Cucusoft Zune Converter Suite
Cucusoft Zune Converter Suite is a simple and powerful software package that you can use to convert your DVDs and video files to make them playable on your Zune.
The suite includes DVD to Zune Converter (which rips and converts movies from DVDs), and Zune Video Converter (which converts other video files on your PC).
Zunerama recommends Cucusoft for its ease of use, conversion speed, and quality results.
Download with confidence. Zunerama recommends Cucusoft Zune Converter Suite, and supports your Cucusoft experience with:
- Up-to-date links to download latest version of free trial
- Up-to-date links to purchase and download full package
- Cucusoft tutorial with Zunerama's step-by-step instructions and over thirty screenshots
- Free access to Zunerama's Cucusoft technical support board, where you can ask questions, get help, and share your experience with Cucusoft software.
- Free access to our Zune community in the Zunerama forum, where you meet and interact with thousands of other Zune enthusiasts.
The steps below take you through downloading, installing, and using Cucusoft for ripping and converting DVDs for Zune playback. We also explain how to convert other video files you may have on your PC, for playback on your Zune.
If you have any problems, you can get help in Zunerama's Cucusoft Technical Support board.
You can try out Cucusoft with the trial version, or buy the full version. Both are delivered to you as downloads so you can start using Cucusoft right away. The trial version is fully functional, but embeds a watermark on your converted video.
When prompted to "open" or "save" the file, save the download file to your PC.
As the download progresses, you'll see the following messages:
Once you've downloaded the install file, it should start the installation automatically. You'll see the following screens during the install process:
Welcome screen. Close other applications, and press Next.
License Agreement. Accept the agreement, and press Next.
Choose folder. Accept the default location, or change it if you wish the program to be installed in a different folder. Press Next.
Choose Start Menu folder. Accept default; press Next.
Additional Tasks. Keep the box checked if you want the installation to create a desktop shortcut that you can use to launch Cucusoft. Press Next.
Ready to Install. Press Install.
Install done! You'll see the window below when the installation is complete. You can launch Cucusoft immediately by checking the launch option. Press Finish to close the installation window.
Now that the software is installed, you can start converting DVDs and video files to play on your zune. If it's not already running, go ahead and launch Cucusoft (using the desktop shortcut, or by using Start Menu > Programs > Cucusoft Zune Video Converter Suite.
Convert from DVD.
Start DVD to Zune. Click on the DVD button (the topmost of the three buttons) on the Suite's main window.
Software Agreement. Read the agreement and, if you agree, select "accept" and press OK.
Upgrade opportunity. If you're using the free trial, the screen below will appear to give you an opportunity to upgrade to the full version.
Prepare to convert. The screen below appears, with a guide to walk you through the next steps.
First we'll set the profile; this determines which coder/decoder ("codec") the software will use to perform the conversion. Click in the profile field to see the various profile options available. For Zune-compatible files, choose one of the "Zune Video - Windows Media" options. Generally, the higher the encoder number, the better your video quality will be. So, for most situations the best choice is Zune Video - Windows Media 9.
You can also specify crop settings at this point. "No crop" will cause your output video to be in the same format as your original DVD - in other words, a widescreen DVD will appear with a black bar above and below the video. You can choose to crop both black bands, which will cause your output video to completely fill the Zune player's screen.
Finally, we'll set the Resize options. "Keep original aspect ratio" is typically the preferred option here; the alternative option is "Stretch to full screen", which distorts your video in order to make it completely fill up your available screen space.
If you wish, you can also change the Output Folder - this is where Cucusoft will store the video file that it creates. You should be okay with the default, but if you want to change it, just click on the Output Folder button and navigate to the folder of your choice.
Insert DVD. Put your DVD in your PC's DVD drive, and click the Open DVD button. You'll be prompted to navigate to the DVD drive with the pop-up window shown below.
Play Movie. Press the Play button beneath the view screen. You'll see your movie start to play.
Ready to Record. In a moment, you'll see a popup window similar to the one shown below. Cucusoft is confirming that the video being viewed is really the one you want. If it isn't, press the "No" button, and use the DVD controls to get to the chapter or option (special feature, for example) that you're interested in.
From this window you can also edit the name of the created file, and move the slider to adjust the size and quality of the produced file.
Finally, you can instruct Cucusoft to start recording from the beginning of the video, or from the current frame being viewed. Normally, you'll want the default - i.e. to record from the beginning.
Recording. Now you'll see the scenes of your movie in the preview window, as your movie gets recorded. The progress ball shows how you're doing, and the status line below indicates the percentage complete as well as other conversion specifications.
Now let your system churn for a while. Depending on the power of your PC, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple hours to convert a feature-length movie.
Done! You'll see this window when the conversion is complete. Choose the first option to open the folder containing the newly-created file. (Choosing the second option will open that folder, and open Zune software.)
Now you can sync and play your movie on your Zune! Just connect your Zune player to your PC, and drag the converted video to your sync list. The transfer will go quickly because your converted video is already optimized for Zune. No time-consuming re-transcoding is needed with Cucusoft.
Optional. If you want to, you can view your created file by navigating to the output folder specified earlier. The image below shows the properties of this created video. Converted at the highest quality settings, it produced a 600MB .wmv file.
(Optional) View conversion log. If you're curious, you can view a log of the conversion results through the pulldown menu options. It shows the internal workings of each step of the conversion.
Convert from video files.
To convert video files that are already on your PC, select the second button from the main Cucusoft Suite screen.
Select files. You can convert multiple files at the same time; to do so, select Open file and select multiple files.
The selected files are then displayed in the Input Video pane.
You can change options by pressing the Advanced button.
Convert. Press the Convert button.
Done! You'll see the pop-up below when the conversion is complete.
Now you can sync and play your movie on your Zune!
The next time you sync, the video file will be transferred to your Zune player.
Here are a few special considerations that may apply to you:
- If you've turned off Automatic Sync in Zune software, you'll need to drag and drop the converted video file into the sync list, in order for the video to transfer to your player.
- If you're using Automatic Sync (the default mode in Zune software), the video will sync to your player automatically. If it does not, it may be because the converted video is not in one of the folders "watched" by Zune software (such as My Videos folder). In that case, you can either drag-and-drop the video file to your sync list, or move the video file to your My Videos folder. Or, if you prefer, you could add the output folder to your list of folders watched by Zune software.
Once the player is synced, you can watch your movie anytime on your Zune!