I know we all like to point, click and forget it, but there comes a time when the file we downloaded won't play, or won't play right. I'm talking about video files mainly but graphic files have their moments also. Between web-cam and camcorder users lots of videos are posted on the net for whatever purpose. I especially like podcasts how-to's, jazz groups and techie talk shows. From YouTube I can get them as .FLV files and on my Xubuntu Linux system play them with MPlayer or VLC. Yes, you have to have the proper codecs installed or some formats can't be viewed. Commercial DVD's need special codecs which are contained in a file off the net.
But let's say you want to convert your .FLV files to .MPG. Why? Because you might be able to copy to a CD/DVD and play them on your video player connected to your TV. Yes, without hooking your PC to your TV you can see custom made videos, slide shows and listen to music. Just pop in the prepaired CD or DVD into the TV's vid box and wah-lah!!!
Hey I didn't know I could do this either. I used a program called FFMPEG. It's a Linux program and it is command line driven. It's not that scary to use if you don't mind the Linux terminal, you'll get over it. Anyway ffmpeg will not only convert video and audio formats back and forth, it will turn a directory of jpeg photos into a slide show mpeg file you can watch on your TV.
The ideal thing is to have a DVD burner so that you have lots of room in case you are converting a long movie. You can go to the ffmpeg home page to see command structure and tweaks.
If you are an artist type or a photo bug, and you happen to have one of those wide screen TV's, you could see your own stuff big time. I wonder if you could blend in a sound track? Of course the best is to have a videocard with a S-video output, then you could easily plug into your big screen and not bother with converting. But I just wanted to let you know you could do these things in Linux.