Handbrake: what it is and how it works.  Now with improved AV1 support

And transcoder video is a program that allows you to convert files from one format to another allowing the use of different encodings. Handbrake it is an open source software that not only allows you to perform video conversion but also to adjust parameters such as resolution and bitrate. Using the program, you can also extract the audio tracks.

The wide range of video formats and devices available today can make the task of sharing and playing your multimedia content complex. This is where video conversion tools like Handbrake come in extremely handy, offering a wide range of features that allow users to adapt videos to specific needs.

If you have video content in a format that is not compatible with your device or media player, Handbrake allows you to convert in a Format suitable. This is especially useful when you want to bring videos to mobile devices, smart TVs or game consoles.

What is Handbrake and what it allows you to do

In itself Handbrake is a free software, distributed under the GNU GPL license. Some accessory components, however, use a different license and may be subject to limitations.

Available and downloadable for free from the official website as well as from the official GitHub repository, Handbrake is a multiplatform software compatible with Windows, Linux and macOS systems. A version with is also available command line interfacetherefore without a GUI, which allows you to develop scripts to manage multiple video contents in bulk.

In addition to the actual conversion, Handbrake allows you to compress videos without significantly compromising quality. The application supports the conversion of DVD and Blu-ray to digital formats, allowing users to store their favorite movies or TV shows in digital format and play them on devices without an optical drive.

Supported formats and codecs

HandBrake can transcode video and audio from almost all existing formats. It is compatible with a wide range of audio and video codecs, including those used with formats MP4, MOV, AVI, MKV e FLV.

The formats determine aspects such as the file compatibility with devices and players, video or audio quality, management of subtitles and audio tracks, and other structural details of the multimedia content. A video file in MP4 format for example, it can contain video encoded with the H.264 codec and audio encoded with the AAC codec. The “.mp4” extension represents the format or “container” of the audio-video stream, while H.264 and AAC represent the codecs used for data encoding.

The term codec is a contraction of “coder-decoder“. A codec encodes (compresses) and decodes (decompresses) audio and video data: it is the recipe with which the data is transformed during the compression e decompression. Codecs influence factors such as file sizethe quality of video and audio, the data transmission speed. They can be designed to optimize compression without quality loss (lossless) or to reduce the file size by slightly sacrificing quality (lossy).

Coding of video content

Some of the video codecs available forencoding in HandBrake include the following:

  • H.264 (x264): MPEG-4 Part 10, also known as H.264/AVC, which provides excellent quality, performance and file size.
  • H.264 (Intel QuickSync): A hardware-based option available on Intel processors with Intel HD graphics, which is very fast and uses significantly less CPU than software encoders like x264.
  • H.265 (x265): Also known as HEVC, it is the successor to H.264, offering higher quality encodings and better file sizes than H.264.
  • MPEG-4 (ffmpeg): The predecessor of H.264/AVC. It offers fast encoding with lower overall quality than H.264/AVC. It is compatible with older devices and DVD/cheap players.
  • MPEG-2 (ffmpeg): It is the predecessor of MPEG-4 Visual and allows very fast encoding with lower quality than modern codecs.
  • VP9 (libvpx): Free and open video codec developed by Google. Comparable in quality and size of the resulting file to H.265/HEVC. Encoding is slower than H.265.
  • VP8 (libvpx): Predecessor to VP9, ​​this free and open video codec provides broad compatibility but lower compression efficiency/quality than VP9.

Improved support for the AV1 codec

We have already said what the AV1 codec is and why it is gathering great interest from the industry. AV1 is an open source codec and royalty-free: This means it can be used without having to pay for licenses, making it attractive to many companies and developers who want to implement video compression without facing significant costs.

The other big one advantage of AV1 lies in its ability to offer a compression quality higher than many other codecs, while maintaining smaller file sizes. This kind of efficiency proves crucial for the transmission and distribution of video in streaming su Internet: the greater compression allows you to save bandwidth network improving the user experience.

Handbrake 1.7 introduces new encoder AV1 developed by AMD (VCN AV1) and NVIDIA (NVENC AV1), giving users additional options for advanced video compression. The mode ABR multi-pass of SVT-AV1, improves the quality of AV1 conversions.

The application also improves HDR10+ support and significantly speeds up video conversion with the removal of unnecessary frame copiesoptimizing memory efficiency.

To have an account of all the novelty of Handbrake 1.7, you can refer to the official changelog.


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