Is there any point to mobile HD films

Leo This post on PocketNow has sparked this little rant off…

I’m sure lots of people look around for handsets and work out what resolution they play films at, and related things, but is there any point in playing back a 720p film on a device like the HD2?

My HD2 sports an 800 by 480 screen (WVGA), so the maximum resolution it can display is 800×480.720p is 1280×720, which is significantly larger. So if I were to play back a 720p film on my HD2 the device would have to downscale a film to around two thirds of the native resolution. That’s a significant amount of processor usage, and is utterly pointless. I can encode the film in not very much time on my home PC to 800×480, and play it back on my device, and it’ll look just as good (if not better).

There’s a second reason to encode films, and that’s size. I have 720p MKV files which are upwards of 5GB (one is about 10GB). I could copy those across to the memory card of my device (thanks to SDHC) but then, why bother when instead I could have 5 films encoded to 800×480? They take around 800mb depending on the length of the film and the bitrate you use.

There are plenty of free programs out there, such as the Video Encoding GUI by projection of XDA-Developers.  This handy tool can also add subtitles in, and the created files can be played back using HTC Album which fully utilises the hardware of the devices its on.

I’m sure Windows Mobile can handle HD films, but there’s absolutely no point in trying! Most of the media playback on devices like the HD2 is already hardware accelerated (WMP uses Qualcomm/HTCs drivers, HTC Album uses the same), so it’s not a limitation of the OS as PocketNow seem to say it is.

So, to sum it up, would you rather run HD films on a device for no real benefit, or encode it down to the best resolution the device can handle, and have a much smaller file?