It's a fundamental law of computing: multimedia files are never in the format you need. And so while in theory something like an iPod Touch is great for watching videos, in practice they'll need to be in something like M4V, MP4 or MOV formats, and getting your files converted can be a problem. But that's where HandBrake comes in.
The program accepts video data in just about any source format, including DVDs (as long as they're unencrypted: commercial DVDs can't be imported unless you install extra libraries).
You can then choose your output format (MP4 or MKV), and apply whatever additional tweaks you might need. Videos can be resized or cropped, for instance, filtered in various ways (deinterlace, denoise, deblock, more), you're able to choose the destination frame rate, or even set a target size for the converted file so you can be sure it'll fit on your target device.
If you prefer a simple life, though, you can just choose one of the conversion presets like iPad, iPhone or AppleTV. HandBrake will automatically set all its other options, and all you have to do is click Start and wait for your new video or audio file to arrive.
Version 1.0 changes include:
- New online documentation at https://handbrake.fr/docs
- Completely overhauled the official presets
- New JSON-based preset system including command line support
- New JSON-based API for interacting with libhb
- Improvements to audio/video sync engine to better handle difficult sources
- Many miscellaneous bug fixes and improvements (over 1700 code commits!)
- VP9 video encoding via libvpx
- Intel QuickSync Video H.265/HEVC encoder (requires Intel Skylake or newer CPU)
- Ultra HD / 4K color pass through (support for BT.2020)
- Additional standard frame rate selections in the graphical interfaces
- New Auto anamorphic mode maximizes storage resolution, replaces Strict anamorphic mode
- New Pad filter (command line only for now)
- New Decomb/Deinterlace filter settings and improved defaults
- Rotate filter now available in all graphical interfaces
- New NLMeans filter tunes Tape and Sprite for analog tape recordings and vintage video games, respectively
- Assembly optimizations NLMeans filter improve performance up to 10%
- Assembly optimizations in x264 encoder improve performance for faster presets by 5-10%
- x265 encoder quality improvements, especially when using tune grain
- High bit depth encoding support via external shared libraries (video pipeline is still 8-bit 4:2:0)
HandBrake is an effective and highly configurable video converter. The interface can be intimidating, though, and you'll need some transcoding experience to get the best out of the program.