MP4 File Format: Should You Use It for Videos?

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Melissa Lee updated on May 10, 2024 | Home > Glossary and Terms

The MP4 file format is one of the most commonly used multimedia file formats. We save and play most of the videos in this format. However, many of us don't really know this format. Therefore, this post will share the basics of this format with you in simple words.

What is an MP4 File Format?

MP4, or MPEG-4 Part 14, is a digital multimedia container format designed to store audio, video, and text data. Still images can also be contained in it. It was initially released in 2001 and lastly released in 2020. Moreover, it allows streaming over the Internet. The filename extension for it is .mp4. Most video-uploading platforms support this format, including YouTube and Vimeo.

Pros and Cons of MP4

MP4 has been one of the most popular video file formats since it was introduced. Is it the best video format? Well, it's hard to say. Every format has its pros and cons. Everyone should choose the most suitable format instead of the best format. Let's check the advantages and disadvantages of MP4 below:

😀Pros 😞Cons
  • Compress data without compromising on image quality.
  • Combine audio, image, and text data in a single format.
  • It can be used on multiple platforms like YouTube.
  • It can be integrated with 3D graphics.
  • It can be opened and played by many programs and applications.
  • It is difficult to edit and produce.
  • Audio can drift out of sync with the video.
  • Playback or editing MP4 takes up a lot of computer resources.

Is MP4 Compatible with Everything?

MP4 is broadly supported by almost all common operating systems, consumer electronic devices, and many multimedia playing programs. For instance, you can play MP4 on Mac and Windows computers. Also, you may edit and view it in programs like VLC Media Player and more. Portable devices like MP4 players also support this format.

However, Linux doesn't support MP4, as fresh Linux installations always make a system up & running with just the essentials. No codecs compatible with MP4 are offered.

MP4 vs MPEG-4

Although MP4 is often considered to be a short name for MPEG-4, they are not the same. MP4 is a digital container file, while MPEG-4 is the standard for encoding the video content within MP4 files. MP4 is usually compressed with the MPEG-4 codec, but not always. MPEG-4 can be applied to different file formats, including MP4, MOV, AVI, MKV, OGG, and MXF.

MP4 vs MPEG-4

The Bottom Line

After reading the whole article, we believe you have gained some basic information about MP4. Now, you may choose MP4 or other formats for saving and viewing videos and movies based on your own judgment. If you think this post is helpful in understanding MP4 format, please share it to help more people!


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Updated by Melissa Lee

Melissa is a sophisticated editor for EaseUS in tech blog writing. She is proficient in writing articles related to screen recording, video editing, and PDF file conversion. Also, she's starting to write blogs about data recovery, disk partitioning, data backup, etc.

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