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How to Convert Videos to iPhone or iPod Touch Format in Windows Vista

Although we have presented some applications to convert videos to the iPhone format, those who use the Windows Vista operating system may encounter problems for some applications to work properly on that operating system. Many iPhone users use Windows Vista and would like to have the videos from their computer on the iPhone. In Windows vista4beginners tested various tools to accomplish this task. The one that gave the best results was Handbrake, a free tool that allows you to convert your videos to the iPhone / iPod Touch format. We will see how to use HandBrake and at the end we will present a list of other possible alternatives.

NOTE: The iPhone can only play movies that are encoded with MPEG-4 and H.264 codecs and have the extensions “. Mp4” or “. M4v”. In this article we will show you how to convert movies that are in other formats like wmv, avi, mkv, etc to playable iPhone movies.

How to use HandBrake to convert movies to iPhone format

HandBrake is a freeware application that can convert movies from any DVD source, such as: VIDEO_TS folders, DVD images, real DVDs, .VOB files. and .TS and other multimedia formats. You can convert them to MP4, MKV, AVI or OGM using standard MPEG-4, H.264, Theora video codecs and the following audio codecs: AAC, MP3, Vorbis or AC-3.

You can download the application from Handbrake.fr. Download the latest version for Windows Vista (select the GUI download link) and install it. Now let’s run HandBrake and see how we can convert a typical .avi file to an iPhone playable one.

When you open HandBrake, click on the ‘Source’ button on the menu bar to select the movie you want to convert. As you can see, you have two options: a video file or a DVD / VIDEO_TS folder. Choose the one of your preference and then find the video file.

Now click the Browse button and select a destination folder for the new video type in the file name.

Then select the output settings for the video file. This can be done from the preset panel on the right. Just click on the ‘iPhone & iPod Touch’ option and all the output settings will be configured automatically. Furthermore, if you want to use this application only for this task, you can click the “Set Default” button at the bottom of the panel and make the ‘iPhone & iPod Touch’ preset the default preset.

Finally, click on the Start button, which is located near Source. HandsBrake will start the encoding process and a command window will open with details about the process.

When the process finishes the window disappears. A 22 minute video file that was 175MB by default was used for this test. The encoding process took 13 minutes and the last video file is 91.7 MB. The codec used for the encoding process was H.264 which is the best for image quality. Below is a screenshot of the original movie.

This is how the encoded video file looked on the iPhone.

If you want a smaller file and less minutes for the encoding process, you can select a different codec such as XviD MPEG-4 or MPEG-4 FFmpeg, from the Video tab.

For example, the MPEG-4 FFmpeg codec turned the original file into a new video that was only 38.7MB in 2 minutes. Unfortunately the image quality was quite poor. This is how it looks on the iPhone.

The MPEG-4 XviD codec seems to be the “compromise” solution. Unfortunately it is not. The encoding time is 3 minutes long and the file size is 39.7 MB, but the image quality is very similar to that of the MPEG-4 FFmpeg codec.

The last step is to connect the iPhone to the computer and run iTunes or other alternatives and load the movie.

Other Alternatives

The first application tested was Agree Free AVI WMV MPEG ASF MOV to MP4 Converter, a name as bad as the product itself:

  • To complete the installation, you must install the K-Lite Codec Pack;
  • Every time the application is opened and closed, it constantly reminds you that you are using a free version and that you have the possibility to register and pay for the full version;
  • The free version has locked all settings;
  • You can only convert a video file with the default settings;
  • Converting a 22 minute video file with 175MB, using the MPEG-4 codec takes 10 minutes and produces a file size of 132MB;
  • Image quality is poor.

The second application tested was DVDVideoSoft Free Studio which is actually the name of a whole suite of applications. The person responsible for converting video to iPhone is called Free Video to iPhone Converter:

  • The application is simple, with only 3 presets: High quality, Normal quality and economic quality;
  • Even though the application has DVD in its name, no way to convert DVD’s was found;
  • Converting a 22 minute video file with 175MB, using normal quality, took 4 minutes and produced a 190MB size file;
  • The quality of the video is good;
  • This application has the ability to select and encode several files, one after another.

Kvip was the third application that was tested:

  • This application is not user-friendly, because you have to use one file for configuration and another to select and convert a movie;
  • only selectable between XviD MPEG-4 and H.264 codecs;
  • there are very few configurable options;
  • the test file (22 minutes, 175MB) was converted with XviD MPEG-4 in 7 minutes (112MB) and with H.264 in 10 minutes (76.5MB);
  • the image quality for the MPEG-4 and XviD encoded video file was good and for the H.264 encoded video file it was excellent (equivalent to the image quality of the HandBrake encoded video file with the same H.264 codec).

If you know of any other good apps, feel free to share them with us in the comments.