How to Convert Zune Videos (FREE)
Now that the Zune 120 is available the question is how to fill it. Zune software accepts .mp4, .h264, and .wmv video files for playblack on all Zunes. Plenty of converters are available with prices between $25-$60 but there is a solid free alternative called simply the "free zune video converter" made by Jacek Pareza of Poland. To get started:
1. Download http://www.zunescene.com/Free_Zune_Video_Converter.zip
2. Unzip the files into a folder such as C:/Program Files/Free_Zune_Video_Converter. It's critical to keep the files together in the same folder wherever you decide to put them.
3. Create a shortcut to ZuneConverter.exe on your desktop so you don't have to keep finding it. Launch the program.
4. Select the mp4/aac output option at 500 kbit/s and set the resolution to 320x240 QVGA.
-Zune 30 owners should select .WMV output rather than mp4
-for TV playback from Zune select 640x480 resolution and bitrate 1500
5. Select "Add files" and browse to 1 or more files, they will appear in the queue. Select Convert.
A black console will appear to show conversion progress, this concludes the tutorial.
OPTION 2: Videora iPod Converter
There is a second reasonable free converter which has been very popular for iPod owners, and recently Zune owners. The Videora iPod converter creates .mp4 files from various formats such as .avi, .vob, and even .wmv. The only catch is that banner advertisements appear inside the program, to offset the $0 price tag. Follow the instructions (or printer friendly version) to get started today:
Step 1. Download and install the 6.88 MB Videora converter to your PC from this link:
Step 2. There are only 4 menu items on the top. Select Settings. From the 3 tabs below the menu select Converter.
Select the MPEG4 QVGA 512kbps option for default. Uncheck the Add converted Videos to iTunes option. Select an output folder, you may decide to create a new folder or use the My Videos folder. Save settings with the button at the lower right. Swtich to the User interface tab and set conversion mode to power. Save settings again. This completes the setup.
(Optional) If you want to playback videos on a TV choose a larger format such as MPEG4 VGA 2048kbps as the profile.
Step 3. Start converting! Select the convert menu item and the video file tab.
For unknown reasons the one-click convert is best way to go, it seems to avoid error messages. Use the one-click convert button and browse to a file such as myvideo.avi. Next select the view progress button to see the slow progress.
(Optional) If you have several videos to convert they can be added to the queue with the add to queue button shown in step 3. Consider adding a dozen videos before you go to bed, they will be done in the morning.
(Optional) If you want to convert DVD's for free follow these instructions at the Videora site. This option takes 2 steps, so if you have more than 3-4 DVD's consider something faster such as the Xilisoft converter for $30. Also, be aware that the 30gb Zune plays only .wmv files so the Zune Software will re-convert any .mp4 files to .wmv during sync. The newer Zunes do not have that problem.