Can HandBrake Passthrough Videos?

Author: Kevincy
Publish date
Mar 25, 2024
Can HandBrake Passthrough Video
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Quick Navigation
1. What is Video Passthrough?
2. The Verdict on HandBrake Video Passthrough
3. Why HandBrake Cannot Passthrough Video?
4. A Reliable Alternative for Video Passthrough

What is Video Passthrough?

When it comes to video processing, one term that frequently pops up is "passthrough". Video passthrough, also known as direct stream copy or remux, is the process of transferring a video file from one container to another without re-encoding the video streams.

This technique is particularly useful when you want to change the video container or format without altering the original video quality. It is a time-saving and resource-efficient way of handling video files, especially for large files or those with high bitrates.

The Verdict on HandBrake Video Passthrough

HandBrake is a widely-used, open-source video transcoder known for its versatility. Many people assume video passthrough is possible with the popular application, but the truth is HandBrake has its clear limitations.

As per HandBrake's official documentation, "HandBrake Does Not pass-through video without conversion (video is always converted)."

This means that HandBrake will always re-encode the video stream during the transcoding process, even if you choose the same output format as the input file.

Can HandBrake Pass Thru Video
Can HandBrake Pass Thru Video

Why HandBrake Cannot Passthrough Video?

The reason behind this limitation is that HandBrake is primarily designed for transcoding and optimizing video files for various platforms and devices. Its core functionality involves re-encoding the video stream to achieve specific goals, such as reducing file size, changing codecs, or adjusting aspect ratios.

From a user expectation standpoint, the feature seems to be necessary, but HandBrake is an open source project with pros and cons, few contributors have time and energy to implement the video pass thru feature.

Even more, it may conflict with other features. There is also a small chance of bugs or compatibility issues during HandBrake video passthrough that could further affect quality and deteriorate user experiences.

While some guides or tutorials may claim that you can use HandBrake for video passthrough, it is important to note that these claims are inaccurate and should be disregarded.

A Reliable Alternative for Video Passthrough

For those seeking a reliable method for video passthrough, WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro presents itself as a robust alternative. It not only allows you to copying videos without re-encoding, thus preserving the original quality, but also provides advanced features for video editing, compression, and optimization. Here are the simple steps to passthrough videos:

Free download Download for Free
Free download Download for Free
  • Install and runInstall and run the program, then open the "Converter" module.
  • Add the video files you want to passthrough by clicking the "Add Files" button.
  • Unfold the full list of 500+ configured output presets on the right side.
  • Navigate to the "Video" category and choose the desired format, such as MP4 or MKV.
  • If the conditions are satisfied (i.e., the output format is compatible with the input video codec and resolution), a lightning icon will appear in the middle of the video conversion bar, indicating that the video will be passed through without re-encoding. If the lightning icon is not visible, you can open the "Parameter settings" and modify the video encoder to be consistent with the original source.
  • Choose a save location for the output files.
  • Click the "Run" button to start batch copying the videos without re-encoding.

The Lightning Mode of WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro enables you to batch copy hundreds of video files between any devices or formats up to 4K, while keeping the original quality, timing, bitrates intact for the exact duplicated experience. The process takes just a fraction of the time transcoding would with zero quality loss.

Best Alternative for HandBrake Video Passthrough
Best Alternative for HandBrake Video Passthrough


Q1: Can HandBrake perform video passthrough for MKV files?

A: No, HandBrake cannot perform video passthrough for any file format, including MKV.

Q2: Can HandBrake passthru DVDs?

A: No, HandBrake cannot passthrough DVD videos. The process of ripping or copying videos from a DVD involves decoding the video stream from the DVD, which are typically in the MPEG-2 format. HandBrake then re-encodes the video into a different video format, such as H.264.

Q3: Is it possible to passthrough audio with HandBrake?

A: Yes, HandBrake can pass thru several different audio formats: AC3, E-AC3, DTS (Limited player compatibility in MP4), DTS-HD (Limited player compatibility in MP4), TrueHD (Limited player compatibility in MP4), FLAC (MKV files only), AAC, MP3, MP2, Opus.

Q4: How does video passthrough benefit the editing process?

A: Passthrough maintains the original video quality and saves considerable time, as re-encoding can be a lengthy process, especially with high-resolution content.

Q5: Does video passthrough work for all video formats?

A: No, video passthrough is generally limited to certain combinations of input and output formats. The success of the passthrough process depends on the compatibility between the input video codec and the chosen output container format.

Q6: Can I passthrough videos with embedded subtitles or multiple audio tracks?

A: Yes, WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro supports passthrough for videos with embedded subtitles and multiple audio tracks, ensuring that these elements are preserved in the output file.

Wrapping Up

While HandBrake is a powerful tool for video transcoding and optimization, it falls short in the video passthrough feature. However, an excellent alternative - WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro fill this gap. With its user-friendly interface, wide format support, and batch processing capabilities, it streamlines the process of copying videos while maintaining their original quality and metadata. Whether you're working with large video files or simply want to change the container format without re-encoding, this tool provides an efficient and reliable solution.

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  • Batch convert video to 500+ presets.
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  • Compress large-sized videos with high quality.
  • Modify video/audio parameters.
  • Make animated GIFs from video or image sequence.
  • Make ringtones, add/extract subs, make split-screen video & more...
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