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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
DaveRo Converting digital files: methods & software (29) RE: Converting digital files: methods & software 26 Aug 19

WTV is a container format. It may contain MPEG standard data:

So you may be able to convert a video from WTV to MPEG-4 (or MPEG-2) without recoding it. The converter just needs to 'unpack' the streams within the file and re-package them in the new container format like MPEG-4. Some content - usually metadata - may be converted or discarded.

I don't do much with video but as an example I download radio programs as m4a files, which is an audio container format. I snip parts into aac files which I keep. This does not involve transcoding because the aac stream within the m4a file is unaltered. Compared with converting to mp3 it's almost instant. (An image which is usually in the m4a file is discarded.)

WTV is clearly obsolete, so it's certainly a good idea to convert those files to something standard and open. I would find out what the stream format within the WTV file is and see if it's possible to repackage it in a standard container without transcoding it. If your WTV files contain MPEG-2 you might consider leaving them as that rather than transcoding to MPEG-4, though I think the latter is smaller.

I don't know how you would do this on Windows. On Linux I would use ffprobe, which is a command line utility, to analyse the container stream content and ffmpeg (with a -c:a copy parameter) to convert it without transcoding.

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