Roxio has been smart enough to include both Mac OS and Windows versions of Crunch on the same disc, so if you happen to be running multiple hardware platforms, you can choose. Given the choice, I’d be running Mac OS, but unfortunately the machine sitting on my desk is running Vista, so I installed the Windows version. Installation is pretty painless, and once you’ve signed your life away agreeing to terms and conditions that almost no one will have the patience to read and entered the CD key, you’re ready to roll.
Once you fire up Crunch you’re faced with a simple two pane window – one side is labelled Source and the other Destination. Clicking the Add Movies button brings up a directory tree window so that you can browse your PC and find the video files that you wish to convert. You can cue up multiple files and leave Crunch, well, crunching away while you get on with something less akin to watching paint dry. Of course you can carry on working at your PC, but you probably wouldn’t want to do that if you’ve got a single core CPU, since Crunch will grab a hefty amount of your total CPU clock cycles.
Once you’ve selected all the files you wish to convert, it’s time to head over to the Destination pane. The most important bit here is the Format drop down, which is where you decide what the output format will be. Here you can choose from iPod, iPhone or Apple TV formats, while each format has a selection of differing quality settings – iPhone Fastest for instance, will take the least time to encode, but will use a far lower bit rate than iPhone High. That said, considering the small screen that you’ll be viewing on, high bit rate encodes just seem like overkill.
Also on the Destination pane are a couple of radio buttons that specify whether the encode is output as a file in a specific location, or whether it is imported directly into iTunes. If you choose the latter, you will then be prompted to decide which playlist you wish the video to be placed in, or if you’d like to create a new playlist specifically for it. Once you’ve made that decision, Crunch will happily run along and start converting your videos for you.