Media Files Formats Explained

Media files are used for playback and some for production and creation. Today in the crowd of media files, it is very difficult for the common user to understand and recognize them.

In the past, audio-video format and audio files were named after media files. Gradually, different formats of these media files developed which were used for different purposes. It was easy to understand and find the program to play the favorite media, movies became a high definition due to new technologies. Digital music files grew in popularity and new types of audio files came into existence and many types of media files are used today. Different media files are used in each particular task if some require special hardware.

Media files are used for playback and some for production and creation. Today in the crowd of media files, it is very difficult for the common user to understand and recognize them.

containers and codecs

In order to understand media files, it is important to first understand the basics. Perhaps you have also heard of the codecs that are often used to clear media files. Often the two words are the same but in reality, they can also be different.

codecs mean compressor – decompressor. It refers to programs that are actually used to create and read media. That is why the codecs and their features are subject to change, and the option to use the codec depends on the order from the media files. A program that creates a file does so for a specific reason. This means that some file types are suitable for specific tasks but are not suitable for other tasks, so for this, the features of each program should be kept in mind.

This feature has many different features that determine the overall use of files. It also explains the quality and size of the file. Popular and popular video codecs include DivX, Xvid, MPEG and H264 while popular audio codecs include MP3, FLAC, and Vorbis.

A container named Wrapper is also a file that holds all information subtitles, metadata, etc. We often call the container itself as the original file. Some such formats are MKV, AVI, MPG, and MOV, etc. while audio containers include WAV and AIFF. Even containers such as TIFF are used for imagery. But along with theoretical knowledge related to file, it is also necessary to have related technical knowledge.

Media Related Technical Knowledge Compression

It controls the overall size of a file that can be used to reduce file size, making it useful online or for other distribution, but it has little link until the data reaches the specified target. Therefore, there is little impact on the clarity and quality of quality. In the language of the codecs, it can be called Lossless and Lossy.

Different codecs create one file out of two and choose the one you want to use when encoding. It depends on the end-use of the media you are creating.

In fact, lossless is a format that does not lose any data in the compression and encoding process. The data reaches the end goal the same way. This applies to common lossless files such as AVI for WAV video for audio and TIFF files for images. These files are not actually compressed because they contain important information. Lossless files are used by normal media editors such as those that need to work with high-quality media or with those who want the best and clearest HD visuals.

On the other hand, lossy media is more compressed from the file. The use of different types of compression form of a file. The use of different types of compression depends on the codecs. In order to preserve the overall content, Lossy very intelligently removes some information, but in the meantime, he also reduces the file size. The result found in the file is much more portable. But lossless in quality is less effective than the alternative.

In the view of most users, these files are still correct, but high definition audio-video users find this difference, usually, lossy format includes MPEG for MP3 video for audio and JPEG format for images. But let me tell you that some file formats and codecs are available in both lossless and lossy forms such as Apple’s media format, AAC are available in both forms, but the size of the files can be found to be lossy or lossless.


Bitrate is also a general term that refers to the overall bitrate of a file, meaning the amount of data that is measured in kilobytes per second (kbps), and the higher the bitrate, the better the file quality. Of course, higher quality in lossy and lossless means larger file size.

For example, HD video has a higher bitrate than what is defined as standard then audio files like WAV will have higher bitrate than any standard such as 320Kbps in MP3. But low bitrate is also common and is suitable for most. But more bitrates are used for the basic quality and precision of editing and storage source material. Images files do not have the actual data stream for processing so this bitrate is not applicable for static images. However, this is still applicable for some degree but static and low bitrate images have some artifacts that can often be seen in low-resolution JPEG files.

Transcoding and Native

Transcoding and native media players, whether hardware or software, will be designed to play certain types of files. Some programs and devices can support all tasks. Those that will be able to play a lot of content while other programs will have slightly more limitations can design devices or programs that can run files are often called native. They can be easily loaded and played as if the native format of the Windows Media Player is WMV.

But if a device or program does not play a particular file in a normal way, it may be able to do so with transcoding technology, which means that the player decodes the file and then encodes in a readable format. This happens in a very short time but some limitations in playback and functioning.

For example, a large 8GB movie file will take many resources to be transcoded, so playback options will be less. Fast running PC files will be better transcoding resulting in easier playback. The popular open-source media player VLC supports transcoding.

Types of popular Video Files

AVI (Audio Video Interleave)

It is one of the most commonly used video file formats produced by Microsoft and is found in almost all devices. It supports all operating systems including Apple and it has a very high-quality option that uses a variety of codecs so there is nothing like a standard AVI content file. Which may depend entirely on the appropriate codec and the information available in it. Because it is a large format in terms of size, it is not only used in streaming and sharing but is more suitable for storage and use on large media devices.

WMV (Windows Media Video)

It is also Microsoft’s file format, but unlike AVI, it only runs in Microsoft’s own media player. However, if technical formats are supported, then other players can also be used. Windows Media Player can compress files to a great extent, so it is a good format for sharing, but it may be that the video quality is low.

FLV (Flash Video)

FLV is a more popular file format than AVI and this is true as it has very quickly become a popular format of video streaming used on sites like YouTube and the popularity and functionality of Adobe Flash Player make content worthy, today this format is being used rapidly which reduces the file size and gives good quality video. Due to which the online video market is becoming increasingly dependent on it and getting more use from its rivals Microsoft WMV and Real Media Player.

MOV (Apple QuickTime)

Like Flash and Windows Media Player, it has also been popular for a long time. Especially for Mac users but can only use it on Apple devices. But this format of high quality can only make large files, so it is often useful for personal storage and sharing on portable media rather than sharing. But still, some people use it for streaming which requires a QuickTime player.


This is an abbreviation for MPEG4. It is a frequently used format for high-quality video. It has a smaller file size than other formats but still maintains excellent quality even when compressed. The H.264 codec is often used with AAC audio inside this content.

MP4 File Format

MKV (Matroska)

Due to the increasing scope of video sharing, it is an increasingly popular high-quality video container capable of holding different data such as video audio and subtitles. This format is often capable of sharing HD video, blue quality as well, and mostly uses the H.264 codec for video and AAC or MP3 for audio.

Types of popular Audio Files

Most audio files used on PCs come in PCM brackets (Pulse-code modulation) whether lossless or lossy. Following are several types of audio files:

WAV (Windows Audio)

It is the most popular uncompressed and lossless file type. It is used to store source files for high-quality format editing but due to the large size of the files, it is not really suitable for cataloging and listening to songs and is not very flexible for metadata encoding.

AAC (Advanced Audio Coding)

It is a high quality compressed and lossy format that was created to replace MP3 but did not achieve as much success, yet it is highly used for HD video encoding and is used by Apple for iTunes.

MP3 (MPEG-2 Audio Layer III)/(Moving Picture Expert Group Layer 3 Audio)

There is often confusion about whether it is a codec or a container, but it is a rare file type codec that does not support any file format other than MP3. Today it has become an effective format for digital music. It has superior compression and audio quality and features metadata for cataloging and storing music.

MP3 File Format

OGG (Vorbis)

This open-source container format is not limited to any software parents. It is a lossy compressed format and hence it is a great streaming option. Music streaming services take this help and apply different quality settings for different types of internet connection speeds from its compression levels.

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec)

This open-source audio codec is very popular online. Which is used to encode music with various portable audio players such as MP3. This lossless format is of high quality but not more flakable than MP3. Because it does not facilitate any compression. Still, hardware users use it a lot.

Types of popular Image Files

These are also media files and like video and audio, it is of many types. Following are several types of image files:

JPEG/JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

It is the most common and popular lossy image format available on the internet, which results in file compression as well as good quality. Although it can compress more than the prescribed form, in most of its parts, some effect is seen. Because webmasters are capable of using high-quality images and can reduce the space for that. JPG files are of 24-bit color and support 16 million colors, so they can be used in many ways without maintaining transparency.

JPEG/JPG File Format

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

GIF file is a very low-quality image and is only able to use 8-bit pallets and 256 colors. So it is not suitable for high-end image reproduction, although it can be used as a simple slide show animation. This is why it is considered useful for low space animation on websites, so it is made in custom format for toy animation. The image quality is good but it is useful for static images that do not require high quality and gives good results in small images and people. It is lossless in terms of data reproduction so it retains the original image data with less storage.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

This is actually a DTP image file handled by Adobe. It is used in professional graphic design and high-level editing. This is a favorite image file for Apple. TIFF is actually a container that supports various compression techniques including JPEG and ZIP. It can also be completely lossless without compression. It supports multiple layers and transparency, which is particularly important in image editing. But due to the large file size than other formats, it is not suitable for online applications.

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