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What is M2TS | M2TS Video Format Definition

This page gives specific definition of M2TS file format (definition), overview, software to open and play M2TS. The article also covers FAQs about M2TS files, for example, is M2TS better than MP4, is M2TS the same as MTS, what is MTS extension, which player can play M2TS file? Scroll down to check more to better understand the M2TS file format.

Part 1. What Is M2TS

M2TS/MTS, MPEG-2 Transport Stream (TS File), is a BDAV (Blu-ray Disc Audio-Video) container format. It's a special format for transmitting MPEG (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, or MPEG-4) video muxed with other streams. MTS container format is commonly used for Blu-ray disc, AVCHD and HD camcorder while M2TS is commonly used for Blu-ray disc and AVCHD.

The BDAV container format used on Blu-ray Discs can contain one of the three mandatory that support video compression formats MPEG-2, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC or SMPTE VC-1 and audio compression formats, such as Dolby Digital, DTS or uncompressed Linear PCM. Optionally, supported audio formats are Dolby Digital Plus DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and Dolby TrueHD.


Part 2. M2TS Overview

There are two major variants of MPEG-2 TS. If multiple programs are sets of video and other streams intended to play together, and are muxed into the TS, it's called an MPTS, or Multiple Program Transport Stream. This is generally used for more traditional broadcasting, like DVB, or over the air HDTV. After the decoder receives the TS, it can decode only the streams for the program that is playing, and ignores streams for other programs.

If only a single program is muxed into a TS, it's considered an SPTS or Single Program Transport Stream. SPTS streams generally serve two purposes. When the program to be decoded is known in advance, like with streaming across the internet, it doesn't make sense to waste bandwidth transmitting streams that won't ever be decoded, but preserving timing information is still essential. An SPTS solves both problems.

Part 3. Transport Stream vs Program Stream (TS vs PS)

Unlike Programs Streams which are optimized for efficient storage and assume the decoder has access to the entire stream for synchronization purposes, Transport Streams are designed for delivering data in real time over unreliable transport media, to a device which is assumed to start reading data from some point after the beginning of transmission.

The other common use for SPTS streams is for stream Capture. Capture devices can simply copy MPEG-2 streams as they're broadcast use SPTS streams. Because that's what they're capturing. Since only one program will be captured at a time, that's what the resulting MPEG file will contain.

Most applications are designed to open MPEG-2 files expect the standard information from a Program Stream. And it's often necessary to re-package the elementary streams before working with them on your computer. Fortunately, PS and TS streams only differ in delivery information, rather than actual video or audio data, it can be done without any re-encoding or quality loss.

Part 4. How to Open and Play M2TS Videos?

M2TS video files can be played by Windows Media Player, VLC Media Player, ALLPlayer, MPlayer, PotPlayer, other third-party M2TS player or HD video players which are versatile with the support for playing overall video formats on PC/Mac. Some players may need extra video codecs, component or plugin installed to help decode M2TS videos for smooth playback. Picture Motion Browser, a video player from Sony AVCHD camcoders, is also capable of playing M2TS files. Such media players only opens and plays unencrypted M2TS video files. Blu-ray Disc software players can handle some encrypted sources.

M2TS files recorded by Sony cameras, Canon Vixia Camcorders, or other devices can open and edit on video editors like Sony Vegas Pro, AVS Video Editor, VideoProc, Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate, Cyberlink Power Director, to name a few. MTS files can be recognized by Apple's Final Cut Pro by using the third party plug-in AVCHD codec.

On the other hand, to play MTS/M2TS on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone (10/8) or other portable devices, you only need to convert M2TS to MP4, AVI etc. the devices commonly playable formats. Applications capable of converting M2TS video files include: HD Video Converter Deluxe, Handbrake, Picture Motion Browser, VLC Media Player, etc. These programs can convert M2TS files to MP4, MKV, AVI, WMV, MOV, and other formats.

Part 5. FAQs about M2TS Files

Is M2TS better than MP4?

Many users wonder if the M2TS recording has better quality than MP4 recordings. In fact, the video quality of MP4 and M2TS are the same. The container file format doens't influence video quality. MP4 vs M2TS or TS, MP4 has better compatibility. MP4 is widely accepted by Windows, macOS, Android devices and applications.

How do I play M2TS files?

Tons of media players enables you to open and play M2TS files, such as Windows Media Player, VLC Media Player, ALLPlayer, MPlayer, PotPlayer, 5KPlayer. Some players may need extra video codecs, component or plugin installed to help decode M2TS videos for smooth playback. To play M2TS on iPhone, iPad, Android mobiles, you need to convert M2TS to MP4/MPEG-4 using video converters like HD Video Converter Deluxe, Handbrake.

Which player can play M2TS file?

VLC Media Player, SMPlayer, 5KPlayer, Splash, Windows Media Player, ALLPlayer, MPlayer, PotPlayer, to name a few.

Is M2TS the same as MTS?

Yes, M2TS is simlar to MTS. There's no obvious difference between MTS and M2TS files in terms of fucntions. M2TS and MTS are High Definition files that are related with AVCHD format. M2TS and MTS file extension can be the same.

What is MTS extension?

MTS files saved in AVCHD format (Advanced Video Coding High Definition). MTS file extensive can be .m2ts or .MTS.


Author - Donna Peng

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Donna Peng's fascination with multimedia began at an early age - shortly after she licked the physical disc and then she's been obsessed ever since. Her decade-long career at Digiarty after the graduation has seen her unmatched expertise in the field of DVD, digital video, software and anything related to home theatre. She is currently fascinated with photography.


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