There is a difference between a Video converter and an Editor,Video Converters just change the graph points and pin assignments to a video where as a Video editor creates this to give the best production.
a)Fair enough Vegas is one of the fastest editing application after Avid Media Composer faster than Premiere or FCP.So Vegas loves to keep quality in its products.
b)Our studio uses Total Video Converter and Xillisoft,both are premium...or try Handbrake we make ultra compressed HD content through Handbrake.
c)This is the setting that we render in our studio(All our softwares are Sony's)
Home Video(Events,Wedding and stuff like that)
BitRate 10,00,000 Mbps
m2ts or Print to Tape
Same as Home but resolutions maybe changed to 720x480 and bit rate to 2Mbps[We send them to the channels through SSDS]
Hope I Helped