Calling all A/V geeks…

Windows Movie MakerI have a dream. It’s not a big world-changing kind of dream but one that hopefully will make my life a bit simpler. My dream is to ditch DivX-encoded AVI in favor of something that Vista Media Center hates slightly less, namely Windows Media Video. Please don’t judge me, I’m just tired of fighting with Media Center, and I’d like to be able to fast-forward and rewind properly. WMV seems to be my best bet.

Thus far, I have tried the following tools, with mixed success:

  • Windows Media Encoder 9 Series. Once you get it configured, it works pretty well (most of the time), but it’s way too heavy on the setup and options, and it takes forever to convert larger files.

  • Roxio Creator 2009. The Drag and Drop Converter is simple to use (almost too simple, actually), but it doesn’t handle the unique aspect ratio of some videos properly, and it still takes a while to convert larger files.

So, I’m looking for a better tool to convert my library over to WMV, with comparable quality and file size to the DivX files that presently compose the majority of my collection. Based on my research with the aforementioned tools, I know it can be done, but I’ve got a slew to convert, and I’m looking for the path of least resistance. I’d like a tool that doesn’t require me to have an advanced degree in cinematography, but one that doesn’t assume I’m a complete moron, either. Something that can even convert videos in batch, with minimal configuration but enough control to ensure a reasonable match to the original AVI, would be perfect.

Down the road, I might even like an option to rip my remaining DVDs directly to WMV, as VOB files are still just too big to host on my home network. Bonus points if your suggested tool can handle that task as well.

Please leave your best ideas in the comments, and I’ll let you know how I get along with them. Thanks!

– Greg

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6 thoughts on “Calling all A/V geeks…

  1. Damn – I keep finding more that I have installed on my system. I think this one I used to make an mp4 out of a vidio in quicktime format on my phone: http://handbrake.fr/ – but it might have been QMC I used. I have quite a few of these installed! LOL!

  2. I obtained a copy of Expression Media 2. Holy cow, it’s got a lot of features. It’s like the "Microsoft Office" of visual media production. I look forward to trying out some the tools to perhaps build an upcoming e-learning project in Silverlight. At any rate, Expression Encoder seems promising for video conversion. I’ll also be sure to check out SuperC. It seems like I used that a while back; it had an awful interface but was a powerful tool nonetheless. I’m not a huge fan of the ribbon, but I definitely like the interface of Extensoft’s converter; it seems reasonably powerful and easy to use. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. Er, why not just use a piece of software that plays them back properly? If you want to stream them elsewhere use Tversity media server (free).Failing that, try installing the xvid codec, and telling media centre to use that instead of the divx codec you probably have installed. My media centre streams and rewinds avi movies effortlessly using xvid

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