Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Transcode to PSP using Handbrake

Source: Handbrake 64-bit edition
Target: (Phat) Playstation Portable PSP-1000, System Software: 6.60

Many internet articles on how to transcode video to PSP using Handbrake have not worked for me. Even the most helpful are incomplete. I hope this post will help fill in the blanks.

There is no longer any PSP preset for Handbrake, but from what I can gather, the preset had only limited success as the x264 encoder would change syntax and settings between versions. Other presets that may have worked before, like 'iPod' and 'Apple-Universal' now do not.

Here is what worked for me, step by step:

First, load your source file, otherwise many of the options will not activate.

'Picture' tab settings to note:
Picture tab
  • Size: Width: 480, Height 272
  • Keep Aspect Ratio: Off
  • Anamorphic: None
 'Video' tab settings to note:
Video Tab
  • Quality: Avg Bitrate (kbps): max 768.
  • Optimise Video: Select 'Use Advanced Tab'. None of the baselines appear to work.
 'Audio' tab settings to note:
Audio Tab
  • Audio should be AAC (faac), Samplerate: 48. I suggest a 128kbps Bitrate
'Advanced' tab settings to note:
Advanced Tab
  • Maximum B-Frames: 0
  • CABAC: off
  • 8x8 DC Transform: off
  • Weighted P-Frames: off
Indeed, if you hover over the encoding options, the popups will say that they should be disabled for mobile devices.
Leave the Filter, Subtitles, and Chapters tabs alone.
Now, transcode a small file, place the file in the \VIDEO\ folder on your memory stick, and test.

Handbrake Transcoding to PSP myths:
  • "64 bit Handbrake does not work." Does for me.
  • "Keep Aspect Ratio." If you check this, you will not be able to set resolution to 480 x 272.
  • "Use B-Frames" Don't.

All very clever, but why bother?
I know the PSP, especially the Phat, is outdated. However, I prefer to watch movies on the PSP because it has a bigger screen than my smartphone. It is also far more durable, and easier to hold without obscuring my view. 

Why HandBrake?
  • It is fast, multiplatform. and has a great GUI. It reads all files, and is Open Source.
  • There is a dedicated Windows application called PSP Converter, but frankly it only seems to take AVI files, and is full of add-ware. Now that I have got Handbrake to work, PSP Converter and its associates have been cleaned.


  1. Thanks. This worked great and for the first time in forever I'm finally able to watch videos on my PSP again. I've been looking everywhere for something that works, and this did it like a charm.
    I really appreciate it.

  2. Excellent guide. Bookmarked!