I know some of you probably got a Zune for the holidays and there are a lot of great programs now that will encode your videos for a variety of portable media players. I've used many many of these applications in the last year or so, some of them free, some not so free. But when it comes down to it, for the Zune it is hard to beat the free Windows Media Encoder 9. What sets WME apart from many of the other applications I've tried can be seen in the photo at left; WME will suck up all the cores you want to throw at it, meaning I can encode in a fraction of the time of some of the other products I've used.
Once you get WME installed, run it from Start > Windows Media > Windows Media.
- Go ahead and click New Session, then select Custom Session and OK.
- This will put you in the Session Properties box, in the "Source from" section, you want to choose File.
- Now click that browse button right under it and select the file you want to encode.
- Go back to the top and click the "Output" tab, uncheck "Pull from encoder' and select "Encode to file", picking the name and location to put it (probably your [username]\Videos directory).
- Now click the Compression tab, change the "Destination" dropdown to "File download (computer playback)", change "Video" dropdown to "DVD quality video (1Mbps VBR)", and change the "Audio" dropdown to "CD quality audio CBR".
- If you want to spend video quality on being able to put more videos on your Zune, you can click the edit button to the right of Destination and lower your bit rates, change size to 320x240, and audio to 128k.
- Click Apply, click "Start Encoding", then sit back and watch it fly through your video.