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h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?

COW Forums : Compression techniques

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Paul Doughertyh.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Feb 4, 2010 at 1:46:15 pm


I notice that the h.264 iPhone preset in Compressor makes a mp4 file whereas the h.264 for hi-band (web) makes a mov file. Why? To quote a white-paper on the subject from Intelligent Assistance it says "Apple is supporting mp4 because it is fully supported by Quicktime plus it is more widely compatible with non-Apple MPEG-4 players"

I know there are grey areas* here but isn't it limiting to use the mov extension if one want to comply with non-Apple MPEG-4 players?

(* for me it's grey to the extent that h.264 = mpeg-4 yes? and that if I manually change the above mov extension to mp4 it plays locally and in most web test fine)

Thanks for any clarification

Paul


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Daniel LowRe: h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:12:22 pm

[Paul Dougherty] "I know there are grey areas* here but isn't it limiting to use the mov extension if one want to comply with non-Apple MPEG-4 players?
"


Yes.

Both mov and mp4 are wrappers. Mp4 (or MPEG-4) is based on mov (or rather Quicktime).

[Paul Dougherty] "for me it's grey to the extent that h.264 = mpeg-4 yes?"

No. You can H.264 in an MPEG-2 TS or as an f4v etc. MPEG-4 can also be simple profile, which is not H.264.



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Paul DoughertyRe: h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:39:22 pm

Thanks Daniel

"for me it's grey to the extent that h.264 = mpeg-4 yes?"

>No. You can H.264 in an MPEG-2 TS or as an f4v etc. MPEG-4 can also be simple profile, which is not H.264

I don't doubt it, but it's s a little over my head. I'm trying to square that statement with wiki entries like "H.264/MPEG-4 AVC is a standard for video compression." Where might an editor non-compressionist read up on this duality?


Paul


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Craig SeemanRe: h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Feb 4, 2010 at 4:36:22 pm

The best places to keep up on all this is StreamingMedia or Jan Ozer's site

Streaming Media
http://www.streamingmedia.com/

Jan Ozer
http://www.streaminglearningcenter.com/

The reason why there's no definitive book is that significant changes often occur over months. Any book written would probably be outdated by the time it's printed. Certainly fundamentals don't change as quickly but things like HTML5 and the battle over H.264 vs Ogg can move very quickly.

H.264 is MPEG Part10. It's a codec. extensions such as .mov, .mp4, etc are containers. There can be significant differences on how a codec is handled depending on the container (aka wrapper).

Silverlight and Flash are extension agnostic when it comes to H.264.
Quicktime will handle mov, mp4, m4v for example but if it were f4v you'd probably need the Perian Quicktime plugin.

There's also things to learn about such as "Levels" and "Profiles" and when and why to use them and with H.264, why there's several variants like Apple's, MainConcept, Dicas, x264, MAX and others. There's also reasons to put H.264 in Transport Streams for example.

I really don't know of any quick read on all the above. Jan Ozer's site is a good place to learn. Since it's a site and note a "book" he updates it frequently as things change or as there's a reason to explain something another way.



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Daniel LowRe: h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Feb 4, 2010 at 4:56:47 pm

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Rated 5 Cows.

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Sergey PylypenkoRe: h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Jan 15, 2011 at 7:09:52 pm

Let me put some, may be useful, info in addition to the above. After doing some experiments with output formats, I found the following: if to go with .mp4 you are getting bit rate as big as you want no matter what is your source, having some times weird results, and not much choice with audio (only AAC). With .mov one has a choice of much better audio output, and if I'm not mistaken, h.264 codec is working a bit different way. One may set bit rate for video as much as he wants to, but the result will be of no more than the original media's bit rate, which is reasonable.Thus, files become of less size caring maximum quality. So, to me - .MOV > .mp4. By the way, .mov is not about Mac any more. Windows players eat it as easy as anything els.


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Jason BrownRe: h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Jul 25, 2011 at 7:51:57 pm

Hey Craig....you are one of the biggest reasons I come to the cow. What a great resource you are for all of us!

I keep running into the same kind of questions being asked here. I have one thing to add as a question. I use Matrox MAX regularly...that codec sits inside a .mov container.

I'm regularly asked to deliver .mp4 for "PC Compatibility" I don't have much experience with the newer versions of windows...but I understand from research I've done that Windows 7 can natively play .mp4 h264 files.

So....there is an option with Compressor to change the extension of a compressed file. If I change this from .mov to .mp4 my guess that it's doing nothing any different than I'd do by just changing the extension in finder.

Do you have any experience with the Matrox codec in regards to a .mp4 container?

-Jason


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Craig SeemanRe: h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Jul 25, 2011 at 8:17:33 pm

[Jason Brown] "I understand from research I've done that Windows 7 can natively play .mp4 h264 files."

I've also been able to play H.264 .mov on Windows Media Player 12 which comes with Windows 7.

[Jason Brown] "So....there is an option with Compressor to change the extension of a compressed file. If I change this from .mov to .mp4 my guess that it's doing nothing any different than I'd do by just changing the extension in finder. "

You shouldn't change .mov to .mp4 as the metadata is different. You can change .m4v (iOS devices) to .mp4 though but you don't much settings control when making .m4v in Compressor. Compressor doesn't encode H.264 .mp4. Ironically Quicktime 7 Pro can create H.264 .mp4. Another program you can use for that is the free MPEGStreamclip.



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Jason BrownRe: h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Jul 26, 2011 at 1:44:19 am

[Craig Seeman] "able to play H.264 .mov on Windows Media Player 12 which comes with Windows 7"

What about Vista? Any native support for .mov h264's?


[Craig Seeman] "Compressor doesn't encode H.264 .mp4"

I was specifically asking about Matrox h264 codec used through compressor (you can use Episode and Adobe Media Encoder to compress with that chip and codec as well). Do you have any experience or advice with the Matrox workflow in relation to creating h264 with .mp4 containers?


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Craig SeemanRe: h.264 with mov vs mp4 extension?
by on Jul 26, 2011 at 4:44:42 am

[Jason Brown] "What about Vista? Any native support for .mov h264's?"

Nope. Vista has WMP11. Needed is WMP 12 on Windows 7 for H.264 .mov or .mp4 playback without Quicktime.

[Jason Brown] "I was specifically asking about Matrox h264 codec used through compressor ("

Matrox MAX encodes .mov, not .mp4 regardless of host application.



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