Converter 1x1 - Part 1: Video

Introduction and most popular video formats at a glance

A variety of devices with myriad of capabilities and playback possibilities demand the right solution

Who hasn’t experienced it firsthand? You just bought that hit song, watched a hilarious video, downloaded the latest video by your favorite artist or finally got a hold of that band practice recording from a friend, only to get home to find that the format isn’t supported by Windows and can’t be played. Smartphones, iPhone, Tablets, Netbooks, Ultrabooks, MP3-Player, MP4-Player, Xbox 360, Playstation, PSP, PDA, iPhone, iPod, iPod, Windows Media Player or PC Media Center – numerous devices requiring their own special file format.

Audials Software is the universal converter for all of your devices and media

Audials does not require that you be an expert of codecs or that you know exactly which parameters need to be set where to get the best possible result for your device. In fact, there are numerous convenient solutions as you can simply select one of the predefined universal profiles. Depending on the profile selected, conversion is carried out typically resulting in optimum results for the desired application.

Numerous types of video formats – we’ll tell you which format is ideal for which application

There is a myriad of digital video formats out there that often make it difficult and confusing for users to find the correct format for the desired application. We’ll provide you with an overview on which formats are the most popular and most common, and what their ideal use is.

1) The workhorse of PC video formats

WMV
WMV (file extension: .wmv) stands for Windows Media Video. It is, as the name indicates, the file format developed by Microsoft and is the standard video format for PCs. In addition to the Windows Media Player and many other software players, numerous hardware playback devices are capable of decoding WMV files. The format is especially known for a high degree of quality despite relatively small file sizes to make watching films in high quality a reality.
MPEG 1 and 2
The MPEG 1 & 2 formats were developed by a group of experts and stands for Moving Pictures Experts Group (file extension: .mpg). MPEG files employ a standardized compression method to ensure that small files have excellent picture quality, although it must be said that MPEG 2 files produce better results than MPEG 1 files.
XVID/ DIVX
XviD is an open source MPEG 4 video codec that was originally based on the OpenDivX source code. The OpenDivX source code in turn stemmed from the MPEG-4 reference implementation of the MoMuSys project in the EU. The XviD project was initiated by several volunteer programmers after the OpenDivX source code was closed. Even the name has its basis in DivX, as it is a palindrome of XviD. After the OpenDivX source code was published without encryption, the programmers were able to modify and optimize the codec’s basic characteristics. Along with DivX, Nero Digital and HDX4, XviD is the most well-known MPEG-4 encoder.

2) Video formats optimized for portable devices

MPEG 4
The MPEG 4 format (Moving Pictures Experts Group: .mp4) is a standardized method of file compression. This video format produces excellent picture quality with small file sizes. MPEG 4 files do, however, require higher PC performance as files are decompressed before playing. MPEG 4 is a typical format for portable devices.
3GP
3GP is a video format for portable devices and uses the file extension .3gp. 3GP is used, for example, for video content in MMS messages. PCs can play 3GP files with either QuickTime or Windows Media Player.

3) Video formats for the Internet

FLV
The FLV format (Flash Video: .flv or .swf) is a container format that was developed by Adobe Systems. It is primarily used for broadcasting video content online and is used by the Adobe Flash Player. Videos embedded as FLV files in a SWF file are primarily designed for websites.
WebM
This open video format was developed by Google and is especially common for videos and clips online. For example, YouTube videos and media content are played using the WebM format. Popular browsers, such as Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer support WebM.

4) Video formats for movies

MKV
MKV (Matroska Video: .mkv) is a standard open video format that is primarily used online for high-definition videos. The MKV format is a container format that can contain videos, subtitles and additional video features in a single file.
H.264
H.264 is a format used for high-definition videos, e.g. BluRay discs.

5) Special video formats by and for Apple devices

MOV
MOV is short for movie (file extension: .mov) and is a video file format by Apple that is based on the QuickTime standard. The pros and cons are similar to those on MPEG 4 files: high quality, small file size, but require high computer performance.
M4V
The M4V format (file extension: .m4v) was developed by Apple and is similar to the MP4 format. M4V files are commonly used for video files on iTunes.

6) Standard formats for home videos

AVI
The AVI format (Audio Video Interleaved: .avi) was also developed by Microsoft, is widespread in both hardware and software and is therefore compatible with the majority of programs and even DVD players. Furthermore, many digital cameras record videos as AVI files. The disadvantage of AVI files lies in the required file size, which is up to 20x higher than a compressed WMV file.
DV
DV stands for Digital Video and is the umbrella term for the DV standard introduced in 1994. It includes cassette formats DV, MiniDV, DVCAM, Digital8, HDV, DVCPro, DVCPro50 and DVCProHD.

Convert using the Audials 11 online help

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Audials Expert Mode

In addition to preconfigured universal profiles, Audials also offers room for customized settings

Customized settings for converting audio and video files

The expert mode in Audials One, Audials Tunebite and Audials Moviebox lets you create your own profile perfectly tailored to the performance capabilities of your playback device. Select the container and codec that delivers the best results. Choose the desired bitrate, frame rate and frame size. Audials clears the way for you to completely customize your conversion process. You can base your customized profile on pre-existing profiles, copying and modifying them as you see fit, or create a new profile from scratch. The following parameters are just a few of the customization options you have.

Container

Container is the name for the output format and file extension of converted audio and video files. This includes AVI, MP4 and WMV for video files and MP3, WMA, OGG etc. for audio files.

Codec

The codec determines how the content is saved. There are audio and video codecs, each of which must be specified. For example, an MP4 file can use the MPEG-4 codec for the video track and the AAC codec for the audio track. Output formats can only be played when used with the correct codecs.

Bitrate

The quality and size of the output format for both audio and video formats can be adjusted by modifying the bitrate. Possible audio bitrates range from 24-320 kbps, while video bitrates range from 64-29.040 kbps. Alternatively, the original bitrate in the audio and video formats may be retained. Other bitrates are also supported.

Frame size

The frame size refers to the output file definition used on a playback device. Settings range from a pixel definition of 128x96 all the way through 1920x1080 (Full HD). The original size or customized settings are also supported.

Frame rate

The frame rate indicates the amount of individual images per second. The default amount is 25 fps (frames per second). Frame rates can be set from 6 to 60 fps.

Attention! Don’t miss converter 1x1 part 2!

The next issue will specifically deal with audio file formats for music and audiobooks, as well as audio streams of music services with Audials Tunebite Premium, Platinum and Audials One. Don’t miss out on the next Audials Informer Newsletter via email or via the Audials Notifier.