I've often doubted the wisdom of adding video playback to MP3 players and mobile devices. Can you really enjoy watching video on a tiny screen that was designed to show album cover art, or which network provider you're currently using? But as mobile devices have evolved, screen sizes and resolutions have improved, while screen quality has come on in leaps and bounds. As such, the idea of sitting on a train and catching up on your favourite TV show doesn't seem so ludicrous anymore.
When Apple launched the iPhone and iPod touch last year it moved the game on, by building truly great screens into the devices, with proper widescreen aspect ratios that reflect the way film and TV is shot today. Yes, you could argue that Sony did this a long time ago with the PSP, which in itself is a superb mobile video playback device, but you're unlikely to have your PSP in your pocket every day. By contrast, I have my iPhone with me at all times, so it's perfect as a casual, mobile video player.
Of course Apple wants all iPod users to buy all their video from the iTunes store, which is all well and good, apart from the fact that if you watch a lot of video, you'll end up with some pretty hefty bills. Take Lost for instance, if you want to download the latest Season Four episodes, you're looking at a cost of £3.78 each, which is pretty steep no matter how you look at it.
The obvious answer is to convert your existing video library to your iPod or iPhone, but that's not as simple as it should be. If you're like me, you've probably got video files encoded in a plethora of codecs, and getting some of them into an iPod friendly format can be a bit of a headache. That's where Roxio Crunch comes in, offering the end user a very quick and simple way to convert pretty much any video file into something that's, well, Apple friendly.