Computer Hardware

Best Video Converters

May 27, 2021 • 12 min read

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3 Great Video Converters and What Makes Them Great

When discussing converting video from one format to another there are two main types of video converter options: digital and analog.

When you dive deeper into the subject, though, you'll see that the digital video conversion track is predominantly focused on converting digital video files into other digital file types. If you are looking to convert from analog to digital or vice versa, then that is a completely different task with a whole new set of equipment and devices.

You may think that one piece of video conversion equipment can’t be much different from another, but that isn’t entirely true.

There are plenty of factors that can make your video conversion equipment go from good to great. So, whether you are taking some home videos and converting them to a digital file, or wanting to move some digital files onto some specific analog hardware or equipment, then you will want and need one of the following top-quality pieces of video conversion equipment.

What Does a Video Converter Do?

Boy sitting at computer using video converter and video editing, Image Source

A video converter is a hardware device that turns one type of video signal into another type of video signal. You may recognize the simplest of these devices as adapters like VGA to DVI, DVI to VGA, HDMI to VGA, etc. These types of video conversion equipment are only good for connecting older monitors to new equipment or new monitors to old equipment without messing with the actual video signal too much.

Some higher-end video conversion equipment can convert your video signal from one file type to another while actually improving the video quality in the process. So make sure you know what you're using - if you aren’t careful, you could end up lowering the quality of your video file in the process of converting it.

Our goal is to help you get the best video conversion equipment purchase for your video conversion needs!


How Does a Video Converter Work?

Difference between screen resolutions, Image Source

The process of converting video signals can be a little bit complicated to understand, but there are five pieces of information to be aware to make the most informed decisions:

  • Resolution
  • Video and audio codecs in use
  • Aspect ratio
  • Bit rate
  • Container format

Resolution

Resolution in a video display device refers to the number of pixels displayed in each dimension. You will typically see these quoted as width × height, like this “1920 × 1080″. Also, resolution is controlled predominantly by factors involving the monitor the video will be viewed on.

There are two types of video resolution: Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD). Good video conversion equipment will allow you to convert your video signal into any resolution you need or want so it can be displayed on as many viewing devices you could want.


Video and Audio Codecs In Use

Graph explaining the differences in codecs, Image Source

Codec is a protocol for encoding and decoding video or audio and comes from the phrase “enCOde / DECode”. The most common codecs include H.264, MPEG-4, and DivX. Each codec has different levels of efficiency in preserving quality and/or reducing file size.

This is important to pay attention to when selecting your video conversion device because selecting equipment that uses lower-quality codecs can result in low-quality image and sound and/or larger files sizes than are necessary. This means you are getting a worse video taking up even more space on your storage device – whether that device be digital or analog.


Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is a number that details the width of your video represented in dimensions related to the video’s width and height. Some of the most common examples are: 1:1, 4:3, and 16:9. You typically see 1:1 aspect ratio for social media videos, 4:3 aspect ratio in television and home videos (especially those recorded before the 21st century), and 16:9 aspect ratio is what you see many movies recorded in.

With proper video conversion equipment you can adjust the aspect ratio of your video to fit whatever format works best for you, so be aware when selecting a video converter that can adjust the aspect ratio of your videos.


Bit Rate

Bit rate table, Image Source

Bit rate (or bitrate) is a number associated with the amount of video data transferred at any given time. The higher the bit rate, the sharper the video image will be. Resolution and bit rate typically go hand-in-hand to create truly high-quality videos. Without a good resolution and a high bit rate the video will be largely unaffected by one or the other.

If you are planning on converting video into a digital format or streaming video (like YouTube), then a high bit rate is imperative as this affects the image quality as well as the ability for the video to stream smoothly.


Container Format

The last thing to talk about when selecting video conversion equipment is to be aware of the different container formats you may want to use. A container format is the file type the video will be converted into, such as .mp4, .avi, .mpeg, or .webm (among others).

Depending on what you are planning to do with your video files will decide what container formats you will be looking to use. For example, .mp4 files are the most widely used format and .webm files are what YouTube uses for their video files. Good video conversion equipment will give you plenty of options when it comes to container formats, so keep this in mind when making your purchase.

Click here for a good rundown on video formats.


Best Video Conversion Equipment

Using a smartphone as a video display to take a video from the camera, Image Source

Knowing what to look for when purchasing a video converter is half the battle. The other half of the battle is knowing your options.

Below we have outlined our top 3 recommendations for video converter devices:

  • analog to digital
  • digital to analog
  • bidirectional conversion

All three video converter devices are some of the best choices to use for video conversion. They each provide high-quality video and audio quality for any and all projects, making the entire video conversion process smooth and care-free. However, the right product for you depends entirely on the use-case you need in an audio conversion device.


Best Analog to Digital Video Conversion Equipment:

Elgato USB Analog Video Capture

Elgato Video Capture, Image Source

The Elgato USB Analog Video Capture is one of the premiere analog to digital pieces of video conversion equipment on the market. The best selling point for this device is the ability to immediately convert video while you are recording it. So, if you are the type of person who still has their analog family camcorder, then this will let you keep recording while simultaneously converting the video to a digital format. Otherwise, you can still take advantage of this great piece of video conversion equipment to convert old analog videos into new, user-friendly digital formats.

Other notable options include:

Hauppauge 610 USB-Live2

IOGEAR Video Capture Adapter, HDMI to USB-C


Best Digital to Analog Video Conversion Equipment:

AJA V2ANALOG-R0 Digital Video to Analog, HD/SD Mini-Converter

AJA V2ANALOG Digital Video to Analog, HD/SD Mini-Converter, Image Source

The AJA V2ANALOG-R0 Digital Video to Analog, HD/SD Mini-Converter goes above and beyond all your needs, bringing the ability to take your polished and high-end digital videos and convert them for use in analog video playback systems without diminishing the quality of the video signal. With the AJA V2ANALOG you can maintain a maximum resolution of 1920x1080 without diminished quality and a bit rate of 10bit/s.

If you are looking to keep your amazing digital videos intact while sharing them across any video playback device, then the AJA V2ANALOG is the best choice.


Best Bidirectional Video Conversion Equipment:

Blackmagic Bidirectional Micro Converter

Blackmagic bidirectional micro converter, Image Source

For video conversion requiring bidirectional conversion, there is no better choice than the Blackmagic bidirectional micro converter. This video converter is so popular that it is even widely used in film and television as an adaptable device to cover a wide range of needs. The flexibility alone makes it a fitting choice, no matter what type of video project you are working on.

The Blackmagic bidirectional micro converter doesn’t stop its usefulness there, though, because it can run off AC power or USB power to make it an even more versatile device for any and every situation. This device also has one of the widest range of resolutions, codec selections, and a top-notch bitrate to make it the standalone best choice for video conversion equipment on the market!

Get More Helpful Insights in Other Articles

As you may have guessed, we are partial to the Blackmagic bidirectional micro converter because of the sheer versatility of the device that also provides some of the highest quality video conversion currently available.

What type of video conversion equipment do you think aligns the closest with your project? We would love to hear your thoughts and help you make the best decision possible!

You can also find other articles and comparisons on the SabrePC blog. Keep a lookout for more helpful articles that will be on the way soon. If you have any questions or want to suggest some other topics for us to focus on, please feel free to contact us.


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