Turbo.264 HD review

Elgato is well known for its award-winning range of TV tuners for watching and recording television on your Mac. Now its released the Turbo.264 HD which converts those recordings, film files and camcorder footage quickly and efficiently into the H.264 format, at various resolutions up to full HD (1080p).

Helped ideally by a high-speed Mac, the Turbo.264 HD runs from a combination of software and USB dongle, with much of the hard work done via the dongle so your computer’s processing power isn’t entirely tied up during the conversion. The USB dongle doesn’t mount on your desktop but a small red light on the front of the unit glows when in use. A minimal, grey user interface is a lesson in simplicity – offering all the tools you need, minus the clutter, and helped by an intuitive drag-and-drop window for all your video files.

Once chosen, popular file formats and conversion settings, including iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, Sony PSP, YouTube and YouTube HD, are easily selected via the drop-down menu. You also have the ability to merge files and edit them before conversion. This is ideal for TV viewers looking to delete ad breaks, or camcorder users seeking to tidy up or combine taped footage, particularly AVCHD files. Custom settings can be saved alongside the existing built-in settings for future use.

During the conversion process you’ll see an estimate of how long the conversion will take, along with a series of snapshot images as the dongle goes to work. The bottom line: the better the Mac the faster the progress, and if speed is of the essence the Turbo.264 HD should significantly out-perform rival conversion software.

Connecting an AVCHD camcorder to your Mac activates an ‘Add Camcorder’ button and again the process of editing and converting your own footage is quick and painless. Turbo.264 HD supports AVCHD Video, QuickTime, AVI, DV, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 Program/Transport Stream, MPEG-4, MP4, M4V, H.263, H.264 AVC, Xvid, VIDEO_TS, and most recently MKV files – basically any format you’re ever likely to find online.

OUR VERDICT

If you have a fairly fast Mac and a store of video files waiting to be converted at speeds that won’t drag, the Elgato Turbo.264 HD is for you. It runs smoothly and efficiently in the background producing exceptional conversions, freeing up more time to enjoy the results.

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