Video File Formats And Online Video Delivery

In the previous blog, we got an insight into what codecs are, what they do, and how they help in video streaming. Today, we will continue to understand how crucial video files are and in what different formats they are available for online video delivery. Video file formats are primarily the containers of all the codecs. All those formats are dependent on the balance that the creator wants to bring in terms of bringing ease in the delivery of the content and the quality they wanted to show.

Most Common File Formats Used For Online Video Delivery

The service provider may choose from a number of file extensions for online video delivery. All that depend solely on the quality and ease they wanted to provide to the viewers.

The most common video file extensions are:


.MPG, .MPEG, .MP2, .MPV, and .MPE files can play both the audio and the video media and help in online video delivery. They are smaller in file sizes and also have a lower quality of video. Due to its innate nature, the files get a degraded quality after being edited a number of times. This sort of videos files is the best option to avail when one needs to record the video once and is never edited.


.WEBM was created by Google as a means of disseminating media to a larger audience. These are relatively smaller in size and are not that high in terms of quality considering other file types. It is the format that is used for HTML5 video streaming sites like YouTube. These are best for videos embedded on business or personal websites.

.MP4, .M4V, .M4P

.MP4, .M4V, and .M4P are more or less similar to the .MPG files that can contain both the audio and video files or can solely be used for audio files. All the formats are used for video streaming over the internet and provide a higher-quality video experience as compared to .WEBM files but these are larger in size. .M4V files share several qualities with .MP4 and .M4P files.

Apart from all that, M4V files are DRM protected. MP4 is the most popular container for video files that supports a wide variety of devices. The major issue with this sort of file extension arises in cloud-based video streaming platforms. It is all due to the fact that multiple users have different bandwidths of different users. This brings hassles in the delivery of the online content.


An alternative to .MPG files, .OGG is an open-source file that is used for high-quality online video delivery. Although these files are used for streaming they also provide higher quality content than .WEBM files. Also, it will take a little more time to deliver the content to the end-user. Since .OGG files are open-sourced, they can be used for a number of applications, including media players GPS receivers for desktops and portables.


MOV or QuickTime Film stores high-quality video, audio, and various effects but these files are quite large in size. Developed by Apple for QuickTime Player, it uses MPEG-4 encoding to play in QuickTime for Windows. It is supported by YouTube and Facebook and it also works well for television viewing.


WMV or Windows Media Viewer files offer a quality experience for the viewer and are large file sizes similar to MOV for online video delivery. Developed by Microsoft, WMV for Windows Media Player. WMV is supported by YouTube. Apart from that, Apple users can view these videos just by downloading the Windows Media Player for Apple. Here one needs to remember that one cannot select the aspect ratio in WMV.


AVI or Audio Video Interweave works with every browser including Mac, Windows, and Linux machines. This file extension is also developed by Microsoft. It offers high-quality video delivery but the major issue arises due to the file size of the online video content. This file extension is supported by YouTube and it also works for television viewing efficiently.


AVCHD is specifically for high-definition video delivery. Advanced Video Coding High Definition is primarily built for Sony and Panasonic digital camcorders. This file extension compresses files for easy storage without losing the quality of the video delivery.

FLV, F4V, and SWF

Flash video formats (FLV, F4V, and SWF) are made for Flash Players but are primarily used to stream videos on YouTube. The greatest downfall of this file format is its non-supportiveness for iOS devices. 


This Matroska Multimedia Container format is free and open-source for delivering online content. Developed in Russia, this file format supports every codec but it lacks at one point, it is not supported by several programs. It can be a smart choice if you are a television or a computer person.

Choosing a video file format depends entirely on the usage of the video content. One should go with the format that fulfills the needs of the video and nothing more than that. High-quality files can be hard to move, share, and manage. Apart from all that, one must consider the fact that not all browsers, programs, and devices can open every format for content delivery. In certain cases, it becomes crucial to use a particular type of file format over some other to make the online video content delivery smooth and quick.