The MP4 Video Format – A Brief Overview

Zohaib Ali
8 Min Read

Video is currently the most popular medium that everyone, right from influencers to multinational companies, uses to promote themselves online. One of the primary reasons for the immense popularity of videos is that the medium offers numerous formats, which allow the masses to shoot and upload them anywhere without hassle.

A popular video format that is used extensively all around the globe by millions of individuals is MP4 or MPEG-4 Part 14. According to Wikipedia, MP4 is a digitized multimedia-containing format that holds the capabilities to store a significant amount of audio and video in small-sized files. Everyone who owns a Mac, PC, or any other smart device has come across the file format at least once, thanks to the format’s popularity.

The video format is compatible with all major operating systems, including macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. This article will take a closer look at what an MP4 file is, how users can play any MP4 files on their Mac or Windows PC, and its main features and advantages. Let us get started:

What is an MP4 Video?

MP4 is a multimedia file storage variant extensively used by people to store and stream videos. It is the universal standard of video formats that can be played on almost any device or platform. Also referred to as MPEG-4, it is a container format that acts as a video’s shell, i.e., it contains all the data required to play a video. Like other video formats, MP4 also goes through an elaborate encoding process which facilitates it to play on any platform. MP4 files are more compressed than other video formats, and thus they take up significantly less space. However, even though they do not take much space, MP4 files feature top-tier video quality even after compression, mainly because the file’s audio and video components are compressed individually.

How to Play an MP4 File?

As mentioned earlier, MP4 is a versatile format that is supported on the majority of platforms. Let us take a detailed look at how you can play any MP4 file on two of the most popular operating systems, i.e., Windows and macOS:

macOS – Even though macOS’ native QuickTime player does not support MP4 files, there are numerous other media players that facilitate users to play MP4 videos conveniently. For instance, the Elmedia Player, a third-party macOS-compatible application, allows users to play and enjoy any MP4 file without issues. Besides MP4, the famous media player also supports many other video formats such as AVI, MOV, FLV, DAT, MP3, etc. Besides this, another great application compatible with the MP4 file format is Movist Pro. Like Elmedia Player, Movist Pro allows users to play videos of numerous formats. Moreover, it also enables users to define the video’s size and quality, apply filters, add subtitles, and perform countless additional activities. To know more, visit

Windows – Like macOS, numerous Windows-compatible media players support the MP4 file format. For instance, the VLC player is a highly-versatile player that supports MP4 and multiple other file formats. It packs many features and functionalities, such as subtitle support, keyboard shortcuts, etc., which facilitates an excellent user experience. Besides VLC, The KMPlayer is another tremendous third-party tool that plays MP4 files with ease.

Features of MP4 Format:

  • The MP4 container file type is an open-source format that anyone can use for free.
  • It is a highly compressible file format.
  • It is a highly versatile video format supported on all major mobile and computer operating systems.
  • It is the standard video format used by millions of people mainly because it offers top-notch audio and video quality.
  • MP4 files consume less storage space than other video formats, and hence the format is highly preferred for streaming long videos on the web.
  • Even after compression, the quality of an MP4 video does not deteriorate, which is why most of the masses love shooting and downloading MP4 videos.
  • Almost every multimedia player app supports MP4 files since the format is universally deemed the industry standard.

Advantages of MP4:

The popular video format presents a lot of advantages to users. Almost all websites host MP4 files without facing any issues. Moreover, anyone can conveniently download MP4 videos and play them on any device without hassle. Since most platforms’ native media players support MP4, users do not need to opt for a third-party tool to open and view the file. The high-compression capabilities of the format facilitate users to store, manage or transfer it easily. Since the format supports metadata, editors can conveniently add any interactive element to their MP4 video to make it stand out from the rest of the crowd.

The MP4 file container format’s popularity has grown exponentially over the years, mainly because it offers top-tier flexibility and convenience to users.

Zohaib Ali is a dynamic and visionary tech enthusiast, dedicated to uncovering the latest technology trends and their profound impact on our world. With a passion for innovation, Zohaib has carved a niche as a leading voice in the tech industry, constantly seeking opportunities to push the boundaries of what's possible.
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