Video file formats have a way of causing headaches. You can make your own home movies, download a video or spend years building up a library of movie favourites, only to find that they won’t play properly on your new smartphone or smart TV.

The iPhone, for example, supports only a handful of video and audio file formats out of the box, so something that plays perfectly well on your PC may not even be recognised.

While there are many tools that can convert from one format to another, they tend to be either over-complex and over-technical, or ineffective, feature-poor and slow. That’s not the case with Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate, which works like an easy-to-use Swiss army knife for video files, flawlessly and speedily converting over 1,000 different video and audio formats.

Free software giveaway

Wondershare is giving away Video Converter Ultimate, free, to readers of Tech Advisor. Simply share this article on Facebook and tag the Wondershare Facebook page, and you’ll have a chance of winning one of 100 one-year licences for the Windows version.

Converting video the easy way

How easy does Video Converter Ultimate make conversion? Well, download and install the program, launch it, then click the Add Files button to select files for conversion, or the arrow next to Add Folder to convert several files at once. Navigate to and pick your files or folder, and the program will analyse the files to work out the current format, language and resolution. It then automatically picks the best target format with a resolution to match the original, so that, for example, a 1080p full HD MKV video file will be converted to a 1080p full HD MP4 file for playback on your iPhone.

However, you can alter the format of the converted file at the click of a button, changing the format, lowering the resolution or even just clicking the Device tab and selecting the smartphone or tablet you’re converting for, with presets for a good range of recent makes and models.

Cleverly, you can select different output options for each file in a folder, which can be handy if you’re converting a movie to watch on your iPhone and a cartoon for the kids to watch on their budget HD tablet. You can add subtitles or change the soundtrack format, and Video Converter Ultimate can even merge several files together into one longer file; ideal for creating your own compilations or home-made movies. Make your choices, select Convert or Convert All, and the program goes to work.

Higher speeds

It won’t keep you waiting either, converting files at up to 30 times the playback speed, depending on the CPU and graphics processor in your laptop or PC. That raw performance comes down to a combination of Wondershare’s multi-core optimised APEXTRANS lossless conversion technology, which converts video with zero quality loss or compression, and support for the latest hardware encoding technologies built into Nvidia and AMD graphics processors and Intel CPUs, including NVENC, CUDA and Intel Quick Sync.

It’s quick, it’s easy and it works, and if you want you can preview your files, then transfer them directly to your iOS or Android devices without having to leave the program; you don’t even need to load iTunes to get video files on your phone.

Power features

The great thing about Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate is that it balances this simplicity with a range of features for more advanced users. You can edit your files, cropping out bars or trimming the credits, adjusting the brightness and contrast, or even using filters to change the way they look.

Beyond that, you can burn videos to a DVD, with a range of templates provided for the front-end menus, or stream them to a media player. It has a built-in screen recorder for making your own videos, plus it can turn short video clips into animated GIFs. There’s even a tool for fixing corrupt or missing metadata automatically, so that files are listed and catalogued properly when you store them on your PC or a NAS drive.

That’s a lot of power for such an affordable, intuitive package, and you can try many of the features yourself by downloading the free trial version here.