Video Converter Software
There is nothing more irritating than downloading an interesting video and finding out that your system cannot play it because of formatting incompatibility or some other technical issue. Video converter software eliminates this problem by converting files to formats that would run on your system. Use this guide to pick out the right video converter software that meets your particular needs.
August 17, 2011
AVS Video Converter is a Video Converter Software for Windows and created by Publisher Online Media Technologies, Ltd.
June 14, 2011
Wondershare Video Converter Platinum is a Video Converter Software for Windows and created by Publisher Wondershare Software CO, Ltd.
December 27, 2010
Total Video Converter is a Video Converter Software for Windows created by publisher EffectMatrix Ltd.
December 20, 2010
WinAVI Video Converter is a Video Converter Software for Windows created by Publisher ZJMedia Digital Technology Ltd.
Video Conversion Software
Why do you need video converter software?
As we surf the internet, we come across several dozens or, if not, hundreds of sites daily or throughout the week and many of these sites would have videos. It would be a very convenient situation if all these videos would play on our system. Unfortunately, not all of them can. Each system has a range of configurations that may or may not match the video formats of the files that you encounter online. While video sites like YouTube are fairly easy for your computer to process because it just needs to run a flash video player on your browser, movie or video download sites pose more of a challenge because there is much more diversity in the video file formats of the files that they store. To fix this problem of multiple file formats and common incompatibilities, there is a class of software available in the market called video converter software. These programs can process videos that are made in one format to a format that your computer recognizes for you to run the video.
The alternative would be that every time you download a certain video format, you would have to install new codecs or pieces of software to your system. Not only is this time consuming and burdensome, it is also not always possible because some video formats are very obscure or so old that the codecs for them many not be readily available. In the best case scenario, you would have to spend a lot of time tracking down the codec that would accommodate them. In the worst case scenario, such a codec might not exist. Video converter software eliminates this headache. You just load the file into the converter, you select the output format that you are sure would run in your system, and you click a button and the file is converted.
Picking Out the Right Video Converter Software
Just like with most other software categories, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You have to always size up and select a software based on your particular needs and picking out video converter software is not an exception to this general rule. Your first step in selecting this type of software would be to list out what are the most common formats your computer runs, and, judging from your past experience, what formats you have had the most difficulty with in terms of converting. This is the rifle shot approach to picking video converter software because you are using a very specific system. You would save money by buying this specif software as opposed to spending a lot more money on software that accommodates almost all formats but comes at a premium. In this situation, being aware of the particular video formats that you run across the most may translate into some savings. The downside to this approach is if there is usually no way to control what format a video that you are interested in would take. For example, if there is a really old movie that was encoded in an obscure format and it is the only copy, you pretty much do not have a choice but to have to somehow accommodate that format. In that particular situation, it would be best to go with an all-in-one-type solution that accommodates a wide range of video formats.
Basic Video Conversion Considerations
Listed below are the basic questions that you should use as a guide in helping you make your decision because these questions reveal the capability of the software package and also accommodates the most common issues that arise in regard to video conversion.
What input file formats does it support?
This is probably the bread and butter of video conversion software. Unless as discussed above, the videos that you need to convert typically fall within a predictable range of formats, you would need to get a package that converts the widest range of formats. This prevents any surprises down the road and also gives you the tools you need to accommodate all the differing versions of a particular video format. In this case, the saying of the more the merrier is definitely the better route to take.
When considering input file functionality, make sure that it accommodates some of the most common formats out there and also the more obscure and problematic ones. Here's a basic list of what kind of formats they should include. We are not saying that they should include all of these, but the more supported file formats, the better. We are not saying that this should include all of these because your needs might be different, but they should include all of these if possible. Here are the more common formats: WMV, AVI, XVID, DIVX, MPEG-1 and 2, MOV (Quicktime), VOB, DAT (VCD/SVCD), RM (Real Media), MP4 (MPEG-4), flash video (FLV), 3GP (cellphone video format), IFO, HD, DVD straight from your drive and CD straight from your drive. If there are other input formats listed on the box or on the website for the software you are considering, that is even better. In regard to input format, the general rule to follow is the more the merrier. However, it would be okay to select a software package with less files supported if you are sure that you will need to process only those limited formats.
What output formats does the software support?
It is not enough for the video converter software to take a file that has obscure encoding and format and convert it into a form that your computer can play. That is just the beginning demo copy or a share ware copy of the video conversion software that you are considering.
The output file requirements for the video converter software that you are considering is not as rigorous as the input file because most of the action and heavy lifting takes place in the input file conversion step of the video conversion process. Still you need to make sure that the output format is something that your computer would play. Here are the most basic and common output file formats: WMV, AVI, XVID, DVIX, MPEG-1 and 2, MP4, MOV, VOB (DVD), RM, FLV, 3GP and others. Here you could do with less, but preferably like with input files, the more the merrier.
Are all its features relevant to my needs?
Video converter software is packed with many differing features. There are features that are common to most software packages and then there are "bells and whistles" that are optional to try to make a particular package look good or “complete.” You should at least insist on the most common features because if they are common, it means that these features apply to most users' needs.
The first common feature you should look for is batch conversion. Batch conversion allows you to put several files into one location and convert them together. Compared that to having to convert them one by one, this is more convenient, it saves a lot of time and also it makes for a more powerful piece of software. Be the look out for this feature. Insist on it because almost all legitimate video converter software must have this feature.
The second common feature to be on the lookout for is video dimensions. You must be able to determine the dimensions of the video and set this parameter. This is a very common feature. You know you are looking at an outdated piece of software if this feature is left out and that should be a red flag.
The third feature is audio codec. This is also a required element and insist on it. Audio codec should control the audio quality of the software and almost all video converter software packages support this feature. Be very suspicious of packages that do not have this basic feature.
Finally, another basic feature that video converter software package should have is the preview mode. You should be able to preview the converted file. This is a very common feature and if this feature is missing, then you are looking at an outdated piece of software and you should move on and consider something else.
Batch Conversion of Multiple File Types
Optional features include batch conversion of multiple file types. This allows you to batch process files of differing encoding and formats.
A very nifty feature to have is being able to merge files. It allows you to take two files and merge them into one video.
Split output file feature allows you to cut the file that you just converted into smaller videos.
A Look at other Features
Other useful features include setting the start time and stop time of your video, which are very common ways to control the conversion process. It also includes set video bit rate, set frame rates, set audio bit rate, sample rate and select video channels. These features are very important because they allow you to have a direct hand in the quality of the final product because bit rate impacts tremendously the video quality of the final product. It also impacts the size of the resulting file. Frame rate also plays a major rale in how the video will play and how good it will look. The higher the frame rate, the smoother the video. The lower frame rate, the choppier the video will look.
A final set of optional features includes audio file conversion, audio extraction, inclusion effects and editing tools. When it comes to video editing software capabilities, video converter software is probably not the software you should be using for editing. There are more robust software packages that specialize in this particular function, but it would be nice to have some basic editing tools for cutting videos and making some very basic changes. Again this should not make or break the video package, but if it falls within your particular needs, then definitely look for it. The same goes with effects inclusion, converting audio files and audio extraction. Some people would need just audio from a video. For example, if they are trying to turn a YouTube video into a podcast, you can do that with audio extraction. As an added bonus, some users might need not just to convert video but also audio, some packages carry the audio file conversion feature as well.
In terms of feature selection, the bottom line is you have to look at the features based on your particular needs. You do not want to get stuck on buying bloated software that is packed with all features and priced accordingly, but in actuality you do not use 90% of them. Make sure you pick the features that you would most likely use. That way you are getting your money's worth.
Video Conversion Ease of Use
Ease of use is a very important criterion when it comes to video converter software. Software that caters to creative activity such as video and photo editing and similar ventures can get quite complicated. It is of paramount importance to consider how easy it is to use a particular software title. The best way really to gauge ease of use is to get a restricted demo version of the software you are interested in. Many commercial software packages have shareware versions or limited versions. In terms of assessing ease of use, you really just need to see the interface. Is it laid out in a very intuitive way? Is it easy for you to figure out? Differing people have differing levels of technical proficiency. If something is laid out in a very complicated and cryptic manner, make sure that you have the time and energy to learn it quickly so that you do not waste money on the software. How can you lose money with hard to use software? It is a known fact that the more complex a piece of software is and the more intimidating it is to the user, the less likely that the user would use it on a regular basis. Remember that when you spent money for that software, it is a sum cost. You recoup your cost by your repeated usage of the software. If you do not use it that much, then your cost is heavier and it would take longer for you to get your money's worth if at all. If it is fairly easy to use software, you get your money back or you get your return of investment. Make sure that you get your money's worth by seriously factoring in ease of use in your software selection.
The Bottom Line: Video Conversion Software
In our activities online, we come across many differing video types and if we are going to download this and play this on our computer, our computer requires them in a format that it can play easily. While we can go through the hassle of chasing down the proper codec for the video, video converter software offers an easy alternative. However, not all these packages are the same because many are packed with features that you may or may not need. By selecting software based on your needs, you would avoid overpaying for particular software packages and ensure that you get the most value for your money.