They're both able to convert just about any kind of video to any other kind.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Stop paying for software:
Free video converters for Windows and Macs

April 4, 2010

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, The Post-Standard

   The best way to save money is to stop spending it. That's the idea behind my series on the best free software for Windows and Macs. This week I'm recommending video-conversion programs that give you many ways to save video from your own camera or off the Internet.
   This week's mysteries: How do you turn a MOV video file into something a Windows user can watch? Or how can you change a pesky WMV video into something a Mac user can handle?
   Or how in the world can you convert a standard movie into a Flash video file without paying a ransom to Adobe for its Flash-creation software?
   Heads up in the back of the room. No cheating allowed. Don't tell me Windows users should just figure out how to watch QuickTime "MOV" videos or Mac users should just grin and bear the thought of locating some WMV playback software. There's something to be said for making things easy on everybody.
   And that's what the two programs do that I'm reviewing this week. They're both very capable and able to convert just about any kind of video to any other kind. And they're easy to use. Best of all, they're free.
   So if you've ever despaired of finding a way to turn a useless video format into one your fiends and family can watch, install your choice of this week's programs.
   For Windows, the winner of my search for the best free video converter is the aptly named Super, downloadable from www.filehippo.com/download_super/.
   My Mac champ is Video Monkey, from http://videomonkey.org. (Both programs suffer from typesetter's qualms. Super is actually named SUPER, in capital letters, and Video Monkey is listed as both one word and two. I've made them look conventional for sanity's sake.)
   Super and Video Monkey are both all-in-one programs: They do all the conversion work without requiring any extra steps or added pieces of software. This makes them much easier to use than many of the lesser conversion programs I've used over the years.
   They both work quickly, too. What also impressed me was their completeness. No high-priced commercial conversion software does any better at taking in video and its accompanying audio in one format and turning the two into a completely different kind of file. Presets make it easy to create movies for iPods and Zunes, too.
   Fans of the Mac's one-time video champ, VisualHub, will be cheered to note that Video Monkey was inspired by VisualHub in its interface and in the way it works. VisualHub was taken off the market a few years ago when its lone developer switched to other tasks. VideoMonkey is still in development (its menus include some options that just plain don't work), but it's already a worthy replacement for VisualHub.