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OBS Recording Formats: Best Format to Record in OBS

There are 6 OBS recording formats you can use to record a video, including MKV, MOV, MP4, FLV, TS, and M3U8. By default, OBS uses MKV or FLV format to record a video when you first time launch the OBS software. And generally accepted, MKV and FLV are the two best formats to record in OBS.

Of course, you can have your own opinion on which format should be used to record a video with OBS. To help you make a decision, we have listed them all here and explained their advantages and disadvantages, so that you can have an in-depth understanding of the OBS recording formats. Then, you can choose the best OBS video format for video recording, live streaming, or broadcasting.

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Table of Contents

Part 1. List of OBS Recording Formats

OBS recording formats include MKV, MOV, MP4, FLV, TS, and M3U8. They are explained in detail below.


FLV (Flash Video) is a container format used to embed and deliver digital video content over the Internet. Developed by Adobe for its Adobe Flash Player, it works perfectly with various browser plugins and once acted as the standard for online video streaming with RTMP. Also, FLV was once popular for live streaming on YouTube.

FLV is a great file format for internet videos, that’s why OBS saves the recording as FLV sometimes for live streaming. Also, it has smooth and good-quality playback. Compared to the MP4 format, the FLV format is more resistant to crashes during recording.

However, the drawbacks are also obvious. For example, the FLV recordings come with a larger file size; FLV can run on many devices but struggle on mobile devices; FLV structure has some functional limits when streaming AAC or H.264; etc.


MKV (Matroska Multimedia Container Format) is also a container format that can contain many codecs, tracks, subtitles, etc. in one place. When these elements are stored in a unit, they would take less space and bandwidth requirements when streaming online.

When used as an OBS recording format, it will ensure the safety and completeness of the entire recording. And the final video will be high in quality. OBS Official also suggests this recording format as it can minimize the chances of OBS corruption. If needed, OBS allows you to record videos in MKV and then remux MKV to MP4 in OBS conveniently.


MP4 or MPEG-4 Part 14 is a digital multimedia container format to store video, audio, still images, subtitles, etc. Like most modern container formats, it allows streaming over the Internet. MP4 is the most popular file format for its smaller file size, relatively higher quality, universal compatibility with all devices and platforms, etc.

In spite of its wide usage, MP4 is not the best OBS recording format. The MP4 recordings won’t be recovered once the OBS crashes or if a certain section is not recorded properly. As well, MP4 is not an ideal format for direct recording as you have to add info, such as metadata, timestamps, frame rate, audio, etc. manually before it’s usable.


MOV format is a QuickTime format developed by Apple and used natively by the QuickTime framework. That being said, you can play MOV files natively on Apple devices like Mac, iPhone and iPad. MOV files use H.264 codec for video compression, so the quality tends to be high and the file size is quite large.

Also, OBS doesn’t recommend you use MOV to record videos in OBS. The reasons are the same as that for the MP4 format.


TS is a transport stream format using standard MPEG compression to compress video data. It can store video and audio in one file on DVD and Blu-ray discs for saving streamed or broadcast TV content. It is a good OBS recording format as the file information is added automatically after each keyframe; the performance is impressive when it comes to maintaining transmission integrity.

It is a broadcasting format as it doesn’t need the complete stream for playing it. You can easily share large files over the communication media in real-time as tiny chunks of the audio or video file are sent. Also, the error can be easily detected as extra information is shared with every chunk, helping in error detection.

However, the TS format is not compatible with many devices. And you cannot share TS files online. For example, you can’t share it on Facebook or YouTube. BTW, it occupies much storage space, more than other file formats.


M3U8 is an HTTP Live Streaming based file format that contains multimedia playlists including online files for an internet radio station, music playlist, or a series of videos.

See also: How to Use AV1 on OBS Studio 29.0 and Later

Part 2. Best Format for OBS Recording

Based on the information shown above, MOV and MP4 are not recording-safe format. MKV and FLV are the most suitable formats for recording videos with OBS Studio. Which one is best? They are slightly different and you can choose the one based on your own requirements.

For instance, MKV supports multiple audio tracks while FLV can’t. MKV is a royalty-free open standard that anyone can use for free. Besides audio tracks, it can also hold unlimited number of video, audio, picture, subtitles, descriptions, covers, ratings, and chapter points in a single file. MKV is also the most suitable file format for HD and Blu-ray movies so its file size is often larger than other container format. So, if you need an advanced format to record in OBS, you can choose MKV.

FLV once was the most popular format for embedded videos on the internet. It is widely used on some video streaming sites like YouTube and Hulu. However, Adobe had stopped supporting Flash in 2021, so that FLV will be replaced by other formats.

All in all, there is no exact answer, as different people have different preferences. Generally accepted, FLV, MP4, and MKV are the most popular recording formats for OBS users. Technically speaking, MKV format should be the best OBS recording format for it is a better option for high-resolution content. Ultimately, it’s up to you. Also, you can try them one by one to choose which one matches your needs most.

Part 3. Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best recording format for OBS Studio?

MKV should be the best OBS recording format to record videos for various advantages.

2. Should I record in MP4 or MKV?

You should record in MKV in OBS. As MP4 format is not a safe recording format. The MP4 recordings won’t be recovered once the OBS crashes or if a certain section is not recorded properly. Also, the MP4 format is not suitable for direct recording as you have to add info, such as metadata, timestamps, frame rate, audio, etc. manually before it’s usable.

3. What is the difference between OBS MKV and FLV?

Actually, there is very little difference between the two formats. The only difference you should notice is that only MKV supports multiple audio tracks.

4. How do I change the format of my OBS recording?

It is easy to change the recording format in OBS.

Step 1. Launch your OBS Studio, click on File on the top menu bar, and click Settings.

Step 2. In the new popup window, navigate to the Output section.

Step 3. In the Recording Format section, choose the format you need from the drop-down list.

Step 4. Tap OK to save the changes.


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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