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A tool to convert video from nearly any format to modern codecs

As of 2015-03-16, this project may now be found at https://handbrake.fr.

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Editor's Review

We live in an interconnected world, each of us having multiple devices to support media content wherever we go. That’s why it’s surely possible that you may have neglected your DVD collection, allowing it to waste away in a corner somewhere. Why not coax those old titles out from hiding with HandBrake and convert them to a more universal format, like MP4? Ripping laws vary from country to country so consider this when making a “personal use” copy of a CD. It’s also worth mentioning that HandBrake steers clear of this legal issue by recommending a third-party program to decrypt commercial DVDs, which installs libdvdcss—an open-source library that can circumvent the Content Scramble System (CSS) used on DVDs. But once you run the recommended installer and download HandBrake, you’ll be ready to let it rip! .

HandBrake at a Glance

The basic features of HandBrake are straightforward so that a beginner can easily rip a DVD or convert a file. In less than a minute, we were able to convert an AVI file into an MP4. Obviously small files take less time to convert than a full length DVD but that doesn’t diminish the fact that basic conversions are easy to navigate in HandBrake. Part of the reason for this is that HandBrake uses some default presets to help you get started. That’s why when you click Start button your project “magically” converts. However, if you want to use more advanced settings, you have to do a little bit of homework using the built-in Help file or the community forum.

Product Details

Here is a detailed breakdown of HandBrake’s features:

  • Built-in Device Presets—Get started with HandBrake in seconds by choosing a profile optimized for your device, or choose a universal profile for standard or high quality conversions. Simple, easy, fast. For those that want more choice, tweak many basic and advanced options to improve your encodes.
  • Supported Input Sources—Handbrake can process most common multimedia files and any DVD or Blu-ray sources that do not contain any kind of copy protection.
  • Outputs:
    • File Containers—MP4 and MKV
    • Video Encoders—H.264 (x264), MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 (libav), and Theora (libtheora)
    • Audio Encoders—AAC, CoreAudio AAC/HE-AAC (OS X Only), MP3, Flac, AC3, or Vorbis/li>
    • Audio Pass-thru—AC-3, DTS, DTS-HD, AAC and MP3 tracks
  • Additional features:
    • Title/ Chapter Selection
    • Queue up Multiple Encodes
    • Chapter Markers
    • Subtitles (VobSub, Closed Captions CEA-608, SSA, SRT)
    • Constant Quality or Average BitRate Video Encoding
    • Support for VFR, CFR and VFR
    • Video Filters—Deinterlacing, Decomb, Detelecine, Deblock, Grayscale, Cropping and Scaling
    • Live Video Preview



HandBrake installs quickly, it is speedy in converting high videos to the MP4 format, and it has a no nonsense interface. HandBrake requires a lot of hit-and-miss tinkering around if you want to go beyond the its defaults.

Quick Specs

  • Version:
  • Date added: July 02, 2014
  • Operating system: Mac OS X
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HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.

Please see https://handbrake.fr for project info and downloads.

HandBrake Web Site


  • Multi-platform, Multi-threaded Video Transcoder
  • Video Encoding to several popular formats (H.264, Mpeg-4, Mpeg-2, Theora)
  • File Formats (MP4 and MKV)
  • Audio Encoding (and passthru) - AAC, MP3, FLAC, AC3, DTS, DTSHD etc
  • Subtitle Support (SRT, SSA, VOBSub, Closed Captions)
  • Filters (DeInterlace, DeTelecine, Deblocking, Cropping, Scaling)
  • Chapters
  • Presets for common use-cases


Additional Project Details



Intended Audience

Information Technology, Advanced End Users, End Users/Desktop

User Interface

Gnome, Win32 (MS Windows), Cocoa (MacOS X)

Programming Language

C#, C, Objective C


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