I have a bunch of h.264 videos and an old standalone DVD player, which cannot play them.

I would like to convert them all into mpeg-2 and just burn onto a disk.

It seems, however, that it's somewhat not trivial kind of task.

When converting, I'd like to:

  • keep the video quality, if possible
  • keep the aspect ratio

What would be the best tool to do this? If you come to recommend a particular command-line tool, please consider suggesting full command, including relevant parameters.

  • Little late, but isn't this what iDVD from the iLive suite is for? Aug 5, 2014 at 14:55

2 Answers 2


Since you want to use the command-line I would recommend ffmpeg.

Generally speaking, it's the most capable tool you'll find for converting/encoding anything you could imagine. It's incredibly fast and utilizes the audio command-line encoding tool LAME (my favorite), which compliments it almost perfectly. To be quite honest, it has so many uses that I would never be able to explain them all; It's definitely a winner in my book, so check it out.

For parameters that all depends on you, your setup, and what your expectations are. Without knowing which encoder you plan on using, or have installed, there are just too many variables involved to specifically to tell you which arguments should be used. If you need help with that part of it once you compile/install it then I'm sure someone here can help you out.



Never used it before, but I did some research and found ffmpegX. Hope it helps!

  • Could you please elaborate on how to do this with MPEG Streamclip because I've been thinking if MPEG Streamclip is able to do it and was not able to find how to.
    – iskra
    Sep 28, 2011 at 20:38
  • @iskra It has a greyed-out option for MPEG Streamclip. Weird...
    – daviesgeek
    Sep 29, 2011 at 17:05
  • Yes, that is what I meant. Maybe it needs MPEG2 Quicktime Component be installed …
    – iskra
    Sep 29, 2011 at 17:24

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