What Are the Different Video Files and How Do I Play Them?

Playing videos is one of the most popular applications of personal computers today, from YouTube to High Definition DVDs, but the technology behind the videos themselves, and the technology required to play them can be very different.

With video becoming more popular online you have likely come across one or two that you have had difficulty playing on your PC. In most cases this is due to incompatible formats and the wrong or outdated video player. Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular video formats and the free video players that play them to help keep you entertained and informed youtube video mp4 downloader!

Video Formats

WMV: This format, which stands for Windows Media Video is a compressed video format that was developed by Microsoft. It is one of the popular video formats and can be played in both Windows Media Player and Real Player. It is also used in the video formatting for HD DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.

MPEG: While MPEG stands for the developers of the format, the Motion Picture Expert Group the format is the standard for video and audio compression. This means that it is designed to be accessible and playable in most video players. It is probably the most common video format found online and has several versions. The latest version MPEG-4 part 14 is also more commonly referred to as MP4.

AVI: The Audio Video Interleave format is another Microsoft developed video format that is commonly found in online applications. It can easily be played on most Windows run computers, however, the AVI format may not be playable on other operating systems.

SWF: The Shockwave or Flash format was developed by Macromedia who are also the makers of Flash. While it does require an extra component to play on both Windows and Mac operating systems, it does come installed in the latest versions of most internet browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape.

MOV: This video format is property of Apple and is the standard format for their QuickTime Media Player. To play this format on a Windows computer you either need to install the Windows version of the Apple Media Player or download the codec to play it in another Media Player you may already have.

Popular (and free) Video Players

Windows Media Player: This media player not only allows both Windows and Mac users to view video, but also play audio files and burn CDs and DVDs. WMP 12 is the latest version of the proprietary media player and is available to download free from the official website for the player.

QuickTime: The Apple proprietary media player, QuickTime is available for both Windows and Mac and can play most video formats with the appropriate codecs. AVI may not work properly in this media player.

Real Player: This cross-platform media player plays a number of video formats including both the Windows and Apple video formats, as well as the popular MPEG-4 format.

Winamp: Created by Nullsoft, Winamp is a media player that is designed to work in with the Windows operating system. It was a popular choice for file sharing applications and can play most video formats.

VLC: This media player is one of the most popular independent media players and has a version for all the most used operating systems including Linux. It is a great choice for playing video that may be in a corrupted video format, and has a great selection of free plug-ins and codecs available.

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