HandBrake 0.9.4 Released With a Whopping 1,000 Changes

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 25, 2009

Popular open source video transcoder project HandBrake saw a new release this week with a boatload of new features, changes, and improvements. Many of version 0.9.4's changes optimize the application for better picture quality and performance while others make using the tool to rip DVDs a much friendlier experience.

HandBrake's new live preview system lets users test settings to discover ripping or picture quality issues before doing a full encode -- a handy time-saver, to be sure. The application has also gotten better at reading different types of DVDs and selecting different angles on a DVD thanks to the new DVD reading library, libdvdnav. Developers also fixed a batch of decoding bugs that affected AAC audio and VC-1 video during transcoding.

The app's presets have been radically tweaked to provide "a single, constant quality, High Profile preset with automated filtering and all the H.264 bells and whistles," rather than a bunch of subtly different presets like Film, Animation, and Television. The notoriously buggy presets for PSP, PS3, and Xbox 360 have been removed all together -- developers recommend simply using the Normal option instead.

Speaking of removing options, HandBrake also dropped support for AVI, XviD, and OGG/OGM. According to the project's Web site, the decision to remove the OGG container is based on a number of things. "HandBrake's OGM muxer is just as out of date. It hasn't been actively maintained in years either, and it too lacks support for HandBrake's best features. It requires conditionals to work around missing functionality too...only this one gets tested so infrequently the conditionals were never even put in the code, so it just fails when you try to do anything advanced. This one is not coming back either. And yes, we're aware of HTML 5. For patent-free muxing, HandBrake still has Matroska, which is a much better container anyway."

Visit the project's changelog for a full overview on what's new in HandBrake 0.9.3, then download it and check it out for yourself.