Permute: Fast, Intuitive, No-Frills Video Conversion

You have an iPod, an iPad, an Xbox, and a large media collection that you legally ripped from old DVDs. You discover that some are in an .m4v format, while others in a .avi (DivX) format. How would you easily convert that content to be able to watch it on all your various devices which require different formats? You might try downloading a free video conversion application, but most software that claims to easily convert videos is bloated and complex to use. Permute is different.

Permute makes it extremely easy to drag, drop, and convert your videos and music files. Drag a movie onto Permute and choose from the large selection of file formats. It includes formats for specific devices like an iPod, Xbox, and a PSP; as well as video formats like FLV, DivX, MPEG-1 and more. Permute makes it really easy to convert files and get you one step closer to enjoying your content. Let’s take a look at how it works!

Getting Started

Permute is easy to setup, and within seconds of installation is ready to convert content. Drag Permute to your applications folder and open it. Now select a video file or music file that you wish to convert, dragging and dropping it onto Permute’s window.

Drag and drop a video file onto Permute to start converting

Drag and drop a video file onto Permute to start converting

You’ll see a drop-down menu offering a wide range of formats for various devices. The format you will want will depend on your specific target. Most video content is formatted into an AVI because it creates a smaller file size without dramatically ruining video quality.

FLV, WMV, and MP4 works really well for embedding into a website – choose one of those if you are uploading to sites like YouTube. If you wish to mainly use this content with iTunes, select the M4V format to easily watch and sync it to your various Apple devices. Permute can convert just about any format of video.

Once you have a video file converting, you can create a queue that will run one after another. Drag another video file onto Permute and it will start a queue of videos. This won’t affect the current conversion and you can queue multiple files.

Multi Conversion

Multi Conversion

How Long Does it Take?

Conversions can take anywhere from minutes to hours depending on the length of the video, the format you selected, and the power of the machine. Permute does take advantage of multi-core processors, so it would convert faster on an eight core Mac Pro than a MacBook Air.

Permute is 64-bit application, making it faster and more memory efficient with larger amounts of data.

iTunes Importing

Permute also offers automatic iTunes importing, enabled through the Preferences windows. This can automatically add your content to an iTunes Playlist or just add it to your library. Combine this with the queue feature to take your collection of FLV videos and create iPhone specific versions automatically.

Click Permute > Preferences to enable iTunes Importing

Permute works with Audio as well. Drag and drop an MP3 to convert to a wide variety of music formats. Permute will even convert a video file and strip the video, creating a regular MP3 file! Turn your home movies of favorite concerts and create homemade live performances that you can add to your iPod.

Various Video Conversion Formats

Various Video Conversion Formats

Custom Formats for Power Users

In addition to the included conversion options, Permute offers an interface for creating custom conversions. Navigate to the Permute settings to create new custom conversions. When creating a new profile, it will ask you which format to derive the settings from.

Custom Video Settings

Custom Video Settings

After selecting the format, you can change a wide range of settings. Custom advanced settings like audio channels or video bit-rate allow you to fully control your custom video conversion. Some formats even let you custom the video size, allowing you to easily slim down a file before you sync it with your media device or netbook.


Permute makes it easy to convert your media into whatever you need. While other applications might offer more features for power users, Permute makes it simple to drag, drop, and convert. This is perfect for any users that wants something that “just works”. Within seconds you can start converting just about any video content.

I’ll give Permute an 9/10 for an amazing interface and intuitive controls. The app was created as a simple and easy way to convert large collections of videos into specific formats. Permute is fast and bloat-free, unlike several other alternative video conversion programs.

Permute is $14.95 from FuelCollective, the developers of Snippet, Eon, and Swatch.


Permute is the perfect A/V conversion tool for those of us that are not A/V experts. With its drag and drop ease of use and simple, custom settings behind the curtain, it’s the answer to all the "other" confusing and complicated alternatives.