8 Versatile Video Encoding Apps for OS X

As a Mac user, there are plenty of situations that require you to convert video between various formats. Maybe you want to convert that home movie your PC-using brother sent you to play on your iPad, or even convert your favorite YouTube videos for offline browsing on your PSP!

Back in 2009, we ran an article on video encoding options for Mac OS X. A lot has changed on the video-conversion scene since then, with new apps being released and most on that list being updated. Let’s take another look at the (new and old) options for video conversion and encoding.


HandBrake is by far the most popular video transcoder available, both back in 2009 and now. HandBrake is a cross-platform and open-source transcoder available for free. HandBrake has a wide range of conversion options from Sony’s PSP to Apple TV.

HandBrake can also export videos with chapter markers and subtitles in a range of encoding options including Apple choice’s H.264 codec. Probably the most common usage is to rip DVDs to Apple’s own formats for playback on iOS devices and iPods.

Price: Free
Requires: Intel CPU; Mac OS X 10.5 or above
Developer: HandBrake


EasyWMV is not, as the name suggests, just for handling WMV files. In fact, it’s a multi-format video converter allowing you to convert to a range of codecs. It accepts a variety of formats, and even provides options for resizing video in app.

The main attraction is it’s simple interface married with a batch processing option for converting more than one file at a time.

Price: $19.99 (demo available)
Requires: Intel CPU; Mac OS X 10.5 or above
Developer: Patrice Bensoussan


Permute is “the perfect A/V conversion tool for those of us that are not A/V experts”. It too has a simple, drag-and-drop interface with presets for your iPod, Apple TV and even your Xbox!

Permute is a 64-bit only app that utilizes your multi-core CPU architecture for faster and more efficient performance. It’s fast and functional design matches a great user interface for an enjoyable media conversion experience.

Price: $14.99
Requires: Intel CPU; Mac OS X 10.6 or above
Developer: Fuel Collective

QuickTime X

QuickTime X is Apple’s latest video-playing incarnation, released as part of Snow Leopard. If you’re looking for an app you know is stable and will work with your configuration, this might be your best bet. Unlike the older QuickTime Pro (that required you pay for premium conversion features), QuickTime X is completely free. It converts into Apple’s preferential formats for various portable devices.

It’s not just a simple conversion app. In fact, there are a range of options available to edit your video, and plenty more advanced features to explore!

Price: Free
Requires: QuickTime 7; Mac OS X 10.4.10 or above
Developer: Apple


RoadMovie is another app that made the list back in 2009, but still maintains a place due to the constant updates it receives. Like with HandBrake, this encoding choice maintains subtitles and chapters and metadata for iTunes.

The feature set for RoadMovie is lengthy and includes a range of export options and also upload options to services like MobileMe (it lists it as .Mac, but I assume it will work with Apple’s current cloud service) and YouTube. You can also customize and automate RoadMovie via AppleScript.

Price: $29
Requires: Intel CPU; Mac OS X 10.5
Developer: Bitfield


Miro is one of the newer apps to make this list. It’s a video player at heart, but also offers some transcoding features underneath with it’s free video converter app. It supports video output to a plethora of devices, from a range of Android phones to your iPod and your PSP too (as is common among these apps). And these are only the presets! Miro can convert virtually any video file to MP4, Theora, or (an audio-only) MP3 file.

Miro is also an app that is available for Windows as well as Mac OS X and is based on FFmpeg (as is the case with many of these apps).

Price: Free
Developer: Miro


RipIt is a DVD ripper for your Mac. A Macwold Editor’s Choice app, RipIt takes your DVD and rips or compresses it and allows you to watch them from anywhere. The idea is to avoid your disks getting scratched or lost by making them readily available on your Mac in a native formats.

RipIt is a very simple app that fulfills it’s aim well.

Price: $24.95
Developer: The Little App Factory

Bonus: iMovie

iMovie isn’t really a fully fledged encoder, but it does provide a range of input and export formats. By importing, and then immediately exporting back out from iMovie, you can change a video’s encoding to Apple’s preferred formats to gain compatibility for your devices.

Supported in the latest version of iMovie is the H.264 codec with AAC audio available at a range of resolutions up to HD.

Price: $14.99 (on Mac App Store; bundled in iLife which is probably already installed on your Mac)
Developer: Apple


Add Yours
  • mkvtools is also great to transcode mkv to m4v

  • Without MPEGStreamClip this list makes no sense!

  • You forgot to mention iSquint, and it’s free. It’s very similar to the discontinued VisualHub.

    • Aw, I miss VisualHub. ):
      Sorry, just reminiscing. ^^; hehe

  • Evom is excellent. Surprised it’s not the list. http://thelittleappfactory.com/evom/

    • Yeah, Evom is definitely my tool of choice for quick conversion!

  • RipIt free??? in your dreams… RipIt cost 24,95$

  • I’ve tried half of these and I can certify that the only one that always does the job is Handbrake. The interface is a little clunky (or “expert”), but with all the controls, there’s plenty to adjust to get the videos just as you like ’em.

    It would be nice if there was a companion drag-and-drop Handbrake client, but I think we’ll live with the full interface.

  • iFFmpeg is a really good one. It’s new but it’s getting better and better with every update, and updates come almost weekly.

  • RipIt isn’t free, costs $24.95

  • I don’t think RipIt is free, but it’s well worth the $24.95 price tag in my opinion. Never failed me yet.

  • Apologises on the RipIt issue. I took it as free due to the “Free Download” button on the RipIt site (http://thelittleappfactory.com/ripit/).

    Just now I realised that there’s a purchase price underneath!

  • You totally missed MPEG Streamclip. It is a must in any top ten list like this and more like in the contention for top place.

  • FYI: Quicktime X is not free.

  • I agree with Jonathan, Evom is really good. But Handbrake has never disappointed me either.

  • I agree that HandBrake is the best. And it’s free. However, I have found a great tool, VideoDrive, that works in combination with HandBrake. The tool is designed to add videos into iTunes and tag them with metadata and artwork.

    While it can add any video without converting first, it also supports video conversions with HandBrake.

    It’s quite a powerful combination, and as a bonus, I don’t have to deal with the clunky interface of HandBrake anymore.

  • Toast?

  • Is there any decent one that you can set to watch a folder and covert automatically?

  • Appreciated every bit of your post. Maintain writing.

  • Longo Mac DVD Ripper from http://www.longodvd.com is indeed another powerful DVD Ripper for mac, it can automatically decrypter DVDs, and rip DVDs to iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, mp3, mp4, mpg, AVI and some other formats on mac easily.