While you’re probably aware of the fact that there are lots of video formats out there – do you know which are the most popular? More importantly are you familiar enough with them that you know what they’re good for and why they’re used so frequently?
Developing a better understanding of video formats will let you choose the right format if you ever want to encode a video or transcode one to a different format. With that in mind there are four video formats right now that are very popular, and you should definitely know about:
- MP4 with H.264
Over the years MP4 with H.264 has become the most popular and widely-supported format. Its initial rise was mostly because of how versatile it was and its ability to compress audio and video separately.
Simply put MP4 with H.264 provided smaller file sizes, was more compatible with mobile devices, and HTML5 supported it. It is still the recommended format of choice for most online platforms, such as indicated in YouTube’srecommended upload settings.
- MKV with H.265
Largely seen as the would-be successor to MP4 with H.264, MKV with H.265 has strengths on several fronts. For starters the MKV container itself is open-source and can support practically any feature that is required – whereas the H.265 codec is the successor to H.264 and provides better compression.
For now the format is not as widely-supported as its predecessor, but support for it is growing consistently. In time it could very well supplant MP4 completely.
As you may have guessed MPEG-2 is an old format that is several generations behind MP4. However it remains popular to this very day due to the fact that it is the format that is used in DVDs.
Although newer DVD players have started to support other formats (such as MP4 with H.264) the majority still only cater to MPEG-2. In short if you want to burn a video to a DVD, it needs to be in this format.
- AV1 codec
Recently the AV1codec was released and it has been making waves since then. It offers better compression rates than H.265, is designed to be future-proof, and is open-source and loyalty-free.
While still in its early days, AV1 appears to be a legitimate challenger to H.265 and will likely compete against it for dominance. It is expected to gain widespread adoption over the next 2 years.
As you can see each of these formats is popular for a different reason – or will be in the not too distant future. In fact you may even see how you could use some of this to your advantage, for example learning how to convert a DVD to MP4 will help you to improve its compression.
Converting made easy
Keep in mind that newer formats are constantly emerging with various new features and better types of compression. It may very well be the case that in a few years a completely different format will be more popular than any of the ones listed above.