Audio & Video, Tech Blog

What is the difference between MP3 and MP4?

mp3 or mp4?

The digital world is advancing day by day. New innovations regarding the different media forms are hitting the market but the most common media types that we encounter on almost daily basis are MP3 and MP4. So, what is the difference between MP3 and MP4?

Most people often confuse them and one and thing that they are completely the same thing but that is so not true. The single digit is a huge difference when it comes to the qualities of the two different media files.

Several tech heads,  including Chris Muniu of Webpro Education think that MP3 vs MP4 isn’t a conversation that should be had;  at least in the context of audio quality. So today we are going to be looking in detail the difference between MP3 and MP4 media files.

  • The Origin of MP3 and MP4 Media Files

Before we look into the difference between the two file types we first need to understand where they originated from. MP3 is the short form for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. This file format was supported by the Philips Electronics firm, the French research institute CCETT, and Germany’s Institute for Broadcast Technology back in the 1990s as an MPEG audio standard. This media format is simple, without errors and comes with more efficiency than any other audio media format. The MP3 format was then introduced to the public in 1993.

On the other hand the media file MP4 can into existence back in 2003. The file type is based on the Apple’s QuickTime MOV format but the difference between the two is that Apple only supports its media features whereas the MP4 media files supports various other MPEG features. Now MP4 is the most commonly used video file format.

  • The Difference Between MP3 and MP4

There are quite a number of features that differ in both the media files but the most common and the biggest difference between the two is the type of data that they store. MP3 file has the capacity to only store audio format whereas the MP4 files can store data that is audio, video, still images, subtitles, and text. So we can say that the audio coding file is called MP3 whereas the Digital multimedia container is called as MP4.

  • Why is MP3 so Popular?

The MP3 format is so popular because in today’s time everyone loves to keep their music on their smartphone where it can stay with them all the time and they can hear it whenever possible. The lossy compression allows the media file to strip out all the excess data that is beyond the human range, in order to reduce the size of the audio formats. The best thing is that the reduced size doesn’t affect the quality of the audio sound at all.

  • Why use MP4 Files?

As said earlier, MP4 files are containers. The stores various different types of data and allow you to access them whenever possible. The files use different codecs to determine the code and compress the media format. There are hundreds of media codes out there but that doesn’t mean that all will with MP4. In order to run a file type the MP4 players need the specific codec related to the code to run it. The most popular codecs are;

  • Video — MPEG-4 Part 10 and MPEG-4 Part 2.
  • Audio — AAC, SLS, MP3, ALS, TTSI and ALAC.
  • Subtitles — MPEG-4

About Richard

Richard Webb is an entrepreneur, fitness author of Fat Burning Secrets (available on Amazon), bodybuilder, blogger of fitness & technology, and a digital nomad working mainly from Mexico and travels frequently to Texas and California. He has 25 years experience working in software technology, so he truly considers himself as an unusual combination of bodybuilder-tech nerd.

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