The iPad is a brand of tablet computers manufactured by Apple. In addition to Web browsing and app use, the iPad can store and play media like digital videos. But before a digital video can be added to the device, it needs to meet specific compression and format requirements. And depending on whether it was encoded in standard definition or high definition, a digital video will need to have a certain video codec to support its resolution.
All digital videos are published through a process called compression. During compression, assorted media tracks (i.e., audio, video) are written with codecs. A codec is a special algorithm that converts digital information into a format that can be read by other applications. Once the media tracks have been encoded, they are subsequently merged into a single file through the use of a multimedia container. Most multimedia containers are commonly referred to by their file extensions. For example, AVI, WMV and MOV are digital video formats that are essentially multimedia containers.
Supported Video Formats
The iPad supports playback for digital videos in the MP4, MOV and M4V formats. While MP4 was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), both MOV and M4V are proprietary Apple formats. Apple created MOV as the native digital video format for its media player, QuickTime. Meanwhile, the company especially engineered M4V as the digital video format iTunes. But in addition to being in a supported format, digital videos need to be compressed with specific standards before they can be uploaded and played on an iPad. The audio tracks must have stereo sound and be published in the AAC-LC format. Moreover, the frequency needs to be set at 48kHz and the bitrate can be no more than 160 Kbps per channel. And in addition to streaming at 30 frames per second, video tracks need to meet certain codecs and resolution measurements.
When it comes to digital video, resolution is defined as the amount of distinct pixels that are displayed within a movie’s dimensions. This is the property that determines whether a digital video is encoded in standard or high definition. If a digital video has a height of less than 720 pixels, then the media is in standard definition. If a digital video has a height of 720 pixels or more, then it is in high definition. The iPad accepts digital videos in either standard or high definition. But whereas a standard definition digital video needs to be compressed with a Simple Profile MPEG-4 video codec, a high definition digital video needs to be compressed with a High Profile level 4.1 H.264 video codec.
Once a digital video has been properly encoded and compressed into a supported format, it can be migrated onto the iPad in just a few steps. Simply add the digital video to your iTunes library and connect your device to the computer through the USB transfer cable. When iTunes recognizes the connected device, a listing for the iPad will appear on the left menu. Highlight the listing and iTunes will display the iPad’s storage information. Choose the “Movies” tab and click the “Sync” button. A confirmation message will appear when the iPad-compatible digital video has been successfully uploaded to the device.