Product NMP4gation

MP4 File Format Specification

File format .MP4
Type Video/MP4
Developed By International Organization for Standardization
Supported OS Microsoft Windows, MAC OS X

What do you understand by MP4 file format?

MP4 File format stands for (Moving Picture Expert Group). This file uses a MPEG-4 compression. The MP4 file format is designed to contain the media information of an MPEG-4 presentation in a flexible, management, editing, presentation of the media, and extensible format which facilitates interchange. This file format is modified to be independent of any particular delivery protocol while enabling efficient support for delivery in general. The MP4 format is composed of the object- oriented structure called “atoms”. A unique tag and a length identify each atom. Mostly atom describes a hierarchy of meta-data giving information such as points, duration, index and pointer to the media data. This collection of an atom is contained in an atom called the “movie atom”. The MP4 file format also known as MPEG-4. This file format can be replayed in many famous player such as windows media player, Quick time and the Real player.

MP4 Format

Structure of MP4 file

If we talk about the structure of MP4 file format, In this two types of data are available the first one is Media- data and second are Meta Data. But they are totally separate from each other. Media data are access units or sample such as audio or video and Meta-data indicates the flag for random access, Timestamps (CTS, DTS ) of the samples and types of the stream using a bytes code.

MP4 Format

Basic structure of MP4 file is

  • The rest of the atom is the data that’s stored.
  • 4 bytes for the length of the atom/box.
  • Next, 4 bytes is the atom name, encoded in UTF8.

List of application that open MP4 file

  • QuickTime Player
  • VLC media player
  • Quick Time player for Mac
  • VLC media player for Mac
  • Microsoft windows media player
  • Elmedia Player
  • Mplayer for Linux

How to open MP4 file in windows OS?

  • STEP1: Select the MP4 file, Right click the MP4.
  • STEP2: Now, choose Open with option & select default program .
  • STEP3: If default program option not available, then choose Microsoft Windows Media Player, VLC media player in the list of the program.
  • STEP4: Click Ok.

Note: If MP4 supported software is not available on your PC, so you need to download from the internet and install it.

How to open MP4 file in MAC OS X?

  • STEP1: Select the MP4 file, Right click the MP4.
  • STEP2: Now, choose Open with option & select default program .
  • STEP3: If default program option not available, then choose VLC Player, Eltima in the list of the program.
  • STEP4: Click Ok.

Advantages of MP4 File

  • It can be run virtually on all the media player and sound card drivers.
  • It is suitable for video streaming over the internet.
  • It can store data types other than audio and video.
  • It also separate hintrack is used to encode streaming information.

Disadvantages of MP4 File

  • In MP4 format, user are not easy to update and edit.

Features of MP4 file

  • This file format are compatible with a low bandwidth.
  • It video output is of very high quality as compared to DVD.
  • MP4 format was intended to store MPEG-4 format.
  • The MP4 format support multiple bits of data.
  • MP4 is also more powerful than single-function formats and can be used for a variety of purposes.

Reasons of MP4 file corruption

  • MP4 file was corrupted/ not saved due to the program crashing or hanging.
  • Due to system failure, MP4 may be crashed.
  • Due to conversion of MP4 video to other format such as MOV, MKV etc.
  • Due to suddenly power surge while opening, playing, transferring or editing your MP4 files lead to corruption.

MP4 handler and header atom types

Stream Type Handler Type Handler atom type
AudioStream soun smhd
VisualStream vide vmhd
objectDescriptionStream odsm nmhd
SceneDescriptionStream sdsm nmhd
MPEG7Stream m7sm nmhd
ObjectContentInfoStream ocsm nmhd
IPMP Stream ipsm nmhd
MPEG-J stream mjsm nmhd
Hint Track hint hmhd
ClockReferenceStream crsm nmhd


1. How can extract MP3 fom MP4?

Follow the below given steps to Extract MP3(audio) from MP4(video):-

  • Firstly, Open VLC player.
  • Now, Go to menu bar, select "Media" and then "Convert/Save".
  • Click "Add" and select MP4 file.
  • Click "Convert".
  • Now you select "Audio - MP3", enter a name in the "Destination File" and then click "Start".

2. Does MP4 file quality is high Compared to DVD file?

Yes, MP4 file quality is high Compared to DVD file, because it supports multiple bits of data.


In this article describe the concept MP4 format. This format developed by Microsoft corporation. It is the standard file format. This file format handled by several devices and mobile platforms. Also describe its ways to open MP4 file, structure of MP4 file, advantages of MP4 file and disadvantages of MP4 file etc.