MPEG vs MP3: Difference and Comparison

Media has played an important role in every individual’s life. They store and manage memories in the form of files that can be used in future.

The media has been extensively used to capture instances and freeze memories only to relive them later.

A form of media that is popularly used is in the form of audio and videos.

Audios and videos are quite large files when one wants to store them with easy access permanently.

This was possible only by compressing and managing the files in CDs or media players.

MPEG and MP3 are the two famous formats used for compressing these files.

Key Takeaways

  1. MPEG stands for Moving Picture Experts Group and is a standard digital video and audio compression format. MP3 stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 and is a specific type of MPEG format used for audio compression.
  2. MPEG can compress video and audio data, whereas MP3 is only used for audio. MPEG uses a complex algorithm that takes into account the characteristics of human perception to reduce the size of the file. In contrast, MP3 uses a simpler algorithm that discards some of the audio data that is considered less important.
  3. MPEG is commonly used for video streaming and broadcasting, while MP3 is popular for digital music downloads and playback. Both formats have evolved to improve compression efficiency and support new features, such as high-definition video and surround sound audio.


MPEG is a family of video compression standards developed for digital video encoding; MPEG compresses video and audio content into smaller files for more efficient storage and transmission. MP3 is a specific audio compression format developed by the MPEG group; it is widely used for music distribution and playback on various devices.


MPEG, or Moving Pictures Experts Group, was made to deal with the compression and transmission of audio and video-type media files. They reduce the size in such a manner that the quality of the file does not waver.

The files thus converted are stored on CDs.

MP3 is a component of the larger format MPEG and is short for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3.

This component of MPEG is used for the compression of audio files alone.

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The compressed audio files are stored in suitable media players that could store data in megabytes instead of gigabytes.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMPEGMP3
Abbreviation forMPEG stands for Moving Pictures Experts GroupMP3 is short for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3
Deals withThe MPEG was made to deal with both audio and videoMP3 is the version of MPEG that was made for dealing with audio files alone
AimTheir main aim was to set a standard for audio and video compression and transmission into easier and exportable files.MP3 is aimed as the patented encoding format for the transmission and compression of audio files alone.
Main usageMPEG is used for compressing and managing audio and video files to reach a desirable balance in the quality and size of the file.MP3 was used for compressing lossy audio files that became popular during the period of portable music players.
PopularityThe use of MPEG is still widespread even though many better and more advanced technologies are available to replace them.As the later versions of MPEG-1 Audio Layers were released, the MP3 was suspended from use.

What is MPEG?

MPEG stands for Moving Pictures Experts Group and was started in 1988.

Initially, it was a group with only 500 members but later expanded as the popularity of MPEG also grew.

Their main aim was compressing and transmission of audio and video-type media files.

MPEG was used to compress audio-video files into smaller sizes that are portable in storage devices.

But the compression of the file size also does not hinder the quality of the file.

It remains intact. These compressed files are seen to be stored in CDs and VCDs.

There are various versions of MPEG, which depend on the storage devices that are compatible with these formats. MPEG-1 was made formatted the file for storing in VCDs.

Then the successive format MPEG-2 was designed for CDs and DVDs, whereas MPEG-4 was designed for Blu-ray.

The popularly used format is mp4, which is formatted for transmissions to smartphones and similar devices.

What is MP3?

MP3 is a smaller component of the large format MPEG.

It is short for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3.

The main aim of introducing MP3 was to compress audio files alone.

This is the component of MPEG-1 that deals with audio-type media files separately.

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MP3 compresses and manages lossy audio files stored in media players.

This was the only format of compressed files that could be stored in the famous portable media players during the introduction of MP3.

MP3 was the first format that allowed the compression of files to megabytes and not gigabytes. So they were easier to store into smaller files rather than to store them in CDs.

Most media players still use MP3 as their standard format.

Though they are popularly in use, they have been suspended since the later versions of MP3, i.e., mp4, have been in use because of their ease of access.

They have also been replaced with other formats like AAC and WMA.

mp3 1

Main Difference Between MPEG and MP3

  1. MPEG stands for Moving Pictures Experts Group. MP3 is a component of the larger MPEG, and it stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3.
  2. Both MPEG and MP3 deal with audio files. The difference between the two arises since MPEG also deals with video files, which is impossible for MP3.
  3. The main aim of MPEG was to set a standard for audio and video compression for ease in the portability of these files through VCDs and DVDs. The file size was reduced such that they could fit in the file size of CDs. On the other hand, MP3 was aimed at patented encoding format of transmission and compression of audio files.
  4. MPEG was wide-spreadly used for compression and managing the media file in such a way that they reach a desirable size while not compromising the quality of the media file. At the same time, MP3 was used for compressing lossy audio files that became famous during the period of portable music players.
  5. MPEG is still widespread even if there have been many advanced compressions to take over the job. MPEG is still popular for the compression of media files. But MP3 has been replaced by their later versions like MP4 and has been suspended from further use.
Difference Between MPEG and MP3
  1. The MP3 revolution – IEEE Journals & Magazine
  2. A simulation tool for introducing MPEG – audio (MP3) concepts in a DSP course – IEEE Conference Publication

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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23 thoughts on “MPEG vs MP3: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article presents a comprehensive overview of MPEG and MP3, elucidating their historical development and practical applications. It deepens our understanding of the complexities involved in digital media storage.

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  10. The article provides comprehensive details about the MPEG and MP3 formats, shedding light on their historical significance and technological advancements. It offers valuable insights into the world of digital media.

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