Everything You Need to Know About the MP4 File Format

These days, the MP4 file format is everywhere. If you download a random video from the internet, chances are it will be in an MP4 format.

Why do people like MP4s so much? One big reason is that it’s a versatile file type. Unlike MP3s, which could only handle audio files, MP4 files can store audio, video, and subtitles—all while taking up very little space!

Want to know more about this popular format? Here’s how MP4 files work, why we use them, and how you can open or convert them.

What Is An MP4 Format?

In computer terms, MP4 stands for MPEG-4 Part 14. This format appeared in 2001 as an alternative to the Quicktime format (.mov). It soon became the industry standard and the basis for multimedia file formatting.

The easiest way to think of MP4 is as a container format. It allows us to bundle audio, video, and any related information in a single file. Among other things, this makes MP4s a perfect fit for streaming services.

Why MP4 Files Are Useful

As mentioned, the main advantage of MP4 files is their versatility. No matter which digital device you use, you’ll be able to play MP4 files on it. That includes computers, phones, laptops, and tablets.

MP4 files are also very compressed, so they come in smaller sizes compared to other multimedia formats. That makes it much easier to share them. What’s more, this compression has very little impact on file quality.

Finally, you can also edit your MP4 files. All you need is a video editor, which comes free on any modern Windows OS. That alone makes MP4s superior to a DVD, which is always encrypted and all but impossible to edit.

Opening MP4 Files

To play an MP4 file, simply double-click it. Your computer should then be able to decide which application gets to open it. Since you likely have Media Player or Quicktime installed, the file should open automatically.

If no program can play the file, look into third-party options. For example, VLC Media Player is a great video player that supports MP4s and almost every other format under the sun. It’s also free and cross-platform!

Converting MP4 Files

Another big advantage of MP4s files is that you can convert them to anything. File conversions support formats like FLV, MKV, WEBM, FLAC, and more. If you feel like it, you can even convert an MP4 to an animated GIF.

Of course, it’s also possible to convert video to MP4. There are many benefits to doing so, from smaller file sizes to easier editing. Plus, most file converting options allow you to do everything in your browser!

MP4 File Format Explained

As you can see, nothing beats the MP4 file format when it comes to storing digital media. These files are small in size, easy to share, and work on any device you put them on. It’s no wonder they’re so popular!

Want to know more about the various formatting options we use today? Keep checking out our Tech section!