3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Video Format

The video format that you choose will affect it in several ways, and it is important that you choose the right one. However not only is trying to pick a video format fairly confusing, but there are also lots of common mistakes that are often made.


If you want to make it easier for you to choose a video format, knowing some of the more common mistakes that you should avoid would be a good start:

Assuming the video format and the file extension are the same thing

The most common mistake that people make when choosing a video format is the assumption that the file extension of a video is its format. That simply isn’t true, and in fact, the file extension is really just a reflection of one of the parts of the video format – the container.

If you choose a format based on the container alone, you’ll be neglecting another crucial part of the actual video format: Its codec. Seeing as it is the codec that very often determines its compatibility and compression, this is a mistake you definitely need to avoid.

Only considering the video compression

One of the main factors to choose a video format is its compression. But don’t make the mistake of only considering the video compression and ignoring any other factors.

For example, if you convert an MP4 with H.264 video to MP4 with H.265 (HEVC) its compression will let you reduce the file size. However, at the same time, it won’t be compatible with as many devices – which could be an issue.

Simply put you need to consider all factors in tandem when choosing a video format, and not focus on just one.

Not understanding the importance of hardware support (or not knowing it exists)

People often look at compatibility as a zero-sum game: Either the video format is compatible and can be viewed, or it isn’t and can’t.

However, it really isn’t that simple. Instead, for a video to be compatible its data needs to be decoded – which can either be done using software or with hardware acceleration.

In general software, decoding requires more processing power, which can be an issue on devices that run on battery power (i.e. mobile devices). Because of that in some cases, you will need to look for video formats that have hardware support on the devices they are going to be viewed on.

Once you choose a format, encoding or converting the video should be relatively easy. Nowadays there are many options you can use to convert videos, and for example, you can even convert MOV to MPEG online using Online Video Converter.

If you can avoid the mistakes described above, choosing the video format that you need to use should be much easier. More importantly, you should be able to make sure that the format you’ve chosen is the right one, and won’t end up causing issues at some point in the future.