What Is an MP4 File and How Do They Work?

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When it comes to multimedia files, you know what an MP3 is, but what is an MP4 file? Read here about MP4 files and exactly how they work.

Videos are popular and YouTube can easily prove that with nearly 2 billion accounts, almost one-third of total internet users. With so much content produced, there’s a lot of different video file formats such as MPG, MOV, AVI, and MKV.

One of the most common is MP4. But what is an MP4 file anyway?

Don’t fret, we’re here to explain it. Read our guide below to understand what an MP4 is, why you should use it, and how to play it:

What Is an MP4 File?

A file with the MP4 file extension is an abbreviation for MPEG-4 part 14 or  MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding).

Created in 1998, it is now gaining ever more popularity in the mainstream market. The ‘MPEG’ refers to the Motion Pictures Expert Group, which is the body involved in setting industry standards for digital video and audio.

Why MP4?

MP4 is the most universal video format around.

There are 69% of video professionals who use MP4 regularly for the web and 58% of people that use it for mobile phones. Overall, MP4 tops over the other video file formats for its usages in social media like YouTube and Instagram.

Most digital platforms and devices support MP4 due to its portable and a web-friendly format. MP4 can now store, not only videos and audio files, but also images and subtitles.

It’s a format that provides high-quality video while maintaining a relatively small file size. There is no need to worry about losing quality due to its higher compression technique. An advantage of MP4 is that you can mix in text and animation layers in 3D and still images or graphics.

An advantage of sending or receiving MP4 is that it quickly moves files from one to another and it can travel over the internet and display faster. It’s supported in many video editors like Adobe Premiere Pro and Filmora, allowing lossless compression codecs enabling you to manage your entire workflow in MP4.

MP4 File Types

There are a few parts of an MP4 format that describe the way a video, audio, images, and other content, like sub-titles, gets compressed. MP4 files don’t have to contain all the types of media and some only include audio or images.

Not sure which type of MP4 you have? They function differently according to the compression type, which is as follows:

MPEG-4 Part 14 (.mp4) focuses on compression of music, audio, and movies. This is the format that can compress a two-hour movie into less than 1 GB of storage. Like most container formats, it allows streaming over the internet.

MPEG-4 Part 3 (.mp4a) is an AAC or Advanced Audio Coding. This prioritizes audio compression while still maintaining high-quality mixes.

MPEG-4 Part 2 (mp4v) is the standard that allows apparent compression of videos.

MPEG-4 Systems (.mp4s) provides the technologies to synchronize audio-visual contents composed of various data including audio, visual, and 2D/3D graphics.

How to Open MP4 Files?

Since MP4 is a standardized video file format, almost all video players support MP4. Windows and macOS users can play mp4 files without having to download third-party software. But if you want a program to view MP4, we recommend using VLC for its free use that supports almost all file formats.

The easiest way to open and play MP4 files to double-click on the file and let your computer decide which application should open it. Both Android and iPhone support playback on MP4 as well.

If your device can’t open MP4 files by default, the most common solution is to get a player, like the aforementioned VLC player. You can also convert the file to a file type your device or player can play. Keep in mind, however, that converting a file can take a while, especially if the compression encompasses a large file such as a movie.

How to Recover Deleted MP4 Files?

Many scenarios can happen that lead to loss of MP4 files. Scenarios like accidentally deleting, interruption during file transfer, deletion due to virus attack, and formatting your drive.

Always check if your MP4 files are in your Recycle Bin. If they did, simply right-click on your mouse and choose to restore. The files will appear in the folder where you last saved them.

If the files are not there, don’t panic because the files aren’t completely erased from your storage drive. It’s recommended that you stop using your computer or storage drives after losing important MP4 files.

Many programs that can help in MP4 video file recoveries include Wondershare Data Recovery, Stellar Phoenix Video Repair, Remo Recover, and iCare Recovery.

Converting MP4 Files

Converting videos help when their original format does not play on a certain device, online site, or platform.

One of the easier to use programs when your converting other video files is Freemake Video Converter. There are also websites like Online Video Converter and Cloud Convert, which are all browser-based. This means you wouldn’t have to install any programs.

Converting MKV to MP4

The MKV format is often seen as a carrier for high-definition online video because it supports description, ratings, cover art, and even chapter points. However, these videos may not play correctly. MKVs won’t play on iPhones or iPads by default and some editors don’t support MKV files.

The best bet you have is to convert MKV to MP4 for easier editing and to have a smaller, more portable file.

Watch Your Favorite Videos In MP4 Format

What is an MP4 file? We hope this guide provided all the answers you seek and more!

If you aren’t using MP4 yet, then it’s about time to use it. Professionals are now turning to use the MP4 video file format due to its convenience and small size. Take advantage of it too!

But why stop discovering new things here? If you want more useful guides, don’t hesitate to check out more of our posts right here, today!

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