If you are looking for the best quality for your video files, there are a number of formats to choose from. One that offers great quality is x264 and Hybrid is a free tool that can be used to convert between formats. There are many tools that do a fairly similar job, but where Hybrid stands out is in the sheer number of options that are afforded you. In many respects this is not a tools for the faint hearted, but if you want control over the encoding process, this is the program for you.

You can convert a wide variety of video types into mp4, m2ts, mkv or webm containers or create a Blue-ray or AVCHD structure ready to burn to disc. The stark tabbed interface may seem slightly intimidating at first, but once you have worked through the conversion process a couple of times, everything will start to make more sense.

Using the program is not quite as simple as using a wizard-based tool, but all that needs to be done is to work through each of the program tabs in turn. After selecting the video file and subtitle track you would like to use, you can specify encoding settings and indicate whether your video should be cropped or resized. If you are creating a disc, you can set up chapters, and if you are looking to convert several videos, you can add them all to a queue to be processed one after the other.

As a standalone program Hybrid is already a powerful piece of software, but there are a number of optional components that can be used to add extra features – again at no cost. The neroAacEnc tool can be used to aac encoding while fhgaacenc is used for not only aac but also alac encoding. If you are not going to be using these features, there is no need to install them, but the option is there if you need it.

Version 2015.06.28.1 (Changelog):

- filter: 'noise' filter, for adding noise to video
- tools: adjust to MP4Box revisions 0.5.2 starting with 0 again
- audio: pcm reencoding
- input: handling of dvd aspect ratio for 352x... content
- audio: support for 24bit flac audio encoding (when flac binary is used; not ffmpeg or flaccl)
- qsvencc: support for '--mv-scaling'
- x265: adjusted to changes to 'grain'-preset
- x265: added support for '--limit-refs X'
- x265: added support for '--aq-mode 3'
- x265: removed 12bit and 16bit support and added '--output-depth 8|10' instead
- avisynth: better handling of high bit depth input

Verdict

 Don’t be put off by the intimidating interface; the immensely powerful conversion tool is easy to use once you get the hang of it.