Saturday, September 10, 2011

What is the difference between Video format, codec and container ?

 The video format sets the rules, the codec interprets them and a container format is a meta format that bundles multiple files into one container.

Video Format : consists basically of a set of rules and parameters that define the video. This is the native resolution, color depth, the frames per second among other parameters. Video format examples are the DVD video format, the 3GP video format or 1080p and 1080i formats.

Codec : Interpreter for the video format or formats it supports. Devices and software use codecs to compress and decompress video.It is used by video players to determine how the video needs to be played correctly on the system.

Container : Bundles multiple files. For videos, this is usually the video and audio track. More advanced container formats can include other data types as well like menus for example. Popular container formats are avi, mkv or mov. Advantage of using a container for a video is that programs can use different codecs for the tracks of the video. It is therefor possible to use one codec for the video and one for the audio.

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