What Are the Most Common Video File Formats?

Every video you watch using Torrent or online streaming is based on a video format. Understanding those formats and the differences between them is important for getting the benefits of each format. Many video formats evolved over the past decades, and in this tutorial, we will review the most common formats so you can learn which one to use in different situations.

Video file formats

Here are the most common video file formats:

Below you can find the video formats widely used by many users and information about them.


Most digital platforms and devices support MP4, making it the most universal video format around. MP4 can store video files, audio files, images, and text, and has a relatively small file size while maintaining high quality. Because of those advantages, videos published on the Internet usually have this format.


MOV was developed by Apple and designed to support the QuickTime player. MOV is compatible across different versions of this player, both for Mac and Windows. This  format can store video, audio, and text, but since its quality is usually so high, it has a relatively large file size.


Developed by Microsoft, WMV was designed for the Windows Media Player, but other players also support this format.¬† WMV has an extremely small file size, which makes it ideal for sharing via email or social networks. However, it isn’t natively supported on Android or iOS devices and requires a compatible player to be installed.


FLV was developed by Adobe and designed for the Adobe Flash Player to transmit video and audio over the internet. FLV is used for embedded videos on the internet including the videos found on YouTube, Hulu and other websites.


AVI was developed by Microsoft, and it is one of the most versatile video formats, compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux and supported by most web browsers. However, with high quality and relatively large file size, AVI is less ideal for the web and more ideal for storage on your hard drive.


Panasonic and Sony developed the AVCHD for recording high-definition videos to media like Blu-ray discs, hard drives and memory cards. AVCHD can compress videos to relatively small file size while at the same time preserves the details and quality of the video. The Blu-ray format is compatible with AVCHD, which means that files can be burned directly on Blu-ray discs.


Introduced by Google, WebM is an open-source format that was designed for the web and intended for use with HTML5. The video codecs of WebM require very little computing power to handle video files. This design aims to enable online streaming on almost any device.


MKV is a container file format that incorporates audio, video and subtitles along with any metadata in a single file. MKV format was designed to be future proof, meaning that the video files will always stay updated. MKV containers support almost any video and audio format, making this format highly adaptive and easy to use.

After learning about the different formats, it is easier to know which format to choose and when to use it.

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