MP4 is a commonly used file storage format. Video content within an MP4 file is encoded with a standard called MPEG-4.
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MP4 is a widely used multimedia file storage format used for storing video and streaming. It is an international standard that works with a vast range of devices.
MP4 refers to the digital container file that acts as a wrapper around the video, not the video itself. It contains compressed video data and other associated data necessary for playing the video.
During the encoding process, a video file is optimized for various platforms, programs, and devices. This involves both compressing (making the file smaller) and transcoding (changing the video format).
Compared to other video file types, MP4 files are typically more compressed and thus smaller. Since audio and video components are compressed separately, it has relatively high post-compression video quality.
While the full name of the MP4 standard is MPEG-4 Part 14, the terms “MP4” and “MPEG-4” do not mean the same thing. MP4 is the digital container file and MPEG-4 is the standard for encoding the video content within MP4 files. The video content inside an MP4 file is encoded using the MPEG-4 standard.
As an example, consider a can of soda. The MP4 container is like the can that contains the beverage, while the MPEG-4 standard is like the soda inside the can. Just as someone might request a soda but really mean a can of soda, MP4 and MPEG-4 are sometimes used interchangeably when referring to an MP4 container file.
Most platforms designed for uploading video files support the MP4 format, including YouTube and Vimeo. Wistia accepts MOV files but recommends using MP4 files.
Streaming allows a client device to play video from a server without downloading the whole video file. MP4 is compatible with many streaming protocols, including:
Formats differ in their compatibility with platforms, browsers, and devices. MP4 alternatives include:
Cloudflare Stream, an on-demand video streaming platform, supports a wide range of video file formats, including MP4. Learn more about video storage, encoding, and signed tokens on Cloudflare Stream.
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