this the menu is not displacing on it again. So please help me repair my ipod

  24. Tim McCanna says:

    Just tried to download and install v. 7.4.1 which bombed. It acknowledges there is a problem and suggests some ways of some of solutions.

    Now I get a new box saying “iTunes cannot run because some of its required files are missing. Please reinstall iTunes.”

    I’m afraid to do this in case it writes over what I have already index and database ways.

Leave A Comment


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.