First and foremost, not every video format is compatible with every digital platform when it comes to production and playback. This can create tremendous problems while attempting to input, output, upload, and download necessary files. And that's why there's no real "best video format" out there, rather best video formats for doing different things. Some popular types of formats are AVI, FLV, WMV, MP4, and MOV.
Secondly, video formats can create big problems because there are simply so many of them. And to make matters even more complicated, a large number of these formats are now largely obsolete.
Popularized by Apple in the iTunes Store, the MP4 can not only store video and audio files but also text and still images. Although this format offers lower definition and fewer features than the MKV format, it is widely supported by a variety of the most popular digital devices on the market including the Xbox 360 and top-selling Apple items such as the iPad and Apple TV. The MP4 file format is also another great file sharing format for the Web, MP4 file sizes are relatively small but the quality remains high even after compression. MP4 standard is also becoming more popular than FLV for online video sharing, as it compatible with both online and mobile browsers and also supported by the new HTML5.
A venerable digital video workhorse from Microsoft, AVI files used to absolutely dominate the video container market. Both AVI and WMV produce less compression than competing formats, meaning that they offer improved video quality but take up more space on your computer. Other benefits of AVI and WMV include their wide compatibility with both PC and Mac systems. Other drawbacks include an inability to select aspect ratios manually, which can be quite exasperating for some users.
Like Microsoft's AVI and WMV formats, Apple's MOV format is compatible with both Macintosh and Windows platforms. Although MOV was designed explicitly to save feature-length movies, it has been known to contain a diverse array of video content. Considered one of the best looking file formats, MOV files are of high quality and are usually big in file size.
The M4V file format is a video container format developed by Apple and is very similar to the MP4 format. The primary difference is that M4V files may optionally be protected by DRM copy protection.
In modern technology terms, Flash Video has been around forever. Flash is divided into two distinct formats. The original FLV format is extremely popular for streaming video on websites such as YouTube and Google Video. FLV files are typically small and can be downloaded quite readily. Although they are widespread when it comes to streaming videos on the internet, Flash formats are not supported by iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads, which can present major problems for Apple users. But practically all browsers support and are compatible with the Flash Video format and can play the video with ease. In addition to being an online video viewing format, the Flash Video format is also what many video-sharing sites convert videos to, from formats that were uploaded by their users in something other than Flash. This is because videos in the FLV format remain in high quality even after compression to a smaller file size, which means that the videos on the Web load quickly and won't spend a lot of time using up bandwidth. Some notable users of the Flash Video are Youtube, Yahoo! Video, VEVO, Hulu and Myspace among many others.
Derived from the word Russian word (which references a specific type of cylindrical nesting dolls), matroska (MKV) is an extremely popular container for many reasons. First and foremost, it is a free and open source. Secondly, it offers a plethora of extra features. And, last but not least, it leaves the MOV and QT formats in the dust by supporting nearly every codec under the sun. The primary complaint with the MKV format is that it isn't well supported by certain programs and devices. If you're watching or distributing your video files in VLC, XBMC, PotPlayer, or another video player that supports MKV, the high quality and versatility of this format make it an ideal choice.
An MPG file is a common video file that uses a digital video format standardized by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It stores video, audio, and metadata interleaved together. MPG files are often used for creating movies that are distributed on the Internet. You can use to open it. Windows Media Player comes bundled with Windows and QuickTime Player comes with macOS.
WebM is an open, royalty-free, media file format designed for the web.WebM is sponsored by Google and supported natively on Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and VLC Media Player. WebM containers support VP8 and VP9 video.
What should you use for ripping or downloading music? In general, we recommend using MP3 or AAC. They're compatible with nearly every player out there, and both are indistinguishable from the original source if encoded at a high bitrate. Unless you have specific needs that suggest otherwise, MP3 and AAC are clear choices. However, there is something to be said for ripping your music in a lossless format like FLAC.
MPEG Audio Layer III, or MP3 for short, is the most common lossy format around. So much so that it's become synonymous with downloaded music. MP3 isn't the most efficient format of them all, but its definitely the most well-supported, making it #1 choice for lossy audio.
WAV is pretty much universal. However, since it's uncompressed, it takes up a lot of unnecessary space. Unless you're editing the audio, you don't need to store the audio in this format.
Often known as Ogg Vorbis due to its use of the Ogg container, is a free and open source alternative to MP3 and AAC. Its main draw is that it isn't restricted by patents, but that doesn't affect you as a user - in fact, despite its open nature and similar quality, it's much less popular than MP3 and AAC, meaning fewer players are going to support it. As such, we don't really recommend it unless you feel very strongly about open source.
Advanced Audio Coding, also known as AAC, is similar to MP3, although it's a bit more efficient. That means that you can have files that take up less space, but with the same sound quality as MP3. And, with Apple's iTunes making AAC so popular, it's almost as widely compatible with MP3.
M4A is a file extension for an audio file encoded with advanced audio coding (AAC) which is a lossy compression. M4A was generally intended as the successor to MP3, which had not been originally designed for audio only but was layer III in an MPEG 1 or 2 video files. M4A stands for MPEG 4 Audio.
Windows Media Audio is Microsoft's own proprietary format, similar to MP3 or AAC. It doesn't really offer any advantages over the other formats, and it's also not as well supported.
The Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) is the most popular lossless format, making it a good choice if you want to store your music in lossless. Unlike WAV and AIFF, it's been compressed, so it takes up a lot less space. However, it's still a lossless format, which means the audio quality is still the same as the original source, so it's much better for listening than WAV and AIFF. It's also free and open source.