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Free VidCoder download offers easy DVD ripping and converting

10 May 2011, Nick Peers

One of the most popular open-source tools for ripping and encoding video from DVD and Blu-ray is the cross-platform tool, Handbrake. One of the charges levelled at it – particularly from a Windows user’s point of view – is that the user interface can be a little confusing and overwhelming, particularly for beginners.

Mindful of this fact, Codeplex code RandomEngy has developed a fresh take on Handbrake in the form of VidCoder, which is also available as a 64-bit application. VidCoder takes all the features and raw power of Handbrake, and delivers them to end users via a more streamlined and user-friendly interface, making the program more accessible to all.

VidCoder makes things as simple or as complicated as you need: you can simply insert your DVD or Blu-ray disc, pick an output folder and preset setting, then let the program do the hard job of converting your DVD into a MP4 or MKV file for playback on your computer using a compatible program (try VLC Media Player if all else fails).

VidCoder – like Handbrake (betraying the latter’s origins as a Mac product ported across for Windows and Linux users) – can also encode files for a variety of Apple devices, including iPhone and Apple TV. For those users who want fine control over the output settings – and know what they’re doing – click the Settings button to create customised profiles.

It’s all very straightforward, and RandomEngy has done a great job of giving Windows users access to the raw power of Handbrake via a more intuitive interface. The main downside is that it requires that the .NET Framework 4.0 package is installed, which doesn’t ship as standard in any current version of Windows, including Windows 7.

If you can live with this additional requirement, then VidCoder is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds for any PC running .NET Framework 4.0, which includes Windows XP, Vista, Server and 7.

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