MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4 is a container format for storing audio and video, as well as for other data such as images and subtitles. It has similarities with the MKV format. Furthermore, based on the QuickTime or MOV format, it is a standard specified as part of the MPEG-4 compression method.
The Pros: Advantages and Applications of MP4 Format
Nonetheless, mainstream operating systems for computers and consumer electronic devices, as well as software media players, support the MP4 format. It is also a widely-used format for capturing and compressing audio-video data from DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, recording similar video via devices such as smartphones, as well as for streaming video over the Internet.
Below are the specific pros and uses of the format:
• One of the key advantages of the MP4 format is that it can be used on multiple platforms, thus making it easier to use and distribute.
• It has a high degree of compression while producing smaller file sizes unlike the AVI format, thereby making it ideal for video streaming or compressing high definition audio-video files.
• Support for metadata means that the file can be integrated with 3D graphics, menus or user navigation options, and other user interaction features.
• There are a lot of open-source players such as VLC Media Player that provide complete support for this format. It is even used on Linux operating systems.
• It is also versatile. Files that only contain audio are coded with the M4A extension, and MPEG-4 visual bitstreams are encoded in the m4v extension.
The Cons: Disadvantages and Limitations of MP4 Format
Note that the format is a container. What this means is that instead of storing the ode for the file, it stores the data. Furthermore, a specific MP4 file iso dependent on specific codecs because it does not have a native way of handling the involved coding.
A possible limitation is that there are hundreds of codecs available. A media player must be able to run a specific set of codecs to run a particular MP4 file. However, because the container format has become widely used, widely-supported codecs have become somehow standards.
The following are other drawbacks of the format:
• Audio can drift out of sync with the video in some cases because of issues with codecs or codec-player compatibility.
• Because a single file can contain audio and video, as well as different metadata, playback or editing can require a lot of computing resources.
• It is still a lossy format. A higher degree of compression and smaller file size would result in losses in audio and video quality.
• The popularity of MP4 format, coupled with its portability, has also enabled the illegal distribution of copyrighted audio-video files.