When it comes to getting your hands on digital media and organising said files, there's nothing more streamlined than Apple's iTunes. It works on PC and Mac. It syncs files whenever you plug in your iPhone or iPod touch so your desktop and your portable devices are always up-to-date. It even tells you when updates are available for your applications.
Sadly PSP isn't made by Apple: it's made by Sony.
This means instead of a nice integrated package like iTunes, there are two packages you'll have to deal with. One is the PlayStation Store, where you can browse, buy and download games, videos and demos etc. Check out our How to register on the PlayStation Store PSP and How to download from the PlayStation Store for more details.
In terms of organising your files between PC and PSP and transfering the ones you've download onto your PC from the PlayStation Store, you'll need to get to grips with Sony's Media Manager for PSP, however. Here's how.
Step-by-step with PSP's Media Manager
Step 1: Download Media Manager
Media Manager for PSP is free so head to the official PlayStation website to download the 61 MB file. Note however that the current version (v3.0), only works with Windows XP SP2 or Vista. Sorry, Mac users.
Step 2: Install Media Manager
Click through the installation process – including any additional software components that you're prompted to download.
The first time you use Media Manager, you will need to connect your PSP to authenticate the application. For this, you'll need your PSP (which must be running firmware 4.0.5 or higher). You'll also need to have a Memory Stick Duo in your PSP.
Connect the PSP to your PC using a mini USB cable. You'll also have to make sure you've selected the USB Connection option on your PSP (scroll through to the far left using the D-pad and hit X at USB Connection – second icon from top).
Step 3: Register Media Manager
Next, you have to go online to register. Details such as name, email and address are required to activate the software.
Step 4: Open Media Manager
The user interface looks a little basic but as you can see, it's split into two main areas. At the top, is the media that's saved on your PC. On the bottom, the media that's on your PSP is displayed. When you first open the Media Manager with your PSP connected, you'll also have the option of naming the Memory Stick Pro that's in the PSP.
Step 5: Creating a search index
The first time you open the Media Manager, it will automatically scan your My Folders to make a search index of the files – such as music, photos, video, that are contained there. This screen shows what's in My Music folder. Incidentially, Media Manager will also scan your iTunes Music folder. You can also manually add folders into the index using the Add Shortcut option.
Step 6: Options
At the top of the Media Manager screen, you can select various modes: Photo, Music, Audio CD Rip, and Video. Use these to cycle through the various media saved on your PC. The Audio CD Rip mode is used if you want to rip a music CD to your PC. Other options let you backup your PSP games and game saves to your PC, as well as add and save audio and video podcasts.
Step 7: Transfering files to PSP (1)
This is where the simplicity of the Media Manager works well. To transfer files to your PSP, just drag and drop them from the PC half of the screen onto the bottom, or PSP, half of the screen. If you want to be clever, you can use the dropdown menu in the far righthand corner of the PC half of the screen to select options such as image resolution for photos or music bitrate quality for audio files. (These options can also be set in the Settings option.) In this screen, I've transfered four photos from my PC to my PSP, converting them 480x272 jpegs in the process.
Step 8: Transfering files to PSP (2)
Now to transfer some music. I've chosen the lowest quality transfer (32Kbps MP3) to transfer Mae's 'Goodbye, Goodnight' from the album Destination Beautiful to my PSP. Easy.
Step 9: Accessing PlayStation Store
By hitting the PlayStation icon in the top left of the screen, you can also access the PlayStation Store from within Media Manager (much as you can access iTune and App Store from iTunes). Obviously, you will need to have set up an account before you can log in. From the Store, you can download games and other media files to your PC before transferring them to your PSP.
Step 10: Go Pro
If you want to get the most out of Media Manager, you can upgrade to Media Manager Pro. This offers extended video format support for files including MPEG, AVC MB, as well as video RSS feeds. It costs £7.