If you want to learn about MP4 file, then you can go to Wikipedia. There you will find that MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4 is a digital multimedia container format most commonly used to store video and audio, but it can also be used to store other data such as subtitles and still images.
Isn’t it actually a bit of confusing? Yes, we think it is pretty complicated.
But, don’t worry. Because for you, we will try to explain it as simple as possible.
If you use any smart device whether it is a smartphone or any other media players. You will have different kinds of files on your device such as pictures, audio or even videos. For us, these files are pictures or videos. But for computer or our smart devices, they are just data.
These data are stored in a specific format or type of file in our computer or smart device. So that the computer can understand those data and can show those as pictures, audio or video to us. There are a lot of file formats which can be used to store data like audio, video or pictures of us on smart devices.
For instance, MPEG-4 is one of those file formats or type of files. In which, you will find videos, audio, subtitles and still images together or separately. And, MP4 is short for MPEG-4. So, we can say that MP4 is a file format which can contain not only video or audio but also subtitles and still images too.
History of MP4 file format
In 1999, system specification for MP4 files was published. But, 2 years later in 2001, the first edition of MP4 file format was released. It was known as MPEG-4 Part 1. After that in 2003, the second edition of MP4 file format was released named as MPEG-4 Part 14. This format is actually used all over the world now as MP4 files.
MP4 files came in popularity with the help of Apple’s iTunes store. Because Apple used MP4 file format to distribute the media files from their store. After that, it was used almost for every kind of video files as it can give clear quality but within a smaller size.
Nowadays almost every device supports MP4 format. This format also generally used for streaming video on the internet. As a result, it has become one of the most popular file formats for media files all over the world.
Various filename extensions of MP4 files
The ‘MPEG-4 Part 14’ file has only one official filename extension which is .mp4. However, there are a lot of variations of this extension. Let’s know more about them.
- .mp4 extension: MP4 files which contains video and audio typically use .mp4 extension (official extension)
- .m4a extension: MP4 files which contain only audio use .m4a extension
- .m4r extension: Apple uses the .m4r extension on their iPhone ringtones
- .m4b extension: This extension is used on Audiobooks or podcast files. As .m4b file can bookmark
- .m4v extension: It is used for raw MP4 visual bitstreams
- .m4p extension: This extension is used for the files which have audio streams encrypted and are sold by Apple’s iTunes store
- .3gp extension: This format is used by mobile phones for video files
How to open an MP4 file?
To open an MP4 file, you will have to have media players on your computer/device. With the help of media players, you can run any MP4 files on your PC/Mac.
To get more detailed instructions, see below.
- On Windows
- With windows media player Windows media player is the default media player to play any kind of media files on Windows operating system. So, it can run MP4 files.
- How to run with Windows Media Player
To run an MP4 file with Windows Media Player you just have to double-click on the file and the file will be opened automatically with the default media player of Windows OS.
But older versions of Windows Media Player can’t play MP4 files. Although, you can fix it by installing a codec pack. Codec packs are software which help the older version of media players recognize the MP4 files. And, then you will be able to run the MP4 file.
- Using other free Media Players
Then again, if you don’t want to use Windows Media Player you can use other free media players like VLC Player, GOM Player or POT Player These media players generally come with required codec packs already installed. So, they can run any MP4 files without any issue.
- VLC Media Player
This media player is a free software. You can download it and install it on your PC to play MP4 files. It supports almost every kind of media files including MP4 files. Also, it is compatible with even older Windows operating systems.
- GOM Player
This is another media player which comes with a lot of awesome features. It also supports a large number of media files. It has a feature named ‘Codec Finder’. If it can’t run a video file then it will automatically search for the required codec and will let you download it. So that it can run the video afterward.
- Pot Player
This is a multimedia player with some useful features. Pot Player is also free to use. You can download it and install it on your computer to use it. You can use it to open MP4 files. Because it comes with required codec packs.
For your convenience, we recommend you to download and install the Media Player Codec Pack on your Windows PC. It supports every Windows operating systems from Windows 2000 to Windows 10. So, on any version of Windows Player, you will be able to play the MP4 files.
- On Mac
- With QuickTime player-You can use QuickTime Player to open MP4 files on Mac. It supports MP4 files without any issue
- With QtAV based players-QtAV is not a media player. It is a multimedia playback framework with which developers can develop media players. There are a lot of media players based on the QtAV framework. One of them is the QMLPlayer. It can open any MP4 files. It is available for Mac. So, you can download and install it on your Mac to open MP4 files.
MP4 on handheld devices
As MP4 is an older file format, almost every type of handheld devices supports it. Whether you have a smartphone or a portable media players, it will support MP4 files. Any Android, iOS or Windows devices support MP4 files.
You can open an MP4 file on any handheld devices with the default media player. Although for Android, iOS and Windows OS devices three are a lot of third-party free apps which can open MP4 files. So, if you are facing problem playing an MP4 file on a handheld device. You can download those free apps.
MP4 files are usually used to stream videos on streaming sites on the internet. So, most of the modern browsers also can run MP4 files. And, that is why the MP4 has become one of the most popular formats for handheld devices.
If you can’t play MP4 file
There could be a number of reasons why your device can’t run an MP4 file. We will try to cover each one of them down below. And, of course, we will also provide the solution to each of the problems.
- If the file is damaged or corrupted Sometimes the MP4 file itself could be corrupted or damaged. Then no media players will be able to open it. If you try it to open the file, there will be a warning from the media player saying like ‘The file cannot be opened. It might be damaged or corrupted.’ If it is the case for you. Then there is a solution to your problem. Let’s see.
- Repair the damaged file If your MP4 file is damaged, you can try to repair it with the proper software. There are a lot of file repairing software. But, we recommend the Stellar Phoenix Video Repair Software. This software is a very powerful video repair software. It can easily repair any MP4 files. So, you can give it a try.
- If the file has unsupported codec Sometimes the video could be of unknown format for the media player on your device. Or the file might have an unsupported codec. Then, your media player won’t be able to play the video without the required codec pack. If it is your problem, then don’t worry. There is also a solution to your problem too.
- Use a video converter to change the codec To solve the unsupported codec issue, you can use video converter software to change the codec or the format of the file. There are a lot of video converters out there. But, we recommend the Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate. It has some powerful features and it can easily change the codec of a video.
- Use Supported Video Codec Pack If you don’t want to convert your video, you can try to solve this by installing the required codec pack. When you will try to run the unsupported file, your media player will warn you by saying something like ‘This file does not have supported codec’. Some media players will give you the option to download required codec but some won’t.If your media player does not give the option to download the codec pack. You can download and install the required codec manually. We recommend the Media Player Codec Pack to download. Because it has almost every supported codecs included. Also, it is compatible with any Windows OS version.
- File definition is too high Some older media players can’t run high definition videos. There’s also a solution to this.
- Use advanced/updated media player If your media player is outdated, it cant run modern high definition videos. So, you should update your video players to the latest version. Or you can use advanced media players like VLC, GOM, Pot, MX player etc. to open high definition videos.
- Use a video converter software to reduce definition Another way to solve the problem is to reduce the video quality by converting the video. You can use any video converter to do that. But, we recommend Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate software to make this as easy as possible for you.
We tried to make the article as simple as possible. We hope that you will get a good understanding of MP4 files from this article. And, if you face any problem playing any MP4 files on your devices, you will be able to solve them according to solutions in our article. We hope this article will help you.