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Transcoding is the process of the conversion of digital data (typically video and audio files) from one format to another. It involves extracting tracks from a digital media file, decoding the tracks, filtering, encoding, and then multiplexing the new tracks into a new container. Transcoding will reduce the quality of the tracks unless lossless formats are used.
There are many reasons to transcode media files. Some popular examples include the ability to convert files so that they are supported on a target device, and at the same time removing commercials, and reducing the file size. Whilst transcoding is a very CPU intensive task, modern processors such as the AMD Phenom X4 and Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors offer impressive conversion rates provided the transcoding software supports multi-core architectures.
There is a good range of open source software available on the Linux platform for transcoding digital data. One application not featured in this article but is worthy of a mention is Transmageddon. This video transcoder is built using the pipeline-based multimedia framework, GStreamer. Transmageddon is in an early stage of development.
This article highlights the finest open source transcoding applications for Linux. Individuals that are interested in making digital media available for playback on mobile phones, or make frequent use of Home Theatre software will find transcoding software to be invaluable. Transcoding helps to ensure there is universal access of multimedia content.
To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 9 of the finest transcoders. There is a mix of graphical and console based applications featured here. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone wanting to transcode digital data.
Now, let’s explore the 9 transcoders at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.
|HandBrake||Multithreaded video transcoder|
|dvd::rip||Perl front end for transcode|
|OGMRip||Application and a set of libraries for ripping and encoding DVDs|
|avconv||Part of libav-tools; fork of FFmpeg|
|FFmpeg||Multimedia player, server and encoder|
|Arista||Graphical user interface for FFmpeg|
|transcode||Utility to encode raw video/audio streams|
|Mencoder||MPlayer's Movie Encoder|
|WinFF||Graphical user interface for FFmpeg|
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