Difference Between MP4 and MPEG 4 (With Table)

Technology helped us to change as a society, and this happened not only because of the tall skyscrapers or the space missions, but also because of the much smaller things. The fact that all of us have a personalised collection of thousands of memories we make, is also a boon of technology.

The invention of modern computers was complimented very well by the online media compressors and storages formats. Most of which came into being in the later part of the last century.

MP4 and MPEG 4, often mistaken for being the same, turned out to be pioneer inventions in the same field. The former one is considered to be an abbreviation of the later, though its far from the truth.

MP4 vs MPEG 4

The difference between MP4 and MPEG 4 is that while MPEG 4 is an all-encompassing term for different media containers, MP4 is simply a part of the former and a subsequent successor. Both the formats are created by Moving Pictures Experts Group.

Comparison Table Between MP4 and MPEG 4

Parameters of ComparisonMPEG4MP4
UseGenerally used for sharing video content on the internetA media container, which compresses audio, video and various other files.
Developed byMoving Pictures Experts GroupInternational Organization for Standardization.
History Started in 1998 for coding AV formats.Created in 2001 and is based on Apple’s MOV format
AdvantagesHas higher compression rates with minimal usage of bandwidth The quality of the video is left unaffected after compression, irrespective of its size.
DisadvantagesHigher amount compression might result in the video losing its quality.Can be easily misused for downloading videos online.

What is MP4?

A common file platform which is used for streaming or downloading videos from the internet. MP4 is a versatile video compressor, which can store a diverse variety of files. It contains audio, video, subtitle files, along with the information of the audio-video sync time, thumbnail file, etc.

MP4 (MPEG-4, part 14) was created in 2001 by Motion pictures Experts Group (MPEG) and ISO/IBC. MP4 is the container of data and not an encoder in itself.

One of the major positives of MP4 is that the file size is much smaller than the video format. Besides, the quality is retained as it doesn’t deplete when the file size is reduced. 

MP4 can also store data other than audio, video, and speech. It is more suitable for streaming videos online and maintains good quality even after compressing a high amount of data.

Besides, the compression of high-quality videos does not degrade the quality of audio. More importantly, MP4 can render high-quality videos at 1 MB/Sec or even less (with preset internet service).

Though, MP4 files like MP3, are difficult to edit and update. Also in this time and age, with movies being available at paid online streaming platforms, MP4 is used to illegally download video content online.

Some of MP4’s features are – 

  1. MP4 is an Open standard file which makes it easy to use for everyone.
  2. The original quality of the video remains intact.
  3. Most of the applications support this format.
  4. MP4 is the go-to option for streaming videos online.
  5. The fact that it supports many different Operating Systems, makes it easy for distribution

What is MPEG 4?

Introduced in 1998, MPEG 4 is a bunch of methods for compressing audio and video data. MPEG 4 covers a rather broad range across different mediums, namely, broadcast television, telephone, and CDs. 

MPEG 4 is not only an amalgamation of MPEG 1 and 2 but also has many of its exclusive features. VRML assistance for 3D rendering and object-oriented files are some of its unique features.

MPEG 4 is extremely developer-friendly and flexible. It gives a space to developers to use all its features, not necessarily in its holistic nature. This flexibility results in increasing the probability of all the set standards of MPEG 4 not being used at once.

MPEG 4 supports 3D rendering and stage description. This feature is specifically useful while making presentations. It functions smoothly, even with low bandwidth. Added to this, multiple devices and media containers support MPEG 4.

MPEG 4 can also enhance your video watching experience online by adding still graphics, visual elements, and animation. It also enables robust transmission and can also encode mixed audio and video data. Plus the Superior Coding efficiency, is also a major positive 

Following some of its major features – 

  1. Profiles – Different profiles are offered to different applications.
  2. Interoperability – This standard is not platform-specific, but designed for all the platforms.
  3. Scalability – Gives space for flexibility in the methods for coding the bit streaming.

Although MP4 containers shelter the encoded video data in MPEG4, it is not equipped to manipulate the quality. It has more to do with the storage of the different complementary files of the video.

Converting MPEG4 into MP4.

MPEG 4 is an umbrella term for different data containers, if in case your device doesn’t support any of its containers, you would want to turn to MP4. Many media players do not support the MPEG 4 format. At times, when your file is in MPEG 4 format and needs to be edited, converting it to MP4 is the only viable option at hand. There are plenty of methods and applications online which can be helpful in this process.

Main Differences Between MP4 and MPEG 4

  1. MPEG 4 is used for the compression of Audio and Video data online. It is also used in broadcast television applications and CD distribution.
  2. MP4 is a media container, developed by the International Organization for standardization.     It contains audio, video, and text data. MP4 is extended from MPEG 4, part 12.
  3. MPEG 4 is a video encoding algorithm, responsible for compressing and converting the AV data. MP4 on the other hand is a container of the already compressed media. 
  4. MP4 has nothing to do with the conversion of the data, it is only concerned with the storage of various files related to the same (subtitle, audio, AV sync, etc.)

Conclusion

MP4 and MPEG 4 are two of the reasons why we can easily access videos online and also store it in our devices. MP4 can act as an extension of a file and store all the data. MPEG 4, on the other hand, is a method of compression developed by MPEG. 

Though both of them may seem completely interdependent, they may function otherwise also. MP4 is just one of the devices which can store the data encoded by MPEG4, there are other options as well, viz, MKV, AVI, etc.

Also both of them face the problem of limiting the use in case of piracy matters. The breach of  intellectual property is something the updates of these two format would want to look into.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ftRvA08WcM4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR19&dq=difference+between+mp4+and+mpeg+4&ots=l_3nBXOkKu&sig=mk3aYxNYCVwanmxrF17vfFLLLAM
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8659643/
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