With so many video formats out there, it is pretty much impossible to truly know all of them. The good news is that you don’t really have to, and for most people, all that is required is to know about some of the more important formats.
Simply put there are certain formats that are far more popular than others and have a more important role to play. By knowing what they are and why they are important – you should be able to know when to use them:
- MP4 with H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC)
The most important format right now is MP4 with H.264, which should come as no surprise seeing as it is the most widely-used format in general. It is predominantly used to distribute videos and publish them online, due to the fact that it is widely supported by most devices and platforms.
Overall the H.264 codec does provide good compression, and at one time was better than any other option out there. Nowadays other codecs have surpassed it, but none are as widely-supported as it is.
- MP4 or MKV with H.265 (HEVC)
As you may surmise based on its name, the H.265 codec was designed to be the successor to H.264. It features better compression, and can even reduce the file size of H.264 videos by up to 50% while maintaining the quality.
Unfortunately, MP4 with H.265 is not nearly as widely-supported, and its adoption has been slow. Only newer devices created in the last few years support HEVC, which limits its usage somewhat.
That being said its superior compression makes it important as a more storage-friendly alternative.
- MPEG-2 DVD
Although it is a very old format (comparatively), MPEG-2 remains important to this very day due to the fact that a variant of it is used to encode video DVDs. The format used in video DVDs is essentially MPEG-2 but with a few other restrictions in terms of the resolution, aspect ratio, frame rate, bit rate, and so on.
The importance of MPEG-2 may be diminishing slightly as DVDs become less and less popular. That being said they are still used frequently enough for it to play an important role right now.
Knowing each of these formats and why they are important can make it easier to figure out which format you should use for your videos. For example, you may want to convert MTS to MP4 if you intend to distribute it, upload it to social media, or even publish it as an HTML5 video. That can be done quite easily, and for example, you could use Online Video Converter.
As you’re probably aware there are new formats being released all the time, and eventually, it is more than likely that one or another will replace some of the formats listed above. For now, however, the three formats described are by far the most important, and in most situations, they are the only formats that you really need to know about.