Out of all the MPEG-2 encoders on the market, only a handful are suitable for professional use. Of those, prices generally range from $50 to nearly $2,000. However, in the last two years a new encoder has been added to that prestigious list, and unlike the others it doesn't cost anything. The software in question is Hank's Encoder, more commonly known as HC.
Like other good MPEG encoders, HC has options for encoding with little user input into settings. However, if you know what you're doing, and like to tweak settings to get exactly the results you want, HC is worth a look. Befpre you start changing a bunch of settings you'll want to make sure you have a basic understanding of digital video, especially MPEG-2 compression. Our Digiital Video Fundamentals guides can help you get started with the basics if you're a complete novice.
Application TabsHC's settings are spread across a number of tabs within the program. Despite being a very compact program, this approach allows a lot of settings to be condensed into a small space. Many of HC's settings are derived from other encoders, including support for AviSynth scripts and custom quantization matrices. However, since the goal of HC was partly an exercise in implementation of MPEG specs, instead of being designed for a specific application like DVD or SVCD, there are other settings that are MPEG-2 compliant, but not really implemented in other encoders.
Digital Video Fundamentals Guides