A Guide to Common Video Formats and Video Encoding

When you convert videos, what format suits you most and what encode way will you pick? In this article, I will give a detailed comparison of different video formats and video encoding.



 Extension Developer  Features Use






Good quality

large size 

Capture, edit,

save and play 

back digital 





High quality

good for 


DV camera &

video editing




High quality


DVD rip & video handsets








Home entertainment, digital 

TV and 

video editing  





Widely used


with Mac  

and Windows

Video editing, storage and 








High quality


For streaming video,VOD, 

mobile phone 





Real Networks

High quality


Streaming video and VOD


 Media Video



High quality


Streaming video and HD DVD









Can hold an

unlimited number of video, 


picture, or 

subtitle tracks

Rip DVD 


Container Formats



pros: Good quality. Lossless AVI file has Alpha channel.

Cons: Large size. Because there is no standardized way to encode aspect ratio information, AVI is not compatible with some version of players. For example, early encoded AVI files can’t be played on latest Windows media player and latest encoded AVI files can’t be played on old version of Windows media player. Even if they can, there are still some problems such as sound & picture doesn’t sync or can’t adjust the playback progress . 

Movie example: Captain.America.Civil.War.2016.iTALiAN.MD.TELESYNC.XviD-iCODE[MT].avi (1.73G)

QuickTime File Format (.MOV)

It’s developedby Apple and used natively by the QuickTime framework.

Pros: High compression rate and high quality

Cons: Requires different codecs installed in order to play the media tracks in the MOV file

Movie example: X-Art.12.07.05.Hayden.H.And.Bree.Sunday.Afternoon.XXX.1080p.MOV-KTR (799MB)


MPEG is the standard for coded representation of moving pictures and audio. There are three compression standards: MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. Since MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 are seldom used, I will make a brief introduction of MPEG-4. MPEG-4 is especially created for streaming video playback. It provides superior image quality with the least data. The biggest pro of MPEG-4 is that it can store DVD image quality files in a small package. 

Pros: High quality. Best file format for moving over the internet and storing where storage is limited.

Cons: No specific cons. 

Movie example: Batman.V.Superman.Dawn.Of.Justice.2016.1080p.BluRay.x264-[YTS.AG].mp4 (2.79G)


WMV is short for Windows Media Video. It was developed by Microsoft upon independent encoding method for directly viewing internet steaming videos.

Pro: Easy for network transmission. 

Cons: Needs installing Windows Media Player, which is rarely used on video websites.

Movie example: [JustDanica] - 2011-05-24 - Stocking Lovers [1920x1080][WMV].wmv (363MB)

Real Video (.RM .RMVB)

RealVideo is a suite of proprietary video compression formats developed by Real Networks. It’s suitable for use as a streaming media format.

Pros: Small size.

Cons: Low bit rate. Bad image quality.

Movie example: [XFSUB][Naruto Shippuuden][688_468][BIG5][RV-10 1024x576 AAC].rmvb (139MB)

Flash Video (.FLV)

Flash Video is a container file format used to deliver video over the Internet using Adobe. It becomes widely used as there are more and more video websites.

Pros: High compatibility. Enjoys the best overall support. 

Cons: The quality is not so good.

Movie example: Hotkinkyjo - Black, Long And Deep [1080p].flv (485MB)

Matroska (.MKV)

Matroska is a new container file format, capable of holding unlimited number of video, audio and subtitile tracks, along with any data in a Matroska Media file. It’s open and free. 

Pros: Open source. Supports multiple audio tracks. High quality

Cons: Relatively large size. 

Movie example: Captain.America.The.Winter.Soldier.2014.1080p.BluRay.REMUX.DTS-HD.AVC-NA.mkv (36G)

Video Encoding 

Video coding format is a content representation format for storage or transmission of digital video content. Common encoding ways include: H.26X and MPEG.

1.H.26X includes: H.261, H.262, H.263, H.264 and H.265. H.264 and H.265 are the mostly used ways.

A.H.264: H.264 or MPEG-4 Part 10, Advanced Video Coding is a video compressed standard that is commonly used for the recording, compression, and distribution of video content.

B.H.265: High Efficiency Video Coding is one of the successors to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. It ‘s substantially improved video quality at the same bit rate. It supports resolutions up to 8192×4320, including 8K UHD.

2. MPEG-4 is the mostly common used format. H.264/AVC was developed by VCEG together with MPEG. The ITU-T called this standard H.264 and the ISO/IEC called it MPEG-4 (Advanced Video Coding, AVC).

3. Uncommon used:

AMV/AVS/Bink/CineForm/Cinepak/Dirac/DV/Indeo/Video/Pixlet/RealVideo/RTVideo/SheerVideo /Smacker/Sorenson Video/Theora/VC-1/VP3/VP6/VP7/VP8/VP9/WMV

Anyway if you want to convert a video, H.265 or H.264 is the best choice. And AVI is not a good choice. If you don’t know what format is needed, just open Format Package and choose the output device, you will get the compatible format. 

Back to Top

Top Tips

Movie quality difference among CAM/TS/DVDscr
How to record computer screen with audio
Download and convert Vimeo videos to mp3
How to download and convert backround music
How to convert 3gp mobile videos
How to convert ogm to mp4/mkv/avi
How to convert flv to mp4/wmv/3gp
How to convert Webm to wmv/mp4/mov
How to convert f4v to mov/mp4/mp3
How to convert mkv to mp4/avi/mp3
How to download youtube video to mov file
How to convert wav to m4a/flac/mp3
How to convert avi to mov/mkv/mp4
How to convert AC3 to aac/mp3
How to convert OGG to mp3/mp4
How to convert videos to play on iPhone
How to download videos to play on iPhone
How to convert DV format to popular digital format
How to convert MPG video to mp4 video

iFunsoft Products

iFun Video Converter
Format Package
Phone Saver

About iFunsoft

About Us
Online Feedback
FAQs of Format Package
FAQs of iFun Video Converter
Picas - Photo Artwork

For Further Knowing About Video

How to download youtube video with subtitles
How to make high quality animated gifs from videos
How to convert srt to ass subtitles for videos
How to choose video encoding & conversion software
What does HDRip/DVDRip/DVDscr/TC mean?
How to Convert CD audio track to mp3
How to Convert AVCHD mts/m2ts to mp4
How to convert VOB to mp4 or mp3
How to convert blu-ray 4k to 1080p or 720p
How to convert WMV video downloaded from youtube to MP4
How to convert Arf movie to AVI file
How to convert asf video to mp4/MP3 file
How to convert flac audio to mp3/wma file
How to convert lossless m4a to other lossless audio format
How to convert DVD to digital format
How to download and Convert youtube to 3G2
How to remove drm from m4v video