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Best Free Audio-Video Format Conversion Program

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In a Hurry?
  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

There are many different audio and video formats out there, and most devices (such as the iPod) and programs (such as Windows Media Player) are only compatible with a few specific formats. An AVI or WMV movie will not play on an iPod, for example, without being converted into an MP4 file first.

There are quite a few programs that will do this for free, with more popping up all the time.  They tend to fall into a few general categories:

  • If you want to convert audio & video easily, with a polished interface, support for virtually all file types including online video websites, and an integrated precision video editor, I recommend that you try our Top Pick.
  • If you want to convert without fiddling with any settings, using as few clicks as possible, try our Device-Specific Picks, which are especially suited to quickly setting up a conversion for a portable device.
  • If you want to have control over basic settings (such as framerate, frame size, and bitrate), yet still experience a quick, low-frustration conversion where most of the guesswork is done for you and you don't need to be an expert to get the job done, try our General Converter Picks.  Our Top Pick is in this category.
  • If you want complete control over every detail of your conversion task, where you have the ability to fine-tune your output using settings that most of us, including the Reviewer, don't even understand, then you may be interested in looking at our Custom-Oriented Picks.
  • If you only want to convert audio files, yet you want more audio-specific functionality, then try our Audio-Only Picks.
  • And lastly, if you're looking to convert a wide range of file types, from video to audio to documents to images, and you want to do it on the fly, you might want to check out an Online Conversion Website service.  There are sometimes file-size restrictions with these services, but they offer the convenience of being accessible from any browser.

While some are better than others overall, which one is best for you will depend on what sort of program you need.

Note:  If you want to rip video directly from a DVD, click here to view the Best Free DVD Ripper page..


Device-Specific Picks

Pazera Video Converters Suite Pazera Converter Screenshot is really a package of several separate device converters with a common launcher. Each converter is powerful, with several presets for device, custom tweaking/profiles, multiple-file support, all in a simple text-based interface. If you don't mind the launcher, you could effectively use it as a hybrid converter.


Miro ImageFor even easier device conversion, there is Miro Video Converter. With just a dozen device presets and support for only one file at a time, it may not be the best choice for power users. However, its simple interface is 'newbie-proof', and conversion quality is on a par with other programs.


Also recommended:

  • XMedia Recode: Like Miro but with a less polished UI.  It supports multiple simultaneous files and more devices.
  • DVDVideoSoft Free: Pazera without custom tweaks; has neat tricks like Youtube downloading and video tweaking. This product is bundled with OpenCandy. See this article for more information. It will also attempt to install a toolbar which you may not want.
  • Handbrake:  A long-time favorite of mine, when I need to convert from just about any format to a nice, no-nonsense iPod/iPhone compatible video (encoded in H.264).  It has a queue, and supports multiple Apple presets including Apple TV.

General Converter Picks

Freemake Video Converter is the new Top Pick.  The interface is about as polished as it gets, and the code behind the interface is stable, flexible, and powerful.  Using Freemake is a linear, seamless experience with no frustration.

What I do find frustrating, however, is that the developer has now added OpenCandy to their installer.  For more information about this bundled software, I recommend you read this article.  Please see the last paragraph of this review for information on how you can opt out of this.

Now, back to the awesome stuff.  With Freemake, you can convert most any format of video or audio with this handy piece of freeware, along with DVD's, photos, and even web embedded media from sites like YouTube, Google, and Vimeo.  There are lots of presets and quite a few options, giving the software best-in-class capabilities.  The visual cues are easy to follow, pretty much guiding you from start to finish on any conversion task and providing a more user-friendly experience than most other software.

This software can make use of DXVA and CUDA (two methods of hardware accelerated encoding) to boost speeds.  I was only able to use DXVA on my test computer, so you may get faster encodes with your machine.  On my laptop, I had an NVidia card, and Freemake actually displayed a message recommending that I update my video card drivers to make use of CUDA acceleration.  Freemake took 39 minutes to produce its output using an Auto Bitrate setting, with a two-pass encode.  It took under 15 minutes to do a one-pass encode.  Handbrake took 33 minutes using a Constant Quality RF:20 setting.  The quality of all three test encodes was excellent, with no apparent difference from the original.  You won't find advanced encoding settings anywhere in this interface, so if you're looking to fine-tune your output, I recommend moving on to something like Handbrake, Format Factory, or FFCoder.

I would have loved to give this software 10/10 stars, however there was one negative aspect to Freemake Video Converter: the bundled Freemake Toolbar and OpenCandy softwares.  The toolbar is set to install by default unless you choose otherwise on the first page of the install wizard.  To their credit, the Privacy Policies and/or EULA's are easily available for all bundled software. OpenCandy, on the other hand, does not have a checkbox to toggle its install.  Instead, you'll have to roll up your sleeves and install from the command-line if you want to opt out of it.  Here's how:  Hit Start, then 'Run' the install file with the /nocandy switch.  It will still show you the EULA for it, however there will be an option at the very end of the install to 'not install' the software OpenCandy recommends for you.  Even without the /nocandy switch, you can still uncheck the box, but for some reason the switch will trade in the check-box for 2 separate radio button choices (Yes or No).  It's a lot to worry about and go through, but this software really is top-notch in most other ways.

Although their website defaults to an "online installer", they do host offline installers, available here.


When iWisoft Free Video Converter starts, it automatically launches your browser for an upgrade check and displays a web page, which I found annoying.  Aside from this, I didn't find much else to complain about.  Its interface is extremely clean, well organized, and easy to use. It has a complete and well-organized collection of presets, and supports making and saving basic tweaks, too. It even has a few pleasant surprises, such as a basic built-in editing suite, with features like cropping, splitting, joining, and watermarking.  In short, this program is an outstanding choice for most device conversions.


FormatFactory ScreenShotAnother excellent choice (especially for old phones and DVD ripping) is Format Factory. It has presets for over 100 devices, converts to and from dozens of formats, and allows for advanced tweaking and custom profiles. On the downside, the sidebar-and-popup interface does not provide a linear experience.  You'll find that you can not drag'n'drop into the windows that look like you should be able to, and you have to open & close a couple of windows in order to end up back at the starting screen, where you finally get to hit START.  This being said, once you learn the interface, you'll find it responsive, stable, and easy to drill down to the exact settings you are looking for. Overall, this program is a good choice for power or device users who find iwiSoft lacking.

NOTE:  When installing Format Factory, watch out for the bundled toolbar.  It is installed by default if you don't uncheck the box on the first screen of the installer package.

A portable version of this software is also available at LiberKey, which is a superb portable application manager.



Also recommended:

  • Ultimate Video Converter: Only handles single files, but simplest converter with both iPod and custom settings
  • SGI's Video Converter: More cluttered than the top two, but has "flatter" interface and more conversion options for power users.
  • YouTube Downloader HD:  This program is a gem in the world of YouTube ripping.  It allows you to copy/paste a YouTube link, choose your video quality, and download it to your computer for future viewing.  In the latest version, you can now choose to have it automatically convert the .FLV file to an iPod/iPhone compatible .MP4 file, or an XViD .AVI for playback on many devices.

Custom-Oriented Picks

If you need to make complex, custom jobs, FFCoder is the standout choice for its coherence. Like most programs in this review, it has an excellent device preset list, the ability to convert multiple files at once, and a simple, sleek interface. Where FFCoder stands out is its support of highly advanced configuration for each of the dozens of video formats and codecs, down to lighting and rendering settings. Despite a few dependencies (listed below) and a steep learning curve for any tweaks past the presets, this is the best converter for almost any power user, device owner or not.

One of my favorite FFCoder features is the Directory Watch.  You can setup FFCoder so that it monitors a folder for files matching a filename pattern, which will be automatically converted using the selected settings.  It can be a bit confusing to set up, however I found I got the best results when setting the wildcard filename pattern to something other than *.* (such as *.avi).

There were two things I didn't like about FFCoder.  The first is that is always creates Start Menu entries in the Administrator account, regardless of which non-admin account is being used to install it.  This is fairly minor though, contrasted with all the powerful features.  The second drawback is that it seems to be less stable on 64-bit Windows systems every now and again.  I ran into .DLL errors and missing presets, which strangely were intermittent problems.  I've spoken with the author and it looks like many of these bugs will be worked out in the next release.


Also recommended:

  • SUPER:  Great for small, obscure tweaks. Has a simple but annoying interface. This program is bundled with OpenCandy. See this article for more information.
  • XVID4PSP: Supports very many tweaks. Impossibly fragmented interface. Solid AviSynth support.

Audio-Only Picks

Pazera Free Audio Extractor is the audio-only program in the above-mentioned Pazera Video Converters Suite. It supports both video and audio input and output to many formats, and is slightly simpler than some of its sibling programs. Otherwise, it is perfectly identical.



Online Conversion Websites

Video to Mp3 I was asked to checkout a web site converter for Youtube and Dailymotion videos. This site is set up to convert video to four set formats Mp3(128 kbt/s & 256 kbit/s ), flv, mp4 and 3gp.

This is a wonderful idea, but does it work lets see....

I started the test with an Mp3 convert and WOW finished in a matter of seconds and my result was ready to download. Ok lets check out some of these other bad boy options. Next I selected the Mp4 option and clicked the convert button and nothing. EMMM I thought well it is a video conversion so it will take more time. I waited until the next day nothing. After a full 24 hours still nothing. I reloaded the page and recopied the URL started a new convert. After 6 hours nothing and then my browser crashed ooops. I started a third again after 24 hours nothing. I am not saying it wont work for you as different configurations of bandwidth, browsers etc may be different but don't get your hopes up.

Next up the flv now I was thinking that a lot of Youtube video is in format flv so this should be quick but again after 3 days and 3 tests I had 0 results. At least this time my browser did not crash lol. So without much Enthusiasm I tried the 3gp option and hey what you know it worked first time and quite quickly about 30 minutes.

Having said all this if anyone wants a Youtube video in basic no frills mp3 audio from a Youtube video then this is a viable option and simple to use just copy and paste a Youtube URL into box, choice format and click convert and when it is ready download finished product, easy.



Zamzar is an excellent website when you're on the run.  It doesn't allow you to customize the encoding settings, however it makes up for that somewhat with its portability and flexibility.  If you have a browser with internet access, you have Zamzar.  If you have any file, you can convert it to any other type of file in the same class.  For example, you can convert video files, audio files, photos (ex: .JPG to .PNG), archives (ex: .RAR to .ZIP), documents (ex: .PDF to .DOC), and eBooks (ex: .LIT to .EPUB).  You can even paste a URL (ex: YouTube) and it'll download the embedded video for you and convert it.  Once the conversion is done, they email you a link to download the finished product.

This email-based file retrieval can be either a pro or a con depending on how you look at it.  It's more fuss than there really needs to be in the process, however it gives you the flexibility of converting a Youtube video from a computer where you can't download the content, such as when at work behind a proxy or at a public library.  When you get home, you can then download the finished conversion immediately using the email link.  I first used Zamzar over a year ago, and to this day I have never received unsolicited email from them.

There is a 100MB file limit for free use, but you can upgrade that to 200MB and get about 5GB of online storage if you want to pay their fairly steep monthly prices.  For most users, the free services are more than adequate.



Tested and not recommended:

To Be Reviewed:

  • Avanti
  • DVDVideoSoft (re-review)
  • Miksoft Mobile Media Converter
  • Mediacoder
  • Motion Man by Blink Solution
  • MeGUI
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

Quick Selection Guide

Freemake Video Converter
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Great interface, very flexible, support for almost every type of conversion, easy to use
Bundled toolbar (you can opt out, but it's a multi-click process) Bundled OpenCandy
1.21 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP/Vista/7, .NET Framework
Pazera Video Converters Suite
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Excellent presets, easy to use, custom profiles
Looks intimidating, separate programs for each output type, no advanced tweaks. Contains unwanted bundled components. Take care to avoid these during the install process.
21.3 MB
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Miro Video Converter
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Brutally easy-to-use device conversion
Only one file at a time, no profile or generic tweaking, only MP4
425.09 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows and Mac OSX
iWisoft Free Video Converter
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Simple polished interface, file and preset editing allowed, many device presets
Checks for updates and launches the browser on startup, requires Windows Media Player
8.7 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.

Portable version available here.

Format Factory
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Stable with many device presets. Supports all video file formats. Rips DVD's & Music CD's. Very powerful software.
Installer is bundled with a toolbar (you are able to opt out), interface is non-linear and somewhat confusing.
58.88 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 and 8 (NET Framework)
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Solid preset list, highly advanced tweaks, sleek interface
Dependencies, no installer
38 MB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista/7
Pazera Free Audio Extractor
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Great presets, supports many input and output formats, easy to use, custom profiles
No advanced tweaks. Contains unwanted bundled components. Take care to avoid these during the install process.
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Cross-platform, simple interface, good presets, complete features, video quality is excellent, DVD ripping, subtitle support
No preview window in the Windows version, slow encoding (based on settings chosen), output formats limited to MPEG-4 and H.264
13.63 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
MacOS 32/64-bit, Windows XP/Vista/7 32-bit, Fedora 15 32/64-bit, Ubuntu


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free audio converter, free video converter, best audio video converter, top audio video conversion program, free av converter, free av conversion.

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Average: 4.1 (164 votes)
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by Anupam on 16. October 2009 - 17:53  (34808)

I used it just a couple of days ago.. and FormatFactory works really well, without any issue. It did a great job of converting video files.


by Anonymous on 19. October 2009 - 17:30  (35008)

I would just like to put in a comment for MEDIACODER, mainly because of all the complaining and whining I see for it being buggy. Yes you do need to know what you are doing when you use MEDIACODER. Yes it is buggy and is picky on settings. BUT, there is NO free software that can encode all types of media with as high quality as MEDIACODER. Can you say H264 video with almost all the command line options, provided in the GUI! Prove me wrong. Somebody will try.

by Anonymous on 22. October 2009 - 23:51  (35285)

MEDIACODER is as fast if not faster than Format Factory because it is more customizable. If you don't know what you are doing you get the beginner preset Format Factory. As soon as you learn what variable bit rate, keyframes, and rate distortion optimization are, thats when you make some fireworks with MEDIACODER

by Arithmomaniac on 2. November 2009 - 2:51  (35609)

Hi, everyone! I'm sorry that this page hasn't been updated recently, but I've been very busy. DVDVideosoft will replace XMedia in my next review.


by Anonymous on 8. November 2009 - 17:16  (36224)

There is so much to read here, and I have one basic question...this coming from a newbie: I just want to burn a movie I downloaded to a dvd+r. It is a mp4 file. I use win. media player (pc, win 7) & it doesn't support mp4 or avi, which I also need. Is there a free program out there that would do this? Nothing fancy...simple simple simple.

by Anonymous on 11. November 2009 - 18:38  (36433)

Based on the recommendations here I have tried both Formatfactory and Mediacoder. I wanted to convert a batch of wmv's to avi (xvid)as a test, with specific bitrates, custom resizing, and audio to mp3. Neither one worked satisfactorily.

Formatfactory does not allow custom resizing, nor bitrate settings above 2400 (or something like that).

Mediacoder produced avi's that were not recognised by Virtualdub as proper avi files, despite the fact that it seemed to have used XVID to do the encoding (according to MediaInfo).

Neither seem to have advanced filtering either (gamma, colour, noise, blocking, smoothing etc).

It is possible that both can do what I want, but the configuration options to do so were not easily detectable.

I have been using Super for several years and have had no problem with its interface, and at least it reliably works to give me what I want. It looks like I have to stay with Super + Virtualdub.

by Anonymous on 12. November 2009 - 13:33  (36495)

Name of this article is "Best Free Audio / Video Format Conversion Program" and Gizmo's top pick doesn't support audio conversion at all? Also it doesn't work on my system because I don't have installed Microsoft .NET Framework.

by Arithmomaniac on 16. November 2009 - 0:00  (36693)

If you want similar audio conversion, try X2X (which I'll co-nominate in a future edit).

As for .NET, just get it. I used to hate it, but it's basically a key part of programming for Windows now.


by Anupam on 16. November 2009 - 17:13  (36732)

Wow, the review was updated so soon. Good work :). I was surprised to see Koyote Video Converter as the top choice. I didn't think it would replace FormatFactory.

One thing about Koyote Video Converter... when I installed and ran it... PC Tools Firewall says its trying to act as server and accept incoming connections. If I block it, the program throws the usual windows error, and does not run. I find that behavior very odd and suspicious. Why would a program want to act as server... and would not run if that is blocked.

I had more points to say, but I will post them later on... I was not able to do the conversion work I had to do, since few days.

I found Oxelon Converter to be nice too, but yes as you mention, tweaks are less, and no device support. Device support in converters is not a problem I think, because separate converters for devices are available.

I came across another new converter today : MediaCope. Saw it on FreewareFiles. It has audio/video player, audio/video converter, audio/video cutter, image resizer/cutter, internet tools and slideshow. Impressive. Will try it soon.

Quick Media Converter has a new version

More later. Keep up the good work :). Thanks for a great review.

Edit : Just saw the size of new version of Quick Media Converter. Its whopping 44.91 MB :O. I am having second thoughts about downloading it :D.


by Jojo Yee on 17. November 2009 - 2:02  (36742)

I deal with AV. It defeats 50% of the my purpose if Koyote converts video only. FF is still my choice for AV conversion. Not sure about others though.

by Anupam on 17. November 2009 - 9:26  (36762)

I agree with you. FormatFactory is my choice too. It offers so many conversions... audio, video, images, and can even rip DVDs too. I also found it to be useful both for average, and experienced users.


by Anupam on 18. November 2009 - 8:40  (36827)

I downloaded and installed the new version of Quick Media Converter yesterday. I did not find it to be good. The expert mode is REALLY for experts... there are no suggestions... no drop-down boxes to help choose the different video attributes... just plain empty boxes for you to fill in.

The interface is not that good... and when you change it to expert mode, you cannot figure out anything :O.

The easy mode looked OK, but when I tried to convert a DAT file to mpg, which I have converted successfully with all other converters, QMC was not able to do it, and threw an error.

I uninstalled and deleted QMC... its out of my PC for good :D.


by Anupam on 18. November 2009 - 8:42  (36828)

One more suggestion has been there on the forum for Iwisoft Video Converter. I used it... seems good. Here is the forum link :


by Arithmomaniac on 18. November 2009 - 22:37  (36865)

Thanks for the MediaCope and Koyote tips. I'll have revised reviews soon.
A clarification...Koyote does AV conversion. It just does not convert from or to MP3, AAC, etc. They have a seperate converter for that, which I need to review also.

by Anupam on 19. November 2009 - 20:45  (36931)

Very welcome :).

I checked Koyote Video Converter today. It does not do audio conversion... only videos. It can extract audio from the video file, and convert it to another format though. But it does not accept audio file as an input, and convert it to another audio format.

I tried MediaCope today too. It requires .NET framework SP1... and I think that will be a disadvantage for the product, as many users do not like to install .NET frameworks unnecessarily... including myself.
I however tested it on my cousin's PC, after installing .NET 2.0 SP2.
The program looks good, and the interface is different. But the video conversion part was very unsatisfactory... even useless in my opinion. The FPS were 30 and 24, which are not exact. 29.97 is for NTSC and 25 for PAL. Further, even the display resolution choices are not standard. Quite disappointing. I wouldn't want to convert my videos with MediaCope, unless they offer some standard attributes.

I haven't checked on the other features... so can't say about that. But, the main was the video conversion, and it was disappointing.

I checked out the audio converter though, and noticed that it allows conversion to AC3 too, a feature which I have not seen in another audio converters.


by Anonymous on 20. November 2009 - 20:44  (37010)

It would be nice of you had just one Mac option. Know any good ones off the top of your head?

by Anonymous on 20. November 2009 - 22:47  (37016)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned XviD4PSP. It's a very good video transcoding/conversion tool with several video and audio presets and many configurable options, and has a clean and fairly intuitive interface. Despite the name it can encode to a variety of codecs and containers, including MKV for HD video files.

by Anonymous on 24. November 2009 - 1:41  (37196)

Well, I just went to install Koyote Soft Free Video Converter. Watch out, it wanted to install a Yahoo toolbar in Firefox, and when I fired it up, WinPatrol started complaining.... not impressed.

by syntax_error on 24. November 2009 - 2:02  (37199)

MPEG_Streamclip has a mac version, in fact all recent development seems to be for the mac.

by Anonymous on 26. November 2009 - 0:00  (37305)

A cr4ppy rewrite of the article... sh4me on you :P

by Anonymous on 27. November 2009 - 12:36  (37406)

So says someone who sits in the sidelines and doesn't contribute anything positive!

Gizmo staff do an awesome job. How about supporting them instead of just whining?



by Anonymous on 27. November 2009 - 12:39  (37407)


My boyfriend has an Ipod and we want to be able to play the music on our computer.

That's all :-)

What would be the easiest way to rip this?



by Anupam on 27. November 2009 - 13:07  (37409)

Use iDump to transfer iPod content to computer :). Available here :

by Anonymous on 27. November 2009 - 16:03  (37412)

Mediacoder doesn't work for me. I have Windows XP Professional 32 bit and every time it starts transcoding a URL from Youtube it always shows me Error Code 17.

by Anonymous on 4. December 2009 - 13:44  (37822)

Koyote and Format Factory are listed on ffmeg's wall of shame for license violations.

by Anonymous on 4. December 2009 - 13:47  (37823)

Sorry, I ment to say Hall Of Shame.

by Anonymous on 7. December 2009 - 11:00  (38013)

Just started using Koyote. It works well as a converter, but it's also nice as a simple video editor/selector: just select the same format for your output as the original file (eg, .avi), select the section of video you want in the preview window, "convert" it, and Koyote will give you a new video file with only the section you selected. The file will have the same name as the original, so of course you'll probably want the output directory to be different from the input directory unless you want to overwrite the original. CAUTION: Like another user said, Koyote installed the Yahoo toolbar in Firefox even though I told it not to during installation, and I had to remove the toolbar manually. The program works, but to some extent it's sneakware.

by Anonymous on 28. December 2009 - 6:16  (39651)

A follow-up: Koyote's wording about the toolbar installation is IMO deliberately confusing, so that it's all too easy to install the thing when you don't want to. I think that's what happened above.

by Anupam on 31. December 2009 - 13:40  (39900)

Site of MediaCoder has changed. I had been getting 404 error on their earlier webpage which they hosted at SourceForge.
This is the current site of MediaCoder :

Nice change in the format of the article. Its organized in a better way now. Keep up the good work :).

by sbwhiteman on 31. December 2009 - 23:46  (39948)

I had FormatFactory 2.10 installed but hadn't used it in a little while. Went to convert some files and it advised me an update was available. I (foolishly) ignored WOT's warning and downloaded v. 2.20 from BrotherSoft.

Began the install. First Avira blocked the installation of some sort of EBay adware. Then WinPatrol alerted me to the installation of the Ask toolbar, an updater to the Ask toolbar, and the change of my home page to, all of which I blocked. Please note that I was never told (much less asked permission) about any of this by the installer.

Went to uninstall the Ask toolbar from Add/Remove Programs and it refused to uninstall, saying I "already had the Ask toolbar installed" and exited (well, duh, that's the one I was trying to get rid of). Had to get rid of it with Revo Uninstaller.

I hate to say it, because FF is a good program, but because of this completely unethical behavior I think it should not be recommended in any way, shape, or form.