Getting MpegPlayer to Work in Rockbox - 1st Gen IPod Nano




If you have viewed this before, WINFF has changed it's UI.
Now it's at version 0.41.
The program is now more streamlined and now has "rockbox" under the "convert to" list.
I will update this when i make a successful conversion. (making sure the new WinFF works good)
I've also updated the link to download winff (step 1)

Do have a 1st generation ipod nano (the square, black or white ones) and have rockbox on it?
and are trying to get videos on it but having trouble?
Then this instructable has all the info you need.

RockBox ( is an operating system developed for DMP's (Digital Media Players) that overwrites the original software on the device. The user interface is text based with jpg backgrounds.
RockBox allows you to customize MANY more aspects of your device than with the original software:
Audio: an extended graphic EQ with advanced audio tweaking.
Photos: the ability to view photos of ANY size and res. by zooming in and out.
Data: rockbox can allow our device to be used as a storage device (if it wasent already available)
and you're able to view and manipulate any file on your device by way of a file browser.
Plug-ins: Rockbox comes with a multitude of plug-ins ranging from color games (like a bejeweld knock-off) to nifty animated and graphical screensavers to diagnostic and testing apps.
Themes: Rockbox has the ability to change the ui by way of themes, (background, text font size and color) There are a couple of themes included with rockbox, but you can download many more from the site.

And there are many more features.
Go to to find out how to download, and what devices are supported.

THIS INSTRUCTABLE is for the 1st gen ipod nano ONLY. Rockbox doesn't work on the 2nd gen (same size as the1st gen but
it's in colors and it has rounded sides) Or the 3rd gen (the new one thats smaller and wider, it plays videos out of the box)

This instructable is specifically for people that are firmilliar with rockbox and have a 1st gen and have rockbox on it, and are having trouble getting videos to work.

Step 1: Getting Started - Requirements

Ok so I dont work for rockbox but through trial and error, I know a great deal about MpegPlayer.
The reason im writing this is all this info is broken up in little pieces around the rockbox forums.
I've compiled it all and am providing it here.

For starters, to encode the videos for mpegplayer, and to understand the following steps, you need a video conversion program. "WinFF" get it here: WinFF
This is the best app for this situation and is the one linked to by the rockbox site.

Once you install and run the program, you'll see the picture below.

First, choose a destination folder by clicking the button next to the "Output folder" box.
(see picture below)

Next, add one or more video files to be converted by clicking "Add".

(next step)

Step 2: "The Numbers"

This step in my old instructable was long because in the old version of WinFF, you had to imput all the numbers individually (pic 1)

But in the new version, all you have to do is select "Rockbox" from the first drop-down box beside "Convert to..."
and "RB Apple Ipod Nano 4:3" from the second box. (pic 2)

The makers of WinFF graciously included the presets for rockbox in this version.

Step 3: Conversion

Make sure nothing data intensive is running in the background. (using the hard drive alot)

Click "Start Converting" When you do so, the window below will pop up, and your video(s) are converting.

The length of time it takes to convert depends on 3 things: the number of videos your converting, the filesize and type of the videos, and your computers power.

Overall it's the fastest one I've tried. (and the ONLY one that will work in this situation, go figure...)

Step 4: Completed Coverting

When your conversions are done, at the bottom of the window, it will display:
C:\Program files\WinFF>Pause
Press ant key to continue...

Press any key and your done with the conversion.

Step 5: Moving the Files to the Ipod.

Ok your about 3/4 of the way done.

To start with, make a folder on your root (top) folder of your nano, name it "videos"
this isn't mandatory, it just makes it easier than having ALL your files in one folder.

When the files are finished converting, open the directory where you saved them
(the "destination folder")

Move the files from that directory to the videos folder (or whatever you named it) on your ipod.

Unplug and restart your nano.

Step 6: Viewing the Videos

The last step.

Once rockbox is booted back up, you can select your videos two ways:
1) by selecting the video you wish to view in the file browser (which automatically starts MpegPlayer)
2)by opening MpegPlayer in your plug-ins and selecting the file there.

Operating mpegplayer:

there are new controls inthe current release of rockbox (now with the ability to ff and rew videos)

It's simple, the same controls listening to music are used in mpegplayer.

to exit, hold the play button until it goes back to the menu.

Step 7: Thanks for Reading.

Well, thats it, thanks for reading and i hope this was a bit of help to you few still using a 1st gen nano like me.

Ill confess, i do have an iPhone,but i like the nano to experiment with.

(and no there isn't going to be a rockbox for the touch/iphone.



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    18 Discussions


    3 years ago on Step 4

    It worked. Thanks for the wonderful help, now i don't have to buy a new iPod nano.


    7 years ago on Step 4

    I was followed all your steps on how to get video to work on the Ipod nano 1st gen. when I go to view the video the video goes faster then the audio. my question is how do I get the video and audio to sync up? if that makes any sense


    9 years ago on Step 2

    I can't thank you enough!
    I was beginning to think my sansa fuze was gonna go in the garbage can.
    After spending about 10 hours of trouble with this device over the past two months I finally realized I had to install rockbox.  Then finding the info on converting was a nightmare.  
    Until I found this instructable :)  1/2 hour later I'm rockin' on the rockbox!    You deserve an award!

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 2

    Wow! I didn't think anybody else was using RB anymore! at least for the nano.

    But you seem to be getting good use out of RB on your Fuze, which incidentally is the model my father has, but he wont let me try it out on his so I'm out of luck.

    What kind of trouble were you having with your Fuze?

    But thanks for the compliment, I'm flattered!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    i have a 5th gen ipod video 30gb and when i go to view my videos there is nothing in the videos folder, and when i go in my pictures folder and click on a picture it wont bring it up....and it just shows it as a file. it doesnt show the picture as a thumbnail.

    Heavy Water

    10 years ago on Introduction

    I've been having some problems with the video not starting up. It just stays frozen on what frame I skip to. Any ideas?

    king josiah 16

    10 years ago on Step 7

    Thanks I've been trying to do this forever. Now i got it.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    ok so i did everything that you said, but when i watch the video on my computer,or on my ipod, there is no sound. do you know why? any help would be greatly appreceated

    5 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    What file type was the original? Did you enter 44100 in the aud sample rate box? And 128 in the aud bit rate box?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    yep, i did all of that but still no sound, and the original is an mpeg, but at a high resoloution


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    ooh, well im sorry i have to be honest, i havent had any problems with it myself, so i cant be much of a troubleshooter, i don't know what could be disabling your audio.
    But, i do have a alternative solution, if you havent yet or don't know if you have, try this: K-lite mega codec pack
    This codec pack has every type of codec for encoding (converting) and decoding (viewing) for any type of audio or video file.
    Download, install, and reboot. Try the conversion again and if it works, YAY!
    And if it dosent, well iv'e run out of ideas

    P.S. if the above link dosent work, try this, k-lite download page


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! Looks kind of hard to do, and also, I have never heard of Rockbox... but looks kind of cool! :P

    1 reply

    Thanks, It's actually a bit more difficult to get rockbox on the ipod than it is getting the video player app working in rockbox. But no, overall it's not that complicated if you just take your time and read, it'll go by in no time. And yes rockbox is well worth the time spent installing it, you wont have the flashy UI that the ipod has, but it has MANY more features and tweaks than the original ipod OS, and rockbox itself uses less battery over time than the original also. (except mpegplayer)