Throughout the Forum there has been a sprinkling of queries about the possibility and advantages of donating to the ‘free’ versions of MediaCoder and issues dealing with the ID that results from donating. Also, there seems to be some confusion about the differences between various editions of MediaCoder and the Premium versions.
This Guide is an attempt to explain and de-mystify the topic.
First of all, MediaCoder is a multi-tasking program for the transcoding of media files. It will accept a variety of media formats and convert them to virtually any other format, audio and/or video. This involves ‘reading’ and interpreting the original source file, the conversion of its video and audio streams and the combining of the converted streams into the final file. Each of these stages involves a ‘utility’, an independent sub-program, and there are many to choose from, each needing to be accessed by ‘code’ (not for the light-hearted). Fortunately, MediaCoder is a GUI (Graphical User Interface) that serves as a sort of ‘control panel’ to separate the user from the messy task of dealing with the utilities. It does many other things, though, such as burning in subtitles, rotating the video, removing logos, etc. But these features are beyond the scope of this Guide and may be covered in other Guides listed in the Tips & Guides section of the Forum (viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8061).
Also, if anyone wishes to try an older version of the standard (free) edition of MediaCoder, most are available for download at http://www.videohelp.com/tools/MediaCod ... s#download.
To simplify the use of MediaCoder, there are trimmed-down versions dedicated to specific tasks, such as AudioCoder and the Web-video edition. All are explained in Section 1, below. More capable, ‘professional’ versions are also available, referred to as the Premium editions, there being three (see Section 2, below).
Brief descriptions of all nine editions are summarised on the Editions web page.
Section 1: ‘Free’ Versions
As mentioned above, MediaCoder, per se, is the main version that can do almost any transcoding job and has an enormous range of options. As result, it may seem daunting to the inexperienced user, and some users may prefer a derived version with limited options, a version that specialises in a smaller number of tasks.
These are all intended for the home/private user and for those who wish to experiment.
For example, there is the Web Video Edition of MediaCoder, which is a dedicated to the high-quality encoding to popular web-video formats, including Flash Video, VP8 and MP4 (see Web Video Edition page), and the iPod/iPhone/iPad Edition (includes Apple TV), which is described on the iPhone/iPad/iPod Edition page. There are also versions that are even more focussed – those limited to specific devices, such as those designed specifically for iPhone/iPod Touch, PSP, MP3/MP4 Players and 3GP mobile phones (see the Devices page).
Moreover, there is AudioCoder (formally the Audio Edition of MediaCoder), which is a high quality batch audio transcoder based on MediaCoder (see AudioCoder).
It is my understanding that any version may be made ‘Portable’. This is done during its installation by selecting “Save Data Files in Program Folder” on the ‘Choose Components’ window. But first, on the previous window, choose the destination folder by browsing to either the default, C:/Program Files, or to a folder of your choice, such as on a USB stick or “C:/Portable MediaCoder”.
All the above versions are available free, both to download and to use. On the other hand, the author continues to be active in their maintenance, the upgrading of utilities and the creation of new and advanced features. Hence, your support is needed; and if after trying one of the MediaCoder editions you are pleased with its performance please donate to the project. Any donation will be welcome and if you donate $25 or more you should receive a MediaCoder ID by e-mail within 12 hours of receipt of the donation. Use of the ID gives you the added advantage of not having the prompt between batch tasks (set because batch encoding is limited in the 'free' versions) and the avoidance of random popup web pages. Depending on the amount you donate, your licence will be valid for either 1 month, 3 months, or lifetime. More information, including donation amounts, can be found on the Donation page.
And, yes, MediaCoder is donationware, but I assume this was considered to be better than having a fixed cost. Competing programs usually cost more and don't work as well nor do they have as many features.
(And, by the way, I have no vested interest in MediaCoder nor am I involved in its development.)
Note: Once you receive an ID, enter it under Support > Get MediaCoder ID. Then, MediaCoder must be closed and opened again with administrator rights so that the ID is saved in the OS Registry. Admin rights should be required only this once. Also, internet access is required for the anonymous validation of the ID; and if MediaCoder is unable to connect to the validation server, the entered ID will be ignored. The ID is not bound with hardware, so you can use it on any computer with Internet access. The ID can be entered into multiple computers as long as you do not use them simultaneously as this will be treated as shared use of the ID.
Section 2: Professional Versions
There are a number of ‘professional’ versions of MediaCoder intended for the serious user and for commercial use. These versions are derived from MediaCoder, as defined above, and are more powerful. They have more capabilities with fewer limitations and require a license to operate. Please note that even though these editions are derived from MediaCoder their bugs, if any, may not be in common; and the findings in the Test Report (link) may not apply. As of June 2014, there are four such Premium versions:
- MediaCoder Premium Standard Edition is the same as the free version with some unlocked features. It has no limit on queuing, up to 50Mbps video bitrate, 32/64-bit audio sampling, watch folder functionality, and 4K resolution support.
- MediaCoder Premium HEVC Edition adds support for the HEVC/H.265 codec support alongside the Standard Edition features.
- MediaCoder Premium GPU Edition allows for GPU-accelerated H.264 encoding (via Nvidia CUDA or Intel QuickSync) alongside the Standard Edition features.
- MediaCoder Premium VOD Edition is the full-featured version featuring the capabilities of the other three versions as well as some extra features to specialize in transcoding content for the Video-On-Demand industry and karaoke facilities.
There is also the MediaCoder Command-line Edition, which has all the transcoding features of the MediaCoder GUI version. However, as a command-line program, it can be invoked by another program, and is an easy way for people or organizations to have either an application or a back-end server program achieve media transcoding operations with the least modification. It is a very specialised edition and, for more information, see Command Line Version.
Note: Once you receive the email with S/N and Password, I suggest you keep the email or copy over the details for safe keeping. The email will include useful tips such as details on internet access, if required. If you are given an FTP host to download the chosen edition, be wary because it may change from time to time. On 17 March 2013 it was http://ftp.mediacoderhq.com, and then click /pro for the Premium version, but see: No access to FTP server. You will need to supply your username and password to access the ftp server.
Section 3: Important things to remember
It is important to always close down the MediaCoder window/application directly (click on the “X” button) before turning off the computer or if MediaCoder freezes or hangs up for any reason. This will avoid a problem with License validation. If, instead, MediaCoder is closed down by the Operating System, on closing the PC, or by the process manager, such as Windows Task Manager, the license may be locked up on the next start up. If this happens, wait for a while (I don’t know how long) until things are sorted out and the license is auto-released. As an aid to avoiding this problem, I suggest you go to Settings in MediaCoder, then: Overall > User Interface > Tray Icon Configuration and check “Disable tray icon”. This will ensure that the Taskbar ‘button’ for MediaCoder remains on the Taskbar (across the bottom of the monitor screen) to remind you that MediaCoder is open. If this setting is not changed, a small MediaCoder icon may appear at far right or behind the “Show hidden icons” button and you could easily forget to close it down before shutting down the PC. A similar thing may be done for a non-Windows operating system.
For queries or problems relating to IDs, licences, or serial numbers, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.