Tutorial: The best & quickest way to convert your videos for Windows Phone 7

Freemake Video Converter

Regardless how you eventually end up with videos on your computer – I know that there are many of us out there that do. Personally, I love being able to watch all my TV shows and movies on my Windows Phone 7 device in the comfort of my couch, bed or simply while I’m waiting around with time to blow. As a result, I’ve done a good amount of research on how to convert optimize videos for my WP7 as fast as possible and in bulk.

The personal favourite (and personal fastest!) video converter is Freemake Video Converter. To my knowledge, Freemake is totally free (ad-free, spyware-free, etc) and constantly being updated with new features and bug fixes. I love the clean interface & available options. Best of all – if you have a graphics card that supports CUDA (list of supported cards here) your conversion times are going to be blazing fast as Freemake supports offloading of conversions to your graphics card processors – which converts much faster than your standard processor. If you want to know more, you can read up on CUDA here.

Anyway, let’s get on with this tutorial:

  1. Open up Freemake and click the +Video button to add the video you wish to convert. Freemakes supports some 200 odd input formats including AVI, MKV containers with DivX/Xvid/MPEG4/etc and all the other common ones.
  2. Once you’ve added all the videos you wish to convert, click the “to Android” button.
  3. Instead of using the present options, let’s click the + button to add a new Preset.
  4. Name it “WP7 Optimized” or anything you wish. Set the following options:
    Frame Size = Size up to
    Width = 800
    Height = 480
    Video codec = H.264
    Frame rate: Original
    Bitrate type: Custom, 1024 <—This controls the video quality. The higher this number, the better quality the video. Higher bitrate also means longer conversion times, and bigger file sizes. If you only have an 8GB Samsung Focus, you might want to drop this number a bit to 512 or 768 so you can fit more videos on your phone at once.
    Audio settings can be left at default.
    Here is a screenshot with all the options:
  5. Click OK. Make sure the Preset is now set to the WP7 Optimized one you just created. Choose a folder, make sure you have enough space then hit Convert!

And that’s it, really. I found standard TV shows at 24 minutes take about 2-3 minutes to convert each episode. Movies take 15 minutes or so – depending on length, size, and so on. If you do the calculation – you can easily convert a whole season of How I Met Your Mother in about ~1 hour. Pretty damn fast if you ask me.

Please let me know in the comments if anyone has found a faster/better approach – but this is the fastest I’ve found up till now, and it’s served me well for the last 9-10 months with my Samsung Focus.

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About the Author: ShiftF

I'm a recent senior computer engineering grad from the University of British Columbia. I'm also a bit of a phone addict - as I currently switch between a BlackBerry, a few iPhones and a few Windows Phones (Samsung Focus, HTC Titan, Lumia 900). I'm now work as a software developer full-time.