About MPEG-4 Format
MPEG-4 is a method of defining compression of audio and visual digital data, it is one of the latest compression method standardized by MPEG group, designed especially for low-bandwidth video/audio encoding purposes. DivX and XviD are fully standard-compliant MPEG-4 encoders nowadays. MPEG-4 is commonly used to store media types defined by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group, though it can store other media types as well. The files of this format usually have extension .mp4.
Unlike MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, the MPEG-4’s predecessors, MPEG-4 itself isn’t just one unified encoding mechanism, but rather a group name for several flavors of video and audio encoding methods that share certain same characteristics. These “flavors” are often referred either as “profiles” or “layers” in MPEG-4 compression scheme and each new profile should be backwards compliant to the older, “lower” versions of MPEG-4 in terms of playback capability. MPEG-4 group has standardized several new layers – most important ones are h263+ (which is used widely in mobile phones, named as 3GP) and h.264 (often also called as AVC).
MPEG-4 builds on the proven success of three fields:
● Digital television
● Interactive graphics applications (synthetic content)
● Interactive multimedia (World Wide Web, distribution of and access to content)
Data recommended to be embedded in MPEG-4:
● Video: MPEG-4, MPEG-2 and MPEG-1
● Pictures: JPEG, PNG
● Subtitles: MPEG-4 Timed Text, and/or xmt/bt text format (means that subtitles have to be translated into xmt/bt)
● Systems: Allows animation, interactivity and DVD-like menus
File extensions used on files that contain data in the *.mp4 format:
● .mp4: official extension, for audio, video and advanced content (see above) files
● .m4a: for audio-only files; can safely be renamed to *.mp4, though opinions differ on the wisdom of this.
● .m4p: FairPlay protected files
● .mp4v, .m4v: video-only (sometimes also used for raw mpeg-4 video streams not in the *.mp4 container format)
● .3gp, .3g2: used by 3G mobile phones, may also store content not specified directly in the *.mp4 specification (H.263, AMR, TX3G)
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