Best Free Audio-Video Format Conversion Program

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Introduction

There are many different audio and video formats out there, and most devices (such as iPhone, iPad, Android phones, etc.) 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 iPhone, 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:

  • To gain control over basic settings (such as framerate, frame size and bitrate) and experience a quick conversion where most guesswork is done for you, try our General Converter Picks.
  • To convert without fiddling with any settings, using as few clicks as possible, try our Device-Specific Picks, especially suited to conversions for a portable device.
  • To have complete control over every detail of conversion and fine-tune your output using settings for advanced users, look at our Custom-Oriented Picks.
  • To convert audio files with more audio-specific functionality, then try our Audio-Only Picks.

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

 

General Converter Picks

Freemake Video Converter  

A stable, flexible and powerful video converter


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free
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.
Read full review...

Format Factory  

An excellent choice with presets for conversion and a DVD ripper


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
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.
Read full review...
Also recommended:
 
  • 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.

 

Device-Specific Picks

Pazera Free Audio Video Pack  

A collection of portable audio and video converters


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free
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.
Read full review...

Miro Video Converter  

A multimedia converter with a dozen device presets


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Brutally easy-to-use device conversion.
Only one file at a time, no profile or generic tweaking, only MP4.
Read full review...
Also recommended:
 
  • 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.
  • WinX Video Converter: More up-to-date than iWisoft. Support converting videos to 100+ devices including newest iPhone 6/Plus, S5, HTC, PS4 with many preset profiles. Adjustable video audio parameters. Clean and simple. Please note though on the top there's YouTube URL entry, it is just an upgrading recommendation which can be skipped easily. This freeware doesn't support converting YouTube videos.

 

Custom-Oriented Picks

FFCoder  

An audio-video converter with highly advanced configurations and rendering settings


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Solid preset list, highly advanced tweaks, sleek interface.
Dependencies, no installer.
Read full review...
Also recommended:
 
  • XVID4PSP: Supports very many tweaks. Impossibly fragmented interface. Solid AviSynth support.
  • MediaCoder: Great for tech obsessive because of the tons of customizable features to convert from and to video audio formats. Support MP4, AVI, MP3, WMA, WAV, etc. and allow to adjust parameters. But if you're not familiar with the jargon and just want a hassle-free, simple-to-use free video converter, you may turn to others.

 

Audio-Only Picks

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

 

Notes: Tested and not recommended:
  • MPEG Streamclip: very powerful for MP4, but single-file, ugly/laggy, has dependencies
  • Avidemux: great video editor, lousy video converter

 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these reviews too:

 

Editor

This software category is in need of an editor. If you would like to give something back to the freeware community by taking it over, check out this page for more details. You can then contact us from that page or by clicking here.

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Comments

I can't agree with the Top pick in this catagory. For me all the "Freemake stuff" is pup software! It was already stated that most free software come with some additional pup Software, like adobe acrobat bundles with google chrome and s.o.
but freemake installs opencandy installer and that really is crap! So you are not only getting a McAffee Scanner or the like, but tons of crapware. Some of the Software that comes with opencandy installer can be considered malware.
I find the converted videos i did with freemake are qualitywise behind some other freeware tools - when using the same output video settings.
The article says it took handbrake longer, but you did a completely different conversion! Auto-bitrate single pass against a constant bitrate...that is just like saying an apple tasts better than a pear...
And i don't consider the time it takes to convert a video as important as quality and size of the output.
I tried freemake with cuda feature and it didn't do any good - freemake crashed with my test-file.
My top pick would be "Any Video Converter free", as easy as freemake, tons of presets and better quality than with freemake and no crap-, bloat-, ransom-, whatever-ware installed on your PC, besides the one that can be checked off during install.
Other free tools like MediaCoder, XMediaRecode or Handbrake do a better job - regarding quality and output-size - than freemake!
If you are in a hurry - Don't install freemake! It will just screw your PC and you will end up spending a lot more time getting your PC cleaned of the Software the opencandy installer forced onto your PC, than the time saved upon video conversion.

Sorry but Any Video Converter Free is no different to the rest. It also includes a crapware installer that makes several outgoing connections. It tried to install War Thunder for me at which point I cancelled the installation. MC - Site Manager.

Freemake Video Converter, infected my computer, had to take shop and spend money to clean 22 different malware prog., should be removed from list

Many Windows programs are bundled with additional components. Generally, as is the case with Freemake, these are not malware but PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). Regarding converters and downloaders, this applies to the majority of the programs available. There are however plenty of ways to avoid installing these additional components if care is taken during the install process and we already indicate the nature of these in the product information. MC - Site Manager.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/what-else-have-you-just-download...
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/controversial-advertising-progra...

Don't usually say a whole lot in here. The only way I've been able to corral the Freemake stuff was to stick 'em in Sandboxie. After getting what I want, I incinerate the box 'til next time. Good alternative to that is XMediaRecode, just my opinion.

I've used most of the suggestions and found that XMediaRecode is personally best for my tastes. No adware and has a portable version too. It has support for Intel QuickSync and NVIDIA CUDA Decoders, ID3 tags, Audio extractor, Subtitle importing, DVD convertion and chapter creation, Video editing and Conversion to a countless number of devices and formats with batch processing and direct stream copy.

Thats a good way for using Sandboxie, Mike.

Bo

ANY NEWS ON A 4K VIDEO CONVERTER

THANKS BILL

FWIW Freemake does NOT handle import of an ISO as far as I could see.

I also followed the instructions to avoid opencandy as outlined above but chose custom install rather than the default install. As I never saw the option to not install opencandy components I assume I was too clever and so I ended up with opencandy installed or pending to be.

After opening freemake I blocked it from accessing the internet when I got a Comodo popup (saw 2) and ran a Malwarebytes scan which failed to find any opencandy components so perhaps the internet block saved me.

You figured that out correctly: If you don't let the Installer access the opencandy webpages it can't be installed and that is the only way not to install opencandy BS!
That's why i can't understand having freemake in this list as the top pick: Many users won't even know how to block the opencandy-page or run freemake in a sandbox. It is not that freemake is malware, but opencandy does install malware. So if you aren't a professional or very experianced user better keep your hands of freemake.

What's the best format to use when converting from audio to video? For example is it worth converting mp4 to wav or flac?

If you can live with the 'Freemake.com' watermark at the end of videos greater than 5 minutes in length. I understand you can purchase the 'Gold Pack', but it's not mentioned how much that costs. I guess you find out after you download/install the pack. I thought this was Freeware?

Everyone despises OpenCandy. So why do developers use it in some of their software?

Because it earns them money. :) MC - Site Manager;

OK, that makes sense! :)

Freemake worked fine for a quality video (720p), but when i tried an FLV 640x480 with mono audio, it multiplied the size by 5, even when using to FLV Same as Source.

All i want is to cut out unwanted parts and make the file as small as possible while keeping the exact same quality.

Video to Video converter is a software for converting between various video and audio formats:

http://www.videotovideo.org/

Thanks, Panzer. I've actually tested this freeware but sadly I decided not to recommend. It supports plenty of video audio formats, but the device profiles are to some extent not up-to-date. And I think the profiles are also not that well organized, users may feel not easy to find out a certain one. Regarding the editing feature, it is also very basic compared with other converters.

Thanks the same for your recommendation. 

Already suggested in comments below.

try supersimple video converter
light weight , and really simple to use

Thanks, anuragdoc. I will take it into consideration. If it's good enouth, I'll include it in the list.

I've spent a whole day to test the programs listed in this article and removed quite many due to various reasons. Some were bundled with adware, some were not powerful enough nowadays (less profiles, less supported formats, etc.), some were slow or of large sizes, and so on.  Hope you'll like my hard work. :p

I've removed iWisoft Free Video Converter from General Converter Picks section to Tested and not recommended section. That is because:
1.  It has stopped upgrading since the end of 2010.  
2. The device profiles in the current version v1.2 are too old, you can't find the latest devices. I think it won't meet most of our needs, right?
 
But for those who like this free video coverter, you can still keep it and convert videos to your up-to-date devices. 
Note that you need to manually adjust the output settings for your devices for better viewing experience. 

Good morning you all.
Just received a note from "FileHippo.com Update News" as follows:
Quote
Video to Video Converter is a great free tool for converting your video content
unquote
It is a freeware and I wonder what is wrong with this converter that it is not on your list of recommended converters.

Thanks arieshfman for your suggestion. I will download and test it myself and may include it in the review list if it's good enough.

I wonder if iWisoft has been abandoned because it hasn't been updated for years now ?

Thanks for commenting here, Sir Winston. I also have no idea about this. But I think for such long-time-no-updating programs, I may try to replace them bit by bit. If you're looking for a video converter, you can have a look at other programs. :)

 

Hi, so glad to see you here. I'm Arata, the new editor of this Best Free Audio Video Format Conversion Program category.  I will go on working with this review and bringing you the best freeware for video audio converting. If  you have any ideas or suggests, please also do not hesitate to share here. :)

After using Freemake for quite some time,and being pleased with the results, I finally consented to an update that they had been nag screening about for months. Big Mistake. Along with the update came a vicious piece of malware/adware
called "Express Find". It caused a black rectangle to appear at the bottom center of my (FF) browser screen which protruded about 2" from bottom and about 4"wide. There was an "X" in upper right hand corner but it did not close the rectangle. When clicked it redirected my browser to some very shabby websites. (per WOT) . Got rid of it by running avast scan which picked it up and deleted it. Beware

Update:

Just ran an MBAM scan. It found and quarantined 15 items classified as "PUP's" all connected to "Express Find" although previous to this scan browser appeared to be running cleanly.

In my opinion, the best video conversion program for most tasks is VLC, it's free, robust, and not full of malware like many of the free programs out there. It does most every format.

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