Change video formats to mp4 or mkv quickly - gHacks Tech News

Change video formats to mp4 or mkv quickly

Computer programs such as VLC media player or SMPlayer play nearly every video or audio format that you throw at them, so that you do not really have to convert videos anymore before you can watch them on your system.

You may however need to convert them if you want to transfer the files to another device that does not support all video formats in existence. This can be a DVD player, your Xbox or Playstation, smartphone, or the tablet that you just bought.

Once you realize that you need to convert the videos that you have downloaded or created before you can play them on a device, you have to find a suitable application that helps you with that.

If you need to convert the video into mp4 or mkv format, you may use the free Video Container Switcher application for that.

You also need a version of FFmpeg on your system as you are asked to select it when you start the portable program for the first time.

video container switcher

  1. The video folder containing all videos that you want to convert. Note that only root folder files will be converted. The program can convert avi, flv, mpg, mov, mkv and mp4 videos.
  2. The input format of the videos that you want to convert. If a folder contains different types, run the program multiple times.
  3. You can alternatively drag and drop videos into the program interface.
  4. The output format which can be mp4 or mkv.

A click on ok starts the conversion of all files at the same time. It is really fast and should not take long to complete as nothing needs to be re-encoded by the application.

The converted videos are automatically placed in the same folder as the source video files. Note that the source files remain untouched by the operation, and that the program appends the new extension to the end of the full file name including its extension.

Tips

  • You can modify the ffmpeg path in the ini file that you find in the program folder. Just enter a new one so that it is used from that moment on.
  • Drag and drop did not work when I tried it. It is not a big issue but still something that needs to be fixed. Drag and drop is however the only option to convert different source video types at once.

Verdict

The program is fast and that is probably the main reason why you'd want to use it to convert supported video formats into mp4 or mkv on your system. If you need more control over the process, or want to modify videos in any way, try a program like Kiara portable video encoder instead which does so.

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Comments

  1. Maddy said on June 4, 2013 at 11:36 am
    Reply

    Nice trick, I want to change mp4 files to avi; is there any trick to do this?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 4, 2013 at 11:40 am
      Reply

      You can use a program like Freemake for this.

      http://www.freemake.com/how_to/how_to_convert_mp4_to_avi_free

      1. Maddy said on June 4, 2013 at 11:43 am
        Reply

        Thanks Martin :)

    2. Sachin said on October 6, 2017 at 12:25 pm
      Reply

      To change mp4 files to avi [or whatever format you want it to change into] you will need a program called ‘Avidemux’,
      download it…..[its completely free]…. now follow these steps……
      >load your file in this program.
      >do not change any Video or Audio encoder settings.
      >just change the output container to ‘avi’.
      >now save your video by clicking ‘save video’ button located at upper left corner. you have to choose the destination
      prior to save your file.
      >Done…….

      ‘Handbrake’, ‘Megui’, ‘MkvToolNix’, ‘MyMp4Box’ and ‘VirtualDub’ are some more great & free programs you will ever need for all your video encoding needs. …………..Have fun & Take care…

  2. Noel said on June 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm
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    I am not too sure switching container would solve the job i.e as far as I know there is hardly any DVD player that play mp4 or mkv. All of them do play Xvid. So changing container won’t solve a problem because the codec inside that container needs to be playable by the DVD player, right?

    Just a note of warning with those freemake programs, watch out for bundled crapware. I used it a while ago and noticed the crapware since then have not used their programs.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm
      Reply

      Noel you are right, but it is well worth it if your player supports it. I’d try and if it does not work, you need to re-encode.

  3. Rick said on June 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm
    Reply

    Bad program if you are looking for compatibility!

    Change a mkv file into an mp4 for streaming on a media server for example. If the mkv file has an mp3 audio stream (allowed), the converted mp4 file won’t play on many media servers.

    Better way; xmedia recode; just copy the video stream, copy the audio stream (or convert if needed), and join the two back up using mp4box. You ALWAYS get a compliant output file this way, with only recoding of audio when necessary.

    (and xmedia record is portable coming with everything it needs out of the box – no additional installations needed)

    1. Julia Softorino said on August 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm
      Reply

      Still it sounds too complicated
      We`re developing WALTR, and to get video to your iphone you just need to drag&drop with it
      That` all

  4. paul(us) said on June 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm
    Reply

    More and more I am looking to movies with a extension ts (telesync).
    Any change that I can convert main movies with the extension ts (telesync)?

    And can I convert main Flac (audio) files to mp4 (or mp3) with this program?

    1. Rick said on June 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm
      Reply

      1. Telesync (TS) is not a file type. It will be avi, mp4, something, but not .ts. If you want to find out what type it really is, you can use mediainfo, or while playing in VLC for example, cntl+j will give you the codec detail. TS is a label for movies that better than cam, but are not at R2 or final yet.

      2. This program can’t help with conversion to mp3 or other formats; that is why I like
      xmedia recoder (also free and completely portable) – it handles pretty much all of the conversions your might run into all under one roof.

    2. blue_bsod said on June 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm
      Reply

      Any Video Converter can convert from TS format.

      http://www.any-video-converter.com/products/for_video_free/

  5. paul(us) said on June 4, 2013 at 5:31 pm
    Reply

    TS file type extension what stands for Transport Stream and not telesync, I was wrong about that.
    TS is the file format used to broadcast high-definition TV. This is a well-known communications protocol for audio, video, and data etc. This is specified in MPEG2 Part 1, Systems (ISO/IEC standard 13818-1). This data stream is also known as ITU-T Rec. H.222.0. .TS file extension is a perfect container format to encapsulate packetized elementary streams.

    And like you wrought I can play TS files on main computer with VLC (BSplayer is much better color wise).
    But understanding out of your answer I think I have to stick with arcsoft his mediaconverter

    1. Rick said on June 4, 2013 at 11:22 pm
      Reply

      Well now that we are on the same wave length as they used to say:

      TS = inferior picture quality to h.264 (depending on settings of transcoding of course). It’s used to broadcast because they can compress the stream more than they can with other formats and while still calling it HD.

      If you want to spend some time surfing, check out what the effective quality is for your cable companies HD broadcast. None of them are actually delivering true HD per specifications – they instead have opted to save bandwidth on HD quality to bring you more HD channels. Yes, the cable dudes who have been laughing at the telecom guys, are now in the same soup – our wires can’t carry telephone, internet, and HD without making practical sacrifices.

      So, again it comes down to the quality of the source and the quality of the compression. You can’t unfortunately say one format is better than the others.

  6. blue_bsod said on June 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm
    Reply

    I’m tired of one trick pony software that only does one thing and nothing else. So our system gets crammed packed with tonnes of little pieces of software each doing an individual job. I use, “Any Video Converter”, by AVCLabs (their freeware version).

    It not only converts from 60+ formats including MKV and MP4 into other formats including DVD, HTML5 and MP3 / WMA. But here is the best part it has video editing tools that allow us to edit time portions out of the stream it allows us to literally crop out stuff like black bars or annoying adverts pasted above, below, and beside the video output area. We can even change height and width of videos as well as their audio and video bitrate.

    They have pre-format output filters optimized for dozens of popular devices including tablets, Smartphones and portable gaming systems by brand. They have batch processing for multiple file conversions, and burn to many DVD formats: DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD+R Dual Layer, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-R Dual Layer that can be played back on both PAL and NTSC TV with DVD & Blu-ray player. All this and more in their FREE version. Their paid version includes direct to DVD format ripping, ability to record live streaming links like Netflix and more.

    http://www.any-video-converter.com/products/for_video_free/

    They claim no spyware or malware and I’ve not come across any since using their product. I can’t recall if there was bloatware on installing but as usual always use custom installation instead of letting programs run automatically even if that is the recommended installation. Cheers!

    1. Rick said on June 6, 2013 at 12:57 am
      Reply

      It comes with evil install crapware – xmedia recode I tell ya .. does it all, free, portable available.

      The only time I use another conversion program is for m4a’s (if I went on a spending spree on itunes) – dbpoweramp (not free); but it’s so simple to batch convert – you just select the folder and hit go (assuming your selected output settings were set).

      BTW xiliosoft, any video converter, and a bunch of others are EXACTLY the same program with different skins sold by the same company in the end.

      The idea that folks take a free encoder ffmpeg, wrap it up, throw a few settings into a GUI to create the command line and then sell it either through a buy button or through crapware offers on installation is just naughty.

  7. Duckeenie said on June 7, 2013 at 9:19 am
    Reply

    I believe the term for this process is trans-coding.

  8. record_straight said on March 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm
    Reply

    TS is a system coding standard defined in ITU-T H.222.0 (or its ISO equivalent). It can carry MPEG-2 compressed video, audio and data streams. TS itself does NOT encode video or audio.

    TS is just the “Transport Stream”. It defines the packet sizes, program guide structure, error correction mechanisms, etc… for transporting bits (i.e. getting a data stream from one place to another) over highly unreliable mediums (the satellite providers also use it). It is complimentary to “PS” (Program Stream) which is used in DVDs. TS is NOT used in DVDs because that medium is reliable.

    TS relies on codecs (e.g. MPEG-2) to encode/compress the data, video and audio it transports. It is NOT a CODEC for the audio or video itself.

    So, the statement that “TS is worse than H.264” (or whatever other codec) is incorrect. Also, the statement that says that TS is used by the TV stations because they can achieve higher compression using it rather than using H.264 is also not correct.

    It is true that the TV stations in USA use MPEG-2 to compress the video (and some other compression mechanism for the audio part). However, the TV stations do NOT use MPEG-2 because it has higher compression than H.264. In fact, H.264 has better compression than MPEG-2! The reason they use MPEG-2 is that the cruise ship (standardization of the broadcast in USA [A/53]) had left port long before H.264 was standardized. It was all timing.

  9. Daisy said on August 10, 2014 at 8:04 am
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    Can someone give me an in-depth, idiot proof tutorial on how to do this? I don’t get what ffmpeg works…. I downloaded it but I don’t get the part where Video Container asks for ffmpeg.exe because the .rar I downloaded doesn’t have that file?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 10, 2014 at 8:49 am
      Reply

      Daisy you need to download ffmpeg separately for your operating system: http://www.ffmpeg.org/download.html

      1. Daisy said on August 12, 2014 at 12:39 pm
        Reply

        after i download it do I just extract it anywhere?

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on August 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm
        Reply

        Yes, and you need to link it to the program as well which you are asked to do when you run the converter.

  10. Darren said on October 21, 2014 at 10:27 am
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    Hi Martin

    Thanks for the info on this! Though I am having the same problem as Daisy – I downloaded ffmpeg from the link you provided, extracted it succesfully, but there is no .exe file anywhere in the directory..?

    1. Darren said on October 21, 2014 at 10:46 am
      Reply

      Update: The file from the source given has no exe – I found one that does: http://ffmpeg.zeranoe.com/builds/
      (look in the /bin directory once extracted)

      Works like a charm

  11. jamie said on March 4, 2015 at 2:48 am
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    Dear Martin – the version of Video container switcher GPL you included above is too new for my mac os 10.5.8 – any ideas what version I need and where to find it ( I’ve tried searching to no avail ) ( also not sure what a portable program is )

    Also I’ve downloaded ffmpeg 2.5.4 ( I think ) but strangely out of all 49 items in the ffmpeg folder I cannot for the life of me find which is the installer/icon to drag into applications ( if I need to do this )

    All I want is to change the container around my mkv files to that the audio plays these films on my tv ( the visuals play just not the audio when I transfer onto a memory stick ) – am I going about this the correct way? Please help if you can

    Jamie

  12. john said on August 24, 2015 at 9:37 am
    Reply

    i followed the steps and have a watchable file but i have no audio. any idea why maybe?

  13. Anonymous said on January 18, 2018 at 11:38 pm
    Reply

    Desperate for a fast flv>mp4 converter, I tried this – but from a 4hr file I got a zero-kb result.

  14. reza said on April 2, 2018 at 8:12 am
    Reply

    thank you …
    very gooooood
    so useful

  15. daveclark966 said on October 25, 2018 at 10:58 am
    Reply

    thx. another option:use Avdshare Video Converter to change any video format to mp4 or mkv quickly.

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