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Elgato Turbo.264 HD Software Edition review

Can Elgato's new video converter compete with free alternatives?

Elgato Turbo.264 HD Software Edition
Elgato's Turbo.264 HD Software Edition enables you to queue movies for conversion

Our Verdict

A classy app, but for heavy work, the hardware release is a better option


  • Very user-friendly
  • Speeds up video encoding
  • Excellent picture quality


  • No upgrade path or PPC version

Elgato has released Turbo.264 HD Software Edition which is a software-only version of its hardware accelerated video encoder in response to customer demand.

Designed to convert video for use on an iPod, iPhone, Apple TV or other device, this Software Edition is identical to the app bundled with the hardware dongle. It's easy to use. Just browse to or drag-and-drop a video file and select an output format.

It can handle most popular video formats, converts VIDEO_TS, the format used by DVD video discs, but won't rip an encrypted DVD. It's not as configurable as Handbrake (a free app), but settings can be customised.

Testing results

In our tests, on a 3.2GHz Core-i3 iMac, Handbrake converted our five minute test video to iPod format in 86 seconds. Turbo.264 HD Software Edition took 57 seconds, with the hardware version a second quicker.

On a 2GHz Core 2 Duo iMac, Handbrake took 173 seconds with Software Edition converting in 115 seconds, and the hardware-assisted version in 81 seconds – the less powerful your Mac, the greater benefits of Turbo.264 HD.

With no upgrade path for Software Edition users, you might prefer to dive straight in and buy the hardware version, which is available for £90 on Amazon. As well as being quicker, it takes the load off your processor if you're using your Mac.

For the lighter user, the Software Edition offers advantages over free alternatives.

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