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Most Common Video File Formats

Updated on August 24, 2016

Have you been frustrated by trying to play a video file with windows media player, only to get the message "file format not supported" or "cannot play media"?

Video files can only be played by particular programs. Unless you know which program(s) support your video file format, you might not be able to play (open) your file.

Fifteen Common Video File Formats

Here are fifteen common video file formats you are likely to come across.

.3gp - 3GPP Multimedia File

Audio and video container format developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). It was designed as a multimedia format for transmitting audio and video files between 3G cell phones and over the Internet; commonly used by mobile phones that support video capture.

To open .3gpp file format, use any of the following Programs:

Apple QuickTime Player

RealNetworks RealPlayer

VideoLAN VLC media player


MIKSOFT Mobile 3GP Converter

.amv - Anime Music Video File

Compressed video format used by Chinese portable media players like mp3 & mp4 players. This file format typically saves the file in low resolutions (from 94x64 to 160x120) so that it can fit the screens of the media players.

To open .amv file format, use any of the following Programs:

AMV Marker,

AMV Convert Tool,

Callum Hollywood AMV Studio,

AMV Converter mod,

You can also play .amv files on a PC using the software that comes with your media player usually mp3 and mp4 players.

To convert most common video file formats to .amv format (that can be played by your mp3 & mp4 players), use AMV convert Tool 4.00

.asf - Advanced Systems Format File

Media container format developed by Microsoft, primarily for streaming media.

It specifies the structure of the audio or video stream, but not the encoding method, it can be compressed using a variety of video codecs and can contain Windows Media Audio (.WMA) and Windows Media Video (.WMV) data.

To open .asf file format, use any of the following Programs:

Microsoft Windows Media Player,

VideoLAN VLC media player.

.asx - Microsoft ASF Redirector File

This represents a shortcut to an audio/video file (typically in .ASF format) i.e. it references a URL for the location of the actual media.

To open .asx file format, use:

Windows Media Player (requires Internet access to load the file).

.avi - Audio Video Interleave File

Video container or wrapper format created by Microsoft; stores video data that may be encoded in a variety of codecs. This file format typically uses less compression than similar formats such as .MPEG and .MOV.

AVI files can be played by various video players, but the player must support the codec used to encode the video data.

To open .avi file format, use any of the following Programs:

Apple QuickTime Player,

Microsoft Windows Media Player,

VideoLAN VLC media player.

.divx - DivX-Encoded Movie

High-quality, high-compression video codec used for digital video distribution. It compresses video to a fraction of the original size with minimal loss in quality while supporting video resolutions up to 1080 HD.

The DivX format is recognized by some DVD players and other consumer electronics that support DivX.

To open .divx file format, use any of the following Programs:

DivX Player,

Apple QuickTime Player with DivX codec,

VideoLAN VLC media player,

The Core Media Player


.dpg - Nintendo DS Movie File

Video container format used for playing movie files on the Nintendo DS portable gaming device. The .dpg file format can easily be converted from other video formats by using MoonShell or another converter program.

.dpg files Can be played on the Nintendo DS by transferring the DPG file to a DS-compatible Game Boy Advance card. To play back a .dpg file on a PC use a player that supports the format.

The following programs can play .dpg files:

Moonshell (see section "video file converters" below on where to get Moonshell),


DPG Converter,

DPG Player.

.moov - Apple QuickTime Movie

This is a common multimedia format often used for saving compressed movies; cross-platform, but developed by Apple Computer.

More commonly seen with a .MOV extension; ".moov" was originally the default Macintosh extension, but ".mov" was used for Windows QuickTime movie files and later became the common extension for both platforms.

.moov files can be played with Apple QuickTime Player.

.mov - Apple QuickTime Movie

The .mov file format is a common multimedia format most often used for saving video or movie files. It uses a proprietary compression algorithm developed by Apple Computer; compatible with both Macintosh and Windows platforms.

To open .mov file format, use Apple QuickTime Player

.mp4 - MPEG-4 Video File

A standard developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It is commonly used for sharing video files on the Internet; Movie or video clip that uses MPEG-4 compression. The MPEG-4 video format uses separate compression for audio and video tracks; video is compressed with MPEG-4 video encoding; audio is compressed using AAC compression, the same type of audio compression used in .AAC files.

To open .mp4 file format, use:

Apple QuickTime Player and also

mp4 players.

.mpg - MPEG Video File

Common video format standardized by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It typically incorporates MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 audio and video compression. MPEG file format is often used for creating downloadable movies.

The following programs can play .mpg files:

Apple QuickTime Player,

Microsoft Windows Media Player.

.qt - Apple QuickTime Movie

QuickTime multimedia format developed by Apple Computer; cross-platform, meaning it is supported on both Macintosh and Windows systems; may contain a compressed audio and video track. Commonly saved with a .MOV extension as well.

To open .qt file format, use Apple QuickTime Player.

.rm - Real Media File

Media file format used by RealPlayer; may contain audio or video data or both. It can be a downloaded file or a streaming media file, which is played back as it is downloaded.

To play .rm files use:

RealNetworks RealPlayer,

Web browser with the RealPlayer Plug-in.

.swf - Macromedia Flash Movie

SWF files are often pronounced "Swiff" files. These are Animation created by Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash). They can include text as well as both vector and raster graphics, they play in Web browsers that have the Flash plug-in installed. These days most Web browsers come with a recent version of the Flash plug-in.

.swf files can be played with:

Adobe Flash Player - a standalone program and,

any Web browser with the Flash plug-in installed.

.wmv - Windows Media Video File

Video or audio file based on the Microsoft Advanced Systems Format (ASF)

container format and compressed with Windows Media compression; basically an .ASF file that uses a Windows Media Video codec.

To play .wmv files use any of the following:

Microsoft Windows Media Player,

Web browser with the Windows Media Player plugin.

You may also come across .dat - VCD Video File

These is a generic data file created by a specific application and typically accessed only by that application; may contain data in text or binary format; text-based DAT files can be viewed in a text editor (like notepad).

How to Convert Video File Formats.

To convert from one video file to another, suitable for you, you need a piece of software called a Video File Converter.

There are several video file converters on the Internet. Some are free and others are not.

Video File Converters

We recommend the following:
1.AMV convert Tool 4.00
AMV convert Tool 4.00converts most media files into the AMV file format to be played on your mp3 and mp4 players.

The file formats that can be handled by AMV convert tool 4. 00 include:
AVI format file: .avi
Windows Media format file: .asf, .wmv
MPEG1 format file: .mpg, .mpeg
Real Player format file: .rm
Quicktime file format: .mov
MPEG2 format file: .vob;

2. MoonShell
MoonShell is a homebrew multimedia player for the Nintendo DS dual-screen handheld videogame system. This is one of the few ways to play video on the DS.

Apart from the DPG format this program also supports many other formats like:

MP3, MIDI ,JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, and also text files.

Moonshellpackage includes a Windows-based video encoder dpgenc which can encode most media formats, including DVD and Flash-based FLV.

You can download Moonshell from their website.

3. Alternatively you can use MAX DS Video Converter

It was designed exclusively for use with the new v1.20 MAX Media Player, this simple to use video converter will transcode a wide range of video formats into DS ready D3V format.

4. Free Studio Manager
It is a startup manager for several free programs that allow you to work with video, DVD and audio. Some of the tools in this package include:

  • YouTube to iPod converter,
  • YouTube to iPhone Converter,
  • YouTube to MP3 converter,
  • YouTube uploader,
  • 3GP video converter,
  • Video to flash converter,
  • Video to iPod converter,
  • Video to iPhone converter,
  • Video to MP3 converter,
  • etc.

FLV - Flash Video files

I had to add this one because I see it a lot

FLV are flash video files.To open a flv file, you will need a FLV player to play Flash Video file on your computer.This is the list of free FLV players:Applian FLV PlayerJW FLV PlayerRiva FLV PlayerSnap Files FLV Player

How to save youtube video into editable AVI files or add to iPod mp4


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      God 6 years ago

      rather than getting a video converter, hust find the right file extension and add it. for instance:

      change the .mov to something else