Remember when we told you that a new version of Handbrake the free video encoder for Mac Windows and Linux was busy testing a new version that would rip any media files (not just DVDs)? Well version 0.9.3 (trust me it’s not a version 1.0 product yet) has just been released and now supports what Handbrake are calling ‘Universal Input’. It also contains over 600 changes to the code base since the release of Handbrake 0.9.2 in February.
Universal Input means that Handbrake is no longer limited to DVD media and now ‘practically accepts any type of video as a source. This massive enhancement was achieved by tapping into the power of libavcodec and libavformat from the FFmpeg project.’ according to its developers.
My complaint when I reviewed an early beta was that Handbrake wasn’t stable. Unfortunately in my testing of the latest version Handbrake 0.9.3 still isn’t stable enough to replace my two other ripping tools VisualHub and RoadMovie. When I did finally get it to rip a file I got an average of around 31 fps which is quick given that RoadMovie only rips marginally faster when using Elgato Turbo .264 hardware.
But version 0.9.3 also introduces some other significant features including a new Linux GUI available as a binary for Ubuntu which is the ‘real deal’ and interacts ‘directly with HandBrake’s core library instead of just putting a pretty face on a command line interface. It has full feature parity with the Mac interface.’
Next there are video improvements thanks to the integration of the latest H.264 encoding library that produces enhanced picture quality through the use of ‘psychovisual rate distortion and adaptive quantization’ and delivers significant speed optimisations.
Other big changes include improvements to audio and video synchronisation a new decomb filter that deinterlaces picture only when required and a revamped presets panel which supports nested folders and a new preset called Apple Universal designed to rip media that looks good on anything from a Nano to Apple TV.
Handbrake is a great free video encoder but given this releases general instability when ripping anything but DVDs other products like RoadMovie may be a better solution.