AVI, WMV, MOV, or MP4? Which One Should You Use?

AVI, WMV, MOV, or MP4? Which One Should You Use?

When it comes to video formats, there are several options to choose from. AVI, WMV, MOV, and MP4 are the most common ones. MP4 can also be used for audio, but it’s primarily known for videos.

AVI and WMV are formats developed by Microsoft, while MOV is associated with Apple QuickTime, and MP4 is endorsed by ISO.

There are times when you don’t have a choice in selecting a video format, but you can always convert existing files if needed. I’ll explain more about that soon.

If you created the video files on your PC using software, you’re in luck. These files will still be compatible with newer operating systems. For example, a video encoded with Windows Movie Maker for Windows XP can be played on Windows 7, and a video encoded with QuickTime for MacOS 9 will work on modern Macs, Windows, and Linux PCs.

The real problem arises when using video files generated by digital devices. Some of these devices require a special codec to view the videos. While you may have the necessary codec on your current computer, what happens if you switch to a different one? Will the video still play? Most likely not, especially without the specific codec. It’s not ideal to clutter your new computer with unnecessary software for an old video device you no longer use.

AVI files are known to be the most problematic with special codecs, followed by MOV and then WMV.

The format that works universally without any issues is MP4. Videos in this format will play seamlessly on any modern operating system.

If you want to convert existing videos to MP4, you can do so easily with a tool called Handbrake. Regardless of the operating system you use, you can download and use Handbrake for free. After installing the software, simply select a video file, choose the “Normal” setting, and click “Start” to begin the conversion. Test the converted file to ensure it plays correctly, then save it for future use. It’s that simple!

Why Don’t Most Motherboards Have Built-In Wi-Fi?

3 Opinions on “AVI, WMV, MOV, or MP4? Which One Should You Use?”

Mateo says:

All of these formats are essentially wrappers that can contain any codec. MP4 generally works well because it often uses the H264 codec, which is widely supported. WMV may not work on Macs without additional software. AVI and MOV support multiple codecs, making it confusing to determine which codec is needed.

It’s also important to note that converting a file to MP4 doesn’t guarantee compatibility with Handbrake or any other software.

Another option worth considering is MPEG Streamclip from Squared 5.

Salabim says:

While Handbrake is designed for beginners, it may not yield satisfactory results in terms of video quality. For better control and more freedom, tools like MeGUI or Avidemux are recommended.

For advanced users, FFMPEG via the command line offers the most control over the conversion process.

David says:

With some effort, you can make any format work on a PC or Mac. However, the crucial question is which format is best supported on mobile devices?

A few years ago, I chose AVI with the DivX codec for its compact size and decent quality. Unfortunately, some devices like PSPs don’t support it.

Ultimately, MP4 seems to be the winner. It’s widely supported on mobile devices, provides a smooth playback experience, and is user-friendly. Personally, I would also go with MP4 for mobile use.

Leave a Comment

Do not miss this experience!

Ask us any questions

Get in touch