Difference between MP4 and 3GP
Key difference: Both, MP4 and 3GP are file formats mainly used for playing videos with audios. MP4 and 3GP are not encoding formats, but are container files, i.e. basically wrappers for formatted video files. The main difference between the two comes not from the formats itself, but from the types of codecs used within the files. Furthermore, MP4 was designed to be played on various platforms, such as computers, television, DVD players, portable video players, etc.; whereas, 3GP was designed specifically for phones.
Both, MP4 and 3GP are file formats mainly used for playing videos with audios. However, what most people do not realize that MP4 and 3GP are not encoding formats, but are container files, i.e. basically wrappers for formatted video files. The main difference between the two comes not from the formats itself, but from the types of codecs used within the files. Furthermore, MP4 was designed to be played on various platforms, such as computers, television, DVD players, portable video players, etc.; whereas, 3GP was designed specifically for phones.
MP4 is essentially the official filename extension for MPEG-4 Part 14. MPEG-4 Part 14 is a standard specified as a part of MPEG-4. The MPEG4 MPEG-4 is a method of defining compression of audio and visual digital data. It was introduced in late 1998 by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). MPEG-4 was designated as a standard for a group of audio and video coding formats and related technology. MPEG-4 can be used for compression of AV data for web, as used for streaming media, for CD distribution, as well as for voice broadcast television applications.
A container file specifies how the data streams inside it are organized. The actual organization and representation of the data streams are done by the various types of codecs (encoder/decoder). It is the codecs that affects video quality and compression. It describes how video or audio data is to be compressed and decompressed. Each MP4 file will differ only on the basis of which codec is used.
MPEG-4 Part 12 was developed from the Apple’s MOV file and eventually resulted in MPEG-4 Part 14, which is the MP4 format. The MP4 is a container format. This means that it can be used to store audio and/or video data. MP4 video and audio can also be streamed over the internet.
MP4 uses codecs that dictate how the audio or video will be coded. Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) is the most popular codec for compressing audio in MP4 format.
MP4 does not have a standard method of coding the audio or video information. It is the codecs that affects video quality and compression. Each MP4 file will differ only on the basis of which codec is used. Hence, two MP4 file can either be similar if they are using the same codec, or they can be completely different, if they are using different codecs.
MP4 is a container format used to store audio and video files. It can even store subtitles for a video file. As a container, MP4 can save audio and video files that have been compressed in different fashions, including as MPEG-4. MP4 is not concerned by how the images are compressed and converted into data. It is just concerned with is how the data for video and audio are stored within the file as well as other relevant information like subtitles, chapters, etc. MP4 files can also contain metadata as defined by the format standard, as well as Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) metadata.
3GP is a multimedia container format mainly for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It was developed by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). It is commonly used on 3G mobile phones; however, some 2G and 4G phones use it as well.
3GP is part of the 3GPP Standards and is a container file for various audio and video file formats. It was designed and is still mainly used for IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (MBMS) and Transparent end-to-end Packet-switched Streaming Service (PSS).
Similar to the MP4 container file format, 3GP was also based on the ISO base media file format defined in MPEG-4 Part 12. However, older versions of the 3GP file format did not use some of its features. Most 3GP files use the filename extension .3gp; however some cell phones use the extension .mp4 for the same 3GP files.
The 3GP file format was designed mainly for GSM-based phones. The format was designed to decrease storage and bandwidth requirements in order for the video/audio files to be accommodated for mobile phones
Usually the 3GP container file contains H.263 (MPEG-4 Part 2) encoded video; however H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10/ AVC) encoded video are getting more common as well. In audio, 3GP usually contains various AMR, AAC and ACC+ formats.
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