The world of video formats can be somewhat confusing but there are only a few fundamental concepts that you need to grasp. It is important to understand that a video format is more than just a file extension. An extension is not just a video codec – it could be a container, or a codec and a container or just a codec.
Confused? Let’s look at what you need to know about how it all works.
What are Codecs and Containers?
The majority of videos are compressed – which means they have been altered to take up less space on a computer. A codec simply compresses and decompresses this data, interpreting the video file and determining how to play it on your screen.
There are a lot of different codecs out there and mosts computers come with codecs preinstalled. There are also a range of codecs available for download, should you get the dreaded “file extension not supported” or “cannot play media” notification on your computer.
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