I have been searching for a decent video format conversion software for quite some time now. I wanted to get something that could convert, for instance, files downloaded from YouTube and other sources to a format that I could put on my TwonkyMedia server and that both my TV and the PS3 could play. Of course the brochures for both these products claims that they can play most standard formats like MP4, AVI etc. etc. but in reality this is just bullshit marketing. The PS3 especially is quite picky about the formats and codec versions and frequently I found myself with a file that could be read by the TV but not the PS3 or vice versa. Sometimes it just didn’t work and sometimes I had a picture but no sound.
Also, since it’s not really for any other use than playing around with as a hobby, I do not really want to spend a lot of money on software for this so I’ve mostly been looking from some freeware (or at least “cheapware”). For some time I used AnvSoft’s Any Video Converter but I couldn’t quite get it to do what I wanted. Some of the formats just plain didn’t work as advertised and the latest update just broke it. A week or so ago I found a company Freesoft and their Video Converter (see screenshots) and Video Downloader. Not only are these products really nice to use from a end-user perspective (no crappy Unix- or Mac-wannabe user interfaces), but they actually work as well.
Select the files to convert, select where you want to put the results (a simple task which a lot of the products out there manages to make overly complicated), select the format (out of pre-sets which you define yourself) and banzai…convert.
The options for the pre-sets are also much more useful than most products I’ve seen, you choose whether you want to keep the original settings for size, bitrates, audio format etc. or not. The video scaling is actually useful and you can select whether you want to keep the aspect or stretch or crop the image. You can also let the software choose a suitable bitrate (quality) for you based on the input file and in most cases it’s actually doing a fairly good job of it.
In short, a very recommendable software 🙂