Difference Between AVI and WMV Format

The introduction of internet paved a way for a boom in the field of communication which revolutionized the entire world.  People were able to send and receive messages at a very quick pace.

Moreover, people found many new methods for sending information in different kind of formats which helped the receiver to understand the sent information at ease.

One such method for conveying information was through multimedia (i.e., in the form of video).

Since video contains both audio and visual information in a combined format, people were able to understand easily on the data meant to be conveyed.

Video represented an extra-ordinary way for conveying information for the mass. The problem faced by the community was in sending the video with large quantity without compromising on quality.

Different formats were introduced to solve the issue. Among the various formats that exist, avi and wmv are the most popular video formats.

AVI which stands for audio video interleave is one of the most popular formats for sending a visual file. WMV stands for windows media video format.

This was popular due to its capability of compressing larger video into a smaller size file.

AVI vs WMV Format

The difference between AVI and WMV is that the AVI format had separate video and audio containers. This helped the user to playback video and audio in a synchronized manner. Whereas WMV format was created for the sole purpose of compressing larger video files to a smaller size for efficient streaming in on-line mode.

AVI vs WMV Format

Unlike AVI which allows its users to edit the videos, WMV format is not preferred while a video would undergo editing process. The difficulty in editing in WMV arises from the fact that WMV is a closed source one.  

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonAVI formatWMV format
Stands forAudio Video InterleaveWindows Media Video
DefinitionIt is a multimedia file format which possess the capability to contain both video and audio data in the file container.It is also a multimedia format meant for compressing larger videos into smaller files.
UsesFor a synchronized playback of the audio and video file.Converting larger files into smaller ones for efficient online streaming.
Introduced byMicrosoft.Microsoft.
AdvantageWidely accepted video format in all devices.Easier for online streaming due to its small size.
SourceOpen Source.Close Source.
DisadvantageVideo quality gets hampered when compressed beyond a certain limit.Not supported by all media players.

What is AVI?

AVI is a multimedia format created for storing, sending audio and video files digitally which can be play backed in most of the platforms currently available in the market.

The AVI format was created by Microsoft in the year 1992 to produce a better and powerful file for its operating system, i.e., windows.

It contains a container for both audio and video files which helped in synchronized playback of video and audio files more credibly.

Though this format was built for windows OS, its flexibility in operation gained popularity in all platforms. Even portable media players support .avi format.

AVI file has two main parts, the header part and blocks of information called as a chunk. All the details such as frame rate, width, file size, height etc. would be present in the header section.

The header section is recognized by ‘hdrl’ tag. The rest of the information (audio and visual) carries the ‘. movi’ tag.

The data contained in the ‘. movi’ chunk can be decoded/encoded by various codec available, making AVI formats the most desired one. Since AVI is an open-sourced one, people were able to edit works with ease.


What is WMV Format?

WMV format is yet another multimedia format for videos created by Microsoft for streaming larger videos effectively online. WMV format gained its popularity due to its capability to compress larger video files into a smaller one.

This enabled better streaming of videos due to the small file size.

But to encode and decode the WMV video, the codec of Windows Media Player only can be used. Since WMV format is not an open-sourced one, WMV format is not preferred for editing purpose.

Since WMV has the ability to compress video efficiently, this format was used for sharing videos on the internet.

But WMV videos cannot be played in all platforms as it can be encoded/decoded in few specific codecs only.

Thus, it became unpopular for editing. In fact, the WMV format was developed as a competitor for RealVideo’s video format.

VLC media player and Windows Media Player are few examples of video player that supports WMV format.

wmv format

Main Differences Between AVI and WMV Format   

  1. AVI format is widely popular for its ease in editing videos whereas WMV format earned its name for high compressibility of videos without affecting the quality.
  2. AVI format helps in synchronized playback of both audio and video files in an efficient manner whereas WMV format aids in efficient streaming of videos in online due to its small size.
  3. Though AVI and WMV were created by Microsoft, AVI is an open-sourced one whereas WMV is a proprietary standard, meaning that WMV format is supported only by few codecs.
  4. AVI file size tends to be very large when compared to a WMV file.
  5. Higher compression in AVI format affects the quality of the video to a certain extent whereas the quality does not get affected in case of WMV format.
  6. WMV does not possess the advantage of being played in all platform due to its inflexibility in the codec. The reason is WMV format is a closed source one.
  7. Quality editing is one of the greatest advantages in AVI format. As far as WMV format is concerned, quality compression is its main advantage.
Difference Between AVI and WMV Format


  1. https://www.loc.gov/preservation/digital/formats/fdd/fdd000442.shtml
  2. https://www.loc.gov/preservation/digital/formats/fdd/fdd000091.shtml
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