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June 13, 2017

3GP vs MP4

Image courtesy of zirconicusso at
Your new smart phone will record video in either 3GP or MP4 file format. 3GP (3GPP file format) is a multimedia container format defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G and 4G phones.
 MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4 is a digital multimedia container format most commonly used to store video and audio, but it can also be used to store other data such as subtitles and still images. Like most modern container formats, it allows streaming over the Internet.
 The 3GP files store video streams as MPEG-4 part 2 or MPEG-4 part 10 (h. 264) or h. 263, and also audio streams. 3GP is a simplified version of the MP4 format and was designed to make file sizes smaller so mobile phones could support it. 3GP is able to store and transmit important priority of bytes. 
 3GP encoding profile is commonly used for digital video, telecommunications specialists engineered it especially for performance on 3G network mobile phones. Conversely, MP4 is a generic format for any digital video that was published with MPEG-4 compression. The formats are so highly similar, some 3GP files can be opened if their extension is changed to MP4.
 When evaluating the MP4 and 3GP formats, the question is not which one stores superior digital video, but rather, which one is best suited to the task at hand. While both contain multiple tracks of media and have similar encoding methods, their differences are most pronounced when it comes to use on portable devices. Despite this wide compatibility, MP4 files are not optimized for playback on 3G network mobile phones as 3GP files are.
 While 3GP files are specialized for 3G network mobile phones, they can also be opened in certain media players. These applications include QuickTime, VLC and RealPlayer. However, since MP4 files are widely shared and more generalized, support for the format is practically standard in media software. In addition to QuickTime, VLC and RealPlayer, MP4 files can be streamed in iTunes and Windows Media Player. MP4 files can also be uploaded to the Apple iPod, Apple iPhone and Sony PSP.
 When it comes to streaming video on your computer desktop or portable media player, MP4 is the better format because it can support higher resolution video. However, the 3GP should be used exclusively on 3G network phones since it is specifically formulated for the device.

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