Free software of the week: Handbrake

I’m always on the lookout for good, free utilities and applications – I’m going to try to make this a regular feature, where I share a handful of useful apps that I use on a regular basis. Most of these will be in the realm of audio/video editing and transcoding, but I’ll post anything interesting. Some of these are very well known, others are more obscure.

There’s a distinction between software that’s “free as in beer” and “free as in speech”. I will be focusing on the “beer” type (i.e. costs nothing to use), but if it’s of the open source variety as well, so much the better.

This week’s pick is…


Handbrake is a nifty little app for Windows, Mac, and Linux that will allow you to take your DVDs and convert them into iPod-compatible MP4 video files. It’s been around for a couple of years, but until recently development had slowed considerably. Handbrake relatively simple to use and fairly quick, depending on your hardware. It’s still beta software, and has a few quirks here and there – the deinterlacing feature, for example, is terrible for animation (but is slated to be improved in future builds). But overall Handbrake is an excellent free app.