AVI and MP4 – What are the differences?

If you are asked to think about video file types, several video file containers will come to your mind. Some of the most-used ones are MKV, MP4, AVI, FLV, MOV, etc. In this post, you will learn about the differences between AVI and MP4 because these are the most popular video file types. Also, they both contain digital audio and video data in a single file. But here comes the question – which video file type should you choose for your project?

It is no trouble if you want to convert your files. Converting AVI to MP4 Mac or Windows and vice versa isn’t a hassle. You will find several third-party online converters that do a good job. However, when selecting one for your project, you can do so after thoroughly going through the differences between them. Take a look.

AVI and MP4 – Definition

Developed by Microsoft, AVI stands for Audio Video Interleave, a multimedia container storing video and audio with different codecs. The container lets users play audio and video synchronously.

The pros of AVI are:

  • Top-notch quality audio fidelity can be used to make playable DVDs.
  • No special software or hardware is required to run this format, which is supported by many codecs. It is possible to achieve the AVI audio output format of your choice.
  • It is ideal for short movies, prompts, and ads because of its compression capabilities and familiar format.
  • The format is ideal for master files because it can maintain quality over time.

However, there are also some cons of AVI that you must be aware of.

  • The format can be quite large compared to other video file formats in its uncompressed state. It can force you to trade between quality and disk space if you are running out of storage space on your computer.
  • If you compress the files beyond a certain limit, you might compromise the quality of the files.
  • The format does not support any user interactivity.
  • The format does not support the incorporation of soft subs.

On the other hand, MP4 is an international standard for coding visual and audio objects. It is also a digital multimedia container format like AVI. The format was produced by the Motion Picture Experts Group and the ISO/IEC. It is based on the QuickTime File Format.

The pros of this format are:

  • The format comfortably works across several platforms, making it easier to distribute.
  • It can contain extensible metadata and metadata platform, including subtitles.
  • The format is capable of integrating menus and 3D graphics. It can also include other user-navigation options.
  • Mp4 is a much more versatile format compared to AVI.
  • The degree of compression is higher than in other formats, and it can produce smaller file sizes, which is suitable for streaming audio/video files across online platforms.
  • Several open-source media players, like VLC, support MP4. The format also works on Linux operating systems.

Like AVI, MP4 also has some cons that you need to know.

  • There might be compatibility issues with codecs, resulting in the audio drifting out of sync with the video.
  • When it comes to editing, much computing power is required because both the video and audio in this format are stored in a single file.
  • The format is lossy. A higher degree of compression might result in a drop in the video and audio quality of the output.
  • Due to its ease of portability and popularity, MP4 files are prone to illegal content distribution.

Comparing AVI and MP4

Now you know the basic information about Mp4 and AVI. Next, let’s move on to understanding how they’re different from each other.

  • Compression

AVI compresses less audio and video data compared to other video file formats. It is also possible to obtain an uncompressed AVI file. On the other hand, MP4 compresses files while storing data. It is a lossy video format and aims to decrease the file size. However, you need not worry because MP4 is a web-friendly and portable container format.

  • File size

Thanks to less compression, AVI files are typically larger and might occupy a lot of space on your system. But MP4 files do not occupy much space because the file sizes are smaller than AVI files. Therefore, if you run out of space, it would be wise to use the MP4 format.

  • audio/video quality

MP4 and AVI are video wrapper file types but use different codecs. The use of different codecs causes a difference in quality between the formats.

Also, AVI files might be lossless so that viewers can enjoy a higher quality for playback. MP4 files are also of good quality but slightly lower than AVI files.

The bottom line

Now you know how MP4 is different from AVI. Understand their pros and cons to making a decision when it comes to your audio/video project.

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