If you’re like me you probably already have a number of video files that you’ve bought and collected over the years that are in some format or another suited to your particular method of viewing (if you’ve come from a Windows background they’ll likely be in AVI format, or possibly MKV format). If you’ve recently bought an AppleTV – or even decided you want your library stored in iTunes so you can sync it to your iDevice – you’ll have realised you need a way to convert those files from their AVI or MKV format into a format suitable for iTunes. This is a nuisance, a time consuming nuisance. But fortunately there’s a bunch of software packages that can help out – many of which we’ve reviewed here individually.
This article highlights a collection of software titles that can help you convert your MKV, AVI, WMV files to iTunes M4V format. If you need to convert your DVD collection into files first, have a read of our How to rip DVDs on Mac first.
I’ve listed this one first because frankly it is without a shadow of a doubt THE best option for managing your video conversions. It’s not cheap (but few of the decent options are) but it’s ridiculously easy to use, and has fantastic support from Jendrik, the author. It supports automated rulesets and watch folders which make it extremely flexible and it supports loading of multiple files so you can set a whole batch running overnight and come back to find them automatically added to your iTunes library once the conversion process is complete. And, it uses clever ‘remuxing’ to speed up the process of conversion as much as possible. That’s a technical video codex issue that is way above my head, but I’ve seen it in action, converting a 2gigabyte MKV file into the appropriate M4V for iTunes in around 1 minute.
My wife and I have used the MacX product line for over 5 years now, converting everything from Kids Party videos (and some home made movies the nieces made) to our DVD collection originally on Kodi and then from Kodi’s MKV preferred format to iTunes when we bit the bullet and went AppleTV. We reviewed MacX Video Converter Pro previously and gave it a good review. It’s a good product, and really shines when it comes to some of the more obscure format videos (such as WMV) which some of the other video processors might not work with – especially proprietary camcorder type files, which in all of our tests MacX Video Converter Pro has coped with admirably. If you’re trying to convert an obscure video format and having no luck elsewhere it’s worth giving MacX Video Converter Pro a try.
This is an application we haven’t reviewed as yet, primarily because we try to review software that we actually use and we’ve been very satisfied with iFlicks and MacX Video Converter Pro. Having said that, at some point, in the interests of science we probably will look at this solution too because it’s quite popular and appears to do everything we’d need it to. It also appears to have a number of advantages over MacX Video Converter Pro, including the ability to automatically lookup the video metadata from online sources when adding to iTunes. This, for us, is a priceless feature because we’re adding movies and/or TV Shows to our iTunes library and if the files have all the necessary metadata information in them already it saves us a lot of typing and organising of the media library. It also comes with the ability to download videos from online sources such as YouTube, and convert 2D movies into 3D (though I’m not sure what format of 3D or whether this is in fact a good thing or not!). You can grab a copy of Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate from their website at http://www.wondershare.com/mac-video-converter-ultimate/
This is another one that we haven’t personally tried, but it does rate highly on Google when you search for “video converter mp4 hd review mac” and it appears to be the software that Wondershare are the most concerned about as it rates a ‘compared to’ mention on the Wondershare Website. Both Wondershare and Any Video Converter allow users to actually edit the conversions before committing them back to disk, operations such as trimming, cropping, rotation and addition of special effects are all available. These options are probably more relevant to home videos that you’re producing rather than DVDs that you’re converting but still. Any Video Converter also allows the downloading of video files and conversion from online sources too. Any Video Converter comes with a DVD burning software built in so you can put your conversions back onto DVD for more permanent storage. Any Video Converter has a free option, though I’m not sure what the restrictions might be with the free version, but if you want to try it out you can do so at http://www.any-video-converter.com/products/mac_video_converter_freeware/ – and all of AVCLabs software appears to be available for Windows too if you have the desire.
There’s no shortage of video conversion software available for the Mac, the above 4 are a small portion of what can be found on Google – though they are probably the most preferred options by many people from what I can see. Each of them have their benefits and drawbacks and hopefully this article gives you some idea of those. Feel free to visit the websites of the various packages for further information before making a decision – and most of them (with the exception of iFlicks) have a free trial available.