Top 8 Video Converters for Linux

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Edited by Ben Jacklin

Linux users rejoice! A wealth of video converter options are available, catering to both beginners and experienced users. Whether you need to convert a DVD for playback on your phone or simply want to change a video format, this guide will explore the best video converters for Ubuntu.


Main advantages


Supports an incredibly wide range of video/audio codecs and formats

Presets for common devices and platforms streamline the process

Batch processing allows for efficient conversion of multiple files at once

Best video converters for Linux

FFmpeg, developed by a passionate open-source community, stands as a titan among free video converters for Linux, including Ubuntu. Forget simple conversion; FFmpeg offers a powerful toolbox of libraries and programs to manipulate nearly any multimedia file format or stream. 

Need to change video formats on Linux, transcode with specific codecs, or extract audio? FFmpeg empowers you to do it all.

FFmpeg decodes the source video, manipulates streams based on commands, and encodes into a new format for maximum flexibility. Plus, it offers easy installation through most Linux distribution repositories (e.g., apt install ffmpeg on Ubuntu/Debian).


  • Supports an incredibly wide range of video/audio codecs and formats

  • Offers granular control over codecs, bitrates, and resolutions for conversions

  • Automates tasks with scripting for batch conversions or workflows

  • Utilizes hardware acceleration for faster encoding and decoding


  • Command line requires knowledge for desired results (learning curve)

  • Troubleshooting errors with cryptic messages can be challenging

HandBrake is a free, open-source video converter designed specifically for ease of use. While not as powerful as FFmpeg, it offers a user-friendly interface ideal for beginners or those who simply need to convert videos for everyday tasks.

HandBrake provides a graphical interface where users select a source video, choose a target format (often MP4 or MKV), and adjust basic settings like resolution and bitrate. HandBrake uses underlying tools like FFmpeg to convert the text.


  • User-friendly interface simplifies video conversion for beginners

  • Presets for common devices and platforms (phones, tablets, TVs) streamline the process

  • Option to pass-through audio without re-encoding for faster conversions

  • Basic editing features like cropping and subtitles are available


  • Less control over the conversion process compared to FFmpeg

  • Limited format support compared to FFmpeg may not handle some obscure formats

Shutter Encoder is a middle ground between the raw power of FFmpeg and the user-friendliness of HandBrake. This free and open-source video converter offers a well-balanced approach, catering to both beginners and experienced users.

Butter Encoder features a graphical interface with presets and customization options. Users can choose from predefined settings for various devices or manually adjust video and audio codecs, bitrates, and other parameters.


  • User-friendly interface with a balance of presets and manual controls

  • Robust codecs and containers, including wide format compatibility

  • Batch processing allows for efficient conversion of multiple files at once

  • Additional features like cutting, extracting audio, and burning DVDs are available


  • Not as powerful as FFmpeg for highly granular control over conversions

  • The interface might be less intuitive for complete beginners compared to HandBrake

MystiQ goes beyond simple video conversion, offering a broader suite of video editing features. This commercial software caters to users who want a one-stop shop for basic editing and format conversion.

MystiQ provides a graphical user interface with editing tools like trimming, cutting, adding effects, and transitions. It also integrates conversion functionalities, allowing users to export their edited videos in various formats.


  • Easy-to-use interface for beginners in video editing and conversion

  • Users appreciate the ability to combine basic editing with conversion in one software

  • Some reviewers found the included effects library helpful for adding a creative touch


  • As a commercial software, MystiQ lacks the free and open-source appeal of other options

  • Compared to dedicated editing suites, MystiQ's editing capabilities might be too basic for power users

Videomass is a commercial video converter for Linux with a range of features. While not the most beginner-friendly, Videomass offers a user interface for selecting videos, choosing output formats, and adjusting settings like resolution and bitrate. Batch conversion allows for efficient processing of multiple files.


  • Free to use as it’s an open-source app

  • Offered basic video editing capabilities like resizing, cropping, and rotating

  • Allowed for extracting images and adding audio filters (functionality might vary by version)

  • Potentially included the ability to download videos from online sites (availability uncertain)


  • Given it’s an open-source software, its interface might require some technical knowledge to navigate and set up effectively

Ciano is a free and open-source multimedia converter application designed specifically for elementary OS. It acts as a front-end for the powerful FFmpeg and ImageMagick tools, providing a user-friendly interface for converting videos, audio, and images.

Ciano is a lightweight application that focuses on simplicity and ease of use. It integrates well with the elementary OS desktop environment, offering a familiar look and feel. Ciano is actively developed and maintained by the elementary community, ensuring compatibility with the latest versions of the OS.

It leverages the underlying FFmpeg and ImageMagick tools, providing support for a wide range of video, audio, and image formats. Common formats like MP4, MKV, AVI, MP3, WAV, JPG, PNG, and more are likely supported.


  • Simplified conversion process with a user-friendly graphical interface

  • Automatic dependency checking ensures FFmpeg and ImageMagick are installed for conversions

  • Seamless integration with the look and feel of the elementary operating system


  • Relies on FFmpeg and ImageMagick for actual conversions, requiring separate installation

7. VLC

VLC, the ubiquitous open-source media player, surprisingly offers basic video conversion capabilities alongside its core functionality. While not a dedicated converter like FFmpeg or HandBrake, VLC can be a handy tool for occasional conversions.

VLC is a free and open-source media player known for its extensive format support and playback capabilities. It's available on a wide range of platforms, including various Linux distributions. While the conversion feature in VLC is not its primary function, it can still be useful for simple tasks.


  • Convenient for occasional conversions without needing additional software

  • Familiar interface for users already comfortable with VLC as a media player

  • Playback while converting allows for progress monitoring


  • Limited format support compared to dedicated converters

  • No batch conversion capabilities, less efficient for multiple files

Cine Encoder stands out as a video converter designed to preserve the quality of your videos, particularly those with High Dynamic Range (HDR) content. It leverages hardware acceleration and offers functionalities beyond basic conversion.

Cine Encoder is a free and open-source video converter that focuses on maintaining video quality, especially for HDR content. It uses hardware acceleration features on modern CPUs and GPUs for faster encoding. 

Additionally, it leverages hardware encoding on compatible CPUs and GPUs for significantly faster conversion times. 


  • Prioritizes preserving HDR quality for optimal viewing experience

  • Hardware acceleration speeds up conversion times significantly

  • Offers advanced encoding modes for more control over the process

  • Supports batch conversion for efficient handling of multiple files


  • Experimental Linux version might have limited stability or features compared to the Windows version

  • The focus on HDR quality preservation might be less relevant for users who don't have HDR displays

Convert your videos on a PC and Mac with Movavi Video Converter

Movavi Video Converter is a user-friendly option for converting and compressing videos on a Windows PC and Mac. It goes beyond simple conversion, offering features like video editing, quality optimization, adding subtitles, and more.

Whether you need to convert a video for playback on your phone, compress a large file for sharing, or make minor edits, Movavi Video Converter provides a versatile solution.


The world of video converters on Linux offers a wealth of options to suit your needs. From the powerful command-line flexibility of FFmpeg to the user-friendly interfaces of HandBrake and Shutter Encoder, there's a tool to tackle any conversion task. 

If you prioritize video editing alongside conversion, MystiQ offers a compelling solution. Remember, discontinued software like Videomass is no longer recommended, while Cine Encoder focuses on HDR quality and hardware acceleration. 

Even the versatile VLC media player can handle basic conversions in a pinch. No matter your experience level or conversion goals, this guide has equipped you to find the perfect video converter for your Linux system.

Movavi Video Converter

The ideal way to get your media in the format you need!

* The trial version of Movavi Video Converter has the following restrictions: a 7-day trial period; a watermark on output videos; when converting audio files, an ability to convert only half the file length; and, when working in the SuperSpeed mode, an ability to convert only half the video file length.

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