Convert movies to the right format (QUICKLY)

It’s a constant struggle of mine to make sure everything plays properly in Windows Media Center.  Some times I get home movies from friends or I backup my movies in an incorrect format and now when I want to play them they never work.  There are many programs out there for converting movies to a correct format but most are complicated, slow and don’t do what they promise.  I recently tested Xilisoft Video Converter which seemed easy at first, however it didn’t work as expected and was very slow.  When I tried to convert a 60 minute video to an XBox 360 HD format it took almost 2 hours, it changed the video from 1080p to 720 and  converted the sound from 5.1 to 2 channels.  I tried to e-mail for help as the program was easy to use and very nice looking, however I got brushed off and told too bad, that is just the way it is.

I had later been introduced to an application called mkv2vob in the Entertainment 2.0 podcast.  This application looks like it was written for converting movies to play on the PS3, however it works like a dream for Media Center and XBox 360 extenders.  The first time I ran it I setup some settings on the “Configuration” tab.  I don’t remember what the defaults were I changed so I included a screen capture of what mine looks like.  The main settings were “Always Transcode DTS” (if the video has DTS sound then the XBox extenders will produce no audio) and “Video Transcoding: Automatic” (it will go through a long transcoding process only if absolutely necessary).  So once your “Configuration” page settings match mine here is how to convert your first movie…

a. On the “Add File” tab, choose “Browse” next to the “Source File” option and select the file that won’t play properly.
b. Choose “Browse” next to the “Destination Directory” and select where you would like the working file saved.
c. (optional) enable the “Delete source file after conversion” option. (I have not been using this option but I am going to start as every time I have used this application the new file is has always worked and worked better than the source.)
d. Click the “Add File” button and the conversion process is started.  In my experience the same file I tested using the previous program I had now takes only 2.5 minutes to convert.

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