The file extension MP4 is an abbreviation for MPEG-4. It is a file format used for audio and video. The standard for MPEG refers to the Motion Pictures Expert Group, an organization responsible for setting industry standards for audio and video. If you are familiar with the MP3 file format, MP4 files work in a similar fashion, except the method is more complex than MP3 files.
MP4 files use an advanced compressed format to reduce the file size without sacrificing the quality of audio and video. MP4 is also a container format which stores files that are relevant to audio, video, still images, and subtitles. MP4 files are also capable of storing 3D content and other files for user interactivity.
MP4 files allow you to stream videos from the Internet which are high quality and equal to videos you watch on a DVD or Blu-ray disk. The wider availability of high speed broadband has also enhanced MP4 file formats by allowing faster downloads and providing a way for website owners to offer short videos on their web page for business purposes. Additionally, stores such as iTunes use MP4 format for use with the iPod and PlayStation Portable.
How to Open MP4 Files
In order to open and play MP4 files, three components must be present. They include a splitter which is used in conjunction with media player applications, codecs, and the actual playback software itself. For example, you may already have a media player installed on your PC; however, it may need a way to split the MP4 file in order to access video and audio before it can decode the data streams.
On the other hand, some of the more recent media player applications come with MP4 support built-in to the software. That said here are a few ways you can open and play MP4 files using different operating systems.
If you use Windows, you can open and play MP4 files using one of the more recent versions of Windows Media Player, Roxio Creator 2012, Apple QuickTime Player, and Microsoft Zune. Other programs such as VideoLAN VLC Media Player and CyberLink PowerDVD 12 also work well for opening MP4 format.
If you use Mac OS X, the most obvious choice is to use Apple QuickTime Player and Apple iTunes. Other programs, which can be used to open MP4 files, include AdobeFlash Professional CS6, Roxio Toast 11 or Popcorn 4, and VideoLAN VLC Media Player.
VideoLAN VLC Media Player can also be used with Linux to open and play MP4 files. And for iOS you can use Apple iPod for MP4 format.
You can also choose to deploy an MP4 file converter which will convert an MP4 file to another format such as AVI for use with media players that do not support the MP4 format. There are a variety of different conversion programs you can download and install at no cost from websites such as CNET.