What is 3GP - 3GPP Video File Format

[Latest Updated: Nov.5, 2018 by Arlene Cooper to Tips & Glossary]

What Is 3GP Video

What is 3GP/3G2?

3GP (3GPP file format) is a multimedia container format defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G and 4G phones.

3G2 (3GPP2 file format) is a multimedia container format defined by the 3GPP2 for 3G CDMA2000 multimedia services. It is very similar to the 3GP file format, but has some extensions and limitations in comparison to 3GP.

3GP is defined in the ETSI 3GPP technical specification. 3GP is a required file format for video and associated speech/audio media types and timed text in ETSI 3GPP technical specifications for IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (MBMS) and Transparent end-to-end Packet-switched Streaming Service (PSS).

Popular Video Format - 3GP

The 3GP file format stores video streams as MPEG-4 Part 2 or H.263 or MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC/H.264), and audio streams as AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AMR-WB+, AAC-LC, HE-AAC v1 or Enhanced aacPlus (HE-AAC v2). 3GPP allowed use of AMR and H.263 codecs in the ISO base media file format (MPEG-4 Part 12), because 3GPP specified the usage of the Sample Entry and template fields in the ISO base media file format as well as defining new boxes to which codecs refer.

These extensions were registered by the registration authority for code-points in ISO base media file format ("MP4 Family" files). For the storage of MPEG-4 media specific information in 3GP files, the 3GP specification refers to MP4 and the AVC file format, which are also based on the ISO base media file format. The MP4 and the AVC file format specifications described usage of MPEG-4 content in the ISO base media file format.

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What Devices Support 3GP Format?

1. Most 3G capable mobile phones support the playback and recording of video in 3GP format (memory, maximum filesize for playback and recording, and resolution limits exist and vary).

2. Some newer/higher-end phones without 3G capabilities may also playback and record in this format (again, with said limitations). Audio imported from CD onto a PlayStation 3 when it is set to encode to the MPEG-4 AAC codec will copy onto USB devices in the 3GP format.

3. The Nintendo DSi supports .3gp on an SD card.

Note: If your devices are not supporting playing 3GP files, you can use open source software FFmpeg or VideoProc to convert (encoded and decoded) it to MP4, AVI etc. mainstream formats.

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About the Author

Author    Arlene Cooper@cooper_arlene

Arlene Cooper is a self-motivated copywriter and editor in Digiarty Software, specializing in writing, proofreading and digging out inscrutable technology knowledge.

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It will cost you about 10 mins to read through the article. You can skip to:

Part 1What is 3GP/3G2?

Part 2What Devices Support 3GP Format?

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