Tools for converting multimedia files


© Photo by Samule Sun on Unsplash

© Photo by Samule Sun on Unsplash

Article from Issue 249/2021

Multimedia files are easy to convert – if you have the right tools. This month we look at some useful applications that convert video and audio files.

Tutorials, screencasts, or even training videos are becoming increasingly important in everyday life. Multimedia is particularly useful in the home office and for homeschooling. But not every device can handle every file format, and not every screen displays all resolutions. Conversion programs help to adjust the formats and modify the image resolutions for the best possible results. Linux offers a great variety of multimedia conversion tools. We decided to investigate a few of the top contenders. Note that we focused on active projects for this report and did not consider some of the alternatives that are still widely known but not in active development (see the box entitled "Out of the Running").


Audiovisual content can be stored with different parameters and image resolutions. Audio files can be saved in lossless or lossy formats with different bit rates. Container formats, such as MP4, MKV, and AVI are popular for video files. A single container can hold multiple files. For instance, a movie container can store several audio files in different languages. Since the codecs vary, the container format alone does not allow any conclusions about the quality of the contents.

Linux supports most free multimedia formats and codecs out of the box. Commercial packages also make proprietary codecs available; Linux can clearly score points in direct comparison with other operating systems as a platform for converting and playing multimedia content.


Use Express-Checkout link below to read the full article (PDF).

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • DVD Ripper HandBrake Now With GUI

    According to an announcement on the HandBrake website, the new version 0.9.3 of the Handbrake DVD ripper comes complete with a GUI.

  • File Conversion

    If you have old VHS tapes or audio cassettes lying around, the hardware to play these analog formats is becoming more difficult to find. Here's how to convert those old analog treasures to digital format for future enjoyment.

  • MystiQ

    Working with multimedia files usually involves converting from one format to another. With MystiQ you can handle this task in next to no time.

  • Web Videos

    We’ll show you how to convert your videos to FLV format and play them from your website with FlowPlayer.

  • FFmpeg Brings WebM Support to Version 0.6

    The newest version of the open source of the A/V recording and conversion tool was codenamed “Works With HTML5” for obvious reasons.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95