What is an MP4 file

mp4fileAn MP4 file is a file format for storing digital multimedia including video, audio, still images, subtitles and other data. It is a container format which contains both the data and the codec that is used to encode and decode it. MP4 files allow the data they contain to be streamed over the internet or played on an MP4 player. MP4 files require relatively low bandwidth and if uses highly efficient compression codecs for audio and video that are able to preserve the quality of the content. The usual video codecs are MPEG-4 codecs or H.264 while audio is usually compressed with AAC. MP4 was based on QuickTime file format, and is very similar apart from the fact that unlike QuickTime file formats MP4 files are not encrypted with Fairplay Digital Rights Management that Apple uses to copyright content hosted on the iTunes platform.

Part 1: How to Convert MP4 file

MP4 files can be supported by a lot of applications like QuickTime and a variety of hardware devices, such as Microsoft Zune portable media player etc. However, in most cases, you may probably come across MP4 incompatibility issue. To handle this situation when you can't play MP4 on a device or an application, you have to convert MP4 to a compatible format with a great Video Converter ( Video Converter for Mac ).

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Step 1 Add MP4 videos to the video converter

Go to "Convert" tab, and in the submenu, select the "Add Files" option. At this time, you can browse the computer. Just navigate to the fold where your MP4 files are, and then select the ones you want to import to this app.

mp4 video converter

Step 2 Choose an output format you want

On the Output Format panel, just click the "Format" image icon to open the output format list. Here, you'll see almost all popular formats or devices are sorted into different categories. Just choose one according to your need.

mp4 video converter

Step 3 (Optional) Edit MP4 files

Select the video item, click "Edit" button, you will open the interface below which is a two real-time preview windows to see the differences before and after you editing the videos.

Crop: customize the frame size (16:9, 4:3 etc) and cut off black margins of the videos.
Effect: Set the brightness, contrast, saturation, Amplifier of the video and apply different effect styles (Gray, Emboss, Negative, etc).
Watermark: Add image or text watermark to the MP4 video.
Subtitles: Enable the plug-in subtitles or customized subtitles .

mp4 to mpeg 2 converter

Step 4 Start MP4 conversion

Click "Convert" to start converting MP4 to the format you want. When the conversion is done, click "Open Folder" to find the output files. Now, you can transfer the converted files to your devices or applications etc for uses.

Part 3: How to play MP4 files

mp4 video converterTo play MP4 files smoothly, there are three different things you must have, a splitter that is used to access the audio and video data, decoders, and meida player. For Windows users, the built-in playback software, Windows Media Player, can't play MP4 files on its own fresh out of the box. So some necessary tweaking need to be done. After that, it can "split" the MP4 file to access video and audio data, and then is able to decode the audio and video streams and play the file.

Part 3: Compare MP4 with different formats like MKV, AVI and more

MP4 vs MKV

MP4 and MKV are both multimedia container file formats, and their important differences are in the different codecs they are able to contain. MKV refers to the Matroska Multimedia Container which is an open standard and entirely free to use, while MP4 is a proprietary standard. MKV has more flexibility with regard to the codecs that can be used.

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MP4 vs AVI

MP4 and MKV are both multimedia container file formats and as such they contain both data and codecs. The main difference between them is the different codecs they are able to contain. Through Microsoft Video Services AVI files are able to contain just about all codecs, while MP4 video codecs are typically MPEG, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.263, VC-1 and Dirac.

Other differences are that while MP4 files include streaming support and DVD type menu support, AVI files don’t.

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MP4 vs MP3

The main difference between MP4 and MP3 is that while MP4 is a multimedia container file format, MP3 is an encoding format for audio that uses lossy compression to reduce the audio data required while maintaining high quality. MP3 cannot encode video, but it is the standard audio compression for most digital audio players.

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MP4 vs M4V

While both MP4 and M4V are multimedia container files, MP4 is aimed mainly at streaming multimedia over the internet; M4V was designed specifically for Apple devices such as the iPhone, and iPod and the format used in the iTunes store. M4V files are copyrighted and can only be played on authorised computers and other devices. Apart from the copyright issues, technically there is very little difference between MP4 and M4V.

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MP4 vs WMV

While MP4 is a multimedia container files, WMV (Windows Media) is a video compression format that is used in a number of Microsoft codecs. WMV was developed for streaming video over the internet. WMV files are generally encapsulated in ASF containers though it can also be encapsulated in AVI containers.

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MP4 vs FLV

While both FLV to MP4 are containers for video and audio streaming, FLV is used extensively in video streaming in websites such as YouTube. Unlike MP4, FLV is unable to support menus, captions, multiple/selectable subtitles, and chaptering. In addition FLV isn’t fully compatible with H.264, so it can’t be used for streaming high definition video.

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MP4 vs MOV

MP4 and MOV are multimedia container files, the main differences being MOV was developed by Apple for QuickTime, while MV4 is an international standard. In a QuickTime environment there is virtually no difference between MP4 and MOV but otherwise MP4 has more support. MP4 was developed after MOV and to a large extent it is based on it. Both are able to use the same codecs.

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MP4 vs MPEG4

There is often confusion as to the difference between MP4 and MPEG4, but they are in fact very different. While the “MPEG4 Part 14” standard defines MP4, the MPEG4 standard refers to a group of video and audio coding formats defined by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Currently 31 different standards are defined in MPEG4. Essentially MPEG4 is a tool set for encoding.


AVCHD is a file container format that was developed for camcorders, though today many camcorders will produce either AVCHD or MP4 formats. The former is used mainly for creating AVCHD or Blu-ray recordings for viewing on an HDTV while the latter is used for streaming video over the internet. Both can use the same codecs, for instance AVC (H.264).

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How to Convert AVCHD to MP4

Comparison of different formats

Format Size Quality Common Usage Recommended video sharing sites Compatibility with mobile device default browsers
MP4 Small to medium depending on definition Can handle high definition. Codecs include MPEG2, MPEG4 H.264, H.263, Dirac, etc. Video/Audio streaming


MySpace Videos; MetaCafe; DailyMotion; iPikz
MKV Small to medium depending on definition Can handle most high definition. Codecs Video/Audio streaming


MySpace Videos; MetaCafe; DailyMotion; iPikz
Not compatible
AVI Small to medium depending on definition


Able to handle most codecs

Viewing website content.

Video/Audio streaming


MySpace Videos; MetaCafe; DailyMotion; iPikz
Not compatible
MP3 Very small Audio only Audio SoundCloud Compatible
M4V Small to medium depending on definition High definition Video/Audio streaming DailyMotion Not compatible
WMV Small to medium depending on definition High quality Streaming video 


MySpace Videos; MetaCafe;  DailyMotion; iPikz
Not compatible
FLV Small Can only handle standard definition. Codecs are Sorenson, VP6, Screen Video, H.264, MPEG-4 AVC Video/Audio streaming


MySpace Videos; MetaCafe;  DailyMotion; iPikz
Not compatible
MOV Small to medium depending on definition High Video/Audio streaming


MySpace Videos; MetaCafe;  DailyMotion; iPikz
Not compatible
MPEG4 Small to large High Video/Audio streaming Not applicable Not compatible
AVCHD Medium to large High Blu-Ray Not applicable Not compatible


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