There are so many different codecs out in the world — some are extremely popular, and others are barely used. While you’re using Linux, you may come across all sorts of codecs, and you might want to use some codecs rather than others.
Thankfully, the cross-platform Handbrake utility has gotten a significant update that makes it even better at converting videos between various codecs. Let’s check out all of the exciting stuff in the newest Handbrake.
Support for More Codecs
First of all, there’s lots of under-the-hood improvements in Handbrake. For instance, the utility can now use H.265 (which compresses video even better than the famous codec H.264) as well as VP8. If you don’t know much about these codecs, just know that they’re pretty modern codecs that a lot of videos will be encoded with. Transcoding videos into these codecs will save you space on your hard drive as well as keep you future proof for a good while.
Besides support for more codecs, there are also a few changes on how other codecs are handled. For example, several backends that handle certain codecs have been swapped with other backends. This is done to improve license compatibility (to make everything follow the GPL) and to improve quality of the output media.
In a future release, it’s also planned for Intel’s QuickSync functionality to be implemented to drastically improve transcoding times. In the meantime, you can still use AMD’s or Intel’s OpenCL functionality to somewhat improve performance via their respective GPUs. NVIDIA doesn’t support OpenCL in their GPUs at this time.
Handbrake’s graphical interface also got a nice spruce up. While nothing major, you’ll now be able to access just about all possible settings straight from the GUI, making it quicker and easier to do what you’re wanting to do.
There’s also support for presets. There are several presets that come with the program that set the settings to optimized values for what you want handbrake to output.
Once you’ve changed all the settings that you want, you can also save your own presets so you can quickly get back to those same settings at a later time. Of course, you can also delete presets you no longer need.
How to Install
The latest version, Handbrake 0.10, should be available in most distributions. Ubuntu users can install it via a PPA, which makes it quick and easy. To add the PPA, refresh your package lists, and install the latest version of Handbrake, just run these three commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y handbrake-gtk
Once you’ve run these commands, you should have Handbrake installed and ready to go.
Arista Transcoder as an Alternative
However, if you’re looking for a tool that has the greatest flexibility between codecs, you’d probably be better served with Arista Transcoder, as it can take advantage of the GStreamer framework to transcode videos. The GStreamer framework is plugin-based, and there are tons of plugins available that give it support for almost any codec under the sun.
So, again, if you need to transcode to newer codecs, then Handbrake should be fine. Otherwise, if you need greater flexibility, try Arista Transcoder instead. Once you’ve installed Arista, you can just check your package manager for gstreamer packages — you’ll see plenty of plugins there. If you’re running a distribution like Fedora that doesn’t include “non-free” software, you may need to add third-party repositories (such as RPMFusion for Fedora) or make other similar tweaks to your system to make those packages available.
Handy Tools at Your Fingertips
Handbrake has always been an excellent tool available on Linux, and improvements like these will continue to come — all thanks to the fact that it’s open source. If you like Handbrake and want other great tools for Linux, don’t forget to check out some of the Best Linux Software out there!
What have you used Handbrake for? What other cool Linux tools do you use? Let us know in the comments!
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