How to Convert AVCHD M2TS Files

Jash writes, “I wish to convert M2TS / AVCHD files to an alternative format to send to people without the HDD software that comes with my Panasonic HDC-SD1. Is there a tool that will do this as most information is based around editing the files not converting them?”
At the moment, the best tools for converting files created using either the Panasonic or Sony AVCHD camcorders are the same tools used for editing the M2TS files. My personal preference is to use Sony Vegas for converting the files from AVCHD to whatever other format you want to work with, specifically because the interface makes it simple to either save the movie to a second format or do some additional processing if you want to crop the 16:9 video to 4:3 for standard definition conversion. Pinnacle Studio will also do something similar, but I like the Sony output configuration better.

To make it work, simply add the files you want to convert to the Sony Vegas project media by choosing File > Import > Media and browse to your video. Drag the video to the video timeline. Choose File >Make Movie and step through the settings to convert to the format you want.