Convert iTunes Videos to MPEG

Category: Software , Video

I purchased videos on iTunes, but I can't play them on my video player, because they are in some 'protected' M4V format that only works on iPods. How can I convert iTunes videos to MPEG or WMV format so I can play them on MY portable video device?

iTunes and iPod: A Protection Racket?

Many people are frustrated when they purchase videos on iTunes, and then find out they can't take those videos with them on their portable video player, PDA or cell phone. Apple, provider of the popular iTunes service, has limited the software so it will copy purchased videos (M4Vs) only to video iPods -- also an Apple product. Some say this protects the digital rights of the copyright owners, but nobody disputes the fact that it helps Apple to keep a stranglehold on the portable player market.

Those with other brands of portable video players (PVP) are understandably peeved. The popular Archos and Creative Zen players are comparably priced, have much larger screens, and will play almost any video format, including the standard MPEG, AVI, DivX, and Windows-only WMV files. But iTunes will not copy a protected M4V video to any of these non-iPod devices.

Why Convert iTunes Videos?

archos portable video player

The entertainment industry views the ability to make digital copies of copyrighted materials as a threat to its profitability, so DRM (Digital Rights Management) was created to control the duplication and dissemination of their content. Movie studios and video producers have an army of lawyers and they are aggresively pursuing copyright infringers. But don't assume that anyone wanting to convert an iTunes M4V video to some other DRM-free format has criminal intent. Here are some valid reasons for wanting to free your videos from iTunes:

  1. To play videos on operating systems where iTunes does not exist, such as Linux.
  2. To use a non-Apple portable video player to play your videos.
  3. To watch your videos in the car, or the big screen in your living room
  4. To loan the video to a friend, just like you'd do with a book, record or CD

Convert M4V to MPEG, WMV, AVI

Fortunately, there ARE some clever ways to convert the protected iTunes M4V video files into other popular formats that don't tie you down to Apple hardware or software. That's the good news... it's CAN be done. But after scouring the Web for days, I couldn't find a FREE way to convert M4V to MPEG, WMV or AVI format.

My first thought was to burn the video to a CD, thereby removing the DRM copy protection, and then re-import the video into iTunes in a standard MPEG format. This trick works with audio tracks that are purchased in the iTunes Store, but when I tried it on a couple of videos I purchased, iTunes told me the video "cannot be burned because burning is disabled for this track." Scratch that option from the list...

Another idea is to use a video iPod and the optional iPod AV Cable kit. The cable kit (US$99) connects the headphone port of the iPod (or the line-out port on the iPod Dock) to the input jacks on the TV monitor. After copying the video from iTunes to your iPod, you can play the video through your TV screen. And if your television is connected to a TiVo or similar recording device, you can capture the video output on that device. See for some excellent tips on converting TiVo to MPEG and other formats. You might also check out Slingbox -- a device that will "sling" whatever is on your TV (or TiVo) to any Internet-connected computer. If your TV is connected to a DVD recorder, you can create a copy of the video on DVD, then rip it from the DVD. There are many options for ripping DVD to MPEG, AVI and other formats. See for some handy tutorials.

And finally, a software solution. The TuneBite Platinum software lets you convert copy-protected M4V video clips to unprotected WMV or MPEG4 files you can use anywhere. TuneBite "watches" as you play the video on your screen and captures the video stream, which can then be saved in the format you choose. According to the TuneBite website, TuneBite does not circumvent DRM copy-protection technology, so it is completely legal. TuneBite Platinum costs US$29.90 but you can download a trial version that will convert the first 30 seconds of the video for free.

iTunes, TuneBite and Copyright Law

Common sense, however, still applies. This note on the "Legal Information about Copyright Law and Using Tunebite" page makes it clear:

Any user who installs Tunebite on his or her PC, records music tracks and/or video clips and transfers or makes these available to other individuals, no matter in which form or for what purpose, makes himself liable and punishable under international copyright law and is subject to criminal prosecution by the injured parties. individuals that have received files that have been recorded with Tunebite are likewise punishable under these same laws.

So before converting iTunes videos to MPEG or other unprotected formats, check your conscience and motivation. If you are making copies of video files for your own personal use, because of the restrictions imposed by iTunes, go for it. Otherwise, it might be smarter (and possibly cheaper) to just buy the video on disk.

Got comments on converting iTunes to MPEG? Post them below...

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Most recent comments on "Convert iTunes Videos to MPEG"

(See all 61 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

08 Feb 2009

I hesitate to tell any of you this, but there is a program out there that works. I use it and I don't know Bob Rankin or work for the company that makes the software. I also don't want the Apple machine (and they say mircosoft is a racket and monopoly, if you ask me Apple is the enemy) closing these guys down. Prepare to pay some cash, but don't whine if you are giving apple your money any way. Allmusicconverter. Peace.

........Support music and video freedom, not "free" music.

Posted by:

21 Mar 2009

Alternative to conversion: Alot of movies, when they come out on DVD, nowadays come with a digital copy included in DVD package and with instructions on how to download to computrr as well as to iTunes. This way also meets you not soley be committe to iTunes digital land and look, you got the DVD in it's fancy packaging too!

Posted by:

27 Apr 2009

any way to convert htm files to downloadable video in any format?

Posted by:

09 Oct 2009

I am wanting to edit files I bought on Itunes in Vegas Video. What is your recommendation for the best file converter that will do audio as well as video. I know I have to remove the DRM to use the file but I also have to convert the file for Vegas Video. Any suggestions before I put down the money on a converter?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sony Vegas accepts quite a few different formats: MPeG, Quicktime (MOV, MP4), Shockwave Flash (SWF), AVI, WMV...

Posted by:

21 Oct 2009

May you want to burn DRM protected iTunes videos/movies/TV shows to DVD playable on home DVD player so that they can enjoy on widescreen TV

Posted by:

08 Mar 2010

first, you need to remove the DRM protection.
Second, use Aimersoft DVD Creator which can help you convert and burn .m4v files without DRM protection easily .

Posted by:

26 Mar 2010

we should to remove the DRM first.
check How to burn iTunes Movies without DRM

Posted by:

25 May 2010

Most dvd got drm protect.So you need to remove its drm.
Then convert its format to fit itunes.
This kind of software are called dvd to itunes transfer.
You may need this.

Posted by:

CJ Lehman
01 Jun 2010

I used the ArcSoft Media Converter to convert an Itune video to MPEG2 and then burnt it to DVD using Windows DVD Maker. Plays nice on my old Magnavox DVD player.

Posted by:

01 Jun 2010

i used isquint to change a youtube vid to itunes movie format but i dont want it as a movie, i want it as a music file. whaat do i do?

Posted by:

03 Jun 2010

I'm using the Tune4mac iTunes Video Converter, which is a professional mac itunes m4v video converter tool to remove drm protection from iTunes purchased or rental m4v videos and convert such m4v videos to various kinds of formats for playing on portable devices. Maybe you can get it from a try

Posted by:

Don Collins
09 Jun 2010 offers free software to convert mv4 to wmv files and others.

Posted by:

17 Jun 2010

I am wondering if it is possible to convert an Mpeg video to something I can put on my iTunes and iPod. Does anyone know how to do something like that? Thanks.

Posted by:

10 Aug 2010

Do you want to convert your DVDs to any formats easily?I find a good help for you:

Posted by:

13 Feb 2011

You dont have the right to "loan" anyones film, music or literature out to others, so if you do that with every entertainment product you purchase - you're no better than other unauthorized libraries - such as pirate bay.

I think it would be beneficial if you took the time to actually READ the license agreement you agree to, when you purchase an entertainment product. You can read 'em in a book, on page 2 or 3 before buying, you can read them on CD covers, on DVD covers...

If you dont agree with them - stay away from the product entirely.

You dont decide which rights the producer of the product want to give you, since the darn product is not your own =)

so no more lending where it's not permitted, people. that's what libraries are for, and they buy direct from the publishers and have special arrangements with them, including royalty deals.

Posted by:

12 Jul 2012

audials moviebox is pretty reliable. you can rip dvds, record internet streaming videos and convert video files among others, I would definitely recommend giving this one a try (here you can see how recording works:

Posted by:

18 Jul 2012

I also an iTunes movie lover and I am always using Noteburner M4V Converter Plus. It's just like TuneBit, I think. But it's able to convert the iTunes movie rentals.

Posted by:

07 Nov 2012

Place too much compared in terms M4V able to use for the present, and also supports a number of mainstream products like iphone, ipad, ipod, etc.. More and more products are in the default play M4V format audio and video files, you need an easy to use software to help you convert various file formats to M4V format I use this software Bros M4V Converter very convenient, is a use of the software, at any time can be freely converted, enjoy the software brings fast, I want this software to be able to help you better solve the problem.

More useful information, please visit the website:

Posted by:

03 Feb 2019

i use Avdshare Audio Converter to convert MOD, MP3, WAV, FLAC, AAC, WMA, OGG, AIFF, etc. to itunes.

Posted by:

23 Oct 2020

As the ideal WMV to Apple TV Converter for Mac or Windows, iDealshare VideoGo can fast and batch convert WMV to Apple TV supported video or audio format

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