[Windows] Best free video and audio converter

Just as with digital photos, audio and video files have become an integral part of our everyday lives. However, our audio and video files are not always in a desirable format and we may come across formats that are not supported by all our devices (phone, tablet, etc.). Luckily we have access to free audio/video converters like the ones reviewed in this article! These programs allow us to change format, quality, resolution, and several other parameters as we desire; they help to virtually eliminate the problem of unsupported formats on different devices.

Keep reading to learn which of these converters if worth your time and effort.

This review is part of our Best Free Windows Software section. Check out more articles on the best free Windows programs from here.

Before We Begin

When it comes to audio/video converting, there are six very important characteristics: supported input formats, supported output formats, support for electronic devices, conversion quality, conversion speed, and batch processing support.

Of all the programs featured in this article, all of these programs support a great deal of input/output file formats… to the point where it is not really worth comparing them based on it (since they all do well in that area). All of them also support a wide variety of presets for devices such as mobile phones and gaming systems, plus have excellent conversion quality and speed and support batch processing. So neither of these factors are what we used to differentiate the programs.

We of course tested each program but instead of looking at the above-mentioned parameters (since they all do well in those areas), we looked at things such as usability and features beyond conversion (e.g. basic editing features) to differentiate the programs.

All testing was performed on an Acer Aspire 5315 with a T7500 2.2GHZ Core2Duo processor and 2GB DDR2 RAM running Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit. These are quite humble specs, so unless you have an extremely old computer, you should have no issue running all of the programs mentioned below; if I can run it, you probably can too.

With all that being said, here are the best free audio/video converters for Windows.

Table of Contents [Video to Video Converter vs AVC Any Video Converter vs Format Factory vs Freemake Video Converter vs iWisoft Free Video Converter]

Best Free Video and Audio Converter

Program Name: Video to Video Converter

Developer:  Media Converters

Download Size: 28.4MB

Version Reviewed: 2.9.1.14

Requires: Windows XP/Vista/7

Pros

  • Supports a large number of input and output audio and video formats
    • Supports both HD and SD videos
  • Supports a large number of electronic devices (supports hundreds of devices, including iDevices, Android, BlackBerry, gaming devices, and more)
  • Has the ability to save customized output settings as a profile which you can easily re-use later
  • Has a unique ‘Direct Stream Copy’ feature that allows you to change the container/format of a video (e.g. go from MP4 to WMV) without re-encoding
    • Note: When you use ‘Direct Stream Copy’ you will be able to change file format but it won’t change the underlying codec and you won’t be able to change output settings such as resolution, bitrate, etc. — you can only change frame rate
  • Supports batch processing
    • When batch processing, you can manually customize output settings for each input file including change the output format
  • Allows full customization of output settings, e.g. you can manually input a custom video resolution, change bitrate, change frame rate, change codec, change volume level, etc.
  • Has basic video editing capabilities: add watermark, add subtitles, deinterlace, crop, pad, rotate, flip, modify brightness, modify contrast, modify hue, modify saturation, add filters (sharpen, denoise, noise, fade in, invert, deshake, kernel deinterlacer, delogo),
  • Has more than just video and audio converting capabilities: DVD ripper (disc, folder, image), video joiner, video splitter, audio joiner, DVD burner, audio and video mux, video to images converter, video to thumbnail converter, images to video converter, and commercial remover
  • Can split/join videos without re-encoding (if you use ‘Direct Stream Copy’)
    • Note: When joining videos with ‘Direct Stream Copy’, make sure the input formats are the same otherwise the output video may be bugged. Program does not warn you of this.
  • Supports the ability to keep original video resolution for output files
  • Can take snapshots of videos
  • Can automatically shut down computer after conversion
  • Has ability to control program CPU priority level, which helps prevent excessive CPU consumption if you plan on using your computer while you convert files
  • Performs very well — is fast and has great conversion quality
  • Has a portable version

Cons

  • No 2-pass encode option
  • Unclear if GPU (NVIDIA/AMD/DirectX) acceleration is supported. It doesn’t look like it is.
  • DVD ripper does not bypass DRM protection
  • Basic video editing features are a bit hidden; you need to scroll down to the Advanced section when selecting an output profile in the Video Settings screen to access them
  • Support for electronic devices is very extensive. However, the list is not always up-to-date. For example, has a profile for Galaxy S II but not Galaxy S III. This does not mean you cannot use Video to Video Converter for the latest gadgets; this just means you may have to manually configure output settings for some of your gadgets. The good thing is you can save customized output settings (e.g. you create a custom profile for Galaxy S III) and easily reuse it whenever you want.
  • When you minimize, it minimizes itself to system tray as opposed to taskbar (meaning you can forget you have it running). There is no way to change this behavior.

Discussion

Video to Video Converter is an excellent free program that takes care of all of your video and audio converting needs. The program has a number of different uses, be it converting a video or an audio file to another format, joining or splitting video files, or ripping or burning DVDs. The converter also supports dozens of output formats and can be used to convert videos into a number of popular formats including AVI, MPEG4, XVID, MPEG2, MOV, MKV, FLV, SWF, 3GP, GIFF, DIV, MP3, etc. The following is a full list of supported input formats followedd by a full list of supported output formats:

2013-02-26_004424

2013-02-26_004624

The interface of the program is fairly easy to understand. Once you add the video that you need to convert, the Video Settings screen immediately pops up. Here you can select from a huge number of output presets, including the ability to convert the video so that it is compatible with Apple iDevices or a number of Android phones available in the market. You can even convert the video so that it can be loaded onto YouTube. Although the name of the screen is Video Settings, you can actually select audio outputs from here, too.

While inexperienced users can simply select their required format and go on for the conversion process, more experienced users can tinker with the output profile, including increase or decrease the audio volume, change the video codec, size, bitrate, and framerate, add subtitles, and much more.

Just in terms of audio and video converting Video to Video Converter is an absolutely great program. However, what makes it even better is the fact that is has more than just video/audio converting tools (see ‘Pros’ list above) and it has a portable version. Yes, you hard that right — Video to Video Converter has a portable version, meaning Video to Video Converter need not be installed.

The advantages of having a portable version are obviously that you can take it with you on-the-go on a USB flash drive or similar portable media, making it easy to convert files regardless of which computer you are on. Potentially more importantly, however, you don’t have to deal with the bundled crapware that comes with most freeware converters (all the remaining programs discussing in this article have crapware bundled during installation).

Overall, Video to Video Converter is an excellent program which is easy to use and comes with a huge number of input and output formats. Inclusion of tools beyond video and audio converting gives this a plus over rival programs and the fact that it is portable simply wins my heart.

Runner Up

Handbrake screenshotProgram Name: AVC Any Video Converter

NOTE: AVC Any Video Converter comes with bloatware during installation. Keep your eyes open while installing.

Developer: Anvsoft Inc.

Download Size: 35.4MB

Version Reviewed: 5.0.3

Requires: Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/7

Discussion

Any Video Converter is quite a helpful program and supports a plethora of file formats and all for free!

Any Video Converter is relatively simple to use and allows users to quickly navigate to the features they want. The lack of clutter is welcome.

The list of supported file formats and devices is extensive:

2013-02-26_012843

As you can see, all the popular .AVI, .WMV, .ASF, .DVR-MS, .MS-DVR, .MOV, .MP4, .3GP, .3G2, .M4V, .QT, .RM, .RMVB, .FLV, .MKV, .AVS, .M2TS, .MPG, .VOB, .DV, .M1V, .M2V, .DAT, .AMV, .MP4, .MPG, .WMV, .FLV, .AVI, .WAV, .MPEG-1 and .MPEG-2, and .MP3 formats are supported. Any Video Converter also comes with several preset device profiles such as those for Apple iDevices, Android Phones, the Microsoft Zune, the XBOX 360, and the Sony PS3 but do note the support for electronic devices is not always up-to-date, just like with Video to Video Converter. For example, no support for Galaxy S III (again).

Any Video Converter gives you the option of fully controlling output settings, plus has basic video editing capabilities (trim, crop, rotate, watermark, subtitles, adjust brightness/contrast/saturation, add effects, etc.). It can also join videos, can download online video from YouTube, and has the ability to include only a selected part of a file when carrying out a conversion. There is also a ‘Play Video’ option which can be used to preview videos before carrying out a conversion.

Interestingly enough, Any Video Converter supports NVIDIA CUDA GPU acceleration but provides no information if AMD/DirectX acceleration is supported.

I have not had any significant issues with Any Video Converter and it has served me well thus far. The major reason this program was not selected as number one is that it isn’t portable and comes bundled with AVG Toolbar plus tries to hijack your homepage. Overall, though, Any Video Converter is a simple and effective audio/video converter and you can rely on it to complete fast and decent quality conversions.

Honorable Mention 1

format factory screenshotProgram Name: Format Factory

NOTE: Format Factory comes with bloatware during installation. Keep your eyes open while installing.

Developer: Format Factory International Inc.

Download Size: 50.9MB

Version Reviewed: 3.00

Requires: Windows

Discussion

Format Factory is a converter that allows you to convert audio, video, and image files. It offers users a comprehensive set of options while converting et still making the entire process relatively simple.

All of the conversion options for Format Factory are grouped under the following categories:

  • Video
  • Audio
  • Picture
  • ROM Device\DVD\ISO
  • Advanced

The number of input formats supported by Format Factory is honestly too long to list here. Just trust me when I say pretty much all video/audio file formats are supported as input.

The options found under the video category allow for converting to the following formats:

  • Mobile Device Compatible: .MP4, .AVI, .3GP, .AVC, Android, Apple, Sony PSP, Sony PS3, Microsoft and Nokia formats (take note that Android, Apple, Sony PSP, Sony PS3, Microsoft and Nokia formats are variants of previously mentioned formats and they aren’t always up-to-date)
  • .MP4, .AVI, .3GP, .RMVB, .GIF, .WMV, .MKV, .MPG, .VOB, .MOV, .FLV, .SWF

The audio category allows for conversion to the following formats:

  • .MP3, .WMA, .FLAC, .AAC, .MMF, .AMR, .M4A, .M4R, .OGG, .MP2, .WAV, .WavPack

The picture category allows for conversion to the following formats:

  • .JPG, .PNG, .ICO, .BMP, .GIF, .TIF, .PCX, .TGA

The ROM Device options allow for the following options:

  • Convert DVD video to a video file
  • Convert the tracks on an audio CD to audio files
  • Convert the contents of a DVD/CD to an ISO/CSO image
  • Convert an ISO image to a CSO image and vice versa

The following are available under the advanced category:

  • Video Joiner
  • Audio Joiner
  • Mux Tool (this allows for the combining of a video track along with one or more audio tracks)
  • Media File Info (displays detailed information about any audio or video file)

Format Factory also allows for the tweaking of how the program operates. Like the previously mentioned programs, users can extensively modify the output file settings. Users can modify how video files are encoded as well as the bit rate, number of frames per second and aspect ratio for video files plus more. Subtitles and watermarks can also be added and videos can even be rotated, reflected, or even deinterlaced. With audio files the sample rate and bitrate can be modified and the number of audio channels can be selected. Users can even adjust volume levels from within the program itself.

One of the issues I had with this programs was the constant vigilance I had to keep for crapware during installation. If I wasn’t careful, who knows what unwanted toolbars I would have right now. Indeed while Video to Video Converter includes no crapware and Any Video Converter includes AVG Toolbar, Format Factory goes overboard when it comes to bundled crapware. This is actually the main reason why Format Factory is #3 on our list instead of higher.

However, overall, Format Factory is a great converter.

Honorable Mention 2

freemake screenshotProgram Name: Freemake Video Converter

Developer: Ellora Assets Corporation

Download Size: 25MB

Version Reviewed: 3.2.1.5

Requires: Windows XP/Vista/7

Discussion

On opening Freemake, the first thing that will catch your attention is its gorgeous interface. The program is very well organized with icons corresponding to almost every conversion option you can think of.

Freemake offers users 5 conversion categories. These are:

  • Video
  • Audio
  • DVD
  • Photo
  • Paste URL

Freemake supports a large amount if input formats:

freemake_format_support

There are several output formats which users can choose to output their video/audio files as. These are .AVI, .WMV, .MPEG, .MP4, .MP3, .3GP, .MKV, .FLV, .SWF, .HTML5.  There are also device specific options for conversion. The devices supported are as follows: Apple devices, Sony devices (PSP and PS3), Xbox, Samsung devices, Android devices, Nokia, and Blackberry Devices; out of all the programs featured so far, Freemake Video Converter probably has the most up-to-date support for electronic devices.

Video files can also be output to DVD format via burning or to a YouTube friendly format. Users can also paste URLs from a variety of websites in order to download online videos; over 10,000 online video websites are supported, including YouTube and Vimeo. This is quite the handy feature and saves persons the time of having to search for an additional program to carry out this task. There is also a ‘join files’ which allows users to join smaller files into a single larger file whenever necessary, plus the ability to burn DVDs and Blu-rays.

All output files can be customized to fit your needs. NVIDIA CUDA and Microsoft DXVA GPU acceleration is supported.

One of the other outstanding features of Freemake is the level of support offered on its site with several how-to videos available there.

I did not encounter any major problems with Freemake and the beauty of this program is that it incorporates a wide range of advanced features into a simple package — especially that video downloader. However, Freemake is a bit frisky on output format support compared to the other programs reviewed; either I missed it or formats such as .RMVB and .VOB are not available for output.

Aside from that, the major issue with Freemake is it comes with a whole boatload of crapware — even more than Format Factory. Be careful while installing this.

That said, if you need to convert a video or audio file and don’t like any of the previously mentioned programs, Freemake Video Converter is a good option. Just watch out for the crapware.

Honorable Mention 3

iwisoft video converterProgram Name: iWisoft Free Video Converter

Developer: iWisoft Inc.

Download Size: 8.7MB

Version Reviewed: 1.2.0

Requires: Windows NT/98/Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7

Discussion

iWisoft Free Video Converter is yet another excellent video converter and, in my opinion, probably the easiest to use out of the whole lot here — and that is saying a lot because the others are easy to use, too.

Like all the previously mentioned programs, iWisoft supports a large number of input formats, output formats, and electronic devices:

2013-02-26_015701

Aside from video/audio converting, iWisoft has basic editing capabilities (crop video; trim audio or video; adjust gamma, brightness, contrast, and saturation; add gray, emboss, negative, or old film effects; and add watermark), can join videos, and can take snapshots of videos.

Indeed when it first came out, iWisoft was one of the best, if not the best video/audio converters out there. The issue, however, is iWisoft hasn’t been updated in a really long time (over two years). It is still a very good video/audio converter that still works today but it not being updated means its support for electronic devices is woefully out-of-date (much worse than the other programs on this list) and it doesn’t support modern conversion technologies like GPU acceleration.

Another issue is the program displays an extremely annoying nag screen urging users to upgrade to the paid version every single time a conversion is completed.

Overall, however, this program is very capable and cannot be ignored as an effective solution for audio/video conversion.

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72 comments

  1. Jasmin Barby

    I had tried freemake, handbrake and format factory before. But it seems the new version of Freemake would cause crash problem sometimes, does anybody have the same problem like me? Handbrake is great but doesn’t have many output formats available.
    BTW, could you add those alternatives on your list and come out a review for them? Thanks so much.
    http://www.clone2go.com/video-converter/
    http://www.wondershare.com/pro/free-video-converter.html
    http://www.mediacoderhq.com/dlfull.htm

  2. Neil from Ohio

    I use Iwisoft because I find its interface to be friendly and easy to work with.

    But I don’t know what nag screen you are seeing. Iwisoft Free Video Converter is total freeware–there is no upgrade.

    Iwisoft has only three products, and 2 of them are totally free. The only one they charge for is something that deals with SWF files.

  3. WildCat

    Just a heads up… the “runner up” AVC Any Video Converter, contains OpenCandy “crapware”. If you do download and install it be sure to use the /NOCANDY switch during installation.

    Ashraf wrote a nice article explaining how to stop/block open candy from connecting to the internet. Check it out for more info. http://dottech.org/123619/how-to-block-opencandy-windows-xp-vista-7-8-guide/

    Be sure to check out the comments section where there is some good info posted by MarkQ, Peter and me, for blocking OpenCandy during the installation of Free/Shareware programs.

  4. haakon

    Richard (and others) :-)
    I installed Video to Video v.2.9 in February, when it was mentioned on DotTech.
    I “think” I downloaded a installation file, zipped or whatever but can not tell for sure.
    ———–
    I am paranoic but also eager to try new software I pray can make my life easier.
    As a rule I make full system (eg C:) backups every 2 weeks or so.
    As a example, this laptop:
    1st backup was done when Win7, WinXP and huge load of “basic” software (including office and whatever was installed and I had it all set / adjusted to my preferences. Thats my BASIC backup.
    Saved both on a external (USB3) HDD and on a backup partition on the laptops HDD.
    Then I have permanent backups done every 2 – 3 monts, depending on what I have done to the SYSTEM disk.
    Inbetween I do my 2 weeks backup AND a separate backup of mails and stuff I want to save forever.
    The 2 weekly backups I delete when they are “too old” and I am sure I am happy with the system.
    Downloaded files are kept on a separate HDD

    Whenever I install software I dont trust I do so on a sandboxed system.
    Then I can go back IF my suspison was right.
    ——————
    As the price of storage space is dropping every day its not too expensive to have a 1Tb or bigger disk.
    (my system disk is “only” 115Gb so it takes less than 30minutes to make a complete system backup to the USB disk- I use Aomei backup, have tried several others..
    Haakon

  5. Richard Dahmer

    I was going to try the (Best Free Video Converter) Listed above but ran into a trust issue! I does not let you just down load the program in a ZIP format or what ever and then UN-zip and install when you would like too! I tries to run an install program from the WEB! This action was blocked by both FireFox and Windows Explorer!? As possible Hacker or Virus activity!!! I have enough problems with Hackers and Viruses in just everyday usage! I will NOT Risk my PC by deliberately downloading Hacked software! No Thank you! I would rather go to the store and PAY For the Application! Or Stay with the offers of FREE Give away of the Day! I have NEVER had a problem using GOTD site or software offered, and in fact after trying some of there offerings I usually end up Buying it from the producer if I like it and can really use it. If these “Give away for FREE software company’s really want to succeed? They need to work with the certification company’s that provide the Hacker and Virus etc. Protection software for Windows Explorer and FireFox etc. So that end users will know and Trust that that they are downloading is SAFE and FREE of Bugs and Hacks! Over the years I have made the mistake of downloading “FREE” software or utilities only to find out that your system is now HACKED! I Fix, Repair Computers Daily from PC users that have downloaded such software! Today and from Now ON I completely trust my protection software! If it says “Site NOT Tested!” Or “The File or Program you are trying to download may contain Hacked or Viruses and may Damage Your system if I continue?” I do NOT Download or Install it! Its just NOT worth the risk! Sorry, I would have liked to try this software but if they ARE Reputable? It should NOT be a problem to have there software certified! And when it comes with a auto instal from the Site? That sends up RED FLAGS all over to me! If its really FREE and FREE of Bugs? Let me download the Program in ZIP etc. Format and instal it where and when I want too! Just my 2 Cents. Thank you for your Time. I love to read your revues and advice on GOTD and from your site. They are usually right on! (o; Yours Truly, Richard Dahmer.

  6. Janet

    [@Paul D] It tells me it will take 2 hours…!! All I want is to split a 6.2GB .avi into two files–no conversion/editing….

    II succeeded in doing it in Video to Video Converter….:-)….

    CORRECTION: In my post above, I meant 4GB, not 4MB…..

  7. Janet

    Can someone help me out regarding how to do something very simple on Video to Video Converter? I simply want to split a movie in two, as my TV only takes FAT (ie under 4MB) files from a memory stick, and a lot of movies are over 4MB. I have looked up under Help, but was not successful in executing their directions.

    Alternatively, I have many video converters, players, creators, rippers, etc. from dottech and GAOTD over the years. Is there a particular one that is good for splitting. I do not do any other sort of editing of videos.

  8. VideoGuy

    Great post. I’m just like you. We have tons of different types of devices. iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android, Laptops, and our Desktops. We use video converters quote a bit to adjust the formats so they play on our devices. Thanks again for the post!

    Personally, I use free video converter, it can also convert videos into mp3’s.

  9. Paul D

    [@Paul D] Sorry. That should have been to Jerry.

    Incidentally, I note that FF’s default download site is Softonic. They are as evil as CNet. If the author doesn’t offer direct download I will use ONLY MajorGeeks and/or FileHippo.

  10. David Roper

    [@Jerry Wolff] Thanks Jerry, maybe Ashraf can respond to this again. Of course when you leave the boxes checked on a manual install, it’s YOUR fault. But what you just stated is NOT that at all. What shall we name that kind of software? “Forceware”? This worries me on such a fine Freeware program. Ashraf?

  11. Jerry Wolff

    Beware of Factory Format. I just installed the latest update to Factory Format (version 3.1.1). I followed all instructions and unchecked all references to the ASK Toolbar. In spite of this, my browser now has this toolbar installed.

  12. audioprofessor

    Try Digital Audio Converter! It is a powerful all-in-one audio converter for audio conversion and audio CD ripping. Using Digital Audio Converter, you can convert between different audio formats including MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, FLAC, OGG Vorbis, APE, MPC, SPX, TTA, WV, rip music CD to different audio formats and get information (e.g. Artist, Album, Genre, Track name) from FreeDB, a music compact disc database on the Internet. In addition, the music file tag content (meta data) is also converted.

    http://www.digitaction.com/

  13. David Roper

    [@Paul D]

    And I really appreciate your reply to me. I was repeating what Ashraf found when he reviewed FF. I did not reinstall FF 3.0 to find out for myself. My old FF is still installed and I have used it because of Ashraf. I am not as smart as he is, so I follow on converting programs. I am very glad that FF does not install extra without permission. Thanks. David

  14. Paul D

    [@David Roper] Anyone who installs any software nowadays without using the Custom install option and reading all the screens along the way deserves whatever happens to them. Format Factory installs NOTHING extra without permission.

  15. David Roper

    Should I be downgrading your choice for #1 because the DVD ripper does not bypass DRM protection?

    In other words should this DRM ripping ability feat be a part of Video to Video conversion? Or a separate DVD Ripping task?

    Somebody straighten me out.

  16. David Roper

    I too have found Format Factory full of Crap-ware. I don’t like giving tips about getting it to my friends anymore because of crapware, so the advertising they THOUGHT they were getting is not getting to people after all.

    I’m glad you downgraded it from the #1 go-to program and I hope other authors will notice what happens when you load installs with trickery toolbars and other stuff not wanted.

  17. george

    [@mukhi]
    i can not believe anyone could find something wrong
    with format factory i have been using it for years
    without any problems i found it to be the best free
    converter i could get and it converts file others
    would not look at

  18. Man of Shortcuts

    Like many, we avoided GOTD during your “hiatus,” since their greatest credibility has been you, lol

    Seems to me you continue to write and provide us with greater and more exquisite attention to excellence than you did five, six years ago.
    It is surely as astonishing as anything in human affairs. How few last the distance.

    EVERYONE seems to jump the shark at some point, and, approaching completion of my internet career (19 years, 2,000+ websites, millions of top 10 search listings), there have been only occasional examples of pure excellence to brag about, people who have helped to build charitable efforts in numbers that defy logic and credibility, and, without a doubt, you’re one of those precious few.

    Scores of the best programs that empower high-speed production, still in use, not least because of your apparently tireless efforts. If ever a Jew was grateful to a Muslim for the BILLION cups of food we have raised thus far, it’s me being grateful to you, (as well as countless starving kids who benefit.

    A million bolts of good energy should come your way, if Newton’s 3rd law continues to hold.

    Can’t thank you enough. You have been one of our treasured wizards. Thank you, Ashraf.

  19. Eric989

    [@AT] I recently won Mukhi over from HandBrake to VidCoder. VidCoder is based on HandBrake but is easier to use. Both VidCoder and MediaCoder can produce the ultrahigh quality in a small file that you speak of. Read my previous post for a little more info.

  20. Eric989

    [@RealBull] If you want an ultrahigh quality (great quality with a small and predictable file size) then try MediaCoder or Vidcoder.
    Vidcoder has lots of options and is fairly easy to use but can only output to mkv or mp4. It has very useful tooltips for almost all advanced options. For example it will tell you the quality benefits vs encoding time (speed vs quality) of the advanced options.
    MediaCoder can do pretty much any input or output and has every option imaginable even triple pass encoding but it doesn’t have any built-in presets like Iphone 5 etc. (possibly can download these and or maybe specific versions of the program for easier conversion for specific devices?) and its UI is perplexing and it’s pretty complex. One thing I like especially about MediaCoder is that it supports the optimal profile of the HE-AAC v2 audio codec which is the most efficient I have ever seen. It sounds good to me even at 32kbps!

  21. AT

    I’m a fan of Handbrake. The output maybe slim but the video quality is equivalent to higher bit rates of other converters while maintaining the size of a video encoded at a lower bit rate. Soft-coding subtitles and additional audio tracks can be done with MKVs.

    One thing many people might not be aware of, is handbrake can fix the formatting of some widescreen movies. For example. The movie “Street Of Fire” is a wide screen movie formatted to fit older TVs. If played on a computer, you will get a black box all around the screen. Handbrake was able to remove the black box while retaining the display resolution. The other converters would require a crop and resize to do the same thing. Unfortunately the cropping and resizing would result in quality loss of the movie.

    The only drawback with Handbrake is it is slow. 2-Pass encoding is even slower. For the right video, I am happy to sacrifice time for the quality output.

  22. Anupam

    Hi, I had posted a comment here, yesterday, with lots of suggestions, with links, but can’t see it. Is it still waiting to be published, or was it rejected for some reason? Didn’t see any error message too, after I posted it. It was just nowhere to be seen. I thought it must be moderated waiting to be published, but still cannot see it.

  23. RealBull

    I think everyone made some good suggestions.
    But what makes or breaks audio/video converter for me are the settings/options. Can I get the best quality, adjust screen size, etc. by using the settings? Also the amount of supported formats is also important.

  24. Paul D

    I use FormatFactory for audio and video to audio. For video to video I use iSkysoft, which also has a rudimentary splitter/joiner. I don’t think it’s generally free. I probably got it after a tipoff here from Ashraf.

  25. EleventhHour

    Freemake Video Converter (which is a misnomer because it also converts audio and pictures)
    It’s my go-to all-purpose converter since dropping FormatFactory. And it looks nice too.
    It’s simple viewer with cutting and joining features beats most other programs too.

  26. Mags

    [@Bub] I will never, ever, install Format Factory again!!!

    Why? Because of what it also installs, even after you uncheck the installation of other crapware it still installs it. AND it also installs Chrome, without asking permission to do so.

    I’ve used iWisoft, but as far as I know, they still haven’t updated it in years.

    I’m interested in seeing what others recommend.

  27. AFPhy6

    Thus far all your “best free” recommendations have come down to me already using your top choice. Surprising to me, but true. I have enjoyed grabbing and checking the #2, though. I definitely expect that not to be the case with FormatFactory since it is an application I almost never need.