Video File Formats


According to the creator, the video formats can be divided into 4 categories: ISO-MPEG, Microsoft, Apple, and others.


MPEG(Moving Pictures Experts Group) is a group in ISO(International Standards Organization) dedicated to define some universal video formats.

  • MPEG-1 is used in VCD.
  • MPEG-2 PS/TS. There are two kinds of MPEG-2: PS(Program Stream) and TS(Transport Stream). Program stream is used for storage such as DVD. While transport stream is used in error prone situation, such as digital TV broadcast and many digital video camera.
  • MPEG-4, MP4. MP4 is defined in MPEG-4 part 1. This format is based on Apple MOV QuickTime format. MP4 file uses MPEG-4 or H.264/AVC to encode video and AAC to encode audio.
  • TS, MTS, M2TS, TP, TOD, MOD based on MPEG-2 TS, used by some digital video camera.
  • 3GP, 3GPP, 3G2 is simplified version of MP4, used in GSM and CDMA video phone.


  • AVI(Audio Video Interleaved) based on RIFF format, is an ancient format and has many limitations, such as 2GB file size.
  • ASF(Advanced Streaming Format) is identical to WMV format. Microsoft recommends that WMV files containing non-Windows Media codecs use the generic .asf file extension.
  • WMV uses only WMV and WMA codec.
  • XMV video format used in Xbox.
  • WTV is used in Microsoft Media Center to record HD Digital TV broadcast, replaces the previously used DVR-MS file format.


  • MOV is used in Apple QuickTime, iTunes and other media player and creator.


  • MKV matroska video.
  • OGG, OGV is an open free format. It usually uses Vorbis codec for audio compression and Theora codec for video.
  • WebM is defined by Google and based on MKV.
  • RM, RMVB is defined by RealNetworks.
  • FLV is defined by Adobe Macromedia, widely used for internet stream video.
  • SMV SigmaTel Motion Video.
  • MXF Material eXchange Format. Professional video format used before and after video editing.