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What is MP4?

Format Description

MP4 is the file extension for the MPEG-4 container format. More commonly known as MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), it can contain all kinds of multi-media content - like audio, video, 2D and 3D graphics, and animated avatars, besides user interactivity features. The MPEG-4 characterizes the storage of audio, scenes (described by the scene language BIFS), and other multi-media content using the ISO Base Media File Format; while the AVC characterizes the storage of AVC (ISO/IEC 14496-10/AVC) standard 4 data (which may be audio, video, or sub-scenes) within the files of the ISO Base Media File Format.

An MP4 file uses separate compression schemes for audio and video. Video is compressed using the MPEG-4 encoding algorithm, while the audio is compressed using the AAC compression format. But since MP4 is a container format, it can also contain an MPEG-2 AAC or an MP3 bit stream. These different formats are given in the header of an MP4 file, specifying the exact object types in the container.

MP4 is fast taking over MP3 in popularity. MP3 has so far been the most popular and universally used multimedia format, but since capacities and bandwidth have dramatically increased in the past few years, people seem to want video information as well. Just audio is not good enough. MP4, despite containing both audio and video, has a very small file size and can be sent over the internet at great speed. The file can be watched in perfect quality immediately upon receiving. This has made MP4 more popular than MP3.

The MP4 container format is also used by iTunes, and with iPods and Play Station Potable (PSP), thus making the format even more widely used.

MP4 files can be played back on Windows Media Player, Apple QuickTime Player, Winamp, Real Network’s Real Player 10, foobar2000, or any other player that supports MPEG-4. MP4 files can be easily converted to MP3 with Factory Audio Converter.

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Wit of the day

Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end.
Igor Stravinsky