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Handbrake (Mac/Windows/Linux, free)
Most devices use the the advanced video format (AVC) also known as H.264. If you need to convert any video into AVC, Handbrake will do it, fast. It's designed to do just one thing and one thing well. Of course it does have a few frills, like deinterlacing, freely adjustable bit rates, cropping, and presets for most Apple devices. On Mac and Linux, it also supports 64-bit processors for about a 10% speed bump. It will convert most DVDs in real time, which is pretty quick for a CPU converter. Handbrake open source program, works with all major operating systems, and it's completely free.
SUPER Media File Converter (Windows, free)
SUPER is clunky, a tad on the slowside, and not exactly the most user friendly program out there. Even finding the download link on eRightSoft's website is a chore. However, it's one of the few free converters out there that will literally convert anything into anything. Got an MPEG that needs to be in DV format? Done. It's one of the few programs that actually supports professional formats such as DV, so it's often my go to when editing.
Media Espresso (Windows, $37.56 on sale)
Cyberlink's converting program isn't cheap, but it does have one thing going for it. It will tap into the power of your computer's graphics card. There's a lot of power hidden in there too. It's the most user friendly and straightforward program on our list. It's basic drag and drop converting. Select your file, drag it into Espresso, hit the convert button your device, and it does the rest. You can also set up custom profiles with today's most common video formats. Where Espresso shines is speed. Using my Radeon HD 5770, I can convert a two hour DVD in just 20 minutes. It would normally take the full two hours using Handbrake. Unlike other GPU converters, it works with Intel, nVidia, and AMD graphics chips. If you need to convert big video files fast, and have a reasonably powerful graphics card, it's well worth the expense.