Review Price free/subscription
As already mentioned, Crunch will grab as much of your CPU as it can get - it maxed out all four threads on my dual core Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, although I was still able to carry on working, with the load balanced as I used other applications. How long conversions take will depend on the speed of your system, and you can expect a brand new Core 2 Quad to fly through your encodes, while older machine like the one I used, will give you time to go and make a cup of coffee, or two.
I found that the quality of the resulting video files was very good, even if I selected the fastest encode. Of course, much will depend on the quality of the source files, but most of the video files you have on your computer are likely to be far higher resolution than your iPod or even your iPhone, so Crunch will generally have a good starting point.
You can pickup Crunch for around £25 online, which seems reasonable enough, but then it's also worth noting that there are a lot of video conversion utilities out there that cost nothing. However, what Roxio has created is a simple solution for the end user who doesn't want to trawl the web for freeware, and then have to figure out how to use it. Crunch will convert pretty much all the major formats including DivX, Xvid and even DV. OK, so it drew the line at an MKV file, but considering that I've yet to find a dedicated video player that supports MKV, I'm hardly surprised by that.
Roxio Crunch may be a one trick pony, but it pulls off its single trick with aplomb. If you've got a hard disk full of video files that you'd like to watch on your iPod or iPhone, Crunch will make the laborious conversion process as painless as possible. Anyone who likes to get their hands dirty with their video encoding may find Crunch a little basic, but for me it's that basic nature that makes it attractive. The majority of iPod users aren't hardcore techies, and Crunch will be a very useful tool for all of them.