∞ Roxio's Popcorn 4 helps Mac users convert video

Roxio on Tuesday announced the release of Popcorn 4, a new version of its video conversion software based on technology developed for Roxio’s popular CD and DVD burning software, Toast. Popcorn costs $49.99, with upgrades available for previous users. It’s expected to debut at retail in early November.

Popcorn helps you import and convert personal video content from capture devices like Elgato’s DVR interfaces for the Mac. You can also import Internet video from various Web sites, and use unprotected content on DVDs. (Converting commercial DVD movies with copyright protection usually involves an additional step, like using “ripping” software.)

Popcorn 4 supports the AVCHD and AVCHD-Lite video codecs, used by some high-definition camcorders. It also supports Flash on the Web. It also supports Elgato’s Turbo.264 HD, a USB-based hardware accelerator that speeds up the conversion of video. You can now schedule long conversion projects, and preview converted files prior to doing a full conversion.

New to Popcorn 4 is a new list of device profiles for export, including the Palm Pre and new iPod nano, Nintendo Wii and Sony PSPgo handheld gaming system. Selecting the device in the list optimizes the video output in Popcorn for that device.

The software includes Batch Fit-to-DVD, which lets you queue up multiple DVD-Video folders to fit on a single DVD-5 (single layer) or DVD-9 (dual-layer) disc. You can create custom DVD menus and use personal photos as the background. Also included is Disc Cover RE 2, which lets you create customized DVD labels. LightScribe and Labelfiash-equipped drives and media are supported.

Mac2TiVo lets you stream content from your TiVo DVR to your Mac, and TiVoToGo lets you convert TiVo content for playback on a portable device.

Popcorn 4 works with Mac OS X 10.5 or later, including Snow Leopard.