MOV Vs MP4 File Format-Which is the Best Choice?

Updated on February 4th, 2021

Rohit Arora

Summary: MOV & MP4 are the two most popular file formats. It’s not easy to decide which one is better for your video. Read full article to understand what suits you best. In case you are dealing with a video corruption issue, try a reliable video repair tool.

MOV Vs MP4 File Format-Which is the Best Choice? MOV Vs MP4 File Format-Which is the Best Choice?

Today, there are different kinds of video file format supported across various video platforms. The choice of a video file format totally depends upon the user requirement and the type of file he/she is working with. Here you know the difference between MOV and MP4.

MOV and MP4 are the two most commonly used video file format. They both use the lossy video compression approach to hold the videos. This method makes the video much lighter in size as it eliminates the portion of the video that are less significant. In addition, it maintains a minimum quality loss after the video has been compressed.

Which File Format is the Best? MOV or MP4?

About MOV

MOV is a popular video format file originally developed by Apple. It was intended to support its QuickTime movie player and often used to save videos, movies, etc. It uses an advanced algorithm especially developed by Apple and is compatible across different versions of Mac and Windows operating systems. It uses the concept of tracks to store data. A track, which stores a particular type of data, is stored in a multimedia container file. There are many such tracks present in the container. There are different tracks meant for holding different types of data like text, audio, video, etc. Such tracks maintain a hierarchy consisting of atoms as an object. In addition, it uses a specific format to contain a digitally encoded media stream. If the digitally encoded media stream is present in some other file, it makes a data reference to the media stream. There are various advantages associated with MOV format, which makes it much more popular and usable format for videos. However, it has some proprietary issues.

On the basis of the standard used by MOV format, MP4 file format was later developed. There were only minor modifications that too while data tagging information. Later, it was used as an industry standard. Because of their almost identical nature, the MPEG-4 format can be used by both the MOV and MP4 container formats. In spite of the fact that MOV was intended for QuickTime player and MP4 uses the same lossy compression standards, they are mostly interchangeable in a QuickTime-only environment. A file in MOV format can be easily converted into MP4 and vice-versa without changing the video encoding. This is very much possible in case of Apple environment. If you are working in an environment other than Apple, you might face some complexities.

About MP4

MP4 being an industry standard has a larger support for operating systems other than Apple. There are various media players, which support this format in different operating systems. In addition, they are widely supported across various handheld devices like video players and gaming devices. In addition, it has a larger range of support for hardware devices like Sony PSP and various DVD players. On the software side, it includes most DirectShow / Video for Windows codec packs. On the basis of MPEG-4 file format, the QuickTime (MOV) file format was approved by the International Organization for Standardization. In the year 2001, QuickTime format specification was published. On the basis of QuickTime format specification, the MPEG-4 file format specification was created.

Later in the year 2001, the MPEG-4 specifications were revised on the basis of the specification published in 1999 and published the MP4 (.mp4) file format. With the advancement in technology and the requirements, it was in the year 2003 when the first version of MP4 format was revised. It was replaced by MPEG-4 Part 14. MP4 can be used as a base of other multimedia files like 3GP, Motion JPEG 2000, etc.

You can check the MP4RA website, which is the official registration authority website and contains all the registered extensions for ISO Base Media File Format.

So Which Video Format to Go For?

Both MOV and MP4 do not have any real effect on the encoded video qualities. They just act like containers. The choice between MOV and MP4 is simple, provided you know the area of application. Based on the place where you need to play the resulting videos, you can choose between MOV and MP4 Or convert one into another absolutely free using popular video converter tool such as Stellar Converter for Audio Video.

Ideally, if you are using Mac, MOV is quite safe and efficient

  • They are considered very high-quality file format for storing and sharing digital information.
  • Many free media players like QuickTime player, Windows media player, and Real Player support MOV files.
  • They combine multiple audio and video files independently.
  • Can be used in professional applications by isolating the elements while editing or during playback.
  • The size of the MOV files differs depending upon the length and compression technique used.
  • Usually, MOV files are of high quality and their size exceeds than many other multimedia formats.
  • If you are unable to run your MOV video files it might be possible that your video has been corrupt, in that case MOV video repair is an easy process. You can repair your corrupt .mov videos using any professional MOV video repair tool.

Video Repair Video Repair Mac

However, in case of any non-Apple devices, MP4 proves to be a much better option

  • It supports multiple bits of data.
  • They are compatible with a low bandwidth, by making them transmit on a narrow bandwidth.
  • Supported across various devices and programs including Apple QuickTime 6 and any later edition.
  • The MP4 format was intended to store MPEG-4 format and hence required less overhead as compared to other formats.
  • MP4 enhances the high-resolution content by making use of the latest codec H264.
  • It provides great flexibility in how data is stored in files.
  • It uses advanced video coding (AVC) technology and Apple’s advanced audio coding (AAC) to improve old audio container format.
  • MP4 video output is of very high quality as compared to DVD.
  • MP4 video files also prone to corruption & you can also fix your corrupt or inaccessible videos using a good video repair software.

What to choose among MOV & MP4 – Best Choice?

Conclusion: 

Both MOV and MP4 are the best video file formats used by millions of people around the globe & choosing best among them is a very hard decision. As described above one can choose either file format according to the operating system they are using or the video player they are using to play those videos. If you are still not happy with the video formats you are using you can easily convert it to any of your choice video formats free of cost.

In case you are not able to use your favorite video file format such as MOV and MP4 due to corruption issues, use Stellar Repair for Video to fix them effectively.

Video Repair Video Repair Mac

How to Repair Corrupt MP4 and MOV File using VLC


About The Author

Oliver Powell

Oliver Powell is a Data Recovery Expert at Stellar®. He is a passionate technology blogger & content creator, He explores new applications and has deep understanding of data recovery. He has experience in Windows & Mac data recovery domain. 

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18 comments
  1. The max resolution of .MOV is higher and is now being used in 5.6K video exports of 360 camera’s. MP4 goes to 4K

    The problem is that devices as Oculus Go or handheld devices just dont like .mov files anymore

    1. Hi Pieter, Yes Oculus GO does not support .mov files and some mp4 videos may have unsupported audio formats that won’t work in Oculus Video. I suggest you need to convert your mp4 files to WebM or 3gp with the help of our software Stellar Converter for Audia Video. If you find any issue you can contact our support through email support[@]stellarinfo.com or call +1-877-778-6087.

  2. Awesome Post! It’s true there is no difference between mov and mp4 they are just containers for the codec .mov is suitable for Mac user and mp4 is the industry standards. Thanks for describe each and every point.

  3. Excellent Article! A clear, explanation both of these different containers. It’s helped me decide on a format to use.

  4. I agree with you! It’s beneficial for me to decide which format to use. I had purchased Mavic Pro which can produce two 4K version of the same platform using .mov and .mp4 using iMovie on my iMac.

  5. My HD MOV file crashed after my DSLR video ran out of battery. I saved the MOV on Windows but Quicktime goes completely black. It was approx 25 mins ling video file. Can I get it back running smoothly?

    1. Hi Ruby,
      Thanks for writing to us!!
      Yes, Stellar Repair for Video V2.0 can repair multiple video files of different formats including MOV, MP4, M4V, M4A and FLV. You can use ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons to add multiple video files for repair. Hope this helps.

    1. Thanks James for making this Inquiry. Let me inform you soon we are going to roll out Mac converter which will convert Audio-Video files for all portable devices. Stay Tuned.

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