Move, Watch & Share Your Videos.

Video Converters 101: What You Need to Know

by John Moore on May 14, 2013

video convertersThe ability to watch video on different types of devices is a wonderful thing. Not so wonderful are the compatibility issues that often arise when you try to watch the same video on different devices. That’s because not all video players can play all video formats.

Let’s say you shot a video with a camcorder. You’ve downloaded the file to your computer and you’d like to email it to a few friends. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that they won’t have the proper software or plug-ins to watch it.

That’s where video converter software comes in. With a video converter, you can simply change the video’s file format to something more universal, like AVI. It’s also helpful when you’d like to watch a video on a mobile device, like an iPod or smartphone, which might not support a format intended for viewing on a PC.

There are lots of video converters to choose from, and the technical jargon they throw at you can be overwhelming. Don’t be intimidated — there are just a few things you need to know.

There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a video converter. Get RealPlayer and start converting videos into different formats including MP3. Best of all it’s free.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN VIDEO CONVERTER SOFTWARE

The most important aspect is to make sure your video converter supports familiar formats like AVI and WMV for watching on a PC, and MP4 for mobile devices. If you or your friends use a Mac or iPad, look for MOV file support.

Along with file formats, your video converter should support common video codecs, such as MPEG-4 and WMV. If high-definition (HD) matters to you — and it should — make sure the video converter supports the H.264 codec. Although H.264 is the standard codec for Blu-ray discs, it’s also widely used in streaming web video. If you want to post your videos to YouTube or Vimeo, for example, both of those sites support H.264 encoded video files.

Another feature to look for is batch conversion, which allows you to convert several files at once. Also, the ability to trim your videos comes in handy for eliminating unnecessary footage at the end or the beginning of a video and reducing the file size when you want to share a clip via email or post it on a social networking site.

USING REALPLAYER’S BUILT-IN VIDEO CONVERTER 

Along with its ability to play all common video formats, RealPlayer includes a free video converter. Simply click on the video icon in the RealPlayer Library and choose the Convert option. Choose the new file format and the RealPlayer Video Converter does the rest. RealPlayer supports all the popular file formats, including MP4, AVI, and WMV. Additionally, RealPlayer can convert a video to a MP3 file, which you can transfer to a mobile device to listen to educational videos, interviews, and the like. Essentially, it allows you to convert a video into an audio podcast.

If you upgrade to RealPlayer Plus, you can convert videos to MKV, which is becoming an increasingly popular web video format because of its ability to support multiple audio tracks, DVD-like interactive menus, and user-generated subtitles. RealPlayer Plus also supports the H.264 and MPEG-4 codecs for high-quality video playback.

VIDEO CONVERTERS MAKE SHARING VIDEOS A SNAP

While all these file formats might look like alphabet soup, having a general idea of what different devices can generally play which video formats definitely helps. That will make converting videos easier and increase the chances that the person you are sending your video to will be able to watch it. There are plenty of online video converters available that can be downloaded to your computer, a little knowledge can help you pick the one that’s right for you.

What device do you use to watch online videos most? Do you have problems playing videos sent to you from friends and family? Have other questions about video converters? Let us know in the comments below.

 

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sally W May 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm

If I download RealPlayer, can it do a batch convert of all my current saved videos? Which ones will it convert and which ones will I be able to watch on my new Android?

2 RealPlayer Team May 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Hi Sally,

The RealPlayer Converter may crash if you try to convert all saved videos at once. I would suggest you to try converting 5 videos at a time using the RealPlayer Converter. You can convert .FLV/.WMV video formats to .MP4 format and watch them on your android device.

If that doesn’t work, send an email to help@real.com so that we can help you further.

3 chris June 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Hi,

I have the latest version of realplayer. Unfortunately, I am having problems with the audio of youtube mp4 files downloaded with downloader which does not play. Are there ‘some’ mp4 files which are not supported ? How can I fix this ? Thx

4 RealPlayer Team June 23, 2013 at 8:39 am

Hi Chris,

This is due to changes made at YouTube and we are working with YouTube to resolve the issue. However, try few work around steps provided in this link to fix the issue:

https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23698236

If you have additional questions, email us at help@real.com.

5 Jack July 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Hello team, quick question…how come I can’t convert to MP3 anymore? I am now being constantly badgered to upgrade to RealPlayer Plus 16, instead of being allowed to continue as I had done before. I tried uninstalling, updating, etc…no dice. I’ve tried every audio only file type, none of them are allowing me to convert.

6 RealPlayer Team July 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Hi Jack,

Try installing QuickTime/iTunes to enable the necessary codec for RealPlayer to play/convert .mp4 files.

1: QuickTime : http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
or
2: iTunes http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/

After installing QuickTime/iTunes, try converting the files through RealPlayer.

7 Fabian July 6, 2013 at 9:05 am

I’ve have the same problem with downloading videos from RealPlayer but cannot convert them to any audio file available. It shows me an error message every time I try to convert. Can you please help me out with that. I updated and re-installed both Quicktime and iTunes and no results.

8 RealPlayer Team July 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Hi Fabian,

Please provided us some more information to assist you further,

>Format of the original video.
>Format which you are trying to convert to.
>Error message if any.

9 Kim July 6, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I just downloaded the latest realplayer from your website and guess what? It doesn’t play mp4! I even downloaded one from YouTube and IT STILL COULDN’T PLAY IT! I am on a PC and I can’t get any mp4 music videos to play on your player. Sure, it plays the FLV, but ignores the MP4. What gives? Is it because the device is 32-bit?

10 RealPlayer Team July 7, 2013 at 6:40 am

Hi Kim,

This is due to changes made at YouTube and we are working with them to resolve the issue. In the meantime, you can try the temporary solution provided in this link (if you are using Internet Explorer): https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23698236

11 CZ July 8, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I’m trying to convert a MOV. video record with iphone to smaller file that’s playable with PC. (tried WMV and MP4) but always get an audio file only. Why?

12 RealPlayer Team July 9, 2013 at 7:33 am

Hi CZ,

Try installing QuickTime/iTunes to enable the necessary codec for RealPlayer to play/convert .mp4 files.

1: QuickTime : http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
or
2: iTunes http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/

After installing QuickTime/iTunes, try converting the files through RealPlayer

13 mar July 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

hi,
i have been trying to download youtube vidoes from youtube, the problem is that it does download but when i try to watch the vidoe after it is downloaded, the vidoe does play but there is no sound or any images,it is just blank.
please help me

14 RealPlayer Team July 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Hi mar,

This is due to changes made at YouTube and we are working with them to resolve the issue. In the meantime, you can try the temporary solution provided in this link (if you are using Internet Explorer): https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23698236

If you have additional questions, email us at help@real.com.

15 John July 13, 2013 at 11:58 am

Hello,

After a song has been downloaded and I click the button that reads “convert to MP3″, I immediately get a popup from RealDownloader wanting me to upgrade to Realplayer Plus 16. i do not want to upgrade to Realplayer Plus 16 so I close the popup ad. Then nothing happens. how do I get around this popup ad?

thanks
John

16 RealPlayer Team July 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Hi John,

Try installing QuickTime/iTunes to enable the necessary codec for RealPlayer to play/convert .mp4 files.

1: QuickTime : http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
or
2: iTunes http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/

After installing QuickTime/iTunes, try converting the files through RealPlayer.

17 Chrissy July 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Hi, like many other people I am having trounle converting and downloading videos due to the changhes youtube made. I treid to do all the things that were suggested at https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23698236 but nothing worked. I have the latest version of real player and internet exploer, I was wondering if there is any other way around this problem, or am I stuck waiting till youtube fixes it? thanks.

18 RealPlayer Team July 20, 2013 at 8:15 am

Hello Chrissy,

Let me inform you, YouTube and other sites have introduced a new streaming standard. We are working on an update to RealPlayer that will allow for this new format. When we have an update on the status of this issue, we will send you an email to let you know, and to provide any instructions that may be necessary.

19 Joseph Bettano July 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Hey Realplayer, I’ve been having the ame problem with not being able to play mp4 videos. I jut want to know, when will a new version be out? Hopefully, I think the problem should be fixed by then.

20 RealPlayer Team July 21, 2013 at 9:07 am

Hi Joseph,

We are actively working on an update to RealPlayer that will allow for this new format. However, I don’t have an ETA in this regard. We will keep you posted, if there is any update.

21 McDaniel July 26, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Hello all. I was like so many of you with the lack of video and audio playback on my realplayer. I searched the internet looking for anything that would help and FINALLY on realplayer’s website above I found the answer. I will copy and paste the instructions from their website and maybe it can help you also. I really need my videos for my job so this was so important to me. Here are the instructions I followed:

Solution 1

The following steps should work for customers who are on Windows 7 or 8 and are using Internet Explorer (version 9 or higher) to download videos.

1. Click the Tools (gear) icon at the top right of the browser and select Manage Add-ons.
2. Under Adobe Systems, click on “Shockwave Flash Object” and click the Disable button that appears at the bottom right of the window.
3. Close the Manage Add-ons window.
4. Go to http://www.youtube.com.
5. It will prompt you to “Upgrade Adobe Flash Player”–ignore this message.
6. Try downloading a video. It should successfully download and play in RealPlayer.

Thank you realplayer

22 Azara July 27, 2013 at 11:09 am

Hello,

I have downloaded both iTunes and QuickTime on my PC, but I still can’t seem to get around the pop-up that appears when I want to convert my music files. What should I do?

Thanks in advance

23 RealPlayer Team July 27, 2013 at 11:32 am

Please send an email to help@real.com, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

24 Kayla July 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I am able to download videos to my computer but, like everyone, cannot convert them to MP3. When should I expect to be able to use this service again?

25 RealPlayer Team July 29, 2013 at 11:42 am

Some sites have introduced a new streaming standard and we are working on an update to RealPlayer that will allow for this new format. In the meantime, you can try the interim solution provided in this link (if you are using Internet Explorer): https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23698236

26 Gabi August 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Help. Real Player – All the you tube videos I download are downloaded as Audio only mp3. I don’t know how to correct this problem.
Thank you

27 RealPlayer Team August 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

Please follow the steps below to restore the settings,

>Go to http://www.youtube.com & play and video
>Click on the down arrow next to ‘Download This Video’ button.
>Select My Videos from the drop down menu.
>Then try downloading the video.

28 LAURA GUNTER August 28, 2013 at 8:55 am

Its been ages now since I have been unable to use real player plus for the reasons I needed it. Ive paid and now unless the video formats are flv I cannot do anything with it. Have you got any idea of when the problem identified by so many people now will be resolved with you tube?

Thankyou in anticipation

29 RealPlayer Team August 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

Try to update RealPlayer by following this link: https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23698236-Unable-to-play-back-downloaded-mp4-files then enable the RealPlayer plug-in in your browser: https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23689856 After that try to re-download the videos. This should resolve the problem.

If the issue still persists, please send an email to help@real.com, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

30 sarah September 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I have had realplayer for a while now….and I have tried to download a few videos to convert to windows media to transfer to my mp3 player and it keeps sayin to upgrade to realplayer plus….will this problem eventually be resolved? it keeps downloading the files as MP4 and will not let me convert….thanks

31 RealPlayer Team September 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

Some file requires Plus feature to convert. Try installing QuickTime/iTunes to enable the necessary codec for RealPlayer to play/convert .mp4 files.

1: QuickTime : http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

or

2: iTunes http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/

After installing QuickTime/iTunes, try playing/converting the files through RealPlayer.

If this doesn’t work, please send an email to help@real.com, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

32 sammi September 20, 2013 at 6:40 am

Hi- I updated Real Player, Quick Time, and Itunes all in the last week so have the latest version of all 3, but I am having the problem another poster also had: I have a MOV file (created with ipod touch 4th generation)- plays fine on Real Player but when I convert to wmv it instead converts to wma (audio only). I have windows vista. Any other ideas? Thanks.

33 RealPlayer Team September 20, 2013 at 9:33 am

Kindly send an email to help@real.com, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

34 Elaine September 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm

1.The converter does not work to convert from mp3 to mp4 could I tried everything please.
2. Please can you let me know if I download the new Realplayer will it overwrite my previous Realplayer
Thank you for your help
Elaine

35 RealPlayer Team September 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

This issue has been fixed in the latest build of RealPlayer 16, released on August 21.

If you are currently using RealPlayer Plus 16 or the free version: Please open RealPlayer, click the RealPlayer logo in the upper left, and select Check for Update. You will then be able to update your RealPlayer to the newest build.

Please note that you may need to re-enable the RealDownloader extension in your web browser as well by following this link:

https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23689856

After updating RealPlayer, please re-download the videos that previously received the Error message.

Note: The RealPlayer update will override the previous version of RealPlayer. However you will not lose your RealPlayer library.

If this doesn’t work, please send an email to help@real.com, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

36 Dale September 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Some of the movies I convert from AVI to MPEG4 are very jerky through
the video.

37 RealPlayer Team September 30, 2013 at 2:46 am

Performing a clean uninstall and reinstall can help you resolve many issues, try uninstalling and reinstalling RealPlayer by following this link:

https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23994572

Note: Make sure you delete the RealPlayer folders as mention on the link before reinstalling RealPlayer.

After installing RealPlayer follow the steps to enable the RealPlayer Plugin in your web browser by following:

https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/24007773 After that try to download the videos. If the issue still persists, please send an email to help@real.com, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

38 patriotkiller18 October 12, 2013 at 10:24 am

I am unable to convert any video, every time I click on the ‘start’ button, a pop up wanting me to purchase the full version appears; when I click ‘no thanks’, it jumps to another pop up, wanting me to buy a partner product. I have tried uninstalling-reinstalling, any other ideas? This used to be such nice, simple, user friendly software.

39 RealPlayer Team October 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Some file requires Plus feature to convert. Try installing QuickTime/iTunes to enable the necessary codec for RealPlayer to convert videos to .MP4 files.

1: QuickTime : http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

or

2: iTunes http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/

After installing QuickTime/iTunes, try converting the files through RealPlayer.

If this doesn’t work, please send an email to help@real.com, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

40 andy October 13, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Can you help?
RealPlayer keeps stopping when playing back videos.
I then have to scan disk for media or repair database. A lot of files then have the names and actual video mismatched and are duplicated. If I minimise RealPlayer to use another programme it will often stop playing.
I have scanned all files for viruses and malware. It appears to be clean.
I want to upgrade to RealPlayer 16 but need to get this sorted out first.
Any Ideas?

41 RealPlayer Team October 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Performing a clean uninstall and reinstall can help you resolve many issues, try uninstalling and reinstalling RealPlayer by following this link:

https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23994572

Note: Make sure you delete the RealPlayer folders as mention on the link before reinstalling RealPlayer.

After installing RealPlayer follow the steps to enable the RealPlayer Plugin in your web browser,

https://realnetworks.zendesk.com/entries/23689856

If that doesn’t help, send an email to help@real.com to assist you better.

42 Hubard T. Baroi October 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I would like to convert full video to MP3 mode how i can do it? And want by free software please help me thanks.

43 RealPlayer Team October 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm

You can use the free version of RealPlayer to convert videos to MP3 format.

To download RealPlayer visit: http://www.real.com

44 Chris November 10, 2013 at 3:27 am

I have recorded video on my Nikon Coolpix P500 camera and downloaded it to my computer. However, it is in Quicktime format and I would like to convert it to MP4 to be able to share it online. Every time I try to convert it (with Realplayer Plus 16), I either get an error message or it converts it to an audio file instead of a video file (does different things on different computers–Windows 7 and XP–but never successfully converts on any of them). What am I doing wrong?

Thanks,
Chris

45 RealPlayer Team November 10, 2013 at 9:27 am

Try installing K-Lite codec pack to enable the necessary codecs for conversion, to do so follow this link: http://fileforum.betanews.com/download/KLite-Codec-Pack_Full/1094057842/3

If this doesn’t work, please send an email to help@real.com, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

46 Fabio A. Pabon November 14, 2013 at 8:43 am

The Real Player video converter does not show MPEG-4 or H264 – So what do I have to do/ If you can help me I will apreciated very much!!.. Thank you!!..

47 RealPlayer Team November 14, 2013 at 9:11 am

Please follow the steps to locate .MP4/.H264 in RealPlayer Converter,

>Open RealPalyer Converter
>Click on Convert to: (You will get a new window Select a Device)
>Click on the drop-down menu (at the top)
>Select Video Formats

If this doesn’t work, please send an email to help@real.com, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

48 Stephen Brown December 16, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Hello… I’ve used RP extensively to convert and play audio files, and with great success. Recently however, I’ve attempted to use RP to convert eight MOV (Panasonic camera) files to WMV. RP easily converted 4 of the 8 clips without a hitch, but RP would not convert the last 4 clips. All 8 video clips are short, the longest being about 30 seconds. All camera settings were the same, all shots taken at about the same time, and my methods of conversion are/were the same. I even deleted the four “offending” clips and re-installed them in RP. The re-installed clips failed to convert. Also, a sort while ago I went to my computer’s Add/Remove folder to locate the version of RP I was using. According to the Add/Remove file, I’m using RP 16.0.3 and the last time I used this program – according to my computer – was on 12/27/2012. This date is inaccurate as I used RP numerous times since then, yesterday being the most recent day of use. Please advise…

49 RealPlayer Team December 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm

This could happen if the video is not copied properly from your camcorder. re-copy the files again from your camcorder and try playing the files in RealPlayer. If RealPlayer is unable to play the file, you wont be able to convert it.

If you are still unable to convert the file, try installing K-Lite codec from this link: http://fileforum.betanews.com/download/KLite-Codec-Pack_Full/1094057842/3

If that doesn’t help, send an email to help@real.com

50 Jess December 20, 2013 at 1:44 am

Help!! I have used real player to download and convert videos to mp3s in the past and they usually save as .flv iles. This time, they all automatically saved as mp4s. Everytime i try to convert an mp4, i get an error and it says “Could not convert”. I have the latest version of RealPlayer and I also have QuickTime installed. What am I doing wrong?

51 RealPlayer Team December 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Sorry you are unable to convert videos! Please provide us some more information,

>Are you able to play this file in RealPlayer?
>Does this happen with all the videos?
>Are you using the latest version of RealPlayer?

To find RealPlayer version,

Open RealPlayer > Click on RealPlayer Menu (at the top left corner) > Help > About RealPlayer.

Note: Some sites have introduced a new streaming standard. The latest build of RealDownloader is designed to automatically convert videos to playable .MP4 format at the end of the download. Hence, while downloading videos, you need to wait until the thumbnail of video gets loaded. After thumbnail gets loaded, video will be saved in .MP4 format. If you close RealDownloader window before it converts the video, it will get saved in .DASH format.

If you have additional questions, please send an email to help@real.com.

52 John January 27, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Hi, im using RP 16 Plus and trying to convert WMV to mp4, the problem is that im only able to convert the first 20% no matter what length of video i try to use.

53 RealPlayer Team January 27, 2014 at 7:13 pm

I suggest you to try playing the clip in RealPlayer first. If the clip will not play in RealPlayer, then it can’t be converted. You will need to re-download the video and try converting.

If this is not the case, try installing free codec pack like Klite and QuickTime Player. Then you can burn the video.

Klite Codec Pack: http://fileforum.betanews.com/download/KLite-Codec-Pack_Full/1094057842/3

QuickTime: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/

Still if the issue persists, please send an email to help@real.com

54 Preston White August 30, 2014 at 1:15 am

Hello,
I have an issue with the converter. I am trying to convert a .mp4 to a .wav
My original video is 37 mins long, but after I convert it to a .wav it shortens it to 15min.
Can you help me Please?
Thank you-Preston

55 Brinton Felixraja August 31, 2014 at 8:03 am

First, you need to check whether the original video plays till the end without any issue. If it plays but does not completely convert; then redownload the clips and try again.

Make sure that you have the latest version of RealPlayer and the codec’s below. If not, please update them using Internet Explorer.

Flash Player Plugin (Free) : http://www.adobe.com/downloads.html
Shockwave Player Plugin (Free): http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/
QuickTime PlayerPlugin (Free): http://www.apple.com/quicktime/
K-Lite codec (Free): http://fileforum.betanews.com/download/KLite-Codec-Pack_Full/1094057842/3

If you have any additional questions, please send an email to help@real.com

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