There must be something better than Videora iPod Converter!
September 28, 2010 6:33 AM   Subscribe

I use Videora to convert my videos (in DivX/XviD format) to something I can play on my iPod Classic. Whilst it does mainly what I want, it also sucks. Please help me find a replacement that does more and sucks less.

I dislike Videora. It's clunky, riddled with adverts, sometimes doesn't convert properly (the infamous "invalid public atom" error) and has a UI that truly stinks.

On the upside, it's free, accepts a list of video files (via the oddly hard to find "1-click convert" button) and just gets on with the converting as it already knows the correct settings for my iPod. One final nice touch is that once they are converted, it'll automatically upload them into iTunes.

Are there any alternatives which have all the upsides but none of the downsides? Bonus points if they can set the metadata in iTunes correctly for TV shows (season, show, episode) and delete the converted file afterwards (as my iTunes settings means that a copy is made elsewhere).

I've looked at a bunch of applications (handbrake, virtualdub, mediacoder, format factory, any video converter, convertxtodvd) but many of them fail the "just select a list of files and get on with converting" test - let alone all the other features I want. I have no desire to individually set the video size of each file or the codec or the post-processing options.

I'm currently using the command line version of HandBrake (handbrakecli) and a hand-written DOS batch file to go through every file in a folder and convert it. It does most of what I want, just not in a very slick way.

Can anyone recommend anything better? It needs to work on Windows 7 and be free.
posted by mr_silver to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Handbrake really is the best option.
posted by Mwongozi at 6:42 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

WinX DVD Platinum
posted by Freedomboy at 6:45 AM on September 28, 2010

Best answer: Handbrake is probably the best option, only because Apple's codec/container support is so limited and because of the atom issues you've already seen. The other freeware/FOSS software that can do encoding for iPod often requires you to set specific options for muxing H.264 streams to an iPod-compatible container because that software is more focused on general encoding through x264.

All of the non-FOSS stuff, particularly anything with a name like TOTALBESTALLMEDIASHARECONVERTER and a spammy-looking website with a Chinese host, is a rule a collection of ffmpeg ripoffs that don't use intelligent parameters for encoding or muxing. This includes WinX DVD Platinum.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:48 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I convert a lot of videos for work and personal use and I recommend DamnVid. No settings, just select "iPod Compatible" in the dropdown and go. You may also set that as the default option if that is what you will be converting to primarily.

Although it does nothing beyond metadata fetching, etc., it does just take a list of files that you drag in and is dead-simple. It can also monitor your clipboard and automatically queue/download/convert videos from many flash video sites like YouTube.
posted by rickfu at 7:23 AM on September 28, 2010

I prefer MediaCoder to the other options. But, it does require a bit of knowledge to get behind the steering wheel. Ultimately, these things all use some combination of MEncoder, ffmpeg, x264, and an AAC converter to create the videos. They're all command-line utilities. The windowy things are just for making all the command line options organized and pretty. (OK, so the pretty thing doesn't often work out... :) )

MeMail me if you like, and I'll create a MediaCoder settings profile for you when I get a chance. This way, you can just load it once, and convert-and-go.

Unfortunately, I don't think that any of the tools out there - even the paid ones - will set iTunes metadata like you're looking to do. I could be wrong about that, though. I just haven't seen one.
posted by Citrus at 7:35 AM on September 28, 2010

dude. super. for realsies. free, fast, works amazing. i've been using it for ipod, zune, psp, blackberry, ps3 conversion for years (yes i own a zune!)

posted by chasles at 7:56 AM on September 28, 2010

SUPER triggers Windows' Data Execution Protection because it's basically malware. No video encoding utility should ever need to modify files in your Win32 directory.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:32 AM on September 28, 2010

I've tried SUPER - it's a horrific experience even finding the page with the correct download link. I agree with Inspector.Gadget.

I've also looked at PRISM video converter, which works, but installs a bunch of startup menu links to that company's pages for other products or program stubs or something.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:04 AM on October 3, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

I've decided to continue with the combination of Handbrake and my batch file and, in parallel, break out Visual Studio and see if I can develop something that meets all of my requirements.

If I get something working then I'll drop those of you who responded here a MeFi Mail so you can (assuming you are interested) take a look.
posted by mr_silver at 1:39 AM on October 4, 2010

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