HandBreak Thai Language Videos for the iPhone

Convert Thai language videos to watch on the iPhone

This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

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Download AUA Thai language videos…

In my last post, AUA Thai Videos on YouTube, I shared where to view the over one hundred FREE AUA Thai videos. And while that’s all well and good, there is a slow loading problem if you live in a country that has a naff Internet speed, such as Thailand.

But if you download the videos from YouTube, they can be played on your computer with no lag time at all.

I was discussing this very subject with David Long (director of AUA) this weekend.

There is a a Firefox plug-in that I always use for videos called flashgot. It places a small icon in the lower right hand corner of your browser and when you get to a video or something, clicking on the icon will automatically download it – this allows me to browse on for a bit while the video downloads and then watch it easily without the breaks.

I tried the plugin on my Mac and it works fine.

UPDATE: The best downloader these days (for me anyway) is ClipConverter.


After I spent a day or two downloading all 100+ AUA videos, I copied them to an external and promptly forgot (busy, busy).

So, what’s a busy gal to do? What’s a busy gal who just happens to have an iPhone to do?

Entre: HandBrake (thanks Scott 🙂

Using HandBreak to convert AUA YouTube videos for the iPhone…

What’s a HandBreak?

HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.

In plain English, HandBreak converts video (movies, YouTube) into a format that is easier for regular people to use. People like me.

And while HandBrake does offer a number of clever conversions and presets – thanks again Scott 🙂 – I didn’t have the time to figure everything out. Instead, here are the bare basics of how I got AUA’s YouTube videos into my iPhone.

  1. Start HandBreak.
  2. Select video to convert.
  3. Wait for HandBreak to scan.
  4. Set constant quality to 60%.
  5. Under presets, select iPhone & Apple Touch.
  6. Change destination and title.
  7. Click the start button.
  8. Wait for the HandBrake alert.
  9. Suck the file into iTunes.
  10. Transfer the file to an iPhone.

And for the basics of converting AUA YouTube videos to iPhone, that’s pretty much it.

Thank you David Long, for being so generous with AUA’s fabulous Thai videos. And a thanks again to Scott, for introducing me to HandBreak.

But WAIT! You can do even more with HandBreak…

When you start looking around at the available resources to convert with HandBreak, the choices are limitless. Maybe not so much for Thai language videos, but enough.

Andrej Nitsche (Thai Recordings) had several posts on Thai VCD’s: APS Intermusic – educational videos for kids and misbook.com. On his advice, I purchased some of those as well.

Another option is The Adventures of TINTIN 80th Anniversary Boxset, in Thai. I have the TINTIN set but I’m having problems converting 1 gig files. Suggestions?

And remember the Thai version of Sesame Street? That’s right. You can covert those for your iPhone too. And btw: Villa Market in Ari (Bangkok) has Thai Sesame Street videos (but not all). Rush, or they will be gone. And when a product is gone it Thailand, it sometimes never ever returns. A second btw: If you contact Sesame Street to purchase their Thai versions, they won’t know what you are on about. Yeah.

For a megga list, Josh from Sweet and Coolbeans is compiling Thai TV shows (and other videos). Besides YouTube, he mentions fukduk.tv (offline for now).

There are a few sites selling Thai movies and soaps. ThaiCDexpress and ethaicd.com have hundreds of products to choose from.

And if you want to know what’s going on with Thai movies before you buy or download, visit Wise Kwai’s Thai Film Journal and Enjoy Thai Movies. For Lakorn’s, start with Anothaidara.com (no longer online but read the interview on WLT) and work out from there.

Note: Before you rip, check for copyrights.

15 thoughts on “HandBreak Thai Language Videos for the iPhone”

  1. That is absolutely hilarious. Twitter was all a grumble about there not being enough iPhones for Thailand. Typical…

    I didn’t get signed up for True at a True store, but at an iStore. The guy didn’t have any instructions and it took longer than it should. So while it was easy for me (I got to look around the store) he was getting frustrated.

  2. It’s all hype created by media and network providers to create illusion of exclusivity.
    There are more then enough iphones to go around. In fact i booked 2 and just purchased only 1 34gb. I could see there was booking open for walkins and online as well.
    Anyone can go to this link and make a booking right now (still open)

    One thing i loved was the service by true – just AMAZING…really really great – in less then 30 min i could fill formalities and get my hands on activated iphone (all done in less then 30min) No waiting. I think there were more True service people then the clients!

  3. I have True as well as it was cheap (a grand total of 640.93 baht a month), and easy to sign up for. But it’s still a soggy paperweight at times 😀

    So you were one of the lucky few who got their hands an iPhone this upgrade. I read that there are soooo not enough of the new iPhones to go around.

  4. Thanks Catherine, yep its really good. I’ve been a BB user for quite long time now, iphone4 has been a good change. You must get it with 3g from True – without 3g its just as good as a paper weight (still quite good though) 😉

  5. Glad to help 🙂 And congrats on your new iPhone! I’m envious. The camera and video on the new models are supposed to be luscious. I take ‘ok’ photos on mine, but better would be perfect.

  6. Catherine you are GREAT! I’ve been here for 5 years now and with busy work schedule was only able to learn so much. But now you have opened up a whole new world of learning.
    So today i just got a new iphone 4 and this is the first thing that’s going on it.
    Thank you very much – really really appreciate your post!

  7. Inaki, Fabulous! Your videos are top quality. Thank you so much for stopping by to let us know about it. I’d like to do a feature on your channel at the beginning of next week (Monday).

  8. I have a TV Tuner card in my computer that allows me to record live TV programs to the harddisk. I watch almost exclusively TVThai (also known as ThaiPBS or ITV) because they have many documentaries and educational programs, most of them with Thai subs, which is a bonus for Thai learners. I have already accumulated almost 30GB (roughly 100 hours) of my favourite programs, which I intend to upload to my youtube channel. Check it out, maybe you’ll find something that interests you.

  9. Martyn, if the Samsung is slim, you might be better off having that instead of an iPhone. Also, you can always get the Touch as well as a phone. Oh, and with sunglasses and wallets and such, you might as well add a man bag too…

    I’ve found the iPhone more valuable for learning languages than talking on it. There is so much that I have not posted here – time… But I know that I’m skewed in my thinking because I’m not much of a phone person.

  10. Catherine I don’t have an iPhone because my mobile contractor doesn’t deal in it, instead I have a Samsung Wave and what a pity I can’t download these videos to it. I like the idea of learning a language on the move. On my days off I’ll look into downloading some of the video onto my PC. Once they’re there they’re there. Strange sentence that one.

  11. Talen, I’m thinking of switching to the Touch. I got one for my son and he said that the Touch has Skype, so why spend the megga bucks in Thailand for an iPhone? My iPhone is still good so it’ll be awhile, but I have my eye out…

  12. Cat, this is great news and very informative. While I don’t have an iPhone I do have a iPod touch so I should be able to do the above with no problem and have the videos on the go.

    The best part is I can watch them on long drives, flights or whenever I have downtime.

  13. Hi Paul, there is an amazing amount of Thai resources these days, but I still want more. I’ve been keeping a list of items that the European languages have for learning, but Thai does not. Some would take time to develop… but I have high hopes!

    Welcome to WLT Kainer 🙂 I didn’t jailbreak my iPhone so I’m out of the loop. If you know of any more goodies for language learners, please feel free to share (and who knows, I just might take the leap).

  14. Thank you! 🙂

    And for all the happy Iphone with jailbreak users:
    Download MXTube from Rock/Cydia.
    It lets you download youtubevideos directly to the iphone.

  15. Great article Cat. I think anyone learning Thai now is quite fortunate to have so many great resources. I have looked at those AUA videos in the past and found them very useful; I’m a big fan of free things 🙂


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