I've experimented with Handbrake and VLC and I'd like to know the fastest possible method to convert .avi file into a a file that is readable by itunes so I can stream it to my TV via my Apple TV 2.

The mentioned solutions require a couple of hours and I'd like to improve this. I'm working on a macbook air.


  • A couple hours for what? A single file? A handful? 500? Either way, some things just take time to do. Mar 21, 2011 at 16:35
  • A single 90 minute movie. I'm aware it takes considerable time but theres no harm in trying to optimise :-)
    – Gerard
    Mar 21, 2011 at 17:04
  • 1
    In a situation like this, I just set up an automatic queue of some sort on a spare Mac, hit "Run", and then walk away until it's done or an error occurs that requires management. Mar 21, 2011 at 18:57
  • This might be of interest to you: macupdate.com/app/mac/27326/videodrive
    – user10355
    Oct 26, 2011 at 19:34

3 Answers 3


You're not going to find a magic bullet that can dramatically speed up your conversion. You really have two options: either reduce the quality of your target file, or throw more iron at it. Upgrading your hardware (including possibly putting more RAM in your machine) would help a lot.

The bottom line, though, is that the conversion app has to look at the whole file frame by frame and convert it, and that's an O(n) proposition--the time it takes scales linearly with the amount of data to convert, and there just aren't good ways for even a very clever program to shortcut that. Some programs may be fractionally more efficient than others, but in general, the algorithm takes as long as it takes to chew as much data as it has to chew.


I usually play around with Video Monkey.

Video Monkey is a free video encoding application exclusively for Mac. It was created after the demise of the great tool Visual Hub. Video Monkey borrows heavily from the Visual Hub video conversion tool, both conceptually and from the original code dump posted to SourceForge as TranscoderRedux.

  • Thanks but is it faster than the alternatives mentioned above?
    – Gerard
    Mar 21, 2011 at 15:51
  • 2
    @Gearóid Well, faster in terms of what? "raw" speed or configuration before you start the conversion? The former will tend to be similar (provided the same hardware) because most if not all of these apps use the ffmpeg library. Mar 21, 2011 at 15:53

The Elgato Turbo.264 HD is a hardware solution, but it might be worth it if you have a lot of files to convert.

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