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But the PSP is so much more than just a hand-held gaming machine. From the XMB graphical user interface, you can gain access to a whole host of other features. The most impressive feature has to be the MPEG4 movie playback. If you have a large enough MemoryStick Duo card, you could copy a whole movie to it and use the PSP to view it. To test this function SanDisk kindly supplied me with a 1GB MemoryStick Duo Pro card. Unfortunately, all video has to be converted before the PSP can play it back, but you can download a free file converter here – it’s in Japanese, but you should be able to find detailed English instructions with a little help from Google.
The conversion process is remarkably quick, and then it’s just a matter of copying the MPEG4 file over to the MemoryStick Duo card in your PSP. This can be done in two ways, you can either connect the PSP to your PC via USB – it will then be seen as a removable drive – or you can place the card into a card reader and copy the file over. The video playback is excellent, and makes good use of the fabulous screen. Of course the quality of the video is dependant on the original footage, but if you rip your (legally owned) DVDs and convert them, the PSP will make a very high quality mobile movie machine.
Another way to show off the screen is to transfer digital photos to your MemoryStick. The PSP is great for showing slide-shows, and you can view the images in standard 4:3 ratio, with bars down the side, or you can make them fill the whole widescreen. The latter option doesn’t stretch the image, instead it crops it to fit the screen shape – you can then move the picture around to decide which bits you’re happy to have cropped and which bits you definitely want to see.