MP4: Here’s what you need to know about the most popular video format

One of the most common names in the world of video extensions is .mp4. According to Wikipedia, MP4 of MPEG-4 Part 14 is a digital multimedia container format that facilitates users to store a ton of video and audio data in small-sized files.

Almost everyone who uses their computer to view videos has come across the MP4 file type. This file is very versatile, as it runs on all major platforms, including Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS.

This article will take a closer look at what an MP-4 file is, the different ways users can play this file, its advantages and disadvantages, and many other aspects. So let’s dive right in.

What is meant by MP4?

MP4 is a universally-used multimedia file storage variant that facilitates storing and streaming videos. It is a global standard for video files and is compatible with an extensive range of devices and platforms. It is the container format that functions as the shell of a video.

It contains all the data required to play a video. Any video file is optimized or is made compatible with different devices and platforms by undergoing an encoding process.

MP-4 video files are highly compressed, so they are smaller compared to other video formats. In addition, it offers a high-quality video post-compression because both audio and video components of the file are compressed individually.

How to Play an MP4 File:

As mentioned earlier, an MP4 is very versatile, and therefore, it is supported on all major platforms, i.e., you can easily play the file on almost every platform or device. For instance, if you are a Windows user, you can use the operating system’s default media player to open and play MP4 files.

On the other hand, if you want to know how to play MP4 on Mac, numerous ways facilitate playing an MP4 file, one of which is using macOS’s native QuickTime player. When it comes to mobile operating systems, both iOS and Android offer numerous applications that support the MP4 file.

What are the Features of MP4?

  • The MP4 container is an open-source format that anybody can use to store audio and video data.
  • It delivers top-notch crisp, accurate, and bold images, so it is a standard video type for recording anything.
  • It is a versatile container format compatible with all major platforms and devices.
  • When it comes to streaming online videos, MP-4 is the most preferred format as it does not consume much space.
  • The original quality of an MP-4 video is preserved even after being converted.
  • Every popular video-based program offers support for MP 4 as it is universally standard.
  • It is highly compressible.

What are the Advantages of MP4?

One of the most significant advantages of the MP4 format is that it presents a wide range of functionalities to the user. The majority of the websites can conveniently host MP 4 files without facing any issues. Moreover, anyone watching an MP 4 video or downloading it does not face any inconvenience since the container format is supported by almost every platform and device.

Users who download an MP 4 file do not need external software to open or view the file. Besides this, the high-compression feature of MP 4 makes it more manageable than other formats. The quality of the content remains intact, so most of the video-based content is present in MP 4 form.

Whether a video requires 3D visuals or other interactive elements, this format makes it convenient for editors to add them since it supports metadata.

What are the Disadvantages of MP4?

Apart from having various advantages, the format has numerous disadvantages as well. One of the most significant disadvantages is that it relies heavily on different codecs. Compatibility differences in codecs could distort the audio and spoil the overall appeal of the video.

Secondly, since the file type stores lots of content in addition to information, it can consume a lot of power during the editing process or even while playing. Even though MP4 is highly compatible with viewing, it lags significantly behind in terms of editing and exporting.

MP4 files do not get conveniently uploaded in editing software compared to other video formats. This, in turn, leads to issues regarding the quality of the edited product. This is one of the main reasons professional filmmakers do not use the format extensively. Finally, the easy availability and portability of the video format have made the illegal distribution of content (piracy) very common.

Just like other video formats, MP4 has its advantages and shortcomings. However, the popularity of the standard video format has exponentially grown over the last decade primarily because it offers excellent flexibility and convenience as most media players are compatible with the file type.


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