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MPEG-4 is a video standard defined by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Many developers around the world contributed to MPEG-4 in the late 1990s and the format became an international standard in 2000.

MPEG-4 is supported by a variety of players.

Apple has backed MPEG-4 strongly and MPEG-4 plays well in the Quicktime player.

Microsoft was involved in the early development of MPEG-4 but is no longer actively supporting the standard, choosing instead to concentrate on the Windows Media format. MPEG-4 can only be played in Windows Media Player with a special MPEG-4 decoder pack.

AV Objects

Whereas MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 are relatively simple video standards, MPEG-4 introduces a new level of flexibility with an object-based approach. This allows for options such as interactive video and added media components (text, graphics, etc). This is similar to the way Quicktime works with multiple media.

Creating MPEG-4 Content

Many applications are available for creating MPEG-4. Because the standard is closely linked to the Quicktime architecture, applications which support Quicktime tend to support MPEG-4 (including Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere).

An easy way to get started with MPEG-4 creation is Apple Quicktime Pro.


MPEG-4 has suffered from imperfect interoperability between manufacturers; that is, not all products which claim to be MGEG-4 compliant are actually fully compliant with the ISO standard. In an effort to remedy this situation, the MPEG Industry Forum runs a Logo Qualification Program in which companies can verify the compliance of their products. Fully compliant products can carry the official logo.

See also: Streaming MPEG-4