Difference Between MP4 and FLV

MP4 and FLV are digital multimedia container formats used to store data, usually videos and audio.


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The functions of both of them are similar though the comparison between them is of compatibility, file supporting, formats, and features.

Read the full article to know which one is better and why?

MP4 vs FLV

The difference between MP4 and FLV is that the quality of videos and audio in MP4 is good as well as it uses less battery. While on the other hand, FLV’s quality is less as compared to MP4 as well as it uses more battery power. Indeed, the MP4 playback is smooth on almost any platform including desktop and mobile phones. Also, a plug-in is not used to play the MP4 videos while a plug-in is used to play the files in the MP4 file format.

MP4 vs FLV

The MP4 is a multimedia container format used digitally to store data like audio, videos, images, and subtitles. It allows digital streaming as well.

The filename extension for the files is .mp4. MP4 file format is compatible with almost all devices and platforms.

FLV is also known as Flash video. It is a container file format that is used to deliver and play content like audio and videos, digitally.

The FLV format needs a plug-in like an adobe flash player to play the data smoothly. The format of the file is FLV and F4V.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMP4FLV
Developed byInternational organization for standardization.Adobe Systems (Macromedia)
Extended fromMPEG-4 Part 12SWF f
CompatibilityMP4 file format has good compatibility on all devices.FLV does do not work smoothly on mobile devices.
QualityIt stores both video and audio digital coding in good quality.FLV is not so good in quality.
MIME-typeThe MIME type of MP4 format is video-only.The MIME type for FLV format is video and x-flv.

What is MP4?

MP4 is a digital multimedia container format. It is used to store and play audio, video, images, and subtitles along with allowing streaming on the internet.

The MP4 file format is compatible with all devices and platforms which includes, web browsers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

Most platforms have dedicated MP4 decoding hardware.

The quality of the video which is captured in the MP4 file is very good as well as its quality with file compression does not drop that much.

Also, the playbacks of the file run smoothly through this format. Indeed, MP4 files use less battery than any other multimedia container format which gives it a great advantage.

MP4 is widely used all over the world.

Mostly, the portable media players are shown as MP4 players. Although it is not necessary that they play MP4 format, they are mostly MP3 players.

It is not necessary that they play the MP4 file format. It is an open format and is the extended form of QuickTime File Format and MPEG-4 Part 12. It is an ISO base media file format that was released in 2001.

The filename extension for the MP4 file format is .mp4, .m4v, .m4a, .m4p, .m4b, .m4r and .m4v.

Commonly the .mp4 filename extensions is used though different filename extensions are used for different content.

Example,  a .m4a extension is used for the audio-only MPEG-4 files.

What is FLV?

FLV or Flash Video is a container file format that is used to store, deliver and play multimedia content on the internet. It is used to store or deliver audio, videos, text data.

There are two FLV file formats: FLV and F4V. The filename extension for the FLV format is .flv, .f4v, .f4p, .f4a, .f4b.

Commonly the .flv filename extension is used.

The FLV media container is developed by Adobe Systems (Macromedia).

FLV works best when it comes to stream videos on the internet and sharing and uploading videos on the internet. However, it is not compatible with mobile devices.

It doesn’t run smoothly on mobile devices. Also, the quality of the data is good but it loses the quality when the file is compressed.

The FLV format uses more battery so it’s a disadvantage of the format. Also, a notable thing is that a plug-in is required to play the FLV video files.

And this is a reason this format does not run smoothly on mobile devices and some other platforms. FLV is viewable on operating systems only via a third-party program, adobe flash player, or a web browser plugin.

FLV file format is extended from the SWF file format. The data in the FLV files are encoded the same way as SWF files.

Main Differences Between MP4 And FLV

  1. MP4 can be used on any device and platform including desktop and mobile. While FLV is compatible with web browsers but not with mobile browsers.
  2. MP4 files use less battery than FLV files.
  3. The MP4 format is developed by an International organization for standardization. While the FLV format is developed by Adobe Systems (Macromedia).
  4. Mostly the platforms have dedicated MP4 decoding hardware therefore MP4 playbacks are smooth on all platforms. While FLV is best for streaming videos on the internet but it does not play smoothly on mobile devices.
  5. The MIME type of MP4 format is video only while the MIME type of FLV format is video and x-flv.
  6. A plug-in is not necessary for the MP4 format while it is needed for the FLV file format.
Difference Between MP4 and FLV


  1. https://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-WXJY201403010.htm
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0009261494012733
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