Understanding the Role of Video Formats

Video formats are really just a digital file formats that are designed specifically to store videos. The role that video formats play is often misunderstood, but suffice to say they are more than just window dressing.

To understand the role of video formats, you need to understand the role of both of its parts: The video container, and video codec.

Video Container

The video container is responsible for wrapping and holding together all the data that makes up the video. That typically includes the video codec and video data, audio codec and audio data, as well as various other data streams such as captions, menus, chapters, and so on.

The exact types of additional data streams that are supported can vary from container to container, which is why some may support closed captions and menus, while others may not.

Overall the video container is the most noticeable part of the video format because it is what determines the file extension that is used. In fact people frequently mistakenly assume that the file extension is indicative of the video format – which isn’t technically true.

Video Codec

The video codec is the part of the format that compresses the video data to store it more efficiently.

Video codecs can compress data using lossless or lossy compression. The former will preserve all the data and allow the original data to be restored in an identical manner. However the latter will discard some data that it considers redundant in order to reduce the overall file size further.

Almost all video formats and files that you encounter will probably be compressed using lossy compression. Lossless videos can still take up a significant amount of space and are impractical, despite being compressed.

It should be noted that different video codecs using lossy compression may vary in terms of their efficiency. For example the H.265 codec can compress H.264 videos to half their file size without affecting the video quality.

For a video to be viewed its data needs to be decoded and decompressed – which requires the device that is playing it to have hardware or software support for the codec that is used. If the video’s data cannot be decoded, it cannot be viewed.

Final Words

To sum it up the video format has an important role to play in the compatibility of the video, the compression that it uses, and the data that it can store.

That is why you may want to use Online Video Converter if you ever need to convert MPG to MP4, AVI to MOV, WMV to MKV, or any other formats. As a web app it can be accessed easily, and you can upload and convert any video that you choose with its help.

By understanding the role of video formats, you should be able to determine which format to use more easily. On top of that if you run into any issues involving the format, you may be able to identify the problem as well.

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