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MP4 vs H.264 - What's the Difference Between MP4 and H.264 Files?

H.264 vs MP4, I wonder what's the difference between MP4 and H.264. Which one should I choose when trying to convert my videos or rip my DVD to digital?

Since I'm so blind to video formats, I often ask my friends about which format is better when I use some DVD rippers like WinX DVD Ripper Platinum to rip my movie DVDs. And some suggest me to rip DVD to MP4 file while some to H.264 video. I'm really so confused about it, please tell me what's the difference between MP4 and H.264??? Thanks a million!

Table of Content

Part 1: Definition of Both MP4 and H.264

What is MP4?

MP4 - a container format, full name is MPEG-4 Part 14, written as .mp4. MP4 is undoubtedly the most popular video format at present, because it allows a combination of audio, video, subtitles and images to be held in the one single file. Moreover, it can be played on nearly all devices, leaving other formats like AVI, WMV, MOV far behind; it can be shared on many online video sites like YouTube. It is usually encoded with H.264/HEVC/MPEG-4 video codec and AAC audio codec.

What is H.264?

H.264, currently one of the frequently-used video codecs, is a popular compression for HD video. Since H.264 can achieve high quality video in relatively low bitrates, it's commonly used in AVCHD camcorders, HDTV, Blu-ray, and HD DVD. MP4(.mp4) is one of the H.264 encoded video formats.

Hot search: VVC H266 vs AV1, H.266 vs H.265

Part 2: What's the Difference Between MP4 and H.264?

From the respective definition above, we can easily see that MP4 is a file container format, while H.264 is actually a video compression codec that requires a video container to host the encoded video. They are different things, not even with the same property. In most cases, H.264 encoded files are MP4 files and they can also be AVI or MKV ones.

To have a better understanding of embedded MPEG-4, H.264, HEVC codec in MP4 format, let's go deep for more details:

MPEG-4 vs H.264 vs HEVC: Compression Rate
H.264 is a new video compression standard that has more advanced compression methods than MPEG-4 compression. H.264 is about 1.5 to 2 times more efficient than MPEG-4 encoding. Furthermore, HEVC enjoys half bit rate of H.264 with the same high quality.

MPEG-4 vs H.264 vs HEVC: Quality
H.264 playback is more fluent than the basic MPEG-4 compression. Better yet, it requires lower bit rate than MPEG-4 for network transmission. Also, H.264 and HEVC usually deliver in the same quality, but HEVC codec requires about half bit rate of H.264.

MPEG-4 vs H.264 vs HEVC: Compatibility
H.264 is more efficient for mobile or surveillance applications. Both H.264 and MPEG-4 are widely compatible with almost all media players and devices. But owing to higher compression rate, H.264 is more used to encoded in MP4 format for playing on mobiles or tablets. Although HEVC enjoys higher compression rate, it's limited supported on iOS 11, macOS High Sierra or later, Windows 10 etc.

Part 3: How to Convert MP4 to H.264 or Vice Versa?

In view of users' different needs, you may need to convert MP4 video from / to H.264. Here we'd like to show you how to convert MP4 to H.264 or vice versa.

At the very beginning, you need a video converter to comvert your MP4 or H.264 videos. WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe is an excellent video converter that helps you convert MP4 to H.264, H.264 to MPEG-4 and transcode videos between 420+ profiles.

Now let's get started to convert MP4 to H.264 for example.

Step 1: Launch WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe, and click +Video or drag and drop to load your target MP4 video encoded in MPEG-4.

Step 2: Choose MP4 Video (h264+aac) as the output format from the automatically popped up window.

Step 3: Click Browse to choose an output folder if necessary. Then tap RUN button to start converting MPEG-4 MP4 to H.264.

convert MPEG-4 MP4 to H.264
convert MPEG-4 MP4 to H.264


author - Kistent Waung

Kistent Waung twitter icon

Graduated from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, she employs herself in IT related content creation (since 2013) and happens to perfectly combine her major (computer & science) and her gusto (writing). She's seasoned at offering video audio conversion workarounds and always passionate about new trends, from hot HEVC, 4K to the new AV1 codec.

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