WinAVI Video Converter
WinAVI Video Converter is a nice little video conversion utility that creates VCDs, SVCDs, and DVDs. I converted a number of files to the WMV, AVI, RM (Realmedia) and MPEG-1/2 using the program and created a single DVD with nary a problem. However, it doesn't convert to iPod or any other MPEG-4/h.264 format. That's a bummer for me, since I own an iPod Touch. It's also a bummer in terms of disk space--h.264 can save you a lot of it compared to AVI, WMV and MPEG-1/2. The other lack is FLV import (the favored format of YouTube and may other social sites), for which you'll need to buy a whole other product from the company.
The WinAVI Video Converter interface is elegant and simple. Choose the destination format using the buttons on the main screen, choose a file to convert and its destination, then click OK and wait. Unfortunately, though I had the latest version of Quicktime Lite installed, the program didn't recognize it. I went to the full version of Quicktime and WinAVI Converter still balked. This seemed odd, as it did seem to recognize other DirectShow filters like Xvid.
All in all, WinAVI Video Converter works as advertised, though to get rid of this demo version's watermarks you'll need to pony up $30. My only caveat is that if you work with video often, you might be happier in the long run with something more full-featured (if more expensive). Cyberlink's PowerDirector, for instance, supports more formats (including FLV and h.264), and offers video editing to boot.
--Jon L. Jacobi