|Leawo Total Media Converter Ultimate|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Software|
|Written by Aidan Moore|
|Monday, 15 April 2013|
Leawo Total Media Converter Ultimate
Manufacturer: Leawo Software Co., Ltd.
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Leawo.
As new video formats emerge to support evolving PC, smart phone and tablet resolutions, new tools are needed to allow video content to be shared among the different devices. If you have ever tried to convert your collection of DVDs to a portable format, or tried to archive your Blu-ray video collection, then you know there are a wide range of tools available to help you with these tasks. Some of these tools are free, while others charge for converting and archiving your video.
Any product that uses the word "ultimate" in its name sets a high bar for expectations. The Total Media Converter Ultimate claims to be an all-inclusive media solution with a top rated, fast and efficient video converter. That claim is not trivial for a media conversion product, as the number of video and media formats available today is enormous.
Consumers have a lot of choice when it comes to a video conversion product. General purpose utilities such as Handbrake are free, and they are generally highly regarded by users. On the other hand, free utilities do not usually perform well, or at all when it comes to transcoding DVD and Blu-ray source material. For those tasks, a paid software utility is required, typically costing in the $50-$100 range.
The Total Media Converter Ultimate has all the functionality for general video format conversion, but also allows straightforward transcoding of DVD and Blu-ray material. There are some nice extras in the product such as GPU acceleration for fast transcoding, and a convenient link to the companion YouTube downloader product.
In this article Benchmark Reviews will look at the features and capabilities of this all in one video conversion product.
Features & Specifications
The Total Media Converter Ultimate provides the following key features:
Closer Look: Leawo Total Media Converter Ultimate
The Total Media Converter Ultimate launches with a simple, uncluttered screen with 5 options. The first step is to select the source video that you wish to convert. This can be a local video stored on a hard drive, or a DVD or Blu-ray disc in an attached optical drive.
Once a video source has been selected, you are presented with a number of options for video and audio quality as well as output format. The Total Media Converter Ultimate does indeed have an enormous list of available transcoding options as well as 3 choices from low to high for video and audio quality. Each format option clearly describes the format type and typical usage of the format. These use-case examples makes it very easy to select the correct format for your final transcoding video.
After you have selected your output video format, it is simply a matter of pushing the big button and sitting back while the format conversion takes place. Of course most people will let this activity run in the background while they perform other tasks on their PC.
Video conversion moves along at a speedy clip ,with a progress bar showing the time to completion. Ripping a full-length DVD on an Intel core i5 computer takes about 15 or 20 minutes.
One of the best features of the program is the large number of options available during transcoding. Opening the settings tab reveals a large number of encoding options including bit rate, picture geometry and codec type. By using the options, it is possible to fine tune a video conversion to the exact file size and resolution needed for any portable device.
It is very likely that some Blu-ray or DVD material is encoded in such a way as to cause a ripping program to malfunction. The Total Media Converter Ultimate anticipates these problems, and provides a very user friendly and efficient method for reporting these bugs. Simply right clicking on the problem video brings up a dialogue that prompts the user to select the problem video and allows a comment on the failure mode. A sample of the video is then sent directly to Leawo from this right click menu in one easy step.
Another feature that sets this product apart from other commercial video transcoders is the ability to easily edit the source video. When a video is selected for editing, a dual screen editing window is launched, similar to a simple non-linear video editor. You have a source preview window and an output preview window to monitor the effects of the changes you make. The user is given the option to perform basic editing functions such as trimming and cropping, but can also apply simple effects to the source material. The available effects are really not much more than image parameter adjustments such as brightness and contrast, but this functionality could be very useful when the source material is amateur footage from a digital video camera. The ability to flip, shrink and zoom the video is also provided in the edit window.
Watermarking the output video is possible while you are in the edit menu. You are given a flexible set of options to control the transparency and position of the watermark, as well is whether the content is an image or custom text provided by the user.
The package has a few other tricks up its sleeve. One is the ability to convert a 2D video into a 3D video. This option is available once a video source has been selected, and prompts the user through a number of options. Obviously the 3D image quality produced by a 2D video tends to be more of a novelty then a useful improvement. Nevertheless, it is ambitious for Leawo to include this feature.
Clicking on the icon for the YouTube downloader feature launches the demo version of this package. The demo package allows you to configure the program to automatically capture videos that are streamed on YouTube. The most useful application of this feature would be to save the downloaded files for viewing off-line later on an iPod or an Android device. Unfortunately that functionality is not available in the demo package, as the transcoded file is heavily watermarked with the Leawo logo.
Media Converter Final Thoughts
The Leawo Total Media Converter Ultimate is a useful product for someone who wants a single program to perform a wide variety of video ripping and transcoding. The user interface is friendly and intuitive, and allows someone to transcode video to the desired format with just a few clicks. This program would be a useful addition to anyone involved in content creation who needs to quickly create a large number of formats from one source.
This program really starts to shine when the other video processing options are explored. The inclusion of a mini-editing program with the capability to do simple image processing and watermarking is a valuable extra feature. While most people will find the 3D conversion utility nothing more than a gimmick, there are conceivably times when a home video enthusiast would want to quickly convert a video of the family to 3D for a novel effect.
Commercial DVDs and Blu-rays are constantly updating their encryption methods, and any program offering video ripping functionality needs to be updated regularly to work with these new formats .The Total Media Converter has a simple update feature, and the help menu is well organized to guide the user to the required information.
The Total Media Converter Ultimate is definitely a competitive software utility when compared with other purchased video ripping software.
Total Media Converter Conclusion
At the current price of $99.00 (from Leawo.com), the Total Media Converter Ultimate has significant competition from other purchased media converter packages, and quite a bit of its functionality can be obtained for free using programs like Handbrake. However, the Total Media Converter Ultimate stands above these other options in terms of the sheer number of conversion formats supported, as well as the number of options for adjusting video and audio parameters.
While the term "ultimate" might be a bit of a stretch for the features of this program, the Total Media Converter Ultimate package taken as a whole represents a very solid value video processing utility with an impressive number of formatting options.
+ Intuitive interface
- Problems with some Blu-ray video conversion
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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