Here is a list of some of the tools that I both use and talk about on a regular basis. I have found that a number of my readers have asked me time and time again for a general reference page for a variety of the tools out there. The fact is, there are a LOT of programs out on the interwebs that deal with video, audio, subtitles, and everything else you can imagine.
This page is updated pretty regularly, so all of the links should work. In addition, I will be adding more and more tools as time passes, so be sure to check back regularly!
An excellent alternative to FFDShow, LAVFilters is a streamlined DirectShow decoding filter set, with support for 10-bit decoding and hardware acceleration via DXVA, NVidia CUVID, and Intel QuickSync. While it may not offer the post-processing options that FFDShow does, it's decoding support and speed are excellent. Linky.
Similar to LAVFitlers, FFDShow is a DirectShow decoding package that supports a multitude of video codecs (even more than LAVFilters). It offers additional features such as post-processing, noise removal, sharpening, an much more. Linky.
Haali's Media Splitter§
Another one of those dynamite tools that everyone should have installed. This splitter is most often used when playing back MP4 and MKV files. If you are having problems playing back an MP4 or MKV file, then I suggest you install this ASAP. Linky.
General Encoding Tools§
This program is actually an advanced scripting language specifically designed for working with video (and some audio). It is very powerful and can be a little intimidating for some in the beginning. The fact is, most people never write a single line of code when using it! A lot of the time, any of the encoding GUI's that you are using will handle all of the details for you. All they need is to have the program installed! But, if you are curious about some of the more advanced things you can do with video (and believe me, they can get VERY advanced) then by all means look at the documentation that comes installed with the program. You won't be disappointed. Linky.
General Encoding GUI's§
MeGUI has been around for a long time. It's still actively developed, and has a plethora of features available. I have done several guides on its use here on Adubvideo, so a quick search should find you plenty of things to get started. I still use this program on a weekly basis and it just seems to be getting better and better. Some say that it has a learning curve to it, but I've never had any problems whatsoever. Linky.
As the name implies, HDConvertToX can convert just about anything to just about anything else. It's not quite as pretty of a GUI as say RipBot or MeGUI, but it can certainly get the job done. Its got some nice features such as automatic anamorphic signalling and chapter extraction, plus you can tweak the heck out of the entire encoding process. Again, I seriously recommend this program if you are doing a lot of encoding (as it supports presets). Linky.
Definitely one of the prettiest of all of the encoding GUI's available, RipBot is designed with a specific user set in mind. New users. It abstracts away a lot of the more advanced video compression options and simplifies many of the intricacies of video conversion. I use it from time to time, when encoding with specific constraints. It has a number of presets built in for specific devices (think iPod/iPad and Blu-ray/PS3's) and just plain works. Great for the quick encodes. Linky.
Loved by many in the community for it's cross-platform support and preset system, this encoding package may be the most used out of all those above. The reason is that there are tons of tutorials about its use all over the net (including my own). It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux, and offers excellent anamorphic encoding support, in addition to pre-built presets for many Apple products and several video filters (deinterlace, decomb, deblock, etc...). It's not my favorite program in the world, but it sure gets the job done for many newcomers to the encoding world. Linky.
Blu-ray Specific Tools§
This was one of the first Blu-ray ready packages to hit the encoding scene. Created by the author of DVD Rebuilder (still one of the best DVD encoding packages available in my opinion...) it offers a relatively complete encoding solution for those who want to backup their Blu-rays to Blu-ray or AVCHD disks. In recent versions, there has even been encoding support added for iPad-compatible MP4 files and other external devices. Currently free while in beta testing, get it while it's hot! Linky.
BDtoAVCHD is an excellent video encoding GUI for converting Blurays and AVCHDs to MKV or a compressed form of Blurary or AVCHD. It's entirely self contained and requires no additional dependencies, unlike BDRebuilder's requirement of FFDShow and Avisynth. The GUI is clean and easy to use and quite feature complete. It even supports 3D processing! Linky.
Another big encoding package designed specifically for Blu-rays, this "little program that could" really can do pretty much anything with Blu-rays. It can re-author (strip something out and still keep the menu's), encode to SD-DVD (so that you can play the movie in your standalone DVD player), or just create a sweet HD menu setup for all of your favorite clips. With support for over 250 different video titles, this program will encode and compile a Blu-ray or AVCHD compatible disk with little configuration. I've done a few tutorials using it in the past (here and here). Linky.
VSO Bluray to DVD§
This is a simple to use little program that pretty much does what it's title says it will. It converts a Blu-ray to a standard DVD. I use it for quick conversion jobs, as it's interface is straight forward, and conversion only takes a few hours, with the output looking sharper than several other programs that I have tried. Here is a download link or visit the website here.
I've been using this decryption package for a long time, and it hasn't NOT worked on anything I've ever thrown at it. With regular updates and a very active user community, I'd recommend this program quicker than you can say "AnyDVD HD". Linky.
Another heavy hitter when it comes to the decryption scene. This program has been running in direct competition against AnyDVD for ages, and its proven to be a healthy competition. Newer versions offer Blu-ray support and there is even a free version available (with one caveat: the free versions decryption routines are one month behind the paid version). Linky.
I will be adding more tools and sections over time, so be sure to check back if you are curious!