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MPEG4 vs MP4: What Is the Difference between MP4 and MPEG4?

Is there a difference between mp4 video and mpeg4 video?

I've been looking for info about "MPEG vs MP4" and I've heard of movie files called both. I'm pretty sure they're the same thing, so I was just looking for some confirmation. If not, what is the difference between MP4 and MPEG4? And, the box of my device which I want to buy says it supports mpeg4 files. Does that mean it shall run mp4 files too? Thanks in advance.

Best Answer:

To make you get clear on the difference between MPEG4 and MP4 as simply as I can, I will first adopt the method "proof by contradiction" as follows:

MPEG-4 vs MP4

1. MPEG4 file format equals to MP4; (Incorrect)
2. MPEG-4 is just the long version of what is commonly called MP4; (Incorrect)
3. MP4 is just audio and music. MPEG4 is video, used in movies and TV shows, etc; (Incorrect)
4. MP4 is video files on or for mobile devices while mpeg4 is just regular video files; (Incorrect)
5. MP4 is a container for mpeg-4 video. There are other containers, like MKV, which also can have mpeg-4 video files in them. When devices, like iPhone, do not support MKV (MPEG-4), you can convert MKV to MP4/mpeg4. (Correct)

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MPEG-4 and MP4

Normally, when we say MP4 video, we're talking about a video ending in the file extension .mp4. MP4 can refer to a video file extension while MPEG4 cannot. Of course, there are some other differences between mp4 and mpeg4. To figure them out, you have to understand two basic terms first: media container and video codec. It is as simple as this formula:
Media Container = video format (video codec) + audio format (audio codec) + subtitle

To make the difference of MP4 and MPEG4 much clearer, let's apply the formula to the "mpeg4 vs mp4":
MP4 (.mp4) = MP4 video format (.mpeg4/.h264 video codec) + audio format (mp3, aac, etc) + subtitle
AVI (.avi) = MP4 video format (.mpeg4/.h264 video codec) + audio format (mp3, aac, etc) + subtitle
MKV (.mkv) = MP4 video format (.mpeg4/.h264 video codec) + audio format (mp3, aac, etc) + subtitle

In Conclusion: The Differences between MPEG4 and MP4

1. Definition: MP4 can be a video file extension (.mp4), a container format used to store both video and audio data, as well as a video format; MPEG-4 (video codec) refers to a well known compression method of the MPEG group, especially designed for low-bandwidth (less than 1.5MBit/sec bitrate) video/audio encoding purposes.

2. Container Formats for MPEG-4: Except for MP4, there are some other media container formats that can be used for videos encoded in MPEG-4, including AVI, Matroska, MXF, Ogg and QuickTime.

3. MP4 Supported Devices: Almost all media players support MP4 container/format (MPEG-4). A rare few like RealPlayer only supports partial MPEG-4. If you try to play an .mts (mpeg2) video in iPhone, which somehow shows you "Unknown Video File", what is the solution? Surely, iPhone only supports .mp4, .mov and .m4v videos. So you can re-encode your video accordingly, meaning converting MTS to video formats like MP4 (mpeg4), MOV (mpeg4) or M4V (mpeg4) with a MP4 MPEG4 video converter.