I am trying to convert a movie I have from the avi format to an mkv format. I am fairly new to using avconv, but would like to use it to perform this conversion.

My real problem is knowing what settings to use such as the bitrate. Essentially all I want to do is change the format to allow my DVD player to play it.

In Windows I would normally use FormatFactory, which essentially allowed me to do a drag and drop conversion with no setting changes required. I essentially am trying to do that same thing in Ubuntu but with the command line.

2 Answers 2


I ended up using the following command, though there may be better solutions:

avconv -i input_movie_name.avi -c copy output_movie_name.mp4

I had to use mp4, as mkv was giving me issues.


Look the documentation for avconv. There is a "target" option. The safest for playing on a DVD should be to use the "-target dvd" option:

The problem with "-target dvd" is the size of the resulting file. But you can also try "-target vcd" and the alike. I don't know what extension you sould use, maybe someone could clarify this a little bit, but I guess this should work:

avconv -i myfile.avi -target dvd converted.mpg

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