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Free Video and Media Conversion Software

written by: Ryan C.•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 4/6/2010

Having trouble playing a video on your computer or iPod? We will help you find the right software to convert the video to the right format for effortless playing.

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    Today’s digital devices and online video-sharing sites contain a multitude of video formats. These formats (codecs and containers) pose a challenge when playing videos on other computers, your cell phone, or other portable devices. To get these videos to play successfully with video and sound, you need to be sure that the video is encoded in a valid format for your device.

    On a computer, installing new codecs and different video players can be used to play just about any format. For example, VLC will play virtually every video and audio format without the need for a hundred new codecs. Best of all, it’s free and lightweight. On a mobile device, you usually don’t have the luxury of a new player so you must convert the file to one that is more friendly. That is where the following programs come in handy.

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    Handbrake (All Platforms)

    Handbrake, hands down, is the best video conversion software for devices. It is an open-source, free program that works on all Windows-based PCs, Macs running OS X, and systems with Linux. Handbrake allows you to effortlessly and quickly convert between file types and resize your videos to an appropriate size and quality for playing on portable devices and computers. If you are wanting to convert a DVD to an avi or mpeg file for your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or cell phone, this will also do the trick. Just pop in your DVD and select the device you intend to play it on and click start! We found that Handbrake was the easiest and quickest program for converting any number of movie files. It supports a wide variety of inputs and can convert to MP4 (portable devices) and MKV. Some of the extra features it includes are chapter selections and subtitles for DVDs, deinterlacing, cropping and scaling, and a live video preview to help assist you with your conversion.

    Download Handbrake here.

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    Any Video Converter (Windows Only)

    Any Video Converter (AVC) is a free video converter which can convert between a multitude of formats. More specifically, it takes avi, asf, mov, rm, rmvb, flv, mkv, mpg, 3gp, m4v, vob, YouTube videos and much more. It can then convert these to avi, mp4, wmb, swf, flv, mkv, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, mpg mp3, wma, ogg, aac, wave, and m4a. Like handbrake, AVC supports portable formats to convert videos to your iPod or other portable video player. AVC also supports batch conversions and auto-shutdown when it is finished. It is highly customizable and supports 18 different languages.

    Download AVC here.

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    Bottom Line

    The verdict is that if you are converting your videos for mobile devices then go with Handbrake. For converting a video to another codec/format for play on a computer, Any Video Converter Free will allow you the greatest flexibility in terms of inputs and outputs.