What Is MP4 Format?
The easiest Way to understand the definition of MP4 video.

Complete Knowledge about MP4 video format.
What Is MP4 Format?

MP4, or MPEG-4 Part 14, is a media container format, storing video, audio, subtitles and images, normally in .mp4 file extension. To make it more clear:

e.g. MP4 container (.mp4) = MP4 format video (H.264 codec) + audio + subtitle

The Dominance of MP4

MP4 is the only game in town, to some extent, is a pretty well-educated guess in every single regard: itself (best balance of size and quality), powerful x264 encoder, compatibility with portable devices and the rise of streaming service.

The Advantage of MP4 Format

The media format market is increasingly dominated by MP4 mainly for its quantum leap forward on data compression algorithm. In other words, just because of the appearance of MP4 with its advanced video encoding technique, you are able to enjoy better video quality at the same size. Specifically:

1. Higher degree of compression and less loss of quality.

2. Better quality and smaller file size.

3. Suitable for video streaming over the internet.

* The only problem lies in the editing. Accurate video editing requires more I frames, while MP4 (h.264) videos contains more B/P frames.

Posted by Kaley Torres | Last updated on June 29, 2020

MP4 Compatibility

MP4 has the widest range of compatibility with devices and programs

MP4 file format was first released in 2001 as ISO/IEC 14496-1:2001, and was revised in 2 years later as ISO/IEC 14496-14:2003. It is based on QuickTime file format, but quickly becomes more popular than QuickTime format and others like AVI, WMV and MKV, because of its unique features. Currently, MP4 is natively accepted by computers, tablets, phones, game consoles, TVs and more devices manufactured by Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Google, Huawei, Amazon, Lenovo and other brands. Besides, it is widely accepted by various media players, video editing software, and broadly used over the web. In stark contrast, other formats are supported by extremely limited devices and programs. For example, MKV, WebM, and 3GP are recognized by certain Android devices, but won't be played on Apple devices directly.





There is no other format that can equal the compatibility of MP4. This is why the average monthly searches for DVD to MP4 are up to 12,100, far higher than those for DVD to AVI (6,600), DVD to WMV (140), DVD to MOV (140), DVD to MKV (4,400), etc. And we'll see such kind of imbalance when comparing video to MP4 conversion with video to others, and MP4 download with other type of video download.

Usage of MP4

MP4 has penetrated into every aspect of our life. Teachers or trainers usually insert MP4 videos into PPTs to make further explanation. Companies always save their propaganda films as MP4 to fit for miscellaneous broadcast platforms flawlessly. Web surfers often download online videos as MP4 for fluent playback on media players, editing for further use, burning to DVD, etc.

The appearance of MP4 brings us many benefits in terms of movie playback, video transport, online video streaming and more.

Movie video, audio, subtitles and images can be merged into a single MP4 file which is available to play on various devices smoothly.
We can send MP4 media files to other people via email without costing too much time because high level of compression produces small file size.
MP4 allows streaming over the internet. Small file size and low bandwidth consumption make MP4 streaming become popular.
What file formats does MP4 support?
MP4 is a container format that can store video, audio and other data. So, what formats does MP4 support?

Video formats: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, MPEG-4(A)SP, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.265/HEVC, VC-1/WMV, Real Video, Theora, Microsoft MPEG4 V2, VP8, VP9, MVC

Audio formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, Opus, AC-3, DTS, LPCM, ALAC, DTS-HD

Caption/subtitle formats: MPEG-4 Timed Text

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe
- Convert Video to MP4 Freely and Vice Versa

This No.1 fast video converter supports immaculate video conversion between MP4 and any other video formats, to help play any video on iPhone, iPad, Android, PSP, TV and the like regardless of the complicated parameter settings of the model.

What Devices Can Support MP4?
Apple devices
Apple – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch/Nano

MP4 format encoded with H.264 or MPEG-4 is fully compatible with all models of above Apple devices. iPhone 11/Pro, iPhone Xs/XR/Max and iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro are improved to support H.264 video up to 4K while precious models (before iPhone 6s) of iPhone iPad and iPod Touch/Nano can support the resolution up to 1080K.

android devices
Android Devices – Samsung, Plxel, HTC, LG, Sony Xperia, Moto, Nexus

All phones and tablets on Android OS inherit Android media format specs. Two codecs are used for MP4 format, H.264 AVC and H.265 HEVC. The former is compatible with Android 3.0 or above while the later is available on Android 5.0 or above to deliver higher resolution (4K/8K).

windows devices
Windows Devices – Microsoft Lumia, Acer Liquid, Surface Book/Pro, NuVision, HP, Toshiba

Codec support of MP4 container varies from devices which run on different Windows Phone systems. For Windows Phone 8, MPEG-4 and H.264 are used to reach max resolution and frame rate of 1920x1080 @ 30 fps. Coming to Windows 10, advanced H.265 (HEVC) is added for 4K video playback.

Apple TV

shares video playback specs with other Apple devices, supporting MPEG-4 and H.264 codecs with resolution of up to 1080P @ 60 fps.

Sony BRAVIA Android TV

can read H.264 and H.265 formats up to 4K the same as other Android devices.

Smart (HD/4K) TVs

for example some big brands (Samsung, Sony, LG) fully support MP4 movie/video playback.

Game Console
Sony PlayStation - PSP

MP4 files encoded with MPEG-4 Simple Profile (AAC) or H.264 Main Profile (CABAC) (AAC) and Baseline Profile (AAC) can be well played on this model.

Sony PlayStation - PS5/4/3

The three models have alike MP4 support accepting H.264 High Profile (AAC LC) codec. On the other hand, PS5/4 can also support AC-3 (Dolby Digital) audio.

Microsoft Xbox - Xbox 360

can open H.264 with bit rate of 10Mbps and resolution of 1920x1080 @ 30 fps as well as MPEG-4 with bit rate of 5Mbps and resolution of 1280x720 @ 30fps.

Microsoft Xbox - Xbox One

H.265 can be read by Xbox One based on Windows 10 apart from the same MP4 codec support as Xbox 360.

What Applications Can Play MP4?

As a matter of fact, all video player software features MP4 video playback. What's the best MP4 player? We will give a detailed comparison of top video players which can open MP4 files for your reference.


100% safe

MP4 Formats H.265, H.264, MPEG-4 H.264, MPEG-4 ASP H.264, MPEG-4 H.264, MPEG-4
4K/HD Playback Yes Yes Yes Yes
3D/VR Playback Yes Yes
(via some modifications)
(3D mode)
Subtitle Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
MP4 Video Streaming Yes
(via AirPlay)
(over computer networks)
(from PC to devices)
(via Xbox One, Roku, Chromecast)
Online MP4 Video Download Yes No No Yes
Platforms Windows, Mac Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android Windows, Mac, iOS, Android Windows, RealTimes for Mac/iOS/Android
Price Free Free Free Free download and premium plans
Format Comparisons: MP4 vs Other Formats

MP4 is a container for mpeg-4 video. MP4 can refer to a video file extension while MPEG4 cannot. Generally, when we say MP4 video, we're talking about a video ending in the file extension .mp4. 

Both are container formats to store video, audio, pictures, subtitles and multimedia data, and both allow streaming over the internet. MKV can store unlimited multimedia content, and MP4 has specific formats. 

Both AVI and MP4 are most widely used media containers and video formats. . MP4 can be played on more devices and media players than AVI. Besides, MP4 can also easily stream on the Internet while AVI can't. 

M4V is the derivation of MP4 video format, and they are very similar in many ways. The MP4 container can hold either MPEG-4 or H.264 video codec but the M4V container, designed for Apple especially, can use H.264 video codec exclusively.

MPEG4 coding standard is primarily used for portable devices and Internet streaming, while MPEG2 is the encoding method for television broadcast and DVDs. MPEG2 may encode a movie file that is 5 times the size of that by MPEG4.

MP3 files are mainly audio files; MP4 files are for multiple digital files. MP3 applies a form of lossy data compression. MP3 is for storing, transferring and playing audio files only on digital audio players. MP4 can handle digital audios, digital videos, texts and images.

MP4 vs H.264

 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. Normally, H.264 encoded files can be MP4 files as well as AVI or MKV files.

What Are Differences Between MP4 and Other Formats
Video Codec MPEG-2 Part 2, MPEG-4 ASP, H.265, H.264, H.263, VC-1, Dirac and others Almost All Almost anything through VFW MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, H.264, H.263, H.261, Apple ProRes, Apple Pixlet, Cinepak, Component Video, DV, DVC Pro 50, Graphics, Motion JPEG, Photo JPEG, QuickTime Animation, Sorenson Video 2/3
Audio Codec HE-AAC, MP3, AC-3, Apple Lossless, ALS, SLS, Vorbis and others Almost All Almost anything through ACM AAC, HE-AAC, Apple Lossless, MP3, AMR Narrowband, MS ADPCM, QDesign Music 2, Qualcomm PureVoice (QCELP), IMA 4:1, MACE 3:1, MACE 6:1, ALaw 2:1, ULaw 2:1
Subtitle Format Support MPEG-4 Timed Text Almost All Support SubRip, SubStation Alpha and via third party modifications, XSUB via DivX Unknown
Variable Bit/Frame Rate Yes Yes Yes Yes
Resolution Highest (Up to 4K/8K) Up to 1080P Up to 1080P Up to 1080P
Compatibility Virtually any device and media software Special MKV player, editor and others. Microsoft devices, Xbox, PlayStation, partial Android devices and Windows-based media software Apple devices and Mac OS-based media software.
License Patented Free Unknown Proprietary
convert MP4 video
MP4 Video Conversion

Why need a MP4 video converter to convert MP4 video? As stated above, MP4 video format features a strong compatibility, high compression with smaller size while reserving superb quality, easy Internet streaming, etc., all of these have made the popular MP4 format the first priority when ripping DVD or converting videos.

Many people have a common need of converting DVD to MP4 video for later playback of the DVD movie on Windows (10) PC, Mac, iPhone (11/Pro), iPad (Pro/Air), Android, etc., but how could easily realize it? WinX DVD Ripper Platinum, a battle-tested DVD to MP4 ripper, enables users to smoothly convert any protected DVD (incl. latest Disney DVD) to MP4 or other formats/devices in about 10 minutes with highest quality.

As for converting video to/from MP4, WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe ranks on the top in consideration of conversion speed, ease of use, stable performance, versatile video editing features, etc.

free download mp4 videos
Free Download MP4 Videos

Lags, stutters or buffering is troublesome when watching movies/videos online, but on the contrary, downloading videos to hard drive for watching offline ensures a smooth video viewing experience. Since the MP4 video file can be played by most players and devices, many of you may choose MP4 format when downloading videos from YouTube, etc. Then what's the best way to free download MP4 videos online?

According to users' recommendation, a 100% clean, fast and free MP4 video downloader named WinX YouTube Downloader, can realize downloading MP4 videos for free from YouTube, Facebook, Dailymotion, Vimeo and other 1000+ video sites including many top free MP4 video download sites. Users can use it to free download any favourite movie/video in 8K/4K/HD 1080p/720p MP4, FLV, 3GP, WebM with original quality at 5-8x real time speed on Windows 10/8/7, etc.

play MP4
How to Play MP4 Files on Desktop, Mobile and TV?

As the most welcomed container, general MP4 video file can be played facilely on computers, TVs and movable smart devices, like Windows Media Player (11/12) can play MP4 movies on Windows, QuickTime helps you watch MP4 files on Mac, iPhone's native Video app is able to open MP4 video clips be default, without help from any other hardware or software.

But due to the multiplex combinations of video, audio and subtitles codecs, it yield MP4 file with dissimilar file extensions, and the media transmitting medium with inclusive player cannot play all MP4 file formats accordingly. This gives rise to hunt MPEG-4 codec pack up for further MP4 enjoyment. Otherwise, you must fall back on the third-party media player. Many situations also bother when MP4 fails to unfold, the gadget has no enough space for watching MP4 smoothly, or the aspect ratio of raw MP4 video does not perfectly fit the player screen...

Recommended Software for MP4 Video

  • This No.1 DVD ripping software can easily override copy protections from DVD, and then rip DVD to MP4 video format for playback on more players. 350+ other profiles provided!
  • It helps convert MP4 video from/to other formats at 47x real time speed without losing quality or watermark. Also supports free downloading MP4 videos from 1000+ sites.
  • The smartest iDevice manager can transfer MP4 videos, photos, music/ringtones, e-Books between iPhone (11)/iPad/iPod and Windows (10) PC. No need to use iTunes at all.
Roundup of MP4 Related Articles:

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