If you're trying to put your movie and TV show library in order, it helps to have all of your video in one format that you know every device you own can play. That's not always easy; if your collection spans years of downloads, rips and saved copies, your files can be a confusing mix of formats. This week we're going to look at five of the best video conversion tools that can get your media library organised and ready to watch anytime, anywhere. Photo by trekkyandy
MPEG Streamclip (Windows/Mac)
MPEG Streamclip is a powerful video player, editor and conversion tool for Mac and Windows. It's excellent at transcoding, but it's also a great organizational tool for all of your video and media. From a video transcoding and conversion perspective, it's fast, flexible and completely free. It may not be the newest video conversion app out there, and it may not be the prettiest, but it gets the job done with virtually any file.
Format Factory (Windows)
Format Factory is a free, richly-featured video conversion tool that can handle an extensive list of video formats. Its interface leaves a little to be desired, but it offers you plenty of conversion options and tweaks to make sure all of your videos meet your conversion needs. The utility even promises to repair broken audio or video if it can process it. You can use quick presets to convert videos for mobile devices, and also rip DVDs. It can also convert almost any video format to GIF, which is a handy feature.
Video conversion and transcoding is Handbrake's bread and butter. It does a fantastic job of converting and transcoding video from one format to another, while giving you all the features, tweaks and options you need to make sure it plays smoothly on whatever device or screen you plan to send it to. It has single push-button options if that's what you want, or deeper tweaks if you prefer those. Handbrake is free, open-source, cross platform and gets the job done quickly.
Freemake Video Converter (Windows)
Freemake Video Converter is (surprise) completely free, and a solid that's actually really attractive and fun to use. Freemake supports over 200 video formats and outputs in virtually every popular format you can think of (including the ability to convert online videos to MP3). There are simple presets for iOS and Android devices, as well as handheld game consoles and other devices. If you don't like the presets in the app, you can customise your own. You can also cut, join and rearrange videos to create your preferred final product.
SUPER, by eRightSoft, is one of the most underrated conversion tools we've seen. If you want absolute and total control over your videos, this free tool may be the one for you. That said , its depth of options might be challenging to the average user looking for quick conversion operations. Another caveat: in order to use SUPER, you'll also need its separate video player and recording tools. Not for everyone, but a good power user choice.
An honourable mention this week goes to FFmpeg (Windows/Mac/Linux), the GPL-licensed conversion utility that many other video converters and HTPC systems utiliseIt makes converting, streaming, and even recording audio and video super-simple and fits in nicely with other applications and operations. Best of all, it's still being actively developed, so if other products in this roundup stagnate over time, FFmpeg should live on.
Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your own favourite converter? Tell us (and tell us why) in the comments.