2 Tools For Converting Movies For Viewing On a Smartphone

Chris Hoffman 22-04-2013

convert movies smartphoneMovie files are generally not optimized for the smartphone. They often take up too much space and may be encoded in a format that the smartphone can’t play back very easily. If the movie in question is on a physical DVD, it will need to be “ripped” into a standard video file before you can play it.


Video conversion isn’t as essential as it used to be when playing videos on a modern smartphone. With apps like VLC for Android, you can play videos of almost any type or size directly on your smartphone. However, you may still want to convert a movie before viewing it to save precious storage space on your smartphone and get more battery-efficient How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice Battery life is one of the biggest struggles of modern-day electronics. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all deal with it -- so what can you do to maximize the amount of time you get per charge? Read More playback.


HandBrake is one of the more popular video conversion tools. These apps are referred to as “transcoding” tools, because they can convert videos from one encoded format to another encoded format. We’ll be focusing on the Windows version here, but HandBrake also runs on Mac OS and Linux. You can download Handbrake for any platform from its website.

HandBrake also offers DVD-ripping capabilities 5 Simple Steps to Rip an Entire DVD to Your Hard Drive Have you backed up your DVD collection? Let us show you how to rip your DVDs to your hard drive for free with HandBrake. Read More , so you can convert a movie from a physical DVD to a file you can watch on your phone. To do this, you’ll need to install the DVD43 software for Windows, which bypasses the DRM What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] Digital Rights Management is the latest evolution of copy protection. It’s the biggest cause of user frustration today, but is it justified? Is DRM a necessary evil in this digital age, or is the model... Read More included with DVDs to allow this ripping. Depending on the country you’re in, this may technically be illegal.

After installing and launching HandBrake, click the Source menu and choose the type of video you want to convert. Select Video File for a single file or Folder to convert all video files in a single folder. If you want to convert a DVD, insert the disc into your computer and it will appear in the Source drop-down box.

convert movies smartphone


Once the file is added, you can start tweaking your conversion settings. If you added a DVD, click the Title box and select the appropriate section of the DVD.

Whatever you’re converting, you’ll need to specify a destination. You can enter a destination for this conversion using the Destination box. If you’d like HandBrake to take care of this automatically in the future, you can open its options window (Tools -> Options), select the Output Files tab, and enter a default location in the Default Path box. For example, you can have HandBrake automatically save all converted video files to your desktop or another easy-to-access location.

To quickly select appropriate transcoding settings for your device, click an option in the Preset column. There are options for the iPhone A Complete Beginner's Guide to iOS 11 for iPhone & iPad Here's everything you need to know to get started with iOS 11. Read More and different types of Android The Android Beginner's Guide: How to Set Up Your First Smartphone If you're just getting started with your first Android smartphone, this in-depth guide has everything you need to know. Read More phones, as well as other devices like the iPod Touch, iPad, and Apple TV. You can also select one of the normal profiles.

view movies on smartphone


You can optionally modify the conversion settings after selecting a preset. For example, the Picture tab allows you to set a custom width and height for your video file. However, you’ll probably be fine if you stick to the default settings.

Once you’re ready to perform the conversion, click the Start button. HandBrake will convert your selected source video and create a new video in the destination folder you specified.

view movies on smartphone

You can now copy your video file to your phone by connecting it to your computer with a USB cable or, if it’s an Android phone, using the excellent AirDroid app to transfer the video file to your phone over Wi-Fi AirDroid - Send SMS, Share Links, Transfer Files & More [Android 2.1+] In the past, we have reviewed many apps that could make your Android phone even more spectacular. We do, in fact, have a great list of the best 100 Android apps we have encountered up... Read More .


If you’re converting a lot of videos on a regular basis, you could use DropFolders along with Handbrake Watch Folders & Convert Video Files with DropFolders & HandBrake Read More to automatically convert video files you add to a specific folder on your computer.


SUPER is a Windows application with its own cult following. Kannon recently dubbed it a “HandBrake killer”, noting that “no free (or paid) video software in its class matches the versatility and broad file-type compatibility of SUPER.” SUPER offers more power and options than HandBrake. It’s also more compatible with different video formats. HandBrake has removed support for AVI, XviD, and OGG/OGM codecs, but SUPER still supports these formats.

However, SUPER is a much more complicated application with a user interface that isn’t nearly as user-friendly. It also installs adware during the installation process A Simple Checklist To Safely Installing Free Software Without All The Junk Picture this - you've just found this awesome free software that you are stoked about because of all that it can do for you, but when you install it, you discover that it is packed... Read More , which you must immediately uninstall after installing SUPER if you want to keep your Windows system clean. And it’s Windows only, so Mac and Linux users are out-of-luck.

If you’re interested in SUPER, head on over to Kannon’s guide to using SUPER Want A Handbrake Killer? SUPER Converts All Videos For Free [Windows] SUPER for Windows performs video conversion (encoding), file joining, and video recording on a huge number of file types. To date, no free (or paid) video software in its class matches the versatility and broad... Read More , where he’ll walk you through dodging the adware and getting to grips with SUPER’s interface.


convert movies smartphone

More Tools

These are our 2 favorite tools for converting videos, whether you need a slick, easy-to-use interface optimized for the most popular formats or you need the most flexible video-conversion tool out there.

What’s your favorite tool for converting videos before watching them on your smartphone? Do you prefer one of the above tools, or have you found a better one? Leave a comment below and share your favorite one!

Image Credit: Smartphone mobile video via Shutterstock

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  1. Shifflettkristen
    June 8, 2017 at 7:36 am

    I used to like Format Factory, but I am frustrated because the last two or three versions haven't been working for me. I try to convert .avi to .mp4, but it gets stuck at 99%. Customer service still hasn't responded to me. Now I switch to a web-base video converting app call Acethinker Video Converter, free and works perfect.

  2. devaf
    May 14, 2013 at 4:42 am

    Format factory is not better because it is too outdated

  3. devaf
    May 14, 2013 at 4:40 am

    AVC is more usefull for me
    Because it is user friendly and a free application but some mp4 outputs are too ugly

    • Berti Bruyn
      January 15, 2018 at 8:49 am

      Better than to download any plugin or software that will slow your computer. I'd recommend using online service such Reviewstown Video Converter, It's a free web-based application to convert videos, you don't have to install anything.

  4. Rajaa Chowdhury
    April 25, 2013 at 3:46 am

    Most of the guys here doesn't seem to be braking but breaking!!! It is HandBrake guys, not HandBreak. :P Just joking, do not take it seriously.

  5. Milinda Arambawela
    April 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    i'm alrady use hand break. It is Good.!

  6. Adam Shah
    April 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I always wanted to look for this, it's good

  7. macwitty
    April 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I use Handbreak when I want to control how it is converting. For everyday use I'm a bit lazy and use Miro and I works very well most of the time

  8. Manide
    April 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    FormatFactory is my choice. It does its job very well.
    Special mention: I like the way it manages subtitles.

  9. Scott M
    April 23, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I used handbrake for a while but I'm now using Freemake instead.Dead easy and gets the job done quickly without any problems.

  10. null
    April 23, 2013 at 8:19 am

    "Format Factory" (available at CNET) is also a very good tool for converting almost any video format to almost any other format - it even allows you to use 'multiple threads' on more powerful machines for faster batch processing.

  11. Rajaa Chowdhury
    April 23, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Handbrake is a awesome tool and I use it extensively. It is specially exceptional if you are going to run the output on an Apple iOS device. Also I would suggest the Freemake Video Converter too, which is a very good product. More on it at

    • Scrooloose
      April 23, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Freemak is the easiest to use

  12. LuckyBelly
    April 23, 2013 at 5:37 am

    Handbrake actually does not support many newly released DVD movies as per my user experience. But I still keep it as it provides super fast processing speed. Besides, I also used another program named Any DVD Cloner Platinum as it supports many newly released DVD movies while Handbrake does not support.

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 3, 2013 at 10:51 am

      That's a shame. I love Handbrake, but rarely deal with physical DVDs anymore.

  13. Nevzat A
    April 23, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Both utils are great. I also recommend Wondershare's converter.