What Factors To Consider When Selecting a Mobile-Friendly Video Format

Last Updated: December 30, 2018
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Nowadays a lot of people are opting to watch videos on mobile devices due to how convenient it can be. As such it is important to take that into account when you are converting or encoding a video, and try to find a format that is mobile-friendly. To be more specific there are several factors that determine how mobile-friendly a format is:

  • Compatibility

At a bare minimum for a format to be mobile-friendly it must be compatible and able to be viewed on the device. The range of formats supported by different mobile operating systems vary, and in some cases special media player apps may be required to playback certain formats.

Generally however the MP4 with H.264 format is one of the more widely-supported options, though some newer mobile devices may be compatible with H.265 (HEVC) as well.

  • Hardware support

Although mobile devices can play several formats using software decoding, that is not preferable and it would be best if the format has hardware support. Software decoding requires a lot of power due to how processor-intensive it is, which can tax the battery of mobile devices.

Most mobile devices have hardware support for MP4 with H.264 which is part of the reason why it is so popular. Newer mobile devices and flagship models may also have support for HEVC.

  • Compression

Due to the limited storage space of mobile devices and the rates incurred by cloud storage, compression is important for videos to be mobile-friendly. Newer codecs that offer more efficient compression are worth considering, though they must be supported for them to be a real option.

The one format that you should consider is HEVC. If it is supported, it is definitely preferable as it will reduce the file size of H.264 videos by 50%.

  • Features

In most cases mobile videos forego features in favor of a slimmer file size, but if you require them then it is important that the video container supports them. Some of the common features that are often used for video files in general include captions, chapters, menus, streaming, and soon.

Some containers such as MP4 and MKV are more versatile and support a wider range of features than others. However MKV may not be supported by all mobile operating systems.

Based on those factors and the current range of formats that are in use, it should be clear that right now MP4 with H.264 is one of the more mobile-friendly formats out there. It is a good choice in general, and on top of that you can conveniently convert MOV to MP4 online with a converter such as Online Video Converter.

If you’re converting or encoding a video for a specific device that you know supports HEVC however, that may be a better alternative. It will provide you with a video file that is significantly smaller without any noticeable loss of quality – making it easier for you to store the video and watch it on mobile devices or the cloud.

Keep in mind that in time newer formats may replace some of the formats that have been discussed above. One that you may want to keep a close eye on is the AV1 codec that is quickly being adopted and starting to roll out right at this moment.

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