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This week's HOW-TO is what we hope will be a trend, a venerable avalanche of other how-to'ers which will help people get content like web videos, Internet radio shows (podcasts), and other media automatically delivered to their phones. For our example, we're going to use free tools to get the Engadget show and popular web videos sent over to a Windows Mobile-powered Smartphone, specifically an Audiovox SMT 5600 Smartphone (Orange SPV C500).

If you're wondering what type of video you'll be able to grab, click here to view a video (Windows Media) of what we synced up last night. Squirrel launcher, yikes.

Oh, and one bit of housekeeping, we're a bit late with this week's HOW-TO, we've literally been on hold with Earthlink tech support for the last four days getting our home access back up, it's sad, trite, but true. Worst part: the outsourced tech support in India actually asked us to defrag our drive because "that might fix it." Sigh. Anyway, on with the HOW-TO.


For this HOW-TO we're going to use a free application called Doppler to select and automatically download audio and video content to our PC, from there, we'll use Windows Media Player to sync the content on our Smartphone and play the content in Windows Media on the phone.

Ingredients for the HOW-TO

On the hardware side of this HOW-TO any Pocket PC should work, and "some" Smartphones, we happen to have an Orange SPV C500 which is almost identical to the USA version, Audiovox SMT 5600 Windows Mobile Smartphone, but it doesn't have Windows Media Player 10 on the phone, which isn't a big deal, this still works and we'll show you how since a lot of you have these phones. It's just easier since Windows Media Player 10 (on phone and PC) allows "AutoSyncing". To see what devices support Windows Media Player 10 visit Microsoft's site.

WindowsMedia
Download and install Windows Media Player 10 for PC here.

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You can check the version you have by going to Help > About WindowsMedia Player while using Windows media.

ActiveSync
It goes without saying, but we need to mention this. Make sure you've downloaded, installed and set up a partnership with your PC and your phone (or other WindowsMobile device).

Downloading and Configuring Doppler Radio
Download and install Doppler Radio, unlike most applications, we think it's actually a good idea to read the release notes, there's a lot of good info that describes the features in details.

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One of the best features in Doppler is that it will automatically make playlists in WindowsMedia, if you don't use or want to use an iPod.

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Doppler is  one of the more alternative player friendly applications out right now.


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Choose which folder you're going to download the audio and video to, we made a folder called "mobilevideos".

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As we mentioned before you can choose which music management application you use to sync with your phone, music player, etc...

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First up, let's add an internet radio show, for example, our Engadget Podcast.


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Another cool feature about Doppler is that you can simply type in the name of a show and it will pull it up and you can add it right there.


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Once added, you can hit "Retrieve now" and it will download the shows, if you only want a few shows, you can specify that in the tools menu.

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After it's downloaded, you'll get a notification in the task bar.


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Next up, let's add a video feed. We're going to use the amazingly cool (and weird) blogdigger service to add a feed in Doppler. With Doppler you can simply go here.

Drag the XML icon next to "Windows Media" on the blogdigger page in to the main window in Doppler.


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Once you drag the feed over, you'll see a dialog, click "Add feed". Hit retrieve, and once downloaded, the videos will appear in the folder.

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As always, you never quite know what what you're going to get, you can use search terms (see the blogdigger site). But in general, we like the weirdness, just keep in mind these videos might not be family friendly, unless you have a very friendly family.

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Now that we have some digitized goodness, time to sync up.

Syncing with Windows Media Player 10

Here's comes the easy part you have the Audiovox SMT 5600 Windows Mobile Smartphone, you plug the phone in and set it to "AutoSync".

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Select the Doppler playlist in WindowsMedia, and you're pretty much done. When you sync, the videos will be converted and transfered to your phone (or storage card) and will be ready to view.

Non-Windows Media Player 10 Smartphones
We're not sure why the identical Orange SPV C500 doesn't have the Windows Media Player 10, but that's the way it is for now. After some testing we've found most videos from blogdigger play fine in the Windows Media Player 9, some might be a little large, so just make sure you have enough space.

When you open WindowsMedia you'll see the playlist from Doppler.

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Right click and add that to the sync list by selecting "Add to Sync List".


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Now, because the Orange SPV and/or all the other pre-Audiovox phones don't support the Windows Media Player 10 (on the phone) we'll need to stop Windows Media Player 10 on the PC from caring that it should convert it. Select Tools > Options and click the device tab. Choose "Storage Card" on your phone, or your phone/Pocket PC and -uncheck- Convert files. This will do a straight up Sync and most of the time, it's worked great for us.

Click OK, then click sync in WindowsMedia, you'll see the files sent over.

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Once they're sent on over, it's time to view them.

Playing on the Smartphone
On your home screen press Start.

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Advance to the WindowsMedia player.

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Open the playlist.


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Play that funky movie.

The results
And here it is!

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If you're wondering what type of video you'll be able to grab, click here to view a video (WindowsMedia) of what we synced up last night.

Wow, the Internet is scary.

Other ways...
On that note, keep in mind there are a few other ways to do this, in our previous HOW-TOs with the portable media center "broadsnatching" and our intro to podcasting cover other applications and methods using the WindowsMedia player. If you happen to try or use another set up, post up in the comments.

Your turn
If you use a Palm device or Symbian, or any other type of phone that plays audio and video, please feel free to post up or send links to your versions of getting content on them. One thing we'd like to see an easy way to batch, convert and sync videos to get them on the Treo(s). We've used Kinoma, but integration in to Windows Media Player or something along those lines might be pretty cool (maybe it exists now?).

And if you admin, write about, or cover mobile devices, please cook up some guides!


Phillip Torrone cannot be reached via his personal website http://www.flashenabled.com, at least not until Earthlink gets on the ball.