Most people are aware that many different video formats exist. However aside from the extension used by video files, many have little or no idea why the video format is important.
If all you’re doing is playing video files, video formats may not matter that much to you. However if you’re creating video content or encoding videos for use in any way – it is extremely important.
Compatibility and Support
The main reason it is important to use the ‘right’ format to encode videos is for the sake of compatibility. Different devices and platforms provide different degrees of support for different formats – both on the hardware and software front.
In a practical sense this will mean that some video formats may not be supported by certain devices, and the video won’t be able to be played. On some devices software support can be added in by downloading special apps, but that isn’t always possible.
Additionally it should be noted that if only software support for a format is present, playing the video will require a lot more processing power. That is why it is always preferable to encode videos in a format that has hardware support.
Compression and File Size
Another important effect of the video format is the type of compression that is used. That is determined by the codec in the video format, and it can have a big impact on the file size of the video.
As compression algorithms have improved over the years, newer codecs often have far better compression rates than older ones. The case in point being a comparison of H.265 with H.264, where the former can reduce the file size of the video by up to 50% while retaining its quality.
It should be noted that H.264 formats such as AVCHD remain popular because newer codecs take time before hardware support is introduced. On top of that even after hardware
support is introduced in newer devices, it will be quite some time before those devices make it into the hands of end users.
Supported Video Features
The container in the video format is important as well, mostly due to the types of features it supports. Some videos may require those features, if they utilize captions, menus, chapters, and so on.
Different containers also support different video and audio codecs – which is an important consideration as well.
As you can see video formats have a big impact, but as of right now MP4 with H.264 remains the most popular and widely-supported format. That is why encoding or converting videos into it is often preferred, and if you want you can use Online Video Converter to learn how to convert AVCHD to MP4 for example.
That being said if you’re encoding video content to be used in more specific ways, understanding the role the format plays is crucial. Now that you know its importance, you should be able to make a better decision on the ‘right’ video format to use.