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Why Cell Phone Anime? Well, I was browsing the Walmart website, and I noticed that they had a number of cell phones Really cheap. Like $8 cheap.
At that price, it's basically a disposable toy, yet still a full android system. But then I thought that for most of the world, that's actually a pretty good phone (even though you don't have to use it as a phone.)
So, what could I make that toy do? Well, since I'm an anime fan, why not bring anime to the low end, and expand its availability?
Let's take a look at what you get for your money:
The screen is fairly low resolution, typically 480 x 320, occasionally 800 x 480 in a screen size of about 4 inches. That doesn't sound very good, but the small size still yields a reasonable DPI (Dots Per Inch) for good looking images. And since there is no point to having more pixels in the video than there are on the screen, files can be much smaller.
The audio is pretty bad, with a single tiny speaker buried in the phone. Using headphones or bluetooth audio can help, though they can't make up for the low-quality audio circuitry. This makes audio a good place to save on file size.
Internal storage is limited, usually about 1.5Gb. However, all the phones I've looked at for this can use MicroSD cards, so they can be easily and cheaply expanded.
The processor is as cheap as they can get away with, so don't expect blazing speed and fast response. This means any video will have to have low expectations for the system.
Let's set some goals for the target video and see what we can do:
I'm going to arbitrarily set a goal for an average filesize of 25MB (25 Megabytes, roughly 25,000,000 bytes) for an average 24 minute episode. Some may be larger, some may be smaller, but this is my target.
Well, 3 reasons:
1: Just to see if I can do it.
2: Limited storage space on cheap cell phones means storing files on MicroSD cards. With an average of 25MB, I can put over 1,000 episodes on a cheap 32GB MicroSD card (32Gigabytes, roughly 32,000,000,000 bytes. Of course, when formatted a card is actually about 29.7GB). That's about 85 "1 cour" (12 episode) series.
Interestingly, the MicroSD card is more expensive than the phone!
3: Not everyone has cheap/unlimited bandwidth. Even at 25MB per episode, that's 300MB per 12-episode series. If I can make small files, it's much easier/cheaper to download them. For example, the "Free WiFi" in your local coffee shop can be used to pick up a few episodes without being noticed or blocked.
I'm going to target MX Player as the video player of choice. Feel free to use whatever you want, but it's the best player app I've found. If you have a better suggestion, let me know and I'll look at it.
Next, take a look at setting up MX Player before we get to the files themselves.