Converting DVDs for the Zune HD

dvdsI 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.

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8 thoughts on “Converting DVDs for the Zune HD

  1. Jacob says:

    I also use DVD Fab and it works great for DVD conversion and burning. It used to have lifetime ugrades, but this last year they now have a small annual fee. If I remember correctly it is under $10 to renew.

  2. zunetips says:

    Jacob: Thanks for your feedback. It looks like a good product, and definitely worth the cost if you do a lot of DVD conversions to Zune file format. What’s nice is that they have a full trial version that you can test out before buying.

  3. Ben says:

    I use Handbrake and it let’s me do everything I need to do for my zune (now zunehd) for free!

  4. zunetips says:

    Handbrake creates mp4 files, right? I don’t think it can create wmv files which is my preferred format (since it allows me to add various metadata information). Now, mp4 files will work fine for the Zunes (including the HD) and are more universal than wmv files, so using a product like Handbrake may be a viable option.

  5. Robert Davis says:

    I wanted to give you the Cucusoft software for Zune’s earlier this year & you said you didn’t want it. It’s the best software out there for converting any video file & DVD’s to the Zune format. I gave it to my nephrew who’s over seas with the Marines & he loves it.. I have the Ultimate converter & can convert anthing to almost every device out there, ie. iPhone, Blackberry ect. If you just want Zune conversion it’s only $29 for video only & $39 for both DVD & Video. You also get lifetime upgrades. It has a nice preview screen & some other nice features. It’s well worth the price. Full length movies sync with my Zune in less than 1 1/2 minutes.

  6. Robert Davis says:

    Here’s the Link fo Cucusoft.
    http://www.cucusoft.com/dvd-to-zune.asp

  7. Robert says:

    Another option (that I just tried successully on my Zune HD (click my name to go to my blog)) is WinX DVD. The cool thing is they are letting you download a free fully functioning copy that does not seem to be adware or spyware. I scanned it to the best of my abilities to confirm.
    I used it to convert a DVD to MP4 and it worked without issue.
    It is free so I think it is worth trying. Bing winx dvd and it will bring you to their site.

  8. zunetips says:

    Robert: I still don’t convert may DVDs, so just use my old 2-step method which works ok. There’s definitely some good converters and bad converters available. I suggest you test the trial versions first before making a decision.

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