Useful Software List
AMVapp - All the stuff you can't do without when using DVD footage
AdvancedAVS Pack - All the stuff you can't do without when filtering with AVIsynth.
Virtualdub - The best avi capture and compression program there is.
TMPGEnc - The best MPEG1 compressor there is, also very good at MPEG2 compression.
XviD - An excellent open-source mpeg4 codec.
AVIsynth - Awesome virtual avi manipulation program, contained in the AMVapp but also available form here.
Exact Audio Copy - The best tool for extracting audio from CDs
Smartripper - My favourite DVD ripping program.
DVDDecrypter - Another excellent DVD ripping program, more recently updated.
LameMP3 - The best mp3 implementation around.
TooLAME - The best mp2 implementation around :)
BeSweet and the BeSweet GUI - Brilliant AC3/MP3/WAV decoder/encoder.
Audacity - Open source WAV editor.
CinemaCraft Encoder - Excellent but buggy and expensive MPEG1/2 encoder.
BitrateViewer - Handy tool for finding out information about DVD streams.
Ogg Vorbis - Superb audio compression tool, not recommended for amvs due to lack of coverage.
DivX5 - Not recommended as a compression codec, but handy for playback :)
ffdshow - excellent all-in-one movie decoder that handles every avi mpeg4 implementation you can think of
ZoomPlayer - feature-packed alternative to Windows Media Player
BSPlayer - another good media player alternative