What is the M4V video format? What is MP4? MP4 vs M4V differences & how to choose between MP4 and M4V?
There are plenty of video file formats such as MKV, FLV, VOB, OGG, AVI, WebM, WMV, MP4, M4V, and so on.
M4V and mp4 are the two very similar video file formats but there are some differences between them.
In this post, you can know what they are, the differences between them as well as how to choose between them.
What Is M4V?
To begin with, what is M4V? As a video container format developed by Apple, M4V is very similar to MP4 format.
The main difference is that you can choose to protect M4V files through DRM copy protection.
Apple encodes video files in its iTunes Store using M4V. And using Apple’s FairPlay copy protection can prevent unauthorized copying of M4V files.
M4V files protected by FairPlay can only be played on computers authorized with the account used to purchase the video. In QuickTime, M4V video using FairPlay DRM is identified as “AVCO Media”.
If the file extension is changed from “.m4v” to “.mp4”, some video players can also recognize and play M4V files.
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M4V files with a handbrake can also be played on PlayStation 3 with full Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound support.
What Is MP4?
Then, what is MP4? MP4 can also be called MPEG-4 Part 14, which is a digital multimedia container format.
It is often used to store video and audio, but you can also use it to store other data such as subtitles and still images.
Similar to most modern container formats, it allows access to the Internet. The only official file extension for MPEG-4 Part 14 files is .mp4.
MPEG-4 Part 14 (formally ISO/IEC 14496-14: 2003) is a standard designated as part of MPEG-4.
Sometimes, portable media players advertise as “MP4 players”. Although some are just MP3 players, they also play AMV videos or some other video formats without having to play MPEG-4 Part 14 format.
M4V VS MP4: What Is the Difference Between Them?
After getting some basic information about M4V and MP4, now let’s know the information about M4V vs MP4.
# 1. M4V VS MP4: Encoding Method
From a technical point of view, the comparison between M4V vs MP4 mainly comes down to the codec used.
Although MP4 files can accommodate MPEG-4, HEVC, or H.264, M4V files always adopt the H.264 codec. Regardless of the aspect, there is almost no difference in quality, but there may be differences in size because files encoded using the H.264 codec tend to be larger.
# 2. M4V VS MP4: Compatibility
Speaking of M4V vs MP4, you should know that the main difference between them is related to compatibility.
MP4 files can run on almost any type of device, including Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, Android devices, game consoles, etc. What’s more, most media players can recognize MP4 files and play them without problems.
On the contrary, M4V files are more restricted. These files are only for Apple devices and will open in iTunes by default, although QuickTime Player also supports them.
# 3. M4V VS MP4: Popularity
If you strictly discuss which file format is the most popular and widely used, then there is no comparison between M4V vs MP4.
MP4 has been around for a long time. It is the format of choice for many users on all platforms and is widely used for uploading, sharing, and streaming on the Internet.
MP4 is more user-friendly for copying, saving, transmitting, and playing back on mobile devices.
And M4V is becoming more and more popular in the wave of Apple products such as iPhone, iPad, Mac computers, and so on.
Since this file extension is often copy-protected, many Apple fans like to keep the M4V format. But it definitely cannot be compared with MP4.
# 4. M4V VS MP4: Developer and Application
When talking about M4V vs MP4, another thing you need to compare it their developer and application.
M4V (.m4v) is developed by Apple Inc. and is specially designed for iPhone, iTunes Store, iPod, and other Apple products.
However, MP4 (.mp4) is developed by Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), which can be used by most media players and devices.
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Due to its powerful compression capability and low bandwidth requirements, it is one of the most popular video formats on the Internet.
MP4 VS M4V: How to Choose
After reading the above part, you should know the difference between MP4 and M4V. Then you may want to know which one you should choose.
If you are using an Apple product.
M4V is more suitable for Apple devices to save digital information. Retaining the M4V extension will ensure that your video content is protected so that it cannot be copied or edited.
In addition, saving video files in the M4V extension can also make certain features (such as AC3, chapters, and soft subtitles) run smoothly.
For example, Apple TV needs the M4V file extension to know how to handle AC3 audio tracks in MP4 containers.
What’s more, if the extension of a file containing AC3 is changed from M4V to MP4, the file will not be playable on the iPhone or iPad.
If you are using a non-Apple device.
MP4 is a better choice. Compared with M4V, MP4 essentially has better cross-platform compatibility.
It has been accepted for a long time because it is easy to copy, transfer, and playback on many platforms including Android and Windows.
In addition, even if the MP4 file is damaged, you can use some video repair software to easily repair inaccessible videos.