It’s always refreshing in the age of advanced 3D graphics to encounter a program that forgoes visual bells and whistles for good old fashioned functionality. NCH Software’s Prism Video Converter definitely falls into the “bare bones” category—that is to say, it’s light on system resources and has a graphically minimal interface. Where other DVD ripper software offers video editing tools, labeling utilities and virtual disc drive software, Prism Video Converter sticks to ripping DVDs and converting video.

Prism Video Converter’s real strength rests in its simplicity. Prism Video Converter rips DVD video straight from a disc and encodes it in the video format of your choice. Additionally, Prism Video Converter will encode and recode video files already present on your hard drive. There isn’t a video file extension we could find that Prism Video Converter doesn’t support. In addition to ripping from DVD and image files, Prism Video Converter supports AVI, MPG, VOB, ASF, WMV, MP4, OGM, MOV, DivX, and H.264, to provide a partial listing of supported files. Whether you’re looking to compress videos for use on an iPhone or simply ripping DVD to your hard drive, Prism Video Converter performs reliably and quickly. For media hoarders, Prism Video Converter’s batch convert function is a lifesaver—you can convert entire folders to the same video type.

Intermediate and even beginner users shouldn’t encounter any problems with Prism Video Converter’s simple and visually minimalist interface. Everyday operations like ripping a DVD to AVI or MPEG are as simple as selecting input media, output location and file type. Prism is easy to use as video capture software for unsupported source video such as third party online video players. Advanced users will appreciate the options to scale resolution and frame rate on videos. It is also possible to crop video with Prism Video Converter. A word of warning to newcomers however, fiddling with custom settings can yield distorted and low quality video if you aren’t familiar with video file formats.

We were impressed with Prism Video Converter’s rips. Our video conversions looked clear and matched the specifications we entered in the program. For straightforward video converting and DVD ripping, Prism Video Converter provided quality results. NCH Software has FAQs and forums on their site. NCH Software also parle français, spricht Deutsch, parla l’Italiano and habla español for foreign users. NCH Software has live email available for about $10 per query.

Prism Video Converter Summary:
5.3/10

If you’re in the market for a fancy multimedia suite, Prism Video Converter probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you could use a DVD ripper with a video format converter thrown in, that’s exactly what you’ll get with Prism Video Converter. We’re big fans of the no frills Prism Video Converter.

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Prism Video Converter Plus

Pros
Prism Video Converter has a huge list of supported file types, including AVI, VOB, MOV, DivX and more.

Cons
The software is flexible, but can yield poor results if you don't know what you're doing.

The Verdict
: 5.25/10

NCH Prism Video Converter finds strength in simplicity, but could use a few more features.