What is MP4 Format

MP4 or MPEG-4 Part 14(formally ISO/IEC 14496-14:2003) is a multimedia container format standard specified as a part of MPEG-4. It may also be referred to as MPEG-4 AVC, which stands for Advanced Video Coding. As the name suggests, this is a format for working with video files and was first introduced in 1998. The MPEG refers to Motion Pictures Expert Group who is responsible for setting the industry standards regarding digital audio and video.

MP4 allows a combination of audio, video, subtitles and still images to be held in the one single file. It also allows for advanced content such as 3D graphics, menus and user interactivity.

An MP4 file uses separate compression schemes for audio and video. Video is compressed by using the MPEG-4 Part 10 (H.264), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 encoding algorithm, while the audio is compressed in  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.

The MP4 container format can be used by iTunes, and with all portable devices, like: iPhone, iPod, iPad, PS3(PSP), Zune, Android Phones, etc. And it can be played back with many softwares, like: KMPlayer, Media Player Classic,  MPlayer, QuickTime Player, VLC media player, Windows Media Player 12, XBMC Media Center, etc.
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