Free Online Video Converters

Category: Video

Programs that convert one video file format to another are amazingly popular. Even more amazing is the number of free online video converters. Search for the phrase, 'online video converter' and you’ll get more than 23 million hits! What makes online video converters so popular? The answer may surprise you...

Why Are There So Many Online Video Converters?

Over 500 free video converters are listed in Cnet’s Download.com library. The most popular one, Any Video Converter has been downloaded nearly 14 million times, and has versions for both PC and Mac. It can translate all of the commonly used video formats, which include AVI, MPEG, MP4, MOV, FLV, DivX, XviD, MKV, and 3GP.

And as mentioned above, the number of web-based video converters is stunning. These Web-based services let you upload a video file, or just supply the URL of a video file that is online (such as a YouTube video or a file on an ftp server). The Web site converts the supplied video to your specified format. Then it emails you a link to the converted file for downloading.

So why are online video converters so popular? The answer seems to be, “theft.” At least in most cases. Let me explain...
Free Online Video Converter

Online video converters websites prominently advertise that they can be used to capture videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, and other streaming video sites. So you can have your very own copy of someone else’s copyrighted video. You can edit it, mix it with other content, put it online and make money with it. It’s illegal, but thanks to online video converters it happens all the time. YouTube is constantly blocking online video converters, and the latter are constantly moving to new proxy servers in order to circumvent the blocks.

Free online video conversions are always restricted. File sizes are limited to 100 MB, typically; that’s about 10 minutes of standard-definition video. For those willing to pay, subscriptions to video converters range from about $5 a day to $85 per year. Your money buys larger file sizes (up to 1 GB, typically), priority processing, unrestricted download speeds, and online storage space in some cases.

Black, White and Gray

Free conversions are given lower priority than those of paying customers; it may take hours or days for your conversion request to be fulfilled. You may also be limited to just a few free conversions per day. Or your video conversion request may seem to drop into a black hole.

Free online video converters also capture your email address, leaving you vulnerable to spam. Perhaps there are so many offers of free online video conversions on the Web because they are very effective email address harvesting tools.

Of course there are some legitimate uses for both offline and online video converters. If you have a camcorder or smartphone that can record video, you may need to convert videos from the native format of your device, in order to share them with friends or upload them to online services that require a different video format. If you've got a file in WMV (Windows Media Video), you may want to convert it to MOV (the Apple QuickTime format) or MP4 (made popular by iTunes).

If you run a user-generated content outlet, you may be receiving original videos in many different formats. You need to convert them to a standard format before putting them online. Conversely, you may need to make a video available in multiple formats. An online video converter is a way to outsource that work. And if you're doing it yourself, one nice thing about online converters is that they do not require you to install any software.

Sadly, for the average consumer, the main allure of online video converters is the ability to violate copyright and the terms of service of streaming video services. If you have a legitimate need to convert videos from one format to another, I would recommend an offline (disk-based) converter, to avoid some of the potential pitfalls I've mentioned above.

Have you used an online video converter? Tell me about your experience, or post your comment below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Free Online Video Converters"

Posted by:

Darryl
09 Oct 2012

I like to go the other direction - get a media player (VLC) that plays anything. Makes the need for conversion considerably smaller. If I need to share with others on their equipment, there's a portable version that should overcome reluctance to install something they don't want.


Posted by:

T.Smith
09 Oct 2012

Why use an on-line video converter when there are so many free converters that do a great job and are installed right on your own hard drive free of all restrictions such as length & quality?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Not everyone CAN install the software. If your platform is a smartphone, or tablet, you can't install software designed for a PC or Mac. And many people can't install software on their employer's computer.


Posted by:

TheRube
09 Oct 2012


I Simply LOVE KASTOR Free Video Downloader . . . you save the program to your hard drive . . . No FUSS No Muss.

Go To www.kastorsoft.com


See ya!


Posted by:

james pierson
10 Oct 2012

I use free converters installed on my PC and then i can convert my personal videos to Apple quick time format that allows me to stop it and then move frame by frame that WMV does not do.


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