Analysis

2009 Sidekick LX will support H.264 playback, MP4 recording

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When we heard that the 2009 edition of the Sidekick LX would be rockin’ an oh-so-droolworthy 854×480 screen, we crossed our fingers in hopes that it could playback video at a resolution worthy of the display. Not content with waiting for tomorrow’s Sidekick shindig, we did a bit of digging – and uncovered pretty much everything there is to know about video on the 2009 Sidekick LX.

The original Sidekick LX got video playback support back in July of last year by way of over-the-air update. While it was a nice bonus, it wasn’t ideal. Limited to h.263 encoded 3GPP videos, it was neither high-quality nor convenient.

According to details shared with us this morning, it looks like they’ve amped things up a bit. Here’s what we’ve confirmed so far:

  • 3GPP: Yes
  • h.263: Yes
  • h.264: Yes
  • Streaming (Presumably 3GP): Yes
  • MPEG-4: Yes
  • Maximum resolution: It can playback videos up to the full resolution of the screen, 854×480. There aren’t too many 854×480 videos lurking around, so as a more common metric: it can playback video at 720×480, the same resolution used by nearly all North American DVDs.

We only went digging for playback information, but turned up some details on video recording as well. Here’s what we’ve heard on the matter:

  • Codec: MP4 in high quality mode, h.263 in low quality mode
  • Recording resolution: 320×240 or 176×144, depending on settings
  • Recording length (1GB microSD card, high quality): 15 hours, 34 minutes
  • Recording length (1GB microSD card, low quality): 16 hours, 56 minutes

These are all theoretical limitations, of course. We haven’t personally seen video playing back at these resolutions, so we can’t vouch for their smoothness. We’re working on getting photo/video recording samples, but that might have to wait until tomorrow’s festivities.

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