Since I'm working on a 4.5 year old PC at home, I find the automatic Zune video transcoding a bit slow. I was able to figure out some Zune compatible settings for Windows Media Encoder and I've tweaked them to run a bit faster (probably at the expense of some quality.) I'm working on an app that will monitor my video podcast folder and automatically fire up WME to encode the videos, but for now, all I have is a batch file.
pushd .c:\cd "\program files\windows media components\encoder\"cscript wmcmd.vbs -a_codec WMA9STD -a_setting 128_44_2 -v_bitrate 600000 -v_width 320 -v_height 240 -v_codec WMV9 -v_framerate 29.97 -v_mode 0 -input %1 -output %1.wmvpopd
I tracked down these settings from the Zune media provider page. Some of them can be tweaked like the audio and video bit rates and codecs. The width and height must either be 320x240 or 320x180. Play around with it and find something that works well for you. I'll post my monitoring application if I ever get it working to my satisfaction.
The video coming out of this batch file looks great and it encodes almost in real time (on a P4 2.4GHz with 1GB DDR RAM.) Someday I'll have that shiny new quad core machine and I'll fly through the video transcoding.
[UPDATE] Removed an extra quotation mark at the end of the cscript command.
[UPDATE 1/4/07] Don't hold your breath waiting for that automatic encoding program I mention in this post. I got my new machine and the automatic Zune transcoding flies. I have Doppler set up to pull down all my podcasts and then the Zune software watches those folder and transcodes in the background.