Entertainment

What Is an MP4? Everything You Need to Know About Movie Files

4 Mins read

Despite the rise of new video formats, MP4 videos are still alive and well into the modern age. Their popularity has made them the most common video format out there.

If you’re confused about what an MP4 video file format is and what sets it apart, you aren’t alone.

Knowing the ins and outs of the MP4 is a must for anyone who dabbles in videos. We’ve compiled some nifty bits about the MP4 including how to open and convert them. If you keep on reading, you’ll be a video MP4 expert in no time.

What Is an MP4?

Any file with a .mp4 file extension is a Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) 4 video format. It’s created by ISO/IEC and MPEG using the ISO/IEC 14496-12:2001 standard. This lot of tech jargon means that it is the standard for audio-visual coding.

An MP4 is one of the most common video file formats, it’s everywhere from downloading videos from the internet to streaming online. You’ll see this video format used to share video files as it’s versatile. As a format, it compresses video and can store other data like audio, subtitles, and images.

Created in 2001 based on the .mov video file format; the current version has been in use since 2003. Its sizes are smaller in comparison, but these still maintain their quality when compressed. 

The MP4 file format has become more popular over the years. This is because it’s supported through PC and mobile browsers as well as the new HTML5 format. 

It’s regarded as a container for storing the data rather than the code itself. This means that it focuses on how to store the data in the container, not how the data’s encoded. 

How to Open MP4 Files

Almost every video player out there can support the .mp4 file format since it’s the industry standard. Regardless of what device you’re using, the built-in video player will work fine. So you don’t have to worry about installing a third-party video player. 

For Windows devices and macOS devices, it’s played on Windows Media Player and QuickTime respectively. To open the MP4 file, double click on the file in its location. Then the video will start playing on your default video player. 

If you have a third-party video player installed, it will most likely take association with any .mp4 files. Meaning it will use that automatically as well. If it doesn’t you can change the settings on your device or right-click and “Open With” that video player.

If you’re using a mobile device, locate the video in your files and tap the file. Most Android and iPhone devices support .mp4 files and have corresponding video players.

MP4 vs Other Video File Formats

MP4 isn’t the only video file format out there. Some other popular ones are .mov and .avi. You’re probably wondering what the differences are and what sets apart MP4 from the rest.

Let’s start with the differences between .mov and .mp4. The .mov file format is mostly used on Mac devices, as Apple is its proprietor. It was initially created for Apple’s default video player QuickTime and is specifically designed to work better on it. 

Although MP4 is the international standard, you might have to convert them on other devices. MOV files are usually larger in size and much higher in quality, making other devices prefer them. MOV files, however, lose that quality when compressed.

The .avi file is also larger compared to .mp4 files. It is more widely used on Windows or other devices with similar codecs. It has great image quality and is capable of wide distribution but is inflexible and bulky in comparison.

The Benefits of MP4

MP4, being so common, can run on a ton of platforms and devices. This makes it easier to distribute and share, especially when looking to download larger files like movies. 

Even if you do have a larger MP4 file, you can easily produce smaller file sizes as it has a high degree of compression. This makes it ideal for video streaming as it still holds most of its original quality. 

It also supports metadata (like the audio, subtitle, and image files) so you can integrate it with a 3D graphic. Additional features include user interaction features like navigation options and menus. Bottom line is: MP4 is extremely versatile in its data packaging

How to Convert to MP4

If you want to convert a video file format you have into an MP4 format, there are plenty of ways for you to do so. The first and easiest way is by using online MP4 converters. You can learn about converting to MP4 at https://setapp.com/how-to/convert-mov-to-mp4.

A great example is the Cloud Convert MP4 converter. They keep your data secured and support conversions from over 200 formats. You can even choose the quality and resolution that you want the video to have, as well as it’s file size. 

Like most converter sites, the first thing you need to do is set which format you’ll be converting from and to. Then click “Select File” on the page and choose the file you want to convert. 

Edit the settings like file size and quality then click “Convert.” Once it’s done converting, the file will be ready for you to download and open.

Another way to convert to MP4 is by using the popular video player app VLC Media Player. Open up the app and click on “Media” on the upper left corner. Add the file and click “Convert/Save” for the player to save it in a new format.

Enjoy MP4 Files and Other Video Formats Today

We hope that we were able to help you learn more about the MP4 video file format. Not only on what it is but methods you can use to manipulate them as well. There’s always more you can learn but hopefully, this is a good starting point for you.

If you enjoyed this article and found it informative, don’t hesitate to go over more of our articles. We discuss all sorts of topics, from technology to payday loans!

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