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Zamzar.com: Free online file conversion

Wednesday - 12/19/2012, 5:57am  ET

zamzar.jpg
Uploading files for conversion only takes seconds - just try not to get distracted by those ads that somehow always know your interests. (Zamzar screenshot)

Video to audio conversion sample

Lacey Mason/WTOP

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Lacey Mason, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Times change and so do video file formats. Unfortunately, not all computers speak the same language.

But don't worry. WTOP is here with a website to set you and your files free.

If you've ever taken an awesome video with your iPhone and sent it to Grandpa, you know what I mean. For some reason his eMachines desktop that's still rocking Windows 95 "...encountered a problem while playing the file."

It was a common problem in college, too. Somehow, despite the syllabus and reminders, students often "accidently" sent their term paper as a .docx file instead of as an .rtf.

Zamzar fixes all those problems. The no-cost site lets users convert files of almost any type and up to 100 MB in size in a secure setting. If you'd like to sign up, prices vary and additional services are offered. Check out the price plans here.

In my world, the site is best for audio and video files - especially when something is sent in by phone. Rather than paying for converters or using conversion software that's specific to certain file types, Zamzar lets me quickly upload a video and then it emails me the file. If I want to convert a video into audio, it does that for me as well.

It's not just video, though. Word documents, PDFs, TIFFs, MP3s, FLAC files - almost any kind of music, video, e-book, compressed format, image or document you can think of can be converted.

You can even convert CAD formats, and I have no idea what those are! Check out the full list here.

In some cases, URLs also can be entered into the site for conversion.

For example, I wanted to convert this old project from college into audio and another file format after losing the original. I just pasted the URL in, chose my format and - voilà.

When converting for audio, I expected the quality to be degraded due to the new format. But I was pleasantly surprised not to notice any. Listen to the audio clip for comparison.

One note, and sorry to burst any bubbles: You can't paste links to YouTube videos for conversion and download (that'd be too easy anyway).

The service is free and you don't need to sign up. If you do sign up though, ads go away and you can upload larger files. Zamzar stores files for 24 hours.

All in all, Zamzar is a reliable website with plenty of options. Now, you can simply send Grandpa the right video format right off the bat.

Just don't let any college professors in on the secret.

Follow @LaceyWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)