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How to choose the best video container format?

Alina - Product Manager

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When it comes to video formats, understanding the differences between various container formats is crucial for ensuring optimal playback, compatibility, and file size. In this article, we'll explore the most popular video container formats to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right one for your needs.

What is a Video Container Format?

A video container format, also known as a wrapper, is a file format that holds multiple encoded video and audio streams, along with metadata and other related information. The container format does not affect the video quality but plays a vital role in determining the file's compatibility, compression, and playback options.

Difference between MP4, MOV, MKV, AVI, and FLV

1. MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14)

MP4, or MPEG-4 Part 14, is a widely-used multimedia container format that can store both video and audio data. It is compatible with most devices and media players, making it a popular choice for sharing and distributing video content. MP4 files are typically smaller in size than other formats, making them easier to upload and download.


- Wide compatibility: MP4 is supported by most modern devices and media players.

- Efficient compression: MP4 files can be compressed using H.264 or H.265 codecs, reducing file size without compromising quality.

- Supports digital rights management (DRM): MP4 supports encryption, making it suitable for copyrighted content.

2. MOV (QuickTime File Format)

MOV, or QuickTime Movie, is a file format developed by Apple for storing video and audio data. It is commonly used for recording and editing video on Mac computers. MOV files are known for their high-quality video and audio, making them a popular choice for professional video editing and production.


- Versatile: MOV is compatible with both Windows and macOS systems.

- High-quality video: MOV supports various high-quality video codecs, including ProRes and DNxHD.

- Editing-friendly: MOV is widely used in professional video editing software.

3. MKV (Matroska)

MKV, or Matroska Video, is an open-source multimedia container format that can store multiple audio, video, and subtitle tracks in a single file. This makes it a popular choice for high-quality video content, such as Blu-ray rips and high-definition video files. MKV files also support advanced features such as chapter markers and metadata.


- Open-source: MKV is an open-source format, free from patents and licensing issues.

- Highly customizable: MKV allows users to store multiple audio, video, and subtitle tracks within a single file.

- High-quality streaming: MKV supports high-quality video codecs like H.264, H.265, and VP9.

4. AVI (Audio Video Interleave)

AVI, or Audio Video Interleave, is a file format developed by Microsoft for storing video and audio data. It is compatible with most media players, but is less common than other formats. AVI files are known for their high-quality video and audio, but can be larger in size than other formats.


- Legacy support: AVI has been around since the early days of video playback, making it compatible with many older systems.

- No digital rights management: AVI does not support DRM, making it suitable for non-copyrighted content.

- Customizable: AVI allows users to customize the video and audio settings.

5. FLV (Flash Video)

FLV, or Flash Video, is a file format developed by Adobe for streaming video content over the internet. It is commonly used for online video platforms such as YouTube. FLV files are known for their small size and ability to be streamed over slower internet connections.


- Web compatibility: FLV was widely used for streaming video on websites, especially before HTML5 video became popular.

- Small file sizes: FLV files are relatively small, making them suitable for web streaming.

- Decent compression: FLV uses the On2 VP6 codec, which provides decent compression without significant loss in quality.

Choosing the Right Video Container Format

When selecting a video container format, consider the following factors:

1. Compatibility: Ensure the chosen format is supported by the devices and media players you plan to use.

2. Quality: Choose a format that supports the desired video and audio quality, without compromising on file size.

3. Compression: Opt for a format that provides efficient compression, balancing file size and quality.

4. Editing: If you plan to edit the video, choose a format that is compatible with your video editing software.

5. Purpose: Consider the intended use case, such as streaming, downloading, or archiving, as different formats may be better suited for different purposes.

Tencent MPS

Tencent MPS encoding supports a variety of container formats, with input formats including: 3GP, AVI, FLV, MP4, M3U8, MPG, ASF, WMV, MKV, MOV, TS, WebM, and MXF. Output container formats comprise: Video: FLV, MP4, HLS (M3U8 + TS), MXF; Audio: MP3, MP4, Ogg, FLAC, M4A; and Image: GIF, WebP. Below are several common scenarios for your reference:

1. Video Websites: MPS covers all mainstream video formats and supports multiple resolutions and bitrates, enabling video websites to deliver a smooth and consistent user experience to users with different bandwidth options.

2. Online Education: MPS' powerful video transcoding feature can generate video files of different specifications, so video can be played back on various devices, making it highly suitable for the online education industry.

3. Radio and TV Industry: MPS features fast and stable multipart transcoding and supports concurrent task execution and dynamic scaling, satisfying the needs for efficient transcoding in the radio and TV industry.

4. OTT Smart TVs: MPS supports video transcoding to 2K and 4K resolutions for smart TVs, so as to provide enhanced video quality for viewers.

Choosing the right video container format is crucial for ensuring optimal video quality, compatibility, and compression efficiency. Feel free to Contact Us for more information.