A while ago, I wrote an application to convert videos into a format that could be played on video ipods. I wrote this application because there didn’t seem to be any gui on Linux for converting videos to ipod format and then upload them to your ipod. However, since that time a long-time favourite on Windows and Mac, Handbrake was ported to Linux, and a gui solution to video conversion was finally available.


Again, this application can usually be found in the mainstream repositories of the big distros. Alternatively, there are packages for Ubuntu and Fedora on the Handbrake website. If you can’t find a package, you can compile from source.


Handbrake has a number of great features for converting videos:

  • Convert videos direct from DVD
  • Convert videos from most multimedia files
  • Create videos using a number of pre-defined format templates
  • Supports h264, MPEG-4, Theora, AAC, MP3 and Vorbis
  • Supports subtitles
  • Video filtering tools


Handbrake is pretty straightforward. If you want to keep it really simple, just choose your source, choose your output template and press go. If you know a bit about what you are doing, you can tweak a large number of the video and audio parameters of the output file, and there’s a live preview window to see what the final output might look like. However I wouldn’t muck with the ipod/iphone templates, as these devices are pretty picky about what they will and won’t play. Check out some of the screenshots below.