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MOV vs MP4 in Terms of File Size, Quality, Compatibility, and More

Which is better? MOV or MP4 for shooting on iPhone, DJI drone, etc.? MOV vs MP4, which format offers better video output in terms of quality and file size? Should you choose MOV or MP4 for editing and upload to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram? Many users are confused about the differences between MOV and MP4 format. Read the MOV and MP4 introduction and comparison to make sure the video is produced in the best file type, quality, and size for your purpose, editing, playing, or upload.

Convert Videos to/from MOV and MP4 (HEVC, H.264, MPEG-4, VP9, etc.)

With WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe, you won't have MOV and MP4 compatibility issue when playing, editing, or uploading these files. The program converts 4K UHD, 1080P MOV files to MP4, MP4 to MOV, MKV to MP4, H.265 to H.264, and many other formats. It can fix MOV /MP4 videos HEVC won't open, recognize, or playback issues etc. on Windows 10/8/7 and macOS.

MP4 and MOV File Format Overview

• MOV

Extension: .mov, .qt
Developed by: Apple Inc.
Type of format: Media container
Container for: Audio, video, text
Support video codec: H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, MPEG-1, etc.
Support audio codec: MP3, AAC, AC-3, and others.

• MP4

Extension: .mp4
Developed by: International Organization for Standardization
Type of format: Media container
Container for: Audio, video, text
Support video codec: H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, MPEG-1, VP9, VP8, etc.
Support audio codec: MP3, AAC, AC-3, DTS, Opus, FLAC, etc.

Both MOV and MP4 are container formats for audio, video, and text. MOV format was initially developed by Apple for QuickTime player and gradually accepted widely. MP4 format supports more video/audio coding format and subtitle/caption formats than MOV does, such as VP8, VP9, AV1, FLAC, DTS, along with others. They can all store commonly used video and audio codecs, including H.264, H.265, MPEG-4.

MP4 and MOV Compatibility

When it comes to compatibility, MP4 wins. MOV designed by Apple is compatible with the Apple ecosystem, for example, Mac computers, iPhone, iPad, QuickTime Player, Final Cut Pro, and so on. Now, many media players, video editors, and video sharing sites accept MOV file type. MOV videos may run into trouble when processing on Windows though MOV is claimed to be suitable for Windows Media Player 12, and Windows operating system. MP4 is universally accepted. MOV and MP4 are friendly with the following mainstream players, editors, and video sharing sites.

Media players: VLC, Windows Media Player, QuickTime Player, 5KPlayer, Potplayer, KMPlayer.
Video editors: Adobe Premiere Pro/Rush/Elements, Lightworks, DaVinci Resolve, Sony Vegas Pro, Final Cut Pro X, Hitfilm Express, Shotcut.
Video sharing sites: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Dailymotion, Twitter.

However, you need to know that MOV and MP4 are just container formats, whether they are supported also depend on the video and audio codec formats they hold. Speaking of codec format, things become more complicated. Normally, you won't go wrong with MP4 with H.264 format and AAC audio. That's why many users choose to convert MOV to MP4 format. Twitter mobile app prefers MP4 and MOV formats, on the web, only MP4 video with H.264 and AAC codec formats are accepted. So, MP4 with H.264 video codec format has widespread support.

MP4 vs MOV, Quality

There's no difference between MP4 and MOV format in terms of quality. Many users on the DJI forum ask which format delivers better quality for shooting on the Mavic/Phantom drone series. In fact, quality is determined by resolution, bit rate, and compression algorithm (codec). As we mentioned above, MP4 and MOV are just containers that don't affect the quality of the encoded videos. MOV and MP4 video quality is the same if they use the same compression standard and recording settings. MP4 or MOV, it depends on what platform you are processing your content. That is to say, when choosing MP4 or MOV, compatibility is the factor you have to consider.

MP4 vs MOV, File Size

MOV and MP4 are just containers that have nothing to do with file size. The only factors affecting video size are video length and bitrate. The size is the duration times the bitrate. MOV and MP4 are just wrappers where the data is stored. Different wrappers support different codecs, but they don't affect the overall file size. It's wrong to say MOV files are bigger than MP4 and change MOV to MP4 for smaller file size. Learn the right way to compress large MOV files. The settings you use when encoding video have a great influence on file size.

MOV vs MP4, What Is the Best Video Format to Use?

To sum it up, both MOV and MP4 containers don't have an effect on the quality and file size of the final encoded videos. Choosing MOV or MP4 format depends on what you want to do with your videos. If you play or edit the video on the Mac community, the MOV format is suitable. If you are going to put the resulting video on Windows computer, Android mobile devices, or share with other people, you are safe with MP4 H.264 format that has universal playback support.

Learn More: How to Convert MOV to MP4 in 3 Steps without Losing Quality

References:

QuickTime File Format (QTFF) from Wikipedia.
MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4 from Wikipedia.
Comparison of video container formats, video/audio/caption formats support.
Video file formats, codecs, and containers explained.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kaley Torres

Kaley Torres is a self-motivated, creative editor with eight years of marketing and SEO experience, specializing in writing on DVD, video, audio, images, new digital contents etc. With a partiality DVD collection, Kaley also enjoys digitizing DVD and is keen to share her DVD video conversion solutions as well as video sharing tips on social media.

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