Online converting

Posted by Flo in Tech, Websites on April 12th, 2008.
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When sharing information through the internet, nothing is more irritating than people who share information in uncommon formats, or let’s say: formats that you don’t use. Through the years, this problem has grown worse because every OS has it’s own text software that creates his own filetypes, his own media software that creates his own media extensions, etc. The best solution would be an open format that every platform should support, but that would damage some important monopoly positions, and who is going to decide which format is used? This is why there’s only one solution to the compatibility problem: converting from one format to the other. There’s some nice software to do this on the web, but the easiest software isn’t (spam)free, and you need quite some applications to be able to convert everything to anything. Luckily, web based convertors provide a better solution.

After a quick search, I found 2 web based tools, probably the most popular around, that allow you to convert between a very large number of filetypes, and are free of charge. You don’t even need to be registered. This allows you to use your hard disk for better things than converting tools.

Just a quick note for the people who want to convert open office made documents to microsoft .doc files: these sites don’t seem to convert them any better than open office itself, so they won’t convert the objects in the file in a right way.


A great site with a user friendly layout. It allows you to convert between the most used media extensions and even between archive types. You can upload multiple files at once, if they have the same extension. Your uploaded/converted files will be e-mailed to you, so it’s a little bit unclear how long it will take to convert your files, that is,  IF they will be converted. By the way, as far as I noticed, filling in your e-mail is quite safe, I didn’t receive any spam from them yet. As an unregistered user, you will see some ads though, but it isn’t much, and they can’t guarantee you anything. A few quick tests assured me that everything does work, even the rar archive that I converted to a zip archive, and that it’s pretty fast.

What do they offer for free:

  • You can upload up to 100mb/file
  • Upload and convert up top 5 files at once
  • Not to much ads
  • Very easy in use
  • Transcode between the most used music, video, image, doc and archive formats.
  • Your converted file will be stored 24 hours on the server
  • Very userfriendly layout

If you don’t think this is enough, you can register and pay to get more options and possibilitys (I do think they’re quite pricy).

I do think this is probably the best converting tool on the web.


Media Convert

One of the first things I thought when I came upon this site was: "woha, al those ads!". After a few moments, I recovered from this mindblow, and began my search for the possibility to upload a file to convert which is pretty well hidden between the ads. This brings us to the first point of criticism: the layout sucks. It isn’t very userfriendly, it’s ugly and it contains way to much ads. Of course, a free webtool may contain ads, but in my opinion, they are overdoing it, but allright, back to the functionality… Media convert seems to support a lot of filetypes between you can convert. Some of them are so rare that I’ve probably never seen them before. A quick test did gave me the opinion that this site is bluffing. The audio/video files and documents that I’ve converted seem to work, but the problem starts when you want to convert archives. It just doesn’t seem to work, but maybe they’ll fix this. The converting seems to be a bit different from the method Zamzar uses: you must wait till it’s converted, and you will even see a progress bar. So no e-mail, no registration, nothing. Your files will be hosted one day on the server, but there is an option where you can enable 120 day hosting of the file, which seems to be free. You also receive an url so you can share the file with other people.

Media Convert also offers some other services like file hosting, a WAP/GPRS uploader/converter tool and some tools where you can convert files from an url, and even convert websites into images (by using an url). I must say I haven’t tested these, but they look promising.

What Media Convert offers for free:

  • Upload and convert files till 150mb
  • Just one file at a time
  • To much ads… really
  • Not hard to use, but the layout isn’t very user friendly
  • You can convert nearly everything to nearly anything, even the more exotic extensions, transcoding between archives doesn’t seem to work
  • Pre defined media converting options, usefull if you want to convert things to mobile phone formats
  • Converting takes some time, but at least you have a progress bar
  • You can put your files on the server for 120 days
  • Easy sharing link
  • Offers some other great services
  • The site is translated in a lot of languages

Media Convert is a tool with a lot of converting options, but it’s not very easy in use. It can be quite helpfull if your friends enjoy themselves by saving their files in the most exotic formats you can imagine.


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