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Your Ultimate Guide to Top 10 Video Formats

Well, as you may already know, there are many different ways to share your videos with others. In this article, we will look at the basics of how they work and why you might not choose one over the other.

No matter whether you want to stream, download or save to disk, this guide will help you find the right video format for your next project.

StockVideos.org has several options for downloading our stock videos and this guide will help you make the right decision on which format is more suitable for you.



What is a Video File Format?


Every video you view on your tablet, smartphone, TV, or computer has a particular file format. Understanding how each format works is essential if you want to view your videos on every platform. A video format that is used for web development may be different than the one you use for social media.

Two components of any video file are a container and codec. Video formats are containers that store audio, video, subtitles, and other metadata.

A video codec compresses and encodes a video when creating a new video. The audio codec does the same thing with sound. The encoded video and audio are then synchronized and saved in a media container.

The codecs are stored in file formats or file extensions. Most video formats lose their data when compressed, just like the lossy audio file format. The choice of format depends on what you are looking for in terms of quality and ease of use.


Top 10 Video File Formats and Codecs


First, you need to understand the differences between the video formats to choose the right format for your project. Let's take a look at the 10 most popular formats on the market, and what their differences are.



MPEG-4 Part 14, abbreviated for Motion Picture Experts Group (or MP4), is one of the earliest digital video file formats that was introduced in 2001. This type of file is a good format because it has some good qualities and is easy to compress. MP4 is supported by most digital platforms and devices. It can store audio, video, still images, and text files. It uses the MPEG-4 encode algorithm to store audio and video files, but it has a lower video quality than other formats. It is great for uploading videos to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • Pros

The MP4 video format is compatible with a variety of media players, including iTunes, GOM, VLC Media Player, Windows Media Player, and VLC Media Player. This makes it well-known worldwide.

YouTube recommends this file format because it is a closed caption format. This makes it compatible with applications that need subtitles in their videos.

The MP4 video format is high-quality and can be streamed over the internet.

Video sharing platforms encourage users to upload video files in this format.

  • Cons

Editing this video format is a nightmare. It crashes often, which is a problem.



Apple created MOV (QuickTime Film), a video file format that is very popular these days. It stores high-quality audio, video, subtitles, and other media types. Because MOV files are a high-quality format, they take up significantly more space on a computer.  MOV files are supported by YouTube and Facebook. It works well for TV too.

  • Pros

This file format is compatible with many other formats, giving users a sigh of relief.

It is simple to use and user-friendly.

It can produce high-standard videos.

  • Cons

It creates large files that can be difficult to use and has a negative impact on the user.

Data loss can be caused by the compression of video files.



Microsoft developed the WMV video format and it is widely used by Windows media players. It provides high-quality video, however tends to be large, such as MOV. YouTube supports WMV.

  • Pros

The biggest plus of the WMV format is its small size. Saved files are reduced drastically so that it is easier to transfer through light media means such as emails. 

It is frequently used to store video files in Windows. Moreover, other programs also take advantage of it in making short animations.

  • Cons

The main drawback of WMV is that the image quality is retained after compression.

Because it was developed to be in conjunction with Microsoft, the video format is not widely used by media players capable of running WMV files in other operating systems.



Microsoft introduced the AVI (Audio Video Interleave) file format in 1992. It is still widely used today. The AVI video format compresses less than other formats like MPEG and MOV, which leads to quite large file sizes. This can cause problems for users who have limited storage space.

This format works with almost all web browsers on Windows, Mac, or Linux. YouTube supports it and it works well for TV watching.

You can also create AVI videos without compression. The files are therefore lossless. The file will retain the same quality no matter how many times it is opened or saved. This also eliminates the need for codecs in the video player.

  • Pros

This video format allows for high-quality videos and audio fidelity.

It is compatible with both Microsoft and non-Microsoft operating systems.

To open AVI videos files, no special hardware is required. They are easily accessible by most users.

It's perfect for promos and short videos that require compression, as well as teasers.

  • Cons

To open these video files, a special codec must be installed.

AVI video files take up more space than other formats, which can be a disadvantage.

It doesn't allow for user interaction which isn't much liked by most users.



AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition) video format was designed by hi-tech companies for high-definition digital video camcorders. It can be used for digital recording and HD video playback. They compress video files for easy storage, without losing any definition. It uses the H.264/MPEG-4 compression technology. AVCHD 2.0, the most recent version of this format, supports three-dimensional video.

  • Pros

AVCHD was created for high-end hardware products such as those made by Sony, Hitachi, and Canon.

AVCHD can also support 3D videos.

  • Cons

AVCHD is not as popular as its counterpart, the MP4 video format.

Although 4K has become very popular, AVCHD doesn't support it.

Video files of large sizes are not recommended. It can take quite a while to transfer the video from your camera to your computer for editing. This process is slower than other formats. It is expected that professional video editing software will make it work better over time.



Flash video format FLV is intended for Flash Player. FLV is an excellent choice for streaming video online, such as YouTube. The FLV files are small in size, making them easy to download. It is not compatible with many mobile devices such as iPhones though.

  • Pros

This format is also suitable for games.

FLV is the best tool to add animations to any content on a website.

This video format can be used to create amazing effects for the video.

  • Cons

It is costly to use so people avoid using it in their video programs and applications.

It is time-consuming and can have a negative effect on users.

Flash video formats are not compatible with iOS, making them less useful for Apple users.



The Matroska Multimedia Container format was developed in Russia. It is open-source and free. The MKV file format combines audio, video, and subtitles into one file. MKV is the best choice if your video will be viewed on a computer or TV using an open-source media player such as Miro or VLC.

The MKV format was designed to be future-proof. This means that video files will always remain current. MKV containers can support almost every video and audio format. This makes the format adaptable and simple to use.

  • Pros

MKV is an open-source format that supports a wide variety of codecs.

This format can hold images, audio, and videos in one file.

Compression does not cause data loss.

  • Cons

This format is not user-friendly because it has many complications.

It is still in its early stages and not widely used by users.



WebM was first introduced by Google in 2010 and is an open-source video format. It was created with the future and current state of the Internet in mind. WebM's video codecs require very low computing power to unzip and compress the files. This design aims to allow online video streaming on virtually any device such as tablets and smartphones or smart TVs.

These formats are ideal for embedding videos on your business or personal website. These files are small and can be loaded quickly.

  • Pros

WEBM is an open-source format that anyone can use.

This video format file can be used for Chromecast and HTML5 HTML5.

WEBM is very popular, especially on Youtube and Wikimedia, because of the high-quality videos and integration on many well-known sites.

WEBM is an excellent choice for video streaming types of video file formats.

It is easy to edit video with video software tools like Corel VideoStudio. WEBM is still used by the most popular free editing software.

  • Cons

Its popularity is slowly declining. It is no longer supported by many platforms, including Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

WEBM cannot be used on many types of mobile phones.



This video format works well with iTunes to encode video files. It is a container file and not a codec. This allows for compatibility with many media players, including VLC, Apple QuickTime, Zoom, MPlayer, Media Player Classic, Media Player Classic, and Media Player Classic.

  • Pros

This format is perfect for translating foreign-language shows.

These video files can be stored in a small amount of space and you will have high-quality videos.

  • Cons

These video formats do not work with Android devices.



The MTS video format can be found in Advanced Video Coding High Definition, (AVCHD). It is used by Sony and Panasonic, both large electronic companies. MTS stands for MPEG Transport Stream, and it allows high-definition projects.

  • Pros

It supports 3D videos.

It is compatible with all hardware products manufactured by Sony and Canon.

  • Cons

The editing process takes a long time.

It doesn't work with many programs, leaving users with a negative impression.

It doesn't support the 4K format.



Video editing and export


After downloading the desired stock video from our site at https://stockvideos.org/, you can use editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro, which will accept any of the above formats (except for MKV). Premiere Pro offers a lightweight workflow and seamless integration with other Adobe applications. On completion of your final cut, you will be able to export the video to the most current broadcast formats.