MP3 vs MP4: Difference and Comparison

You love recording, listening to podcasts, watching movies, YouTube videos, and other multimedia. Sometimes even wonder how these files download, work, and play on your laptop, PC, Android, or iPhone.

Well, these folders need the help of coding support or file extensions to work.  

Using less computational resources and access to multimedia data is a necessary part of it.

Coding is algorithmic data that help with computer programming.

With efficient processing in minimal time in the form of streaming, it is an undeniable process. It is a vast topic rather than a multimedia extension in the digital world.  

Key Takeaways

  1. MP3 is a compressed audio file format that only contains audio data, while MP4 is a digital multimedia container that can hold audio and video files.
  2. MP3 files are smaller and take up less storage space than MP4 files.
  3. MP4 files have better video quality and can contain additional features like subtitles and chapter markers that MP3 files do not.

MP3 vs MP4

MP3 is a compressed audio format; it contains audio only. MP4 is a compressed video format that can also include audio. Both have varying versatility, storage, and compatibility. They support contrasting folders and distinctive extensions.  

MP3 vs MP4
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Mp3 and mp4 are the small parts accommodated by ‘MPEG’ (moving picture experts group) Firm.

Plenty of people confuse MP3 and MP4 with each other.

These extensions are the most used and flexible file extension formats while computing. 

Comparison Table

Parameter of Comparison MP3 MP4 
Description MP3 is a Binary Audio Coding Configuration invented by the Fraunhofer Society (Germany) and European and US digital expert teams.MP4 is a Binary Audio, Video, and Text Coding Configuration invented by ISO (International Organization of Standardization). 
Purpose It is made for a better listening experience. It is made for a great audio-visual dual-user experience. 
Features Only audio files can be played with this extension. Both audio-visual (multimedia) files can be performed with this extension. 
Compatibility Compatible with all the music players and audio devices. Compatible with iPhones and iPods. 
File Extension Names .mp3 is the file extension of it..mp4, .m4a, .m4p, .m4b, .m4r, and .m4v are the extensions of it.
Defined As Formerly, MP3 is used to define MPEG-1 Audio Layer III. Later, it extended to MPEG-2 Audio Layer III and MPEG-3 Audio Layer III.MP4 is defined as MPEG-4, part 14. 
Media Format Audio/mpeg, Audio/MPA, Audio/mpa-robust Video/mp4 
Standards The Specified standards for MP3 are ISO/IEC 11172-3 and ISO/IEC 13818-3. Following are the Specified standards for MP4: ISO/IEC 14496-14. 
Video Compression It is not possible with MP3 format.Yes, it is possible with MP4. 
Versatility The format is not as versatile as it only supports audio files. The format is more versatile; it supports audio and video files. 
Data Storage  Audio files take up a smaller storage space. Video and multimedia files take up larger storage space. 

What is MP3? 

MP3 is a digital audio coding configured file formation. With the help of a team of European and US digital experts, mp3 was successful.

t is a formation by the ‘Fraunhofer Society (from Germany).

Later the extended version was MPEG-2 audio layer III, and now it is MPEG-3 audio layer III. Its purpose is to make the listening experience better.

The extension .mp3 only plays audio files. The folder is compatible with all music players and audio devices.

It works with media formats Audio/mpeg, Audio/MPA, and Audio/mpa-robust. 

Mp3 does not support video files; it is only an audio extension. So, it might, does not as versatile as MP4, but it focuses on audio files.

It even takes a smaller storage capacity for any of its files. Formerly, it used to be known as MPEG-1 audio layer III. 

mp3 1

What is MP4? 

MP4 is a digital text, audio, and video coding configured file formation.

It supports any multimedia type. It is formed; by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO).

The purpose of this extension is to provide a great audio-video dual experience to its users.  The folder is compatible with iPhones and iPods.

It plays video files in .mp4, .m4a, .m4p, .m4b, .m4r, and .m4v forms.Also, it is known as MPEG-4 part 14 and forms into video/mp4 format.

It works smoothly with any audio or video files. It is more versatile than MP3, as it supports both files.

It needs a larger storage space for keeping than mp3.  The format is a Quick Time format coding.

You can see it in a 3D formation. This file type is also convertible into MP3 format (Only audio). 

mp4

Main Differences Between MP3 and MP4 

  1. On MP3, only audio files are supportable to play. Conversely, On MP4, audio, video, and multimedia files are supportable.  
  2. Better listening experience with MP3, and with MP4, it’s great audio + video dual experience.  
  3. MP3 files compressed into ‘.mp3’ format. On the other hand, MP4 files have more options such as, ‘.mp4,’ ‘.m4a,’ ‘.m4p,’ ‘.m4b,’ ‘.m4r,’ and ‘.m4v.’  
  4. MP3 is available in audio/mpeg, audio/MPA, and audio/mpa-robust media formats. And MP4 is available in video/mp4.  
  5. MP4 is more versatile as it supports both the media files and MP3 in just one.  
  6. MP3 has compatibility with all music players, Whereas MP4 is compatible with just iPhones and iPods.  
  7. MP3 does not support video compression, while MP4 for video compression.  
  8. Audio files take up smaller storage space, and video files take the large storage. 
Difference Between MP3 and MP4

References 

  1. Mobile technologies, podcasting and language education (igi-global.com) 
  2. Mobile Learning: Education Book Chapter | IGI Global (igi-global.com) 

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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21 thoughts on “MP3 vs MP4: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article effectively dissects the core differences and applications of MP3 and MP4, serving as an invaluable resource for both novice and seasoned enthusiasts of digital multimedia. It’s a commendable piece that strikes a balance between technicality and accessibility.

    1. Avatar of Kimberly Murphy
      Kimberly Murphy

      Well said, Greg. The article’s coverage of core concepts, without overwhelming the reader with technical jargon, makes it an engaging and enlightening read. It manages to make intricate topics accessible and relatable to a broad audience.

    2. Absolutely, Greg. The article’s ability to cater to a diverse readership, from beginners to experts, is a testament to its effectiveness as an educational piece. It strikes a commendable balance between depth of information and readability.

  2. This article is too basic and fails to provide any in-depth technical analysis or insights. It seems to cover only the surface-level information about MP3 and MP4, which may not be useful for readers with prior knowledge of file formats and coding.

    1. I disagree, Xsmith. While it may not delve into highly technical details, it offers a comprehensive overview suitable for a general audience. Not all readers are seeking advanced analysis, and the article caters to those seeking fundamental understanding.

  3. The author’s expertise in multimedia file formats is evident throughout the article. It’s apparent that the information is well-researched and backed by a strong understanding of the subject matter. The depth of knowledge makes the content authoritative and reliable.

    1. Absolutely agree with you, Cameron. The author’s expertise shines through the depth of information provided. It’s clear that the content is based on thorough research, elevating its value as a credible source of information on MP3 and MP4.

  4. The detailed delineation of the standards, compression, and compatibility of MP3 and MP4 provides a comprehensive understanding of their functionalities. It’s an enriching read for individuals seeking a thorough grasp of the technical underpinnings of multimedia file formats.

    1. Absolutely, Scott. The article’s exploration of technical nuances is valuable for those interested in the specifications and standards governing multimedia formats. It serves as an enriching resource for individuals looking to deepen their technical knowledge.

  5. Avatar of Wilkinson Rebecca
    Wilkinson Rebecca

    This article explains the difference between MP3 and MP4 in a clear and concise manner, making it a very informative piece. The writing style is easy to understand and the information is presented in an organized way. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to understand the technical aspects of multimedia file formats.

    1. Avatar of Elizabeth Bailey
      Elizabeth Bailey

      I completely agree! This article is well-written and provides valuable information about MP3 and MP4. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in multimedia file formats.

  6. The article provides a comprehensive comparison of MP3 and MP4, offering a detailed analysis of their respective features and functionalities. It’s an essential resource for those involved in digital media and technology.

    1. Absolutely, Michael. The article is a valuable reference for professionals working with multimedia formats. It covers the technical aspects effectively and is a commendable resource for individuals seeking detailed insights into MP3 and MP4.

  7. The tone of the article is too serious and lacks an engaging quality. A touch of humor or light-heartedness would make the content more appealing to a wider audience. Additionally, the presentation could be more visually compelling.

    1. I can see where you’re coming from, Gavin. Adding a more engaging tone and incorporating visually appealing elements could indeed enhance the article’s readability. It’s important to strike a balance between technicality and reader engagement.

  8. I find the comparison table very helpful in understanding the key differences between MP3 and MP4. It aids in a quick reference for the main points discussed in the article. The visuals are a great addition to the content.

    1. Agreed, Sienna. The visual representation of the information is effective in simplifying complex concepts. It adds clarity to the article and enhances the overall reading experience.

  9. The post is a bit too technical for a casual reader. I think it could benefit from more real-world examples to illustrate the concepts. While the depth of information is appreciated, it may be overwhelming for a general audience.

    1. I see your point, Caitlin. The technical nature of the article might alienate some readers who are not well-versed in coding and file formats. Simplifying the language and adding practical examples could enhance its accessibility.

  10. I appreciate the article’s focus on the technical specifications of MP3 and MP4. It’s insightful for those interested in the intricacies of multimedia file formats and the underlying coding support. The level of detail is commendable and adds depth to the discussion.

    1. Indeed, Anthony. The detailed examination of technical specifications caters to a specific audience seeking in-depth insights. The article’s specificity contributes to its significance as a specialized resource for those delving into the technicalities of multimedia file formats.

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