Online video converters are incredibly convenient (Zamzar is one of my favorites as it converts in high-quality), but having an application on the desktop seems to make more sense if I needed to consistently convert videos.
Thus, I scoured the web for a good freeware video converter, such as the ones found on this handy list and another one on free video-and-audio converters. A number of them seemed too complicated or bloated for my needs as I only wanted a quick converting app and to avoid spending so much time figuring out the conversion procedure when video-editing just consumes as much time. Then I found Hamster Free Video Converter and looked for more information at the publisher’s site, which comes with no nag-screen of any kind or ads (unless you count the author’s Facebook, Twitter and Youtube links as ads). It’s currently my favorite application for Windows (might be yours soon too!)
You can get the installer (14.2MB) from the Download.com page. Once you complete the installation, you can get started converting videos for your desktop and portable electronics in a jiffy.
Beautiful & Numbered Interface
One of the most striking things you notice when you first launch the installed program is the beautiful interface. Contrary to a lot of other video converters which offer overwhelming interfaces with way too many confusing buttons and options, this program sports a cleaner look which you can definitely tell it was carefully- and well-designed. It features 3 tabs, each indicating the steps needed to convert your videos: adding files, choosing settings, and converting.
The first tab is where you drag and drop your files. You can also add files by clicking on the button to browse.
The application also supports batch conversion to a specific format or container so you can drag and drop several videos at a time. You also have a video player on the right of the first tab so you can confirm that you have the correct files. One drawback is that the player doesn’t seem to produce any audio, but you can still look and verify at the audio codec information, as well as other file details right underneath in the Info box.
Choosing Conversion Settings
After you’ve added your desired files to convert, proceed to click on the second tab titled Edit, which lists all the possible output formats and device presets. It includes very recent devices such as the iPad and iPhone 4, as well as Android, Blackberry, PSP, Xbox, Zune, etc.
For AVI, WMV and FLV outputs, you can additionally select to deinterlace and resize the video, and change the frame rate and bit rate.
When you’re converting to AVI, you can also pick codecs, such as DivX or Xvid (which were explained more in Best Settings & Formats For Youtube Videos), which depends on the ones you have installed on your system.
If you regularly find yourself converting videos, you can save your settings to use them next time by clicking on Add To Favorites.
When you’re all set choosing your settings, go on to the third tab to click Convert and just wait for the videos to be converted.
Supported Languages & Themes
The program has been translated to a good deal of languages including Spanish (which I tested and determined, has great translations), French, Japanese, etc. which you can switch to by clicking on Settings at the title bar, selecting Language and checking one of the numerous languages. According to the official developer blog, the list of supported languages nears 40 which includes a lot of other languages that you don’t usually see support for.
The original color of the interface is actually yellow but if you dive into its Settings, you can also click on Themes, which brings up a rainbow palette for you to customize the color.
Have you got a favorite free video converter in mind you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!