Ipod Video Converter for Free converts a myriad of video formats into Ipod-compliant MP4 container videos, including WMV, MKV, ASF, FLV and VOB as well as the usual AVI (DivX, Xvid) and Mpeg formats. It will also download and convert Youtube Videos.
[Update Jan 17 2008: since reviewing version 188.8.131.52 of this program, the author has released newer ADWARE versions. Although not malicious, I nonetheless DO NOT recommend using these adware versions. Unfortunately I no longer have the setup file for the non-adware version, but will find it soon and post it on this page.]
From the makers of Free Easy CD DVD Burner comes this straightforward video-to-Ipod conversion program. What’s interesting about this is the number of formats that it can handle, not least the FLV format that Youtube and other sites have made ubiquitous. Here’s what you need to know about this program.
Note on Ipod video resolution . The maximum resolution for an Ipod compatible video depends on the Ipod’s firmware version. For Ipods with firmware 1.2 or later the max resolution is 640×480 or lower. Ipods with earlier firmware versions can handle video resolutions up to 320×240 (more info here). I would advise you to check your Ipod’s firmware version (from the Ipod main menu > settings > about) and update the firmware using the iTunes sofware if necessary. Maximum audio bitrate is 160bps.
The interface: very simple.. Allows batch encoding of files. Also includes a video preview option which I suggest you switch off as it will slow down the conversion process.
Custom settings: you can change these depending on the output resolution, quality, and file size you want. Unfortunately, there is no documentation to speak of for this program that I could find either with the installed program itself or on the developer’s website (or on third-party websites for that matter). It is possible to get a good, high quality converted video nonetheless.
- If you want, you can pick the easy “Ipod Standard Format” setting from the main menu. I do not recommend this, as the quality of the standard 320×240 resolution is too low in my opinion.
- For Video: The most annoying thing about this program’s custom settings is the lack of an option to scale the video resolution down while maintaining the original video’s aspect ratio. As it is this has to be done manually. I have had good results setting the output resolution by calculating a new size that is nearest to the Ipod’s 640×480 resolution whilst maintaining the height and width proportionality as per the original. I would set aspect ration to be the same as the original as well. (you can use MediaInfo to get all of this information on almost any video; you can also use Video Size Calculator to help you calculate the new size).
- Frame rate: Ipod Video Converter for Free doesn’t seem to force you to enter this and I have had good results without messing with it. If you must enter something why not use the same frame rate as the original (again from MediaInfo).
- Bitrate control Mode: with no documentation whatsoever my guess is that (a) constant bitrate is the fastest; (b) 2-pass VBR provides the best quality but takes longer than (a) to convert; (c) manual VBR is probably better quality than (a) but faster than (b); and (d) Automatic VBR is probably best quality and longest time. Don’t quote me on any of this; pick one that seems like it suits your needs best and try it out.
- Target bitrate / bitrate range / VBV buffer size, and Encode Mode: I didn’t touch any of these and got excellent results. Can’t give you more info, I’m afraid.
- For Audio: my advice; set to 160bps (the max the Ipod can use), 48Khz, stereo. This way you get the best possible audio (believe me when I tell you that there’s nothing more annoying that low quality sound when you’re trying to watch a video over the din of a bus or other crowded public place).
YouTube: copy the URLs of the videos you want from YouTube and paste them into this program singly or in batches. It can then download them for you all at once and optionally convert them into Ipod MP4 files at 320×240 resolution. Alternately you could download the FLV and convert them later using custom settings if you want better quality.
The Verdict: this program supports WMV as well as FLV conversions, which is unusual for a free Ipod video converter, and can also download and convert videos from YouTube. But most important, the video conversions themselves are very good and I have not had any audio/video sync or other problems when I tested it. Although it could have been simpler and much more streamlined, it is generally fairly easy to use. ”One-click” type conversions with one or two quality and/or size choices would have been great and an option to “preserve original aspect ratio” in the video settings would have made this program significantly better, but I still think this software is a very competent converter overall. The next time I need to convert a video to Ipod format this is probably be the program that I will use.
Version tested: 184.108.40.206
Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista.
Go to the developer’s page to download the latest version (approx 6.18 megs). You may need to select Ipod Video Converter for Free the menu on the left hand side. Although the download page presents a form for entering in your information, you actually do not need to do this. Just click the ’Download’ button.