Windows PCs can play a a few video file formats by default, but extra software is required to play anything even slightly out of the ordinary. It is usually possible to find a video player that will play a video.
Other devices do not have the same range of software and if a video file is not the right format at best it might not look good, but at worst it may not play at all.
One of the nice features of HD Video Converter Factory, apart from being free, is that instead of choosing codecs and frame sizes, bit rates and other technical details, you just select the device that the video is to be played on, such as an iPad, Samsung phone, a 4K HDR TV and so on.
You don’t need to know the technical details of the file format required, although you can view them and tweak them if you want. You just select the device from a menu.
Here’s a brief guide to converting video files on the disk and online
Get the video converter
Download the free version of HD Video Converter Factory Download and install it.
Add video or audio files
The app says to drag and drop files on the window to add them. That did not work on my PC, but clicking the Add Files button at the top enables one or more video or audio files to be added. I added several .3gp video files that were recorded years ago on a Blackberry phone.
Select the output video format
Click the output format and a panel slides in from the right. It looks a bit confusing at first, but the coloured section at the top are output targets and the lower part is the file format.
Click the Apple logo for example, and the lower part of the window is filled with Apple devices, including several different iphones iPads and iPad Pros, and different generations of Apple TVs. Click the Samsung logo and a range of Samsung phones, tablets and TVs are displayed, click Sony and Sony devices are displayed.
So you just select the manufacturer and then the device model to set the video file output format. There are also web formats and these include YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and others.
The video format settings can be tweaked if you know what you are doing, but most people will find that the default settings are fine.
Convert the video files
All that remains is to click the Run button. The program does its job, converting the files and saving them to the Documents folder. It is up to you to transfer them to the target device.
Download online videos
Not only does HD Video Converter Factory convert video files on disk, it also downloads online streaming video. I tried it with YouTube and it worked without problems.
All you do is open a web browser and find an online video you want to download. Copy the URL, click Download Video and paste it in. The URL is analysed and it makes a recommendation for the file.
It is added as a video file conversion job and you can then select the target device to convert it to.
I don’t know whether it will work with all online video and I suspect it won’t, but it worked with the few YouTube URLs I tried. Remember that videos may be copyright.
HD Video Converter Factory is a useful free tool for converting video files for viewing on different devices. It is also great for downloading YouTube videos to watch offline.
There are plenty of ads in the program encouraging you to upgrade to the paid version of the software and they are a bit irritating at times, but you do get a great program for free.
Software: HD Video Converter Factory
Size: 48 MB
Windows: 10, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP
Verdict: It makes video file conversion easy and is recommended