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Video formats: conversion made easy – PC WORLD


Convert any film quickly, easily, space and resource-saving for every output device: The guide explains how you can easily solve this task. And the cell phone shows videos without burdening the data volume.

It’s surprising that Microsoft’s current operating system doesn’t even play DVDs anymore. But instead of thinking about meaning or nonsense, you install this basic function over the

                        
                                                                                                                    VLC media player
                                             or via an unofficial Windows Media Center adapted for Windows 10. But it is not always so easy with the right playback software, the right video formats and the optimal resolution. Just think of the smartphone: Here it makes no sense to save a film in Full HD or even 4K if the display does not resolve this. Among other problems, such a video would only take up an unnecessarily large amount of the usually scarce storage space.

There are also problems with streaming in the network. Films are stored on the network hard disk (NAS) and, in principle, they can also be played on the network-compatible television set, but only in principle. If the codec is incorrect here and the material has to be transcoded by the NAS, only devices with a powerful CPU and sufficient main memory can do this in real time. NAS is not just NAS.

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Another aspect is the saving and downloading of films from the Internet, although it is explicitly not about illegal downloads or removing the copy protection. A video that has been saved in this way can also be viewed offline or later if it has long since disappeared from the TV station’s media libraries.

Movies and TV

                        
                                                                                                                    The app can do this from Windows 10

These are just a few examples of many for which the following article provides solutions. In the table below you will find a software package that supports you when converting, saving, recording and playing back. This is particularly easy with the Tipard Total Media Converter: You only set the playback device – for example the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the Playstation 4 – the optimal settings and the conversion are handled by the software, which we will come back to later.

At a glance: Tools for converting videos

program

description

language

Active presenter

Record the screen contents as video (screencast)

English

Any Video Converter

Converts films to the desired format, including online videos

German

Batch picture resizer

Shrinks and converts many photos with one click

German

Format Factory

Converts pictures, music and videos into various formats

German

Free MP4 Video Converter

Converts movies to MP4 format for mobile devices

German

Freemake video downloader

NewsABC.nets videos from online portals to the hard drive

German

Kodi

Media center software with many functions

German

Media Purge

Sorts and deletes duplicate media files

German

Media library view

Stores programs from TV media libraries

German

Super 2016

Converts audio and video files into various formats, with device default

English

Tipard Total Media Converter

Converts audio and video files into various formats, with device default

German

VLC media player

Universal media player, runs on many platforms

German

Xmedia Recode

Converts films into the desired format, with device default

German

At a glance: Tools for converting videos

program

description

language

Active presenter

Record the screen contents as video (screencast)

English

Any Video Converter

Converts films to the desired format, including online videos

German

Batch picture resizer

Shrinks and converts many photos with one click

German

Format Factory

Converts pictures, music and videos into various formats

German

Free MP4 Video Converter

Converts movies to MP4 format for mobile devices

German

Freemake video downloader

NewsABC.nets videos from online portals to the hard drive

German

Kodi

Media center software with many functions

German

Media Purge

Sorts and deletes duplicate media files

German

Media library view

Stores programs from TV media libraries

German

Super 2016

Converts audio and video files into various formats, with device default

English

Tipard Total Media Converter

Converts audio and video files into various formats, with device default

German

VLC media player

Universal media player, runs on many platforms

German

Xmedia Recode

Converts films into the desired format, with device default

German

->

At this point, let’s start with the one

VLC media player

recommended because it plays almost every movie and is not only available for Windows, but also for various other platforms: for Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone / Mobile, Apple TV and Chromebooks. Another advantage of the PC version of this player is that everything it plays and plays back can also be saved on the hard drive.

That’s how it’s done:

To prepare the player software under Windows for recordings, it is sufficient to click on “View -> Advanced Control” in the menu bar at the top. As soon as you open a video file, have already opened it or a movie DVD is in the drive, the red “Record” button is visible in the lower left. In the next step, define the target directory for the recordings via “Tools -> Settings -> Input / Codecs -> Files” and confirm by clicking “Save”. It is not possible to adjust more at this point, you can start the recording by pressing the red button. You can also copy and save part of a video in the same way, the same works for audio files.

The VLC Media Player is much more than just a software for playing: Recording, downloading and converting videos is also easy.

Enlarge

The VLC Media Player is much more than just a software for playing: Recording, downloading and converting videos is also easy.

In addition, the player offers the possibility of film material

convert to another format

and adjust the resolution. To do this, click on “Media -> Convert / Save -> Add” in the menu bar and select the original file. Then press the “Convert / Save” button below and define the desired profile or use the “Tool” button to the right of it to set all settings individually. Once the target path and file have been defined, you can start the conversion with “Start”. Unlike a recording, the process does not run in real time. Rather, the duration depends particularly on the computing power of the PC and the selected parameters and codecs. Here, too, only the audio track can be extracted, for example as an MP3 file from a music video.

The profile names such as “Video for Android HD” are sometimes not very meaningful: what is hidden behind them only becomes apparent after clicking on the tool icon. It is best to simply look in the manual of your TV, smartphone or device for later playback, which resolution and possibly which format and which codec you need. Accordingly, you can then select the desired “profile” in the conversion step or adjust the settings.

Furthermore, the VLC Media Player is suitable for downloading online videos via “Media -> Convert / Save” and the “Network” tab. Use the URL of the YouTube or other online video as the network address. You already know the other settings.

In the Tipard Total Media Converter you set the optimal format for each output device including resolution by clicking on the hardware symbols (right).

Enlarge

In the Tipard Total Media Converter you set the optimal format for each output device including resolution by clicking on the hardware symbols (right).

The device-specific format selection is more convenient than in the VLC player

                        
                                                                                                                                        Tipard Total Media Converter
                                             solved. Here you select your device – for example the “iPhone 5S” – the program takes care of everything else. First

                        
                                                                                                                                        register for free with your email address
                                            , to whom you will then be sent a code that is valid for one year. You enter this when the Total Media Converter is started for the first time in the activation window that appears automatically.

As a rule, video files on the hard drive are relevant, since most commercial DVDs are copy-protected and such DRM measures must not be avoided for legal reasons.

Tip:

Digitize and post-process VHS recordings

First click on “Add file” and load one or more video files. It can also be downloads from the Internet or from a TV media library. You can also import your own recordings here, for example from your smartphone. By the way, you can use the small white arrow next to “Add file” to process several films in one go. The film files then appear on the left with information on the format, resolution and length. Don’t let audio information such as “English …” irritate you, it has nothing to do with the original soundtrack.

To prepare the material quickly and optimally for output, click on the hardware symbol shown on the right. Then a structured list opens with categories such as “TV”, “Apple iPhone”, “Wii and DS” and many other entries. Select the appropriate rubric and as the next step the desired format. Here you can find different information, depending on the category and device: With hardware for the living room, for example, different sound options, with smartphones sometimes different resolutions to save storage space and so on.

In the mobile app of the TV internet streaming service Zattoo (left), the quality for WLAN and cell phone can be set separately, the competitor Magine (right) offers three quality levels for WLAN and cell phone network.

Enlarge

In the mobile app of the TV internet streaming service Zattoo (left), the quality for WLAN and cell phone can be set separately, the competitor Magine (right) offers three quality levels for WLAN and cell phone network.

This makes the choice easy despite the many options. After you have set a storage path as “Target” below, start the conversion with “Convert”. After that, all that remains is to transfer the finished film data to the output device using a USB cable or via the cloud, or to play it straight away on the network.

Usually, the predefined profiles are sufficient, but you can also adjust them specifically using the “Settings” button. Finally, Total Media Converter also offers you simple editing and editing options to spice up your own material: from rotating the content to color adjustments and 3D effects (

                        
                                                                                                                                        more information about the software
                                            ).

Streaming in the home network: Powerful NAS

A network hard drive (NAS) can now store much more than just central data: Among other things, it is used to play videos on the television via the home network. Because not every TV set can play every video codec or video format, you have to save or convert the material in a format that can be played by your TV.

You can avoid this disadvantage with a particularly powerful network hard drive that has so much CPU computing power and main memory that it can, if necessary, recode the film in real time into the requested format. Not every NAS manufacturer has such models in the range, two examples are the two 2-bay devices

                        
                                                                                                                                                                                    TS251C from Qnap
                                             and

                        
                                                                                                                                                                                    DS216play from Synology
                                            . In direct comparison, Synology shows the differences between its normal and its powerful play devices,

                        
                                                                                                                                        here using the example of the DS216 (play)
                                            .

The right settings for live TV on your smartphone

The description

Enlarge

The description “Convert” is somewhat unfortunate in the VLC Media Player: Online videos – in the picture an example from Youtube – can also be converted, but primarily it is about downloading from the web.

Now you know how to optimize videos for output. When watching and streaming films via Amazon Prime Video, Netflix or YouTube on the go, there is a completely different problem: namely the consumption of your mobile data volume.

Let’s start with live TV:

If you are not watching via WLAN, then you must set the playback quality to “low” in your app. The

                        
                                                                                                                                        Zattoo app
                                             offers two levels in the “Settings”. In contrast to Magine, you can set the quality separately for WLAN and mobile radio. What amounts of data are we talking about? Even with the lowest transmission quality, one GB of mobile data volume is used up by the provider Zattoo after just under three hours of television, with Magine TV even after about an hour and a half. A “flat rate” with typically 500 to 3000 MB per month does not go far.

After the new high definition digital television

                        
                                                                                                                    DVB-T2 HD
                                             started regular operations with more channels in spring 2017, this is at least the better alternative for public channels without the paid “Freenet TV” subscription. The data problem naturally also arises when streaming online videos. The YouTube app offers an unsatisfactory protection mechanism here via “Settings -> General -> Limit mobile data: Only stream HD videos via WLAN”. Otherwise you have to reduce the data consumption when playing each individual video via “Settings -> Quality” and reduce the resolution.

Alternatives for live TV:

Try Joyn + for free in the first month

Try Waipu.tv Perfect for free in the first month

Settings: Youtube uncomfortable, Amazon awkward, Netflix flexible

The installation of Amazon Video via Amazon Underground is cumbersome on Android devices, but it is worth it: This is how Prime Videos can be saved locally.

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The installation of Amazon Video via Amazon Underground is cumbersome on Android devices, but it is worth it: This is how Prime Videos can be saved locally.

The one-time setup is quite cumbersome if you want to stream Amazon Prime Video on Android devices beyond the company’s own fire tablets. For this you need the “Amazon Underground” app – yes, it really is called that – but it is not available in the official Google Play Store. Instead, type

                        
                                                                                                                                                                                    on Amazon
                                             Enter your Google email address, have the link for the APK file sent to the Android device and then temporarily allow the installation of apps from external sources with “Settings -> Security -> Unknown origin”. After uploading, starting and logging in, install the actual Amazon video app. Here you can generally set both the streaming and download quality via “Settings” in the app. By default, both are already at the lowest level (“good”). Here too, one GB is used in around two hours. All the more important is the download option, which you can use to save many, if not all, films on the mobile device in advance via WLAN at home. To do this, call up the desired video in Amazon Prime as usual and scroll down until the “down arrow” appears for the download. Tap on it, wait for the download and do not use up your mobile data volume when playing on the go.

In the

                        
                                                                                                                                        Netflix app
                                             Now go to “Settings -> App Settings -> Mobile Data Consumption”. You can adjust the default setting “Automatic – standard setting for data and quality” according to your mobile phone contract. After all, the setting “Low” only consumes around 250 MB for every hour of video. The only legal method for many private lawyers, which is legal, is to have an online video on the computer using a screencast tool such as

                        
                                                                                                                    Active presenter
                                             “To film” and then to view the saved file, if necessary, converted for the mobile device offline. However, this practice violates the terms and conditions of most video providers like Netflix.

Batch Picture Reziser: Edit many photos

Just as videos are appropriately adapted to the respective output device, this also makes sense for photos. This saves storage space, loading time and also often improves the quality of the display. Instead of adapting each picture individually, the

                        
                                                                                                                                        Batch Picture Reziser
                                             for all photos in one folder.

The operation of the software is simple: First of all, load your photos via “Add pictures”. On the right in the “Scaling” tab, select the desired resolution, for example “1,920 x 1,080” pixels for Full HD screens. Further settings can be made in the other tabs, including the format, the name and the like. As soon as you have defined the target directory below, you can start the adaptation by clicking on the “Start” button.

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