How to Open and Play MP4 Video on Computer

When you download or capture video files, often times the files will have .mp4 extensions. As a matter of fact, it seems that MP4 is the dominant file type where ever you look. In this article, let’s learn how to open and play an MP4 file.

What is An MP4 File

A file with the .mp4 file extension is an MPEG-4 video file format. MP4s are one of the more common video file formats used for downloading and streaming videos from the internet. It’s a highly versatile and compressed video format that also can store audio, subtitles, and still images.

MP4 files were created under the ISO/IEC 14496-12:2001 standard by the ISO/IEC and Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Because of this, MP4 is an international standard for audio-visual coding.

Initially created in 2001, MPEG-4 Part 12 was based on the QuickTime File Format (.MOV). The current version—MPEG-4 Part 14—was released in 2003. MP4 is considered a digital multimedia container format—essentially a file containing a bunch of data that’s been compressed, The standard specifies how the data is stored within the container itself, but not how that data is encoded.

With the high degree of compression(H.264, H.265) used in MP4 videos, this allows the files to be much smaller in size than other video formats. Reducing the file size doesn’t immediately impact the quality of the file, either. Almost all of the original quality is retained. This makes MP4 a portable and web-friendly video format.

How to Open And Play MP4 Files

Windows Media Player for Windows | QuickTime for macOS

The easiest way to play MP4 files is to double-click the MP4 and let your computer decide which default application should open it. Windows and macOS users can play MP4 files without having to install any third-party software. Windows uses Windows Media Player by default; in macOS, they’re played using QuickTime.

Important: If you find that your favorite video player doesn’t open MP4 files, you may need to install a MPEG-4 codec. A MPEG-4 codec is a small piece of software that allows your computer to recognize MP4 files and have them play properly in whatever player you use.

Alternative Option 1: VLC Media Player

However, if Windows Media Player or QuickTime can’t open and play MP4 file on computer, your best bet for playing MP4 files is to use VLC, which is a fantastic MP4 file player for both Windows and Mac that supports not only this video format but many others, including audio files.

Alternative Option 2: Convert MP4 to WMV, MOV

Since an MP4 file is a multimedia digital container, it relies on different codecs in order to work properly. If other solutions can’t fix your MP4 playback issue, you might want to consider converting your MP4 files to a different format.

There are many great applications that can convert MP4 files to other formats, and one of the best ones is DumboFab Video Converter(available for both Windows and Mac users).

DumboFab Video Converter- The best all-in-one video solution!

  • One player to play any audio/video files with the conversion function
  • Convert video to over 1000 formats, including WMV, MOV, AVI, FLV, MKV and more
  • Convert files at a 30x faster speed
  • The versatile toolbox contains adjusting video parameters, editing video files, joining multiple video files, etc.
  • Supported OS: Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista, macOS Monterey, 10.15 (Catalina), 10.14, 10.13, 10.12, 10.11, 10.10, 10.9, 10.8, 10.7, 10.6

Author: Chris Gu

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