Not that I’ve ever done that, nor ever seen or heard of anyone actually doing such a thing. But metaphorically, that’s how hard it’s going to be to choose a free MP4 Video Player. The reason is simple, if software developers aren’t providing MP4 capabilities in their products, they’re not in the game. There are lots of fish in that barrel.
WHAT IS MP4?
As described previously, MP4 is a particular part of the MPEG-4 file format for audio and video compression-decompression
. MP4 is a container, which allows a range of different digital data streams to be encoded for transport and playback. What makes MP4 so popular is it is predominately used to carry what’s known as the H.264/AVC
(Advanced Video Coding) codec (the algorithm that actually processes the original large file size media into a tiny package that can yield very high quality at very low bit rates if necessary).
|Watch And Convert MP4 Files
Do more than just watch MP4 videos with RealPlayer. You can also use it to convert videos into the MP4 format.
Because it’s so versatile within the range of parameters that can be programmed, H.264 is rapidly becoming the go-to codec both for Internet streaming (which wants lower bit rates) and even for very high-end products like Blu-ray discs (which handle extremely high bit rates.) Also advancing H.264’s adoption is its being embedded in the impending conversion to HTML5
, so web browsers will be able to transport high quality video and audio more easily and reliably.
HOW TO CHOOSE A MP4 MEDIA PLAYER
Again, there are lots of fish in that barrel. All of the major and even most of the minor developers of media player software offer MP4 capability. Which you choose depends on how extensive their support is for MP4 and how well the product performs. The most important thing is playback quality. That first depends on the input source, how well the player functions, then, your subject opinion of the images and sound. Other considerations in selecting any video player include:
- User interface functions
- Look and feel
- Library and playlist media management
- Burning DVDs
- Lightweight – putting less stress put on your CPU and RAM
- Graphics processor acceleration
- Subtitles and metadata
- Plug-ins for expandability
- Video and audio enhancements through preferences
- Lack of conflicts or playback problems with your system
This is just a short list. There may be other features you may want in a video player in general. One important component that you should be sure to have is a converter that can change other formats to MP4/H.264. You may find in desirable to convert your library to MP4 for consistency.
BTW: All of the above features apply to both MP4 video players for your computer and for your mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. But remember the computer and mobile versions will be different products. You can’t load the MP4 video player software from your PC into a mobile device.
WHICH MP4 VIDEO PLAYER IS BEST FOR YOU
The notion of ‘best’ really is subjective; as wants, needs and personal preference are all factors for each individual user to sort out. There are things to both like and dislike about each MP4 video player, so to back away from being presumptuous in picking the best player, here are a few to consider (in no particular order):
- GOM Player
- QuickTime (Mac & Windows)
- Total Video Player
- Media Player Classic
These are just a sample of what’s available. There are many others, and your favorite may not be on the list. No Problem. Being proficient and happy with a tool that gives you the results you want is the objective. You might find though that several of the above do offer additional feature sets or perhaps more updated technology to make the overall workflow and user experience more enjoyable. Experiment a bit. You can download a free MP4 player and install it in minutes.
If by chance you choose an MP4 player that does not include a video converter, one may be available from that manufacturer as an add-on, and there are certainly numerous separate standalone converters available.
THE FUTURE OF MP4 VIDEO
With H.264 being packaged in MP4, and the continuing shift to H.264 implementation (e.g., YouTube, which used to be exclusively Flash-based, now also offers its collection in H.264), along with it’s being likely embedded in the growing trend to HTML5 on the Internet, MP4 has a bright future.
Having a versatile MP4 video player is simply going to be a requirement for desktop computers, laptops and in particular, mobile devices of all sorts. The need for such an efficient codec as H.264, in a lightweight container package make choosing an MP4 Video Player essential part of participating in the constantly growing world of digital video.