Are you aware of just how many video formats there are out there – both containers and codecs? Needless to say, there are lots, but the good news is that you don’t actually need to know about most of them.
In fact there are very few video formats that the average user needs to be aware of – but three, in particular, do stand out:
#1. MP4 with H.264
By far the most popular format right now, MP4 with H.264 is compatible with most devices and is the recommended format of most online platforms as well. Both MP4 and H.264 are somewhat dated at this point, however, and there are other containers and codecs that have surpassed them in various ways.
That being said MP4 with H.264 is still often used for its convenience and the fact that it is a ‘safe’ format for distributing files. As support for newer codecs slowly grows, however, it is likely to eventually be replaced by a different format.
#2. MP4 or MKV with H.265
If there is a format that may replace MP4 with H.264, it is MP4 or MKV with H.265. The H.265 codec is the direct successor to the H.264, and can reduce its file sizes by up to 50% while maintaining the same quality.
As far as the container is concerned, MP4 is still a good choice – but MKV is widely-regarded as an alternative. Although MKV does not enjoy the same level of support as yet, it is more versatile and supports more features, codecs, and higher resolutions of video.
In short MP4 with H.265 might supplant MP4 with H.264 in the short term, but is likely to be supplanted in turn by MKV with H.265 over time.
Although very dated at this point, MPEG-2 remains a very common and widely-used format – due to the fact that it is the format used by most DVDs and some Blu-ray discs as well. Its popularity is on the wane alongside DVD and Blu-ray, but it still is a format worth knowing.
Simply put if you want to burn a DVD video, you will almost always need to use MPEG-2. Similarly for Blu-ray MPEG-2 is sometimes used due to its high quality at very high bitrates. Outside of both these reasons, however, you are unlikely to encounter or require it.
Sometimes you may want to use other formats or convert MOV to AVI, WMV, FLV, and so on – especially if you’re dealing with specific use cases. Most video converters support a fairly wide range of formats, and for example, you could use Movavi Video Converter if you need one.
Overall, however, the formats listed above are the three most common formats that you’re likely to need or encounter nowadays. That being said as newer formats are released some may even supplant them, such as the AV1 format that was released earlier this year. It seems to be going strong, and its rapid adoption could have it replace MP4 with H.264 and relegate H.265 at the same time.