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What Is MP4 Format?

MP4 Definition - What Is MP4

MP4 is an abbreviated term for MPEG-4 Part 14. It may also be referred to as MPEG-4 AVC, which stands for Advanced Video Coding. As the name suggests, this is a format for working with video files and was first introduced in 1998. The MPEG refers to Motion Pictures Expert Group who is responsible for setting the industry standards regarding digital audio and video.

MP4 is a container format, allowing a combination of audio, video, subtitles and still images to be held in the one single file. It also allows for advanced content such as 3D graphics, menus and user interactivity. Because MP4 was a reliable application that required a relatively low amount of bandwidth, just about everyone could take advantage of using the tool. This was especially true as technology made it possible to create more powerful desktop and laptop systems that had a larger hard drive and could command more power.

Related article: What Is MP4? How to Convert MP4 Video to Different File Formats on Windows 10?


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The enhancement of the speed of various types of Internet connections also helped to make MP4 more accessible to a greater audience. MP4 works in a similar although much more complex way to MP3s, by compressing the files without losing any of the quality. MP3 technology revolutionized the way in which music and audio files are used and it's looking like the MP4 format will do the same for the video market.

Movie or video clip that uses MPEG-4 compression, a standard developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG); commonly used for sharing video files on the Internet. The MPEG-4 video format uses separate compression for audio and video tracks; video is compressed with MPEG-4 or H.264 video encoding; audio is compressed using AAC compression, the same type of audio compression used in .aac files.

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How to Make Use of MP4

There are all sorts of ways to enjoy the benefits of MP4.

* First, as an online consumer, you can enjoy all sorts of movie shorts, professional and amateur, thanks to the use of this format. You can also often save these shorts to your hard drive, and share them with others via email. Some sites that make use of this streaming application also make it possible for you to send a copy of the movie short through email and directly to friends.

* Secondely, MP4 format allows for streaming via the internet, which means the content can be watched in real time as it downloads as well as being saved on a hard drive. There are many portable MP4 players available, although the content can also be watched through hooking up to a television, one of the more novelty devices such as a watch or simply through your PC or laptop.

* Thirdly, MP4 players are capable of playing the lower MP versions such as MPEG, which is the earlier video standard and MP3 (officially named MPEG-1 level 3) audio files. The format MP3 doesn't actually exist and is simply the file extension used for the standard! The file extension associated with MPEG-14 format is .mp4, although sometimes the extension .mp4a is used referring to audio content, or .mp4v, referring to video.

* Finally, MP4 files are supported by various video player programs and hardware devices, like iTunes, iPods, iPhones, iPads (all versions), The KMPlayer, Media Player Classic,  MPlayer, QuickTime Player, VLC media player, Windows Media Player 12, Microsoft Zune portable media player, XBMC Media Center.

[Glossaries]: H.264, Advanced Video Coding (AVC), MPEG, MPEG-4, MP3, AAC, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, Mplayer, QuickTime, VLC, 8K Resolution

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