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Transmageddon and Arista pursue simple transcoding

Jun 08, 2009, 14:02 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nathan Willis)

"That two developers independently decided to write simple GUI transcoding applications should come as no surprise. Video transcoding is increasingly in demand as more and more portable devices have the graphics hardware to support it and digital content distribution skyrockets. Command line encoders like FFmpeg and MEncoder can perform almost any conversion, but require the user to know exactly which options to enable, and, in most cases, demand that every codec switch be specified or else they fail to produce a usable result. That leads to obtuse (and extremely long) commands that are difficult to get right and even more difficult to troubleshoot. Several graphical transcoding applications have appeared for Linux desktops in recent years -- Thoggen, OGMRip, K9Copy, AcidRip, dvd::rip, HandBrake, and WinFF, to name a few -- but as both Taylor and Schaller commented, all have their shortcomings.

"Some, like Thoggen, OGMRip, and Oggconvert, are limited to specific output codecs. Others, like dvd::rip, attempt to offer every option under the sun, making them difficult for casual users to use. "There are dozens of GUIs that are essentially the same confusing options with a nice graphical label. To me that doesn't really help," Taylor observed. "The point of Arista is not to be everything to everyone, just to be a simple way to transcode your media for various devices. That's it."

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