Mp4 File: How To Open And Convert

mp4 file logo The MP4 file is one of the most popular multimedia formats, which is ordinarily used for storing movies. This cross-platform and highly compressed video format can also contain audio tracks, subtitles, or still images.
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What Is MP4 file?

mp4 formats

People constantly ask “What is an MP4?” and the answer is that it’s a universal, internationally accepted standard for audiovisual coding. This format compresses audio and video tracks separately. Video is compressed using the MPEG-4 video codec while audio is compressed with AAC.

Due to the high compression rate, MP4 is considered to be smaller than any other video format. While a small 30-minute AVI video with subtle color correction and a couple of audio tracks takes up 2.3GB, I’ve managed to compress the .MP4 file down to 211MB (almost 10 times smaller).

The MP4 format is widely used for streaming videos on the net and is supported by a broad range of video programs and all kinds of devices. This makes MP4 a portable and online-friendly video format.

Even though MP4 can contain audio, you shouldn’t mix them up with M4A and MP3, since those formats can only contain sound. To better understand what MP4 format is, look at its pros and cons:

  • The smallest size among video formats
  • Separate compression for video and audio tracks
  • An MP4 file can be opened on any platform
  • Editing or updating MP4 files isn’t easy
  • Can significantly decrease the quality

How to Open an MP4 File?

The answer to “How to open MP4?” is quite simple. Since MP4 is a standardized video format for any platform and device, almost all video players, both built-in and third-party ones, support MP4.

To open and view an MP4 file on Linux, Windows, or Mac OS, simply double click the necessary file. Linux, Windows and Mac OS contain built-in software (Media Player, QuickTime) that allows you to open MP4 video files.

Android and iPhone devices also support playing MP4 videos by default – just click the file and it will be immediately opened in the app.

To edit an MP4 file, you need to buy Adobe Premiere, or download one of the free programs like VSDC, Lightworks, etc.

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Professional Software to Open an MP4 File

Premiere Pro. Other than viewing and converting an MP4 file, this software offers advanced editing capabilities, filters, color grading LUTs, audio editing tools, and more. You can download Adobe Premiere Pro free, and test its video-converting functionality.

Any Video Converter. This is an advanced video converter that is available completely for free. Import formats include MP4, 4GP, FLV, MOV, MPEG (and over 30 more), the export formats are MP4, FLV, GIF, MKV, AVI (and 9+ more). It boasts many additional features such as batch conversion, file merging, and cropping.

Avidemux. This free MP4 format converter comes with plenty of advanced and extensive functions including conversion, buffer size settings, and multi-streaming. The number of import formats isn’t that large, but it comprises the most popular ones: MP4, 3GP, ASF, AVI, MKV, MPEG4. The export formats are AVI, FLV, M1V, M2V, MP4, MPG, MPEG, OGM, and TS. The main drawback of this program is an overloaded interface.

Free Software to Open an MP4 File

Format Factory. This multifunctional media converter for Windows boasts such features as quick batch editing and convenient tools for merging and compiling files. It also has such additional features as audio channel, aspect ratio, and bitrate editing.

Clone2Go Free Video Converter. The video editor has a very pleasant interface and is very efficient at converting high-definition video files (Full HD, 2K). The offered import formats are: MOV, MP4, MPG, 3GP, AMV, ASF, AVI, AVS, DAT, DV (and 15+ others) Export formats include AVI, FLV, MPG, MPEG1, and MPEG2. The drawbacks I should mention are the unreliable tech support and annoying popup window after each conversion that prompts you to install the professional version.

iWisoft Free Video Converter. With the help of this program, you can combine video files, edit them while watching the footage, and then convert files into one of the many supported formats. The included import formats are: MP4, MPEG, MTS, RM, RMVB, VOB, WMV (and over 20 more) Export formats are: MP4, MPEG, MPEG4, DV, FLV, MOV, RMVB, etc. The downside of this free MP4 converter is that it’s only compatible with Windows.

Open an MP4 File Online

Online Converter. This intuitive and advanced online converter doesn’t require registration or storing a local copy of your file. You can add a file conventionally, as an attachment or by linking a URL. The import and export formats include 3G2, 3GP, AVI, FLV, MKV, MOV, MP4, etc.

Zamzar. This is another online video conversion service that supports most popular video formats: 3G2, 3GP, AVI, FLV, MP4, MOV, MP4, MPG and WMV. Other than the classic conversion function, Zamzar also allows converting video files into audio. The worst thing about Zamzar is the maximum source file size of 150MB.

How to Convert an MP4?

The simplest way to convert MP4 files is to use an online video converter. The reason is simple: such services are usually free and don’t require you to download any files. The only real downside is the waiting time while your video file is being uploaded and downloaded (depends on your internet connection speed).

CloudConvert. This intuitive cloud service offers quick MP4 conversion into over 100 formats including MAVI and MP3, and it even supports GIF file. However, you should know that a free account allows you to convert files only up to 1GB and no more than 25 minutes per day.

Freemake Video Converter. This is one of the simplest programs for converting an .MP4 file. It allows converting MP4 videos into such formats as MKV, FLV, AVI, 3GP, and transforming an MP4 directly into a DVD image, ISO file, or MP3.

OnlineVideoConverter. This is one of the first and most refined apps for converting MP4 into formats like WEBM, MPG, AC3, OGG, FLAC, MOV, etc.

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MP4 File: FAQ

  • Is MP4 better than MP3?

Yes. MP3 files can only contain audio tracks, while MP4 can store audio, video, still images, subtitles, and text.

  • Is MP4 the best video format?

No, but most digital devices and platforms support MP4, which makes it the universal video format for all platforms.

  • Are Android smartphones capable of playing MP4 files?

Even though Android smartphones are programmed to read MP4 videos, they must be encoded in a specific manner so that your phone can play them. A portion of MP4 files may fail to open on your device if the coding method doesn’t match.

  • Is MP4 a lossy or lossless format?

MP4 is primarily a lossy format, meaning it uses compression techniques that remove some data to reduce file size. However, the extent of data loss can be controlled based on the chosen codec and compression settings during encoding.

  • Is MP4 suitable for high-quality video content, such as 4K or HDR?

Yes, MP4 is capable of storing high-quality video content, including 4K resolution and HDR (High Dynamic Range) footage.

However, the file size and required bitrate may be larger for such content due to the increased visual detail and dynamic range.

  • How big are MP4 format files?

The size of MP4 format files varies depending on the length and type of content they contain. As a rule, a 1-hour recording takes up about 100MB.

  • Should I use AVI or MP4?

AVI is a format that mainly uses the DivX codec that has proven to produce small files while maintaining high footage quality. Meanwhile, MP4 relies on MOV, which often suffers from lossy compression with the MPEG4 AVC/H.264 codec. This is why the majority of users consider AVI superior to MP4. If you have an AVI file and need to convert it to MP4, you can easily achieve this using a reliable and user-friendly converter tool. One such option is Any Video Converter, widely regarded as the best free AVI to MP4 converter available.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more