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Choosing the right video format for Android devices can be a little bit tricky. Not only are there lots of video formats that are out there, but there are also lots of Android devices – each of which is different.
Suffice to say there isn’t a single ‘best’ video format that will fit all Android devices – which is why it is important to know what you’re actually looking for in the right video format.
Factors to Consider
To choose the right video format for Android devices, there are several main factors that you will want to take into account:
Needless to say, the format that you choose must be able to be played on your Android device, which means at a bare minimum it will have to be supported. As a platform Android provides built-in support for certain video formats, and additional support can be provided by other media player apps.
While compatibility is essential and can be obtained by software decoding – hardware support is preferable. Simply put hardware decoding will use the GPU instead of just the CPU, and is less power-hungry than software decoding.
In short hardware support is better as it won’t drain your battery nearly as fast while you’re watching videos.
Considering Android devices have limited storage space, the compression provided by the video format is important. That falls to the video codec that is used in the format, and its compatibility and support.
Although you could choose a format by going over a list of options and weighing each one using the factors listed above – that will be time-consuming and tedious. But the good news is that there is an easier way to go about it.
Popular Formats for Android
Rather than looking at all the video formats that are out there, you’d be better off starting with the more popular formats for Android and should be able to find the ‘right’ format from among them:
is an older format and generally has hardware support on most Android devices. However, its compression leaves a lot to be desired.
is the current most popular format and is supported by most Android devices with hardware decoding. Its compression is far better than MPEG-4 but is not as good as some newer formats.
is one of the best options for compression and can reduce MP4 (H.264) video file sizes by up to 50% without affecting their quality. However, it only has hardware support on newer Android devices.
can use the VP8 or VP9 codec. The VP8 codec is more widely-supported by Android devices but its compression isn’t as good. On the other hand, VP9 is only supported by newer Android devices.
In most cases, these formats are really the only options that you need to consider when you want to choose a video format for Android.
As a rule MP4 (H.264) is the ‘safest’ format – and the only reason not to use it is if you want better compression and your Android device can support one of the other formats that offer it.
Once you decide on the ‘right’ format for your Android device, you can convert your videos accordingly. That should be easy enough, and for example, you can convert MPG to MP4 using Online Video Converter.
At the end of the day by using the ‘right’ format you should be able to keep your video file size small – and make sure that it doesn’t take a chunk out of your battery life when you watch it.