Of all the Apple gear in my house, perhaps the least appreciated (but very much loved) is my Apple TV. I use it several times a week to watch podcasts, TV shows I record, and videos I download. To get some of the videos I download into a format compatible with the Apple TV, I use a great tool called VisualHub. Unfortunately, VisualHub was abandoned by the developer nearly a year ago. VisualHub’s developer was kind enough to open source his code however. From the ashes of VisualHub, a new application has risen, Video Monkey.
If you’re familiar with VisualHub, the Video Monkey UI will be easy to pick up. You begin by dragging your source file into the middle of the application. You then choose an output type from a large list of presets. Next choose encoding speeds, quality, and a few other options. If you want to send the encoded file into iTunes, just check the appropriate checkbox. Once the encoding options are set, just click the start button in the top left corner.
One feature I didn’t know about until today was the metadata feature. I encoded a TV show and the output file included the name of the episode along with a Poster for the show! After a little poking around on the Video Monkey website, I found a detailed blog post from the developer explaining how the metadata feature works.
Unlike VisualHub, Video Monkey is a free application. The most recent upgrade brought Snow Leopard support, which the last release of VisualHub lacks. If you are looking for a replacement for VisualHub, Video Monkey is likely it.