People generally tend to not understand video file formats much, or assume they are just the file extension alone. In actual fact the video file format has a big impact on the video, as it determines how the video’s data is encoded and stored.

While it can be a bit difficult to understand the technical aspects of video file formats, knowing the reasons why they are important is actually fairly straightforward:

  • Compatibility

The file format that the video is in can affect whether or not it is compatible with certain devices or platforms and can be watched on them. In order for a video to be watched its format needs to be supported so that the encoded data can be decoded and viewed.

That support can be provided by software or hardware – though the latter is often preferred as it is less processor intensive and consumes less power.

  • Compression

When the video data is encoded and stored in a file format, it is compressed in some way or other. The video codec that is part of the file format is what determines the type of compression that is used.

Video compression can take on several forms, but broadly speaking is either lossless or lossy. Lossless compression will allow the video data to be restored in its original form when uncompressed, whereas lossy compression discards data that is considered redundant to reduce the file size by a larger margin.

Most of the video file formats that you encounter on a day to day basis use lossy compression, and even then the efficiency of the compression provided by different formats can vary.


  • Features and components

In addition to the video data, modern video files often have other components and features. The container that is part of the file format is what determines what features and components are supported.

Some containers have a fairly limited scope and don’t really support many components and features. Others are more versatile, and may support captions, streaming, 3D video, menus, chapters, and a host of other options.

Now that you understand the reasons why the video file format is important, you should understand how important it is to use the right one. If you want you can easily convert the file format, and for example you can use Online Video Converter and follow the steps at

At the end of the day the more relevant reason why video file formats are important is compatibility. That being said making sure that your video files are as small as possible and support the features and components that you need them to may also be important in some cases – so be sure to choose wisely if you ever need to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *