Watch TV on your Nintendo DS

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Watch TV on your Nintendo DS

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The Nintendo DS is mainly used for gaming and without an internal (reachable) memory watching video material on it seems impossible. But with some tools and the right configuration you can watch movies or recorded television from your media center with pretty amazing quality on the Nintendo handheld. For now this guide will focus on watching TV recordings from your media center like shown on the video below.

The hardware

First of all you need video files you want to watch on your Nintendo DS. (These can be movies on your computer or recorded television in the recordings folder on your media center. The procedures are pretty much the same but for now we focus on recorded TV.)

Second of all you need to be able to exchange data between your media center computer and your Nintendo DS. The M3 DS Simply is a special adapter which is basically a standard game cartridge with a built-in MicroSD card reader. You can then put a MicroSD card with data in the cartridge (like in the image below) and then put the cartridge in your DS.

m3
Amazon sells the M3 DS Simply for $ 50,- and if you don’t already have one you can get a MicroSD card with different capacities starting at about $ 15,- for 1 GB.

The Nintendo DS setup

The setup of the Nintendo DS is pretty straight forward. By default you get a CD with drivers for your DS and the Moonshell operating system which we’ll use to watch video. But it’s best to download the latest console software from the M3 website. These get updated pretty often so you might want to check back there every once in a while. You can just follow the instructions of the M3 DS Simply manual which basically means you empty or format (FAT32) your MicroSD card, download the console software and unzip it on the MicroSD card. That’s it. If everything went right you can put the M3 cartridge in your Nintendo DS, turn the power on and start up Moonshell by tapping on ‘Media’.

The media center setup

To watch or listen to media on your Nintendo DS you can just copy files to your MicroSD card. At this moment the Moonshell operating system can handle all kinds of audio files like Mp3 or Ogg but can only handle DGP video files. So your video files (recorded TV) will first have to be converted to the DGP filetype. Everything is most likely to go smooth if you have your codecs organised on your media center computer. We advise to use the free FFDShow codec and make sure you select ‘no limit’ during the installation when it asks which applications may use the codec.

There are a few free tools to convert video to DGP video. We’ve tested two that worked fine. The strange thing is that they each may react differently to certain filetypes so you might want to install them both and check which one works best for you filetype. The first one is BatchDPG which has a standard install, the other one is the Moonshell DPG tool which you can just unzip in a folder in your Program Files folder. You’ll only have to use the dpgenc.exe file so you can create a shortcut in your startmenu to that file. If it starts up in Japanse you can choose LANGUAGE from the menu and pick English.

You can now manually convert video files or recorded TV from your recordings folder with these tools and put the resulting DGP files on your MicroSD card to play them. None of the tools seem to handle DVR-MS files, so make sure you configure your media center to record to MPG or AVI (or make it automatically convert after recording).

After the setup

If everything is setup correctly you can record television like you’re used to. Plug your MicroSD card in a card reader. Start up your favourite DPG conversion tool, browse to your recordings folder and select the television recording you want to convert. Then set the destination to the your MicroSD card. After the conversion is completed you can plug the MicroSD card in the M3 DS Simply and fire up your DS to watch the television show.

If you have a dedicated media center PC it might be handy to make your recordings folder a shared folder. You can then install the conversion tools on a different computer and still reach your recordings through the shared folder.

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