5 Important Video Formats That You Should Know About


As you may be aware, videos can be stored in many different formats. The video format includes both a container and a codec, and affects its compatibility, compression, and the features that it supports.

While there are lots of video formats out there, some are far more popular than others – and normally for good reason. That is why it is a good idea to know about some of the more important formats that you may need to use at some point or other:

  • MP4 with H.264

For some time now this format has been the most popular and widely-supported format. Because it is compatible with most devices and preferred by most online platforms, it is generally used for distributing or publishing video content.

At this point the H.264 codec is over a decade old however, and as such there are many newer codecs that provide better compression. In time it is likely to be supplanted by one of them, but as of right now none have the same level of support that it does.

  • MP4 or MKV with H.265

As the successor to H.264, H.265 is viewed as its natural replacement – but various issues have delayed its adoption. It provides much better compression rates than H.264, and is able to reduce the size of its video files by up to 50%.

In recent years the format has started to gain more support, but MP4 with H.264 is still preferred by many platforms.

  • MPEG-4 Part 2

The MPEG-4 Part 2 codec is older than H.264 (which is technically the equivalent of MPEG-4 Part 10). It is still used however, mostly to cater to older devices that may have issues playing H.264 videos.

  • MPEG-2

Comparatively the MPEG-2 codec is practically ancient at this point and was first released way back in 1996. It remains relevant largely because it is the format used by video DVDs and although some DVD players support other formats – most do not.

  • MP4 or MKV with AV1

Although AV1 was only recently released, its adoption has been rapid due to the fact it was developed by the AOMedia consortium whose members include many tech giants. It is open source, royalty-free, and offers superior compression rates – even compared to H.265.

While it is still a few years from being fully adopted and won’t have hardware support for at least another year or two – it stands a good chance of eventually supplanting H.264 and H.265.

By knowing about each of these formats, you should be able to more easily decide which format you want to use. After that you can convert your video into that format, and for example you could convert MOV to MP4 online using Online Video Converter.

It should be noted that new video formats are constantly being released, and may supplant some of the formats listed above. Normally it does take several years for video codecs to be adopted however – which will give you time to prepare.


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