How to Decide Which Video Format to Use,You should know

Are you trying to decide which video format you should use when you save a video? If you are not conversant with video formats and their role it can be a difficult choice.

That is why before making a decision, it would be best to know a bit about video formats in general.

What Are Video Formats?

Just like any other file formats, video formats are used to store video data. However they are slightly different than most file formats and consist of at least two main parts: The video container and video codec.

The video container wraps together the various parts that make up the video, including the video codec, video data, audio codec, audio data, and so on. On the other hand the video codec is responsible for compressing the video data to make it easier to store.

Because both these parts play an important role, when you choose a video format you need to look at them together.

Factors to Choose a Video Format

If you want to choose the ‘right’ video format, there are several factors that you should take into account, namely:


To watch a video its data will need to be decoded. That can be done using hardware or software decoding. The former is less processor-intensive, and is preferred especially on devices that have a limited battery life.

In short you need to choose a format that uses a video codec supported by the device or platform the video will be viewed on.


Video codecs are not equal in terms of the compression they provide. Newer codecs in particular use better compression algorithms to compress data more effectively.

Although you will want to choose a format that offers the best compression, it will still need to be compatible.

Other features

At times you may need your format to support other features, such as menus, captions, chapters, and so on. The features that are supported normally depend on the video container.

Technically it is possible to select a video format based on these factors alone. However in practice it is often time-consuming and difficult if you aren’t familiar with video formats.

Popular Video Formats to Use

One way to make it easier to decide on a video format is to choose among the more popular options – seeing as they are normally popular for good reason. Some of the formats that you should look at are

MP4 (H.264) which is the most commonly-used format due to the fact that it is supported by almost all devices and platforms. It is normally the recommended format for online video, and the best choice for video distribution in general.

MP4 (H.265) has better compression than the H.264 video codec can provide, and can reduce the file size of videos using it by up to 50%. It is not as widely-supported by various devices and platforms, but its support on mobile devices has grown.

MPEG-2 is the format required for video DVDs, but the video must use other DVD specifications as well. Other formats may not be able to be viewed on conventional DVD players.

Finding a MOV to video converter or one to convert any of other popular formats should be easy enough.

To be honest in most cases you won’t need to use formats other than the three options listed above unless for exceptional reasons. That being said there are new formats constantly being released that may eventually supplant the formats that are currently popular, so you will have to keep yourself up to date at all times.

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