Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Help me convert some videos
January 20, 2011 2:13 PM   Subscribe

How to convert .avi files to be useable in iTunes/iPhone.

So I have some fully legal .avi files that I have on my computer and I would like to be able to put them on my iPhone to use the output-to-TV function. I have been trying to figure out how to convert them to MP4 format, which is how I understand it needs to be, and have been failing unceasingly.

I have tried Videodora, MeGUI, and a couple of other programs and have found the most frustrating thing is the mixture of total technical gobbledegook and complete lack of guidance. What I am looking for is 1) a program that will actually work without too much tweaking of settings; and 2) a guide for using it aimed at someone who knows just slightly more than "nothing". I am not averse to paying for this software if it will meet these two requirements.

And speaking as someone who's now put in a couple of hours trying to figure this out, researching this issue is almost intolerable. All I can find are horrible forum posts, spam magnets, and links to various un-vouchworthy programs that probably installed a ton of spyware on my system while not solving my problem. ADMINISTRATOR HOPE ME.
posted by norm to Technology (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Handbrake. There are presets for iPhone/iPad/etc...
posted by schmod at 2:17 PM on January 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Im presuming that these files are on a laptop or desktop computer, not the iphone itself? Get Streamtome for 2.99, it will stream basically any video to your iphone, from there you can just plug your phone into the TV.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:19 PM on January 20, 2011


You can use MediaPlayer which is an app on the App Store. You can copy the files over through iTunes file sharing with no conversion necessary. This can be a good solution especially if you have a ton of avi files.
posted by antgly at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2011


Handbrake is easy peasy. Choose the source, toggle and choose a preset on the right, and hit start!
Then drag resulting m4v file to iTunes.
posted by special-k at 2:25 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mac or PC?
posted by The Dutchman at 2:35 PM on January 20, 2011


If you really want to not have to think about anything at all related to file formats or codecs or aspect ratios or whatever, you might like Miro Video Converter. You just pick the output device and drag-and-drop the video onto the window.

It's available for Macs and PCs and it's open source.

I use Handbrake myself, but I gave my parents Miro so they couldn't fiddle with anything and screw it up.
posted by bcwinters at 2:43 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, should have specified. It's a PC. Other clarifications:

You can use MediaPlayer which is an app on the App Store. You can copy the files over through iTunes file sharing with no conversion necessary. This can be a good solution especially if you have a ton of avi files.

I don't understand. I can't make the avi files appear in iTunes, so that seems like it's a no-go. What am I missing?

Get Streamtome for 2.99, it will stream basically any video to your iphone, from there you can just plug your phone into the TV.

It's a 3GS, and it is my understanding that streaming to the TV would probably not work, at least if this app is comparable to the Netflix app, which also does not do direct-to-TV streaming.
posted by norm at 2:52 PM on January 20, 2011


The answer to video conversion is almost always Handbrake.

Convert the .avi's to .mp4 and drag and drop them into iTunes. Done!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:57 PM on January 20, 2011


Some apps (Mediaplayer for one, dearly departed VLC being another) allow you to upload files from the app pane in itunes without converting them
posted by Oktober at 3:08 PM on January 20, 2011


We do have a winner. Thanks all.
posted by norm at 3:08 PM on January 20, 2011


I don't understand. I can't make the avi files appear in iTunes, so that seems like it's a no-go. What am I missing?

First install MediaPlayer on your iPod. Connect the iPod to your computer. Click on the device in the list on the left side of the iTunes window, then click on the "Apps" button at the top of the main pane (this reveals the pane that lets you organize applications). Scroll down and you will see the available applications that can accept non-iTunes-y documents. Select MediaPlayer. Drag your AVI onto the file list next to it.

(It is stupid and annoying and confusing and obviously Steve Jobs does not ever, ever use this function or it would not work like this.)
posted by bcwinters at 3:27 PM on January 20, 2011


The VLC app will do this as well. I drag and drop all sorts of .avi and .flv files to my iPhone with it, but I think it just got removed from the iTunes store. If you see it again (it was free), snag it while you can.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:47 PM on January 20, 2011


The VLC app is great! No converting needed.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:40 PM on January 20, 2011


Streamtome will support tv-out with a iphone tvout cable, and it works fine on my 3GS with iOS 4.0
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:59 AM on January 21, 2011


« Older Looking for the name of a New ...   |  Email client for Mac?... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.