Popcorn 4 review

Popcorn is Roxio’s conversion and burning tool for multimedia content. Among other talents it lets you easily convert Flash video clips into a format suitable for your Apple TV or iPhone, but that’s not all.

Popcorn 4 integrates elements of Roxio’s industry-standard CD/DVD-authoring software, Toast. This means you can use it to copy (unprotected) DVDs, burn content to CD, and to convert content for playback on different devices, including Wii.

The software has a straightforward user interface, split between Copy and Convert operations. Naturally, Popcorn also lets you convert audio and still image content and burn it to disc. Roxio’s Fit-to-DVD technology enables you to burn up to 9GB of data in a DVD format onto a single 4.7GB disc. That Popcorn includes burning technologies from Toast is one thing that sets it apart from free conversion utilities.

Web video is the big new feature for this version, which lets you easily capture streaming videos from the web. The video clip can be dragged into the main window for conversion into an iPhone, Apple TV or other desired format for playback offline. We found conversion to be both fast and accurate, and Popcorn’s support for Elgato’s Turbo.264 HD device means you can significantly accelerate the conversion process.

Other useful features include the ability to set chapter markers and extract selected clips from unencrypted DVDs (to grab clips of commercial DVDs you’ll need software to bypass the copy protection, which is technically copyright abuse, be warned). Popcorn 4 also offers the capacity to swap audio into FLAC format and to automatically upload video to YouTube.

OUR VERDICT

If you occasionally need to convert content for use on different devices, then free solutions, such as HandBrake, offer all you need. However, these utilities lack the finesse and breadth of features you’ll find in Roxio’s user-friendly and easy-to-understand solution.

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