Why Buy Video Converter Software?
The top performers in our review are Wondershare Video Converter, the Gold Award winner; Aimersoft Video Converter, the Silver Award winner; Any Video Converter, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 applications.
There are dozens of digital video file formats, and most media players are only compatible with certain types. And it all can be quite confusing, especially when you don't know the difference between AVI and MOV. Video conversion software can help you not only get your files into the correct format, but it can also optimize your videos for whatever device or player you happen to own.
How It Works
Each video file on your computer is wrapped in a digital container. These containers are what give your videos their file extension (e.g., AVI, MOV, MP4, FLV, etc.). Simply put, video converter software strips away these containers and wraps your video in a new format of your choice.
In order to switch the format, a converter needs to recode the file’s video and audio components. In order to achieve this, video converters often compress the video, which can result in quality loss. The best programs use lossless compression algorithms to reduce or even eliminate imperfections like artifact and motion blur. For more information, read our articles on video converter software.
Key Attributes of the Best Conversion Software Applications
Video & Audio Format Conversion Choices
The best video converter software applications have the ability to modify any video on your computer into whatever format you need. All the programs in our lineup convert your videos to the most commonly used formats (AVI, FLV, WMV, MOV, MP4 and MKV), which cover the vast majority of conversions you'll perform.
The best video file converters though also offer a selection lesser-used formats such as DivX, OGV and WebM. These extra choices are useful as they allow you to convert videos for specialized hardware and software. However, the more obscure the format, the less important it is to the overall program.
You can watch videos on multiple devices these days. The best video converter applications have a full library of preprogrammed optimization profiles that tailor your conversion for whatever device you happen to own: smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, set-top boxes, televisions and more. Some programs' libraries contain just a handful of profiles while others have upwards of 400. The more choices you have, the higher the likelihood that the program you choose will have an optimization profile for your specific device.
Sometimes you don’t want to convert an entire video. The best video format converters offer a basic array of video-editing features that allow you trim, crop and adjust the picture and audio values of your footage. These basic video editing tools give you exactly what you need so you get the most out of a video conversion.
What We Tested, What We Found
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. The companies had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Before we created our reviews of video converter software, we subjected each product on our lineup to a battery of tests to determine which applications performed the best. Below are the criteria we used in our hands-on tests to rank and evaluate the 10 applications we reviewed:
Ease of Use Test
This score was determined after an inspection of the software's interface. We tracked how long it took to perform common tasks such as starting a conversion, picking an optimization profile and customizing your conversion.
We found that that the best programs place their most commonly used tools on the main window of the interface. Additionally, their workflow is set up in such a way that customizing the video and other settings are intuitive for users of all skill levels. Lesser programs, by contrast, bury their more advanced features deep in the in the application's interface.
After we converted our test video with each program, we asked a team of video/audio experts to inspect the results and compare them to the original footage. Our experts searched for imperfections in the copied video, such as grain, compression artifact, which is that fuzz or distortion that occurs when video is compressed into certain formats, and pixelation, where individual pixels in the video are visible.
We found that quality degradation of the picture varied wildly from program to program. The top video converters produce files that are nearly indistinguishable from the original. The movie converters that ranked in the bottom half of our video converter software reviews had picture flaws that distracted heavily from the viewing experience.
On the other hand, every video converter on our lineup did an excellent job converting sound. Our audio experts were hard pressed to find any difference in quality between the converted audio files and the original.
If you're converting longer videos, such as feature-length movies, the time it takes to complete a conversion is critical. The best programs convert videos fast and produce high-quality results.
Again, here too we found a dramatic difference between the digital video converters we reviewed. In our tests, several programs were able to convert an hour-long video in as little as one minute; others took longer than an hour. We also found that the fast video converters produced high-quality results – often much better than the slower programs.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
Following our exhaustive tests, below are the applications we feel performed the best:
Wondershare Video Converter – This program has every tool and feature we looked for in the best video converters. It has a healthy selection of both common and uncommon video formats, and the converted video was as close to perfect as can be reasonably expected. Only one other program in our lineup matched the quality of Wondershare’s conversion.
Aimersoft Video Converter – The most impressive aspect of this HD video converter is how quick it is. In our tests, Aimersoft converted an hour-long video in just two minutes. And the quality was only slightly degraded. We noticed some minor pixelation of the small details of the video but nothing that would distract viewers.
Any Video Converter – Of all the video format converters we reviewed, this one was the easiest to use. This is due to the fact that nearly all its tools are located on the main window of the interface. If you want to use a non-converter tool, the program has a conveniently tabbed workflow that allows you to access the features you want quickly and easily.
Any video can be played on any device these days. You just need to make sure it's in the right format. Video converter software allows you to change the format of any video to fit your needs. Peruse our buying guide and product reviews to help you find the best video converter software application for your needs.