A media container format (or sometimes referred to as a wrapper format) is a format that can contain various types of data such as audio and video data. The data is compressed using a codec. A codec (coder and decoder compound) is the algorithm used to compress and / or decompress stream multimedia data to reduce the number of bytes needed to store or send.
Some containers are limited to audio formats such as WAV files for Windows, AIFF for Mac and XMF; some are restricted to still images as FITS and TIFF. There is also a flexible container; can withstand several types of audio, video and other media such as ASF files for Windows, MP4 and Matroska. However, some file formats are not supported by media players that you might have. This is where a format converter can come in handy. You can convert audio to video with fast online converter that can be supported by your media device.
The most common multimedia containers are:
- 3GP – used by mobile phones
- ASF – standard WMA and WMV containers
- AVI – Windows standard containers
- Matroska – an open standard container
- MPEG – standard container for MPEG-1 and MPEG-2
- MP4 – standard container for MPEG-4
- Ogg – free and open standard container for codec Vorbis (audio) and Theora (video)
The difference between the different container formats coming from five (5) major issues:
- Popularity. Widely supported container.
- Overhead. Example: A two-hour film may be 3MB larger when in AVI than when in Matroska (MKV). The overhead is the difference between AVI and MKV which is 3MB.
- Support new codec functionality and features. Some older container formats does not support codec feature such as VBR audio and B-frames.
- Subtitles, chapters, meta-tags, and user-data support.
- Streaming media support.