Thanks for suggesting AutoGK. It helped me figured out the problem. It's my computer. I have an ancient Toshiba laptop with a 1.1 Ghz Celeron processor and only 256 MB of RAM.
I converted "Executive Decision", a 2 hour movie with both Anyvideoconverter and AutoGK and it's a toss up. File size vs quality. I'll keep tinkering around with settings to find an acceptable compromise. Either way, conversion time is going to be extremely long.
File Size: 616 MB
Video Size: 720 X 480
Frame Rate: 30 FPS
Conversion Time: 12 hours
Experienced some minor pixelation for a few seconds during various parts of the movie. But only while viewing full screen.
File Size: 1.6 GB
Video Size: 608 X 464
Frame Rate: 23 FPS
Conversion Time: 10 hours
Quality was excellent, but the audio wouldn't play in WMP11, so I had to use VLC player to view it. The audio source was a AC3 file, but I used Auto for audio quality, so it should have converted it to mp3 according to the Auto GK instructions. I probably need to update my codecs for WMP11.