I normally use my Zune for watching TV recordings that are converted from DVR-MS format (Vista Media Center) to WMV format for my Zune. On a few occasions, I do convert some DVD videos over to WMV format so I can watch them on my Zune. Because I do so infrequently, I use some freeware software and a manual process for converting the videos (you can check my previous postings for more details).
After getting my Zune HD, I decided to look around for an easier solution that could create high quality videos for my Zune. If you Google, “zune video converter” you’ll undoubtedly get hundreds of links to various converter software. Most of these converters use the same core program (i.e., ffmpeg or mencoder) to do the video conversion, and they generate mp4 video files. Now, this format usually work just fine for the Zune, however, I prefer the WMV format because I can add metadata information such as show title, description, thumbnail image, etc.
DVDFab DVD-to-Mobile is one video converter that caught my eye, as it can create WMV V9 formatted video files. So I downloaded and tested out their trial version, converting one of my DVDs over to WMV format for my Zune HD. I really like the interface to the DVDFab product, as it was very clean and easy to use. I was able to quickly select what I wanted to convert, define some custom parameters (because I’m so anal) and launch the conversion process. In my case, the final WMV file had the following attributes:
Resolution: 480 x 270
Video bit rate: 1000 kbps, 23 fps
Audio bit rate: 128 kbps
Length: 1 hour, 38 mins
File size: 793 MB
Normally I would use 700 kbps for the video bit rate, but this DVD had a lot action so I went with the higher bit rate to avoid any potential video tearing. The video playback on my Zune HD looked really good, so the DVDFab converter seemed to work well.
So, I do recommend DVFab DVD-to-Mobile ($29 US) for those who want to easily convert their DVDs over to WMV format for the Zune.