Sorenson Squeeze Pro 10 Review: More video transcode batch operations, plus newer codec support
By Jon L. Jacobi
PCWorldJan 14, 2015 4:00 am PST
At a Glance
Transcodes a wide range of video types
Transcodes to multiple bit rates in the same job
Easy to use
Doesn’t play all the video types it transcodes
With new support for VP9 and HEVC (x.265), and the ability to swap wrappers without re-encoding your video, Squeeze 10 Pro cements its claim to top dog in the transcoding market.
Sorenson Squeeze Pro 10 isn’t for the average consumer—at $749, it’s far too expensive. However, for those who transcode videos on a regular basis, its batch processing, online review facility, and newfound support for HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec, aka h.265) and Google’s open format VP9 make it a very powerful tool. It has its foibles, but it’s the real deal.
Aside from adding support for HEVC and VP9, Squeeze’s handiest new feature is its ability to encode once, then apply the various multimedia containers, such as MOV, MP4, and MKV. It’s a handy time-saving feature, as is the ability to encode to different bit-rates within the same job which the program already possessed.
Using Squeeze is easy, and its interface is pleasing to the eye. It looks professional, which of course adds to its perceived value. The main window is laid out with input functions, output formats and filters in a pane to the right and the preview and jobs panes to the right. Generally speaking, you create a job by opening a file, then add output options either by selecting them and clicking the Apply button, or dragging them to the job. You can open existing files manually (drag and drop is supported), have the program automatically add files placed in a “watch” folder, or capture video from an AV source.
Squeeze’s output options, called Audience Presets, are pre-configured output templates for everything from cell phones to Blu-ray to YouTube. There are also filters such as sepia, de-interlace, watermark, time code, etc. Then there are the Publishing Options—a fancy name for uploading your finished videos to YouTube, Amazon S3, Akamai and other services. At the bottom of the options pane you’ll find Notifications and Reviews—the local repository for the messages you receive about your encoding jobs from cohorts and clients who have seen them on Sorenson’s Stream (née 360) online posting and reviewing service.
Squeeze 10 Pro is very fast-encoding, being multi-threaded and utilizing all available cores of your CPU for many jobs. However, in my hands-on, it took almost 45 seconds to load on my Core i7-3770/SSD-based system. The time bandit turned out to be loading the myriad VST plug-ins I have installed for my music creation software (DAWs). It’s nice that Squeeze 10 Pro allows you to use VSTs to process the audio in your transcoding jobs, but it shouldn’t waste time loading VST instruments, and it should be easier to disable them en masse. Currently, you must de-select them one at a time.
I ran into a few more foibles in my hands-on. For instance, while you can transcode OGG Theora and MKV, many such files didn’t play back in the preview window. If VLC can do it, this isn’t too much to ask. Also, Squeeze 10 supports Nvidia’s Cuda hardware acceleration, as well as Intel’s Quick Sync if available, but not AMD’s UVD or VCE.To be fair, these snags and omissions will affect relatively few users.
Squeeze 10 is available in a $199 Lite version, but Lite is missing all the state-of-the-art features that elevate the program above entry-level encoders such as Cyberlink’s MediaEspresso 7. Squeeze Lite offers no 4K and no multi-bitrate encoding jobs, and it lacks the lifetime subscription to Sorenson Stream that comes with the $549 Standard version and $749 Pro versions. The Standard version is feature-equal to Pro, with the exception of HEVC support.
With an elegant look and clean workflow, superb batch operation capabilities, and the time-saving review and commenting capabilities of the Sorenson Stream online service, Squeeze 10 Pro is just about the best thing going for the video encoding pro—foibles or no. For the occasional transcoder, something like the aforementioned $40 MediaEspresso 7 or the free HandBrake or Freemake Video Encoder might be more appropriate.
Correction 01/16/2015: This article was amended to correct minor factual issues.