MP4 or AVI: Which Video Format Is Best

You cannot make any headway in the AVI versus MP4 battle without sufficient background of these two famous video formats. The MP4 or AVI dispute continues to be hot among media producers and consumers, considering quality, size and file formats. So, in the dispute between MP4 and AVI, which one comes out the winner?

Comparison AVI or MP4


The first thing to note when it comes to video output is the quality. AVI and MP4 are video container formats, but AVI uses the DivX codec, while MP4 format works with the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec. It means that AVI has better quality compared to MP4. However, the difference in quality between AVI and MP4 may not be very apparent to the naked eye since both are available in HD.


Because it uses less compression to store video and audio files, AVI files take up much more space compared to MP4 files. You can also create uncompressed MP4, but it generally takes up less space compared to AVI. MP4 also uses AAC compression algorithm for its audio while H.264 or MPEG-4 technique is applied to its video output.

File size

When it comes to file size, AVI files are considerably larger than MP4 ones. But you can compress AVI files to make them smaller or convert them to other formats like FLV or even MP4. MP4, on the other hand, is a lossy video container that takes up less space than its AVI counterpart.

What is the best codec? If you want to convert your MP4 files to supported formats that take up less space, you can consider the various mp4 to mp3 converter available online.

What is AVI?

AVI stands for Audio Video Interleave file; a multimedia container developed by Microsoft in 1992. This format enjoys full compatibility with Windows-based players and other programs with related codecs. AVI files carry both audio and video data, saved with the .avi extension.


  • High quality audio fidelity
  • Can be used to make playable DVDs
  • It doesn’t need special hardware or software to work.
  • Supported by many codecs to get your desired AVI audio output format
  • Suitable for promotions, short films and advertisements due to its familiar format and compression capabilities
  • Best for master files as it is good at maintaining its quality over time


  • It can be very large compared to other file formats if uncompressed, forcing you to trade disk space with quality
  • Compression beyond certain limits can lead to reduced quality
  • Does not support user interactivity
  • Not reliable to support softsubs as it is not possible for AVI playback to embed subtitles into the video during playback

What is MP4?

Short for MPEG-4 Part 14, this multimedia container was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Most MP4 files are saved with the .mp4 extension, although some come with the .m4a file extensions.


  • Works on multiple platforms therefore easier to distribute and use
  • Can contain metadata and platform extensible metadata, including subtitles
  • Can integrate with 3D graphics and menus and other user navigation options
  • More versatile compared to AVI
  • It is possible that a high degree of compression will produce smaller file sizes suitable for streaming audio and video files on online platforms.
  • Supported by many open source media players like VLC which provides full MP4 support. Works on even Linux operating systems


  • Codec compatibility issues can result in the audio losing sync with the video
  • Editing requires a lot of computing power, as audio and video in this format are in a single file.
  • Lossy format: a higher degree of compression may cause reduced audio and video quality of the output
  • Prone to illegal distribution of copyrighted content due to its popularity and portability
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