I have used Handbrake for a long time now to convert my DVD files to MPEG-4 files.  The video conversion quality is second to none and the choice of options is very good. HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multi-platform, multi-threaded DVD to MPEG-4 converter, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. Supported sources: HandBrake is not limited to DVDs: it will now accept practically any type of video as a source.

Handbrake

Outputs:

  • File format: MP4, MKV, AVI or OGM.
  • Video: MPEG-4 or H.264 (1 or 2 passes or constant quantizer/rate encoding).
  • Audio: AAC, MP3, Vorbis or AC-3 pass-through (supports encoding of several audio tracks).

Misc features:

  • Chapter selection.
  • Basic subtitle support (burned into the picture).
  • Integrated bitrate calculator.
  • Picture de-interlacing, cropping and scaling.
  • Grayscale encoding.

The following (numerous) updates have been undertaken in this version of Handbrake:

  • Intel QuickSync Video Encode / Decode support.
  • Windows only currently. We hope to bring this to Linux in the future but not for 0.10.
  • Hardware Decode support via DXVA (Experimental – Windows Only)
  • Decoding of some H.264, VC1 and WMV content via the GPU.
  • Can provide a small improvement on slower hardware. Not suitable for fast CPU’s
  • Choice of Scalers
  • Lanczos
  • This is currently Handbrake’s default scaler and will remain so.
  • Bicubic (OpenCL) (Experimental)
  • Available on the Command Line (All Platforms) and Windows GUI. (Mac / Linux GUI’s will come in a later release)
  • Currently only available in OpenCL form so requires a AMD or Intel GPU supporting OpenCL 1.1 or later. Nvidia       GPU’s are not currently supported.
  • When downscaling, up to 5% performance improvement can be achieved. No benefit when not downscaling.
  • Small loss in quality over the Lanczos scaler.
  • Denoise
  • hqdn3d filter now accepts individual settings for both chroma channels (Cr, Cb)
  • New NlMeans? denoiser. This is very slow, but results are significantly better than hqdn3d.
  • Presets
  • Added Windows Phone 8 Preset
  • Updated Libraries
  • x264 r2479-dd79a61
  • Libav v10.1
  • libbluray 0.5.0
  • Libavformat is now used for muxing instead of mp4v2 and libmkv
  • “Large File Size” checkbox has now bee removed for mp4, as the new muxer will transition to 64bit files automatically.
  • mpeg2dec has also been replaced in favour of using libav
  • The LibAV AAC encoder is now the default as FAAC has been removed.
  • This encoder is adequate for most, but until it improves a bit further, we have enabled support for the FDK-AAC encoder also.
  • This FDK option is a temporary measure until the LibAV encoder improves.
  • Note that FDK-AAC is much slower and will likely bottleneck the encode process, but will produce better quality audio.
  • H.265 encoder
  • Using x265 v1.4
  • This encoder is still early in it’s development, so is missing many H.265 features and optimisations.
  • Added VP8 Encoder (using libvpx)
  • Available in MKV files only.
  • Removed mcdeint deinterlace and decomb modes. This relied on the snow encoder in libav which has been was removed by upstream.
  • Bug fixes and Misc Improvements
  • Accessibility / Usability Improvements
  • Added option to ‘Use System Colors’. The app should now be more usable in a High Contrast mode.
  • Fixed Tab ordering to make the app more keyboard friendly.
  • LibHB is now used for scanning instead of the CLI.
  • Experiential Preview window is now available as a result. (Can be enabled via preferences)
  • Improved the layout and design of the Audio and Subtitle tabs.
  • Split buttons similar to the old 0.9.8 WinForms? GUI
  • Improved layout on the track listbox to make better use of the space.
  • Improvements to Auto-Naming feature.
  • When Done
  • Added an option that will reset this to ‘Do nothing’ when the app is closed and restarted.
  • Presets
  • New ‘Presets’ Menu
  • Presets bar can now be hidden if it’s not wanted.
  • Numerous bug fixes
  • Fixed the Issue in the source dropdown where the drive menu items did not work when clicked.
  • Numerous fixes in the Picture settings panel around resolution calculation.
  • Numerous fixes around the way Presets are loaded and saved, particularly around Picture settings.
  • Removed Growl for Windows support due to bugs and issues with this library that remain unfixed. Project appears abandoned.
  • Many misc other fixes.
  • Windows XP is no longer supported. Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 or later is now a requirement.
  • The 32bit build of the application is now considered deprecated. This is due to 32bit process memory limitations.

So, if you need a multi-platform, multi-threaded DVD to MPEG-4 converter, what are you waiting for? You can download Handbrake from FileHippo.com, today.

[Image via erichansen]