Multimedia Video Formats

January 5th, 2010 - Posted by Catalin in Hardware/software solutions for streaming

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The AVI Format

The AVI (Audio Video Interleave) format was created and released by Microsoft. Being a very common format, computers operating Windows and also most of the web browsers as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari support it. The video files encoded in AVI can be easily recognized by their extension:example “videofile.avi” .Systems running other operating systems than Windows may not support the avi format.

AVI was not built to support a standard procedure for encoding the aspect ratio information that is why the video players won’t automatically select the perfect ratio.

The Windows Media Format

This format is also a Microsoft release. First it was created for online streaming apps (WMV) and as a countermove to the RealVideo solutions. It is a very wide spread format on the online media but needs an additional free plugin to run on computers non operating under Windows. Latest Windows Media video files won’t play on computers running under a different operating system than Windows.

From Microsoft’s press releases they claim that WMV 9 offers two times better compression ratio than MPEG-4, and three times better than MPEG-2.

Video files encoded in the Windows Media format can be recognized by their specific extension: .wmv.

The MPEG Format

The Moving Pictures Expert Group format seems to be the most popular online format. This maybe because it is supported by the most of the web browsers and operating systems.

The huge plus of MPEG when comparing to the other audio/video formats is that files encoded are considerable smaller offering the same video quality.

You can read below a list of standards:

Video CD’s and MP3 technology are based on this standard;

This is the version used by Digital Television STB (set top boxes) and DVD’s

Incorporates MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 features

This is the standard for description and search of audio and visual content;

The Multimedia Framework;

Video files extensions for MPEG are .mpg or .mpeg.

The QuickTime Format

Released by Apple, it is a very popular format on the Web. Movies need an additional plugin in order to play on a Windows based environment. QuickTime 10.0 is the latest release being available on MAC OS v.10.6. .mov. is the extension for QuickTime video files

The RealVideo Format

Real Media are the creators of this format which is offers and allows users to stream video with low bandwidth consumption. This thing brings usually a reduced video quality so if you need it just for the bandwidth advantage that will be a good option. Operating systems as Mac,Windows, Linux, and a lot of mobile phones support this format.

.rm or .ram are the extensions for RealVideo files.

The Shockwave (Flash) Format

The Shockwave format is a Macromedia solution. Even if at the first versions Shockwave was only able to offer vector-based objects, in time audio (with Flash version 3) and video (with Flash version 6) were available to the users.

Adobe Flash Player is the solution to play SWF files and it is available as a standalone player or a browser addon. It was developed as a continuous need of simplicity, extensibility, speed and file independence.

Video files encoded in the Shockwave format can be recognized by their extension:.swf.

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  1. […] microprocessors for running the operating system, possibly Linux or Windows CE, and for parsing the MPEG transport stream. A set-top box also includes RAM, an MPEG decoder chip, and more chips for audio […]

  2. […] accepts videos uploaded in most container filetypes, including AVI, MKV, MOV, DivX, FLV. These include video codecs such as MPEG, MPEG-4 and WMV. From March 2008 they […]