How to choose the right video format?

How to choose the right video format?

A HubSpot survey of more than 3,000 consumers uncovered the most effective content and channels to capture their attention. The video format is clearly in the lead, closely followed by interactive articles and content posted on social networks.

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The question of which video format to use may not seem essential. However, it plays an important role, because it is linked to many criteria, such as the mode of distribution of the video, the medium on which it is watched, as well as the compatibility with the various browsers.

Choosing the most suitable video format therefore requires knowing some of the existing formats and understanding that they each have their own logic in terms of encoding. This article highlights the 5 most common video formats, as well as their context of use.


MOV is an extension created by Apple and specially adapted for its QuickTime Player software. It is now a very common format, which has spread to the Microsoft universe as well as to mobile phones, on iOS.

In terms of encoding, the role of a video format is to record in different parts on the one hand the sound, on the other hand the image, as well as possible other elements. It then synchronizes them into a single file.

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The MOV extension takes into account effects added to the montage, subtitles, etc. It is therefore a complete, universal and easy to edit format. In addition, it is supported by some social networks. For example, Facebook and Instagram accept videos in MOV format if their weight does not exceed 4 GB.


AVI (Audio Video Interleave) is in a way the direct competitor of MOV. Older, it was created by Microsoft. Ideal for Windows or Android devices, it has also adapted over time to Apple operating systems.

AVI is the preferred extension when you need to compress videos. This is a must-have feature of this format, which is capable of converting any video to DivX or Xvid format.

However, this feature tends to be used less today due to the reduction in image quality it causes. Indeed, social networks and other online platforms demand more and more quality, which is not necessarily compatible with this mode of compression.

In short, AVI remains a good video format for those who operate in a Microsoft environment and who need a universal format, easily accessible by all users. It remains the default extension for storing videos on a PC computer.


More recently, the MP4 format has quickly become a benchmark for encoding videos. It outperforms older extensions, AVI and MOV, in things like the ratio of compression rate to image quality level.

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It is the ideal format for those who need to transfer their videos regularly, between departments of a company, for example. MP4 video can be played back on TV, mobile phone or computer as well. It is therefore also the preferred format for content which is intended to be viewed on a tablet or on a mobile phone.


FLV extension refers to an encoding system that maintains a high level of quality. This is the format used by the Adobe Flash Player tool for playing videos. It allows you to quickly download video content thanks to a high compression rate, without losing quality.

FLV is the appropriate video format when you want to upload high quality videos to YouTube or streaming sites. But that shouldn’t last. Indeed, the Flash Player plug-in was removed from major browsers with the arrival of HTML5 a few years ago. Adobe abandoned the project in 2017, but YouTube did not give details on a possible incompatibility with the FLV format.

For other social networks, the MP4 format is more suitable, because it is compatible with all platforms.


WMV is the lightest video file format among those listed above. It was developed by Microsoft to adapt to Windows Media Player. This is the main file type to be supported by Windows.

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This format can be suitable for small videos, without effects, and allows fast transfer. But compression results can be disappointing in terms of quality.

WMV nevertheless remains a good format for storing videos on a Windows environment.

To go further, download this free e-book and discover how to set up a successful video marketing strategy.CTA-Video marketing

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