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You can spend hours creating stunning videos, but it will mean nothing if viewers cannot enjoy watching them. That’s precisely why selecting one of the best and most compatible video formats is incredibly crucial.

What’s more, 2023 is expected to be a year when well-crafted videos will drive 82% of the global consumer traffic

Choosing a suitable video file format offers the highest quality and makes sure that the file size is compressed. At present, you’ll come across myriad video format types that are sure to leave you overwhelmed and perplexed. 

Here’s a guide to ensure that you select the appropriate video format for uploading and storing your videos online. 

Also, Read: How to Extract Audio from Video (5+ Methods)

Container and Codec – Definitions 

Before delving into the individual video formats, it is vital to understand the following basic terms – 

  • Container: Video formats are file containers because they contain different content. Besides video and audio files, a container also has subtitles or menu structures. When a video is played, the container’s elements are decoded. 
  • Codec: Codecs are utilized to compress the files found within a container. It affects the size and quality of the files. When a video is played, the appropriate codec is used to decompress the files in the container. 

Also, Read: 5 Best Video Players for Windows PC

Video Editing

Different Video Formats and Their Benefits 

MKV (or Matroska Video)

MKV is a video format that stores several subtitle tracks and audio in one file. It is based on open specification, and nothing is known to be patented.


Developed by Multimedia Container Format (MCF), MKV got its big break when Windows announced in 2014 that it plans to support this video format and offer technical support. 

One of the most significant advantages of MKV is the relatively small file size with premium-quality footage. However, the drawback of this video format is that MKV files don’t work with all devices, and you cannot upload the files to YouTube.

Furthermore, MKV files are difficult to stream. This is one of the reasons why a lot of people are converting MKV files to MP4 files. If you wish to do the same, you can check out the guide on setapp.com

Video editors compatible with MKV include VideoProc, Movavi Video Editor Plus, and Kdenlive, among others. 

MP4

MP4 is a multimedia file format that stores digitally-encoded audio and video files. It is developed by MPEG and ISO/IEC.

The primary objective of creating MP4 was creating a file container that’ll store low-data video and audio files for streaming across the World Wide Web.

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As a result, most devices and digital platforms today support MP4 and give it the reputation of being one of the best universal video file formats. 

QuickTime and Windows Media Player are the most renowned programs to play MP4 files. VLC and other applications also support MP4. 

The advantages of using MP4 file format are:

  • The ease of streaming video on the Internet.
  • Multiple file support and storage.
  • Less quality loss with higher compression levels.
  • Playing on varied media players. 

MOV

MOV, also known as QuickTime File Format (QTFF), saves video files and movies. Similar to MP4, a MOV video is compressed or encoded with a MPEG-4 codec.

The MOV video format can store audio, video, animation, graphics, 3D, virtual reality, subtitles, timecodes, and text. However, the drawback is that the quality of the files is so high that they occupy a lot of space on the computer or handheld device. 

QuickTime program, iTunes, VLC player, Windows media player, and Elmedia player are some programs that play MOV files.

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Some of the pros of this video file format are its compatibility with other platforms and codecs, perfect for sharing files across the Internet and allowing users to not just store but also edit and files quickly. 

In some ways, MP4 is viewed as the descendent of MOV, and since the former uses similar compression methods without taking up a lot of space, it is usually a more preferred option than the latter. 

AVI

AVI is one of the oldest video file formats and is admired for its fantastic versatility. It was specifically created to ensure its compatibility with Windows, Linux, and Mac, along with web browsers.

In addition, it easily stores video and audio data for playback purposes. 

The well-known programs to play AVI files are RealPlayer, VLC player, JetVideo, SM Player, and KM Player. 

A significant drawback of AVI is its larger file size which restricts the files from being used for video streaming websites or portal devices. 

Conclusion 

When it comes to choosing the best video format, a one-size-fits-all approach is not helpful. Instead, it comes down to the requirements for your video, the software you use, the distribution channels, and so on.

Plus, you have to consider the device or browser where your video files will be viewed. Hopefully, being aware of the different video formats available, their features, and their benefits will help you make an informed decision. 

Also, Read: How to Convert YouTube Videos to MP3

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