Video Codecs and Containers – What Are They?

codecs and containersFiguring out the differences between some of the most popular image formats is relatively easy. All you have to do is look at the file extension and you know most of what you need to know. However, video formats are much more complicated. When you’re working with video files, the terms codecs and containers get used a lot, but most people don’t know what that means.

We’re going to break down the contents of a video file to make it easier to understand.

Think of the difference between a still image and a video. A picture is simply an image. However, there is movement and sound on a video and many videos also contain information about the content on the video file. All of that makes it difficult to know what kind of a video file you have, or what kind of file you need to convert to if necessary.

This article will outline some of the more common components of a video file.

There are many different types of video formats, but each type consists of the same 3 pieces.

  • Video and audio signal
  • Container
  • Codec

The video signal is the easiest to understand because these files simply contain information about the video. This includes the frame size, aspect ratio, frame rate and bitrate.

Codecs and Containers

The confusion for most people comes when you start talking about codecs and containers.


A single video is actually comprised of several different types of files. The “container” for a video file is what it sounds like. It is a container that holds all of those different files for each video. Some of the most popular container extension types are MP4, AVI, MOV and FLV.


There is a codec file inside each container for a video. The codec is the software that is used to create the video and audio data. One of the big things a codec does is compress the video file. A typical video file is much too large for the average user to store on their computer, especially if you want to store several of them. The video must be compressed in order for it to be usable for most people. The specific codec that is used to handle this compression will have an impact on what computers and devices can play the video.

Codecs can be a problem because they are frequently proprietary and there are dozens available. Your computer likely has the ability to handle several codecs, but not all of them.

One of the most popular video codecs is H.264, also called MPEG-4 Part 10 because of its ability to work with most of the popular container types. MPEG-2 is another popular video codec.

Now we’ve covered some of the items that confuse many people when they first start looking at the world of video files, codecs and containers. Later articles will talk about the most popular video file formats. The next time your computer has a problem with a video file, you will know more about the nature of the problem, and how you need to convert your video to a format that is more usable for your computer.

The Best eBook File Formats

In the early days of the eBooks, there were limited options when it came to the file extensions that were used. Whatever file they gave you was what you used because that is likelyebook file formats all that was available. However, today people and businesses have started publishing eBooks and there are also eReader devices on the market today. Of course, another problem is that we seem to replace our frequently replace our electronic devices with “bigger and better” models.

Because of those things, it’s become more confusing to keep track of the eBook file formats you can use on your devices and what will need to be converted before you can open and read it (or send it).

We’re here to clear up that confusion for you.


This eBook file format can be used on the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Readers and most Apple devices. There are also addons that can be used in Firefox to read the book on your computer. ePub is an open format and it was created with the purpose of acting as the source file for the book as well as the format needed for the end user.


The AZW file format is based on the MOBI format (but it has a much higher level of compression) and is used exclusively on the Amazon Kindle. However, Kindle has created many apps that allow their eBooks used on Apple products, computers and most tablets.


LIT is one of the eBook file formats that has been discontinued. It was developed for use on mobile Windows devices through the use of Microsoft Reader software. Since this has been discontinued, you will probably need to convert your eBook files to a format that can be read on your current devices.


The PDF eBook format is familiar to many people because it is a typical PDF file from Adobe. While this is one of the more popular eBook file formats, it has limitations. It can be read on any device that is equipped with Adobe Reader (and a few others), it does not scale well. This means the PDF eBook format is not very good for smart phones and smaller mobile devices.


The ODF file format is an XML based format. This is becoming popular because it is the default option for the OpenOffice suite of products that have been developed to give people a free alternative to the traditional Microsoft Office products.


The MOBI format is used by the MobiPocket Reader. There is also software and apps available to read these types of eBook file formats on other approved devices. Some of the reading apps for other devices also open Mobi files. However, MOBI files sometimes have trouble converting tables and images on different size devices.


Now that you know what the best options are for eBook file formats, you can make a better choice when you are forced to use an eBook format converter on any of your eBook files.

Image File Extensions – What Are the Differences?

The use of images has become very common in the online world. People see them, send them and post them. Most of the time, this is an easy process, and people can open and view any image file that they want to. However, because of the many different kinds of image file extensions, occasionally you run into trouble.

In some cases, you may need to convert an image file to a different type to view it. In other cases, you will need to convert your own images before you send them, save them or post them. If this is the case, you need to be careful which of the image types you use, because the quality and functionality can be impacted.

We’re going to review some of the more popular image file extensions to help you make the best choice.

Popular Image File Extensions


image file extensions
Image by Dyrk Wyst

This is one of the most popular image extensions and it stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.

The compression process for a JPG file removes some of the colors from the image that are not visible to the human eye. Because of this, you have to be careful. If you reduce the quality of the JPG image to much, you may not be able to recover some of that lost color information.

People typically use JPGS for pictures of people and photos of products. This is because the color variance is very important in those photos. However, JPGS cannot handle transparency, so you shouldn’t use them if you want people to be able to view the background through the image.


GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. In this type of an image extension, there are a limited number of colors that are used when the image is shown. For example, a digital camera may use thousands of different colors in a picture. But if that picture is converted to a GIF image, there are only 256 colors that can be used.

You shouldn’t use GIF’s for pictures that contain a great deal of color detail, but they work well for items like logos or graphs. They also work well when you need to include transparency components in your image.


Another of the more popular image file extensions are PNG files. This is a Portable Network Graphic and it was created as a bigger, better version of a GIF file extension. A PNG file does support transparency, has many more colors available and it compresses the size of the file up to 25% better than GIF files. One problem with PNG files is that older browsers sometimes don’t handle some of the more advanced transparency issues very well.


Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) image file extensions have been around for nearly a dozen years, but these image types weren’t used very often. However, with the increased usage of HTML5, SVG files are becoming much more popular. This is because of their ability to create images that are very high in quality and their ability to include animation. SVG files also maintain their level of quality as the size of the image decreases or increases.


While these are some of the more popular image file extensions, it is definitely not an exhaustive list. When you are making the decision to convert your image file, it is important to learn about the options so that your converted image has the ability to do everything you need it to do!

Lossless Audio File Types – What Options Do You Have?

There is no question that it can get very confusing when you are looking at all the different audio file types that are out there. If you have to convert old audio files, or even when you buy new music, you frequently have to pick a specific type of audio file to use. However, if you’re like most people, you basically pick the one that looks the easiest without having much knowledge to back up your decision.

Regardless of the reason you need to convert your audio files, it’s important to know the difference between the different audio file types so you can make the best decision.

The first thing you need to know is the difference between lossless and lossy audio formats, which we covered in this post. However, that is only the first piece of information you need to know.

In this article, we’ll talk about the different audio file types that are specific to the lossless format.

WAV and AIFFaudio file types

These two formats are uncompressed. That means the quality of the music in these files is as close as possible to the original audio source. The quality of these two formats is the same, but they are quite different in the way they store the data. The WAV file is relatively universal, while the AIFF file is specific to Apple, so you may have problems if you try to store this type of file on on-Apple products.


This type of file is the Free Lossless Audio Codec. Since this is a lossless format, the quality of the audio is very high, but unlike most other lossless formats, this one HAS been compressed. This means the files don’t take up nearly as much space as the WAV and AIFF files. This unique combination makes this the best audio file type for casual music listeners. For those who are a little more technical, this file type is also free and open source.

Apple Lossless

The ALAC format (Apple Lossless) is the best choice if you want to listen and manage your music through both iTunes and iOS, because it if fully supported by both systems. This is another lossless file that is compressed, however the compression isn’t quite as impressive as that of the FLAC file type. If you use this type of file it will take up a little more space than the FLAC files, but not nearly as much as the WAV and AIFF files.


An APE file is a lossless file that has the most compression, so it takes up the least amount of space on your computer. The quality of the audio is also equivalent to ALAC, FLAC and similar lossless files. However, the problem with the APE audio file type is that it isn’t supported by very many devices. The only time you would want to choose this type of file when you are converting your files is if you specifically have devices that are compatible, and you don’t plan on changing those devices in the future.

These are the major audio file types that are lossless formats. In a future article, we will review the lossy formats to help you decide which file type is the best for you.

Once you determine the proper type of file for your needs, you need to find a good online audio converter to do the job for you.

Are You Converting Your Audio Files? Learn The Difference Between Lossy and Lossless

There is a great deal of confusion in the world of audio these days because there are so many different types of audio files. It’s become difficult for many people to keep track of all the options. If you need to convert your audio files because something won’t play on one of your devices, or you need to use a different file type in order to send or submit it, there is a lot of confusion about what file type to use.

Does File Type Matter When Converting Your Audio Files?

One thing you definitely must be aware of is that when you covert your audio files from one format to another, you may be hurting the quality of the music if you’re not careful. There are times when it makes sense to do this, but you want to be sure that you are aware of WHEN you’re doing it, because depending upon the specific type of conversion you make, you may not be able to backtrack.

Lossy vs Lossless

It’s important to understand the difference between a lossy format and lossless when you’re converting your audio files. The big word to key on in this explanation is “loss”. In simple terms, a lossy audio track has lost something from the original and a lossless format has not.

Let’s start with an easy example. When you rip your own music from a CD, you have a choice on how you want to save that audio file. If you want to save the audio file and retain the highest possible quality, you should save it as a lossless file. This means the original files basically remain intact, so when you play the music from your file, it will be as close as possible as it would be playing it from the cd (taking your speakers into account). The problem with this is that lossless files are usually very large. Depending upon the amount of music you have and the storage space you have available, this can quickly become a significant problem.

If you save the file in a lossy format, it will be much smaller in size. That saves on storage space and also makes it much quicker to download. However, the trade-off is when you use the lossy format, you’re actually removing chunks of data.

That loss of data is going to have an impact on the quality of the music. However, how much of an impact it has will depend upon what kind of an ear you have, how much quality you actually want, and how you listen to your music.

When converting your audio files, many people make the argument that unless you are a “professional level listener” and always use the absolute highest quality of speakers, that you’ll never notice the difference between the two formats.

If you are the average person who just wants to listen to good music and has decent speakers or headphones, chances are you will never even notice the difference. If that is the case, it makes sense when you’re converting your audio fies, to use the lossy audio format and save the space.

Some of the more popular lossless formats are WAV, AIFF, FLAC, Apple Lossless and APE. Some of the more popular lossy formats are MP3, AAC, OGG.

It is important to keep this in mind when you are converting your audio files.


Why eBook Converters Are Becoming More Popular, and Necessary

In the early days of this frenzied electronic revolution, it seemed like everything was much easier. You had one computer and you read your books in their “old school” physical form. While those early daysebook-converter were less complicated, we also didn’t have nearly as many options as we do today. These days, more and more people are reading books on many different electronic devices. While this is wonderful technology, it has also created some very technical problems. solving those problems is the reason you need a good ebook converter to help you out.

Today, we don’t just have those desktop computers, we also have laptops, tablets, and smartphones. When you throw e-readers into the mix, it gets really, really complicated. The problem is that our expectations have changed along with this technology and today we want to be able to access everything we have, from anywhere we want, and we want to be able to do it “now”.

All Devices, All the Time

Everyone wants all of the books you buy to be available on your e-reader, but sometimes you also want to be able to read on your phone or your computer. Sometimes you want to even buy your ebooks from different sources. When your old e-reader wears out, you may even want to move your books from one e-reader to another.

In order for all of those pieces to work like you want them to, sometimes it means you have use a good ebook converter to help you make it happen.

Reasons You May Need an Ebook Coverter

One of the potential problems with e-books is that they are delivered in a very specific type of file. Some e-readers can handle many different types of files, but some are also very limited in the number of different files they can read.

In the best case scenario, the ebook you buy is delivered in a format that works with your e-reader, computer or phone. However, this is not always the case. If you get a book in the wrong type of file, you may have to convert it before you can read it.

If you buy a new e-reader that does NOT read the types of files from your old e-reader, it can be very difficult to transfer them. This happens a lot with e-readers that are inexpensive. One of the ways they keep costs down is that they don’t offer very much flexibility. Of course, unless you’ve experienced this problem before, you are not likely to understand the potential problems until it’s too late. The good news is that a good online ebook converter can help you retain access to your books.

You can also have a problem that is caused from where you purchased the ebook. In most cases, if you bought the book from a larger seller, you probably won’t have very much trouble. However, if you buy the book from a smaller seller, or even an individual person or small website, you may receive the book as a file type that doesn’t work with your device. In this case, you may have to convert the ebook files before you can even access the book in the first place.

Another reason you may need to find a good online ebook converter is if you have a huge document that you want to put on your e-reader (so it’s always with you and ready when you have a few spare minutes while waiting for the dentist or standing in line). You can’t do that with a Word document unless you have a mobile device that ALSO has the ability to read Word files, which is rare. A simple answer is to convert the Word file to the type of file that can be viewed by your e-reader and add it.

Clearly, it’s important for you to have access to a good ebook converter from time to time. If you bookmark this page, you’ll be able to convert your ebook, stress-free, when the time comes that you need it.

Should You Convert to an MP3 or MP4?

Unless you are a true “techie”, advances in the world of technology come at a cost. Of course, it’s always nice to have new tools and functionality that allow you to do things you couldn’t in the past. However, the downside is that sometimes technology changes so fast, it’s difficult to keep up. That is definitely the case when deciding whether to convert to an MP3 or MP4 file.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that “bigger is always better”. For example, when a new iPhone comes out, you assume that the iPhone 5 is a better version of the iPhone 4. However, that same logic could get you in trouble when you are deciding whether to convert to an MP3 or MP4 file. The problem is that an MP4 file is NOT just a bigger, better version of an MP3 file.

The Differences Between MP3 and MP4convert to an MP3 or MP4

In order to decide between converting to an MP3 or MP4 file, you must have a better understanding of each type of file.


The MP3 file format has been the standard for music files for quite some time. The actual name of an MP3 file is MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. Audio files are typically very large, and an MP3 file compresses the size. It does this through a process called “loss”. It uses a psychoacoustic model to remove some of the data from the original audio file that people don’t actually hear. A typical MP3 file is usually about 1/11th the size of the original audio file.


An MP4 file (MPEG-4 Part 14) is a “container” format. That means that instead of storing the code for the file, it stores the data. One big benefit of this difference is that an MP4 file can be streamed online.

However, because of the container format, there is not a standard way to handle the coding of the file. This means the specific codec will determine how the file will be coded and even compressed.

Why Are You Converting Your Audio File

There are clear differences between the two types of files. An MP3 file can only store audio files. An MP4 file can also store video files and even has the ability to include subtitles. An MP4 also has the ability to store files that have been compressed via different methods.

A device made to play MP4 files can sometimes, but not always, play an MP3, but a device that only plays an MP3 can never play an MP4.

Should You Convert to an MP3 or MP4?

You will need to carefully consider the reason for your file conversion to answer this question. If you are converting your file in order to submit it to a website online, the answer is determined by what type of file they accept.

If you are converting your audio files for your own reasons, it will likely be determined by your own personal needs (device, storage, etc).

Regardless of which option you choose, the changes to technology, devices, etc will likely change at some point. What you need “today” won’t be the same thing you need “tomorrow”. Because of that, you should have a free and easy online file converter LINK ready and waiting. That way, when you’re needs change, you will be ready to change with them!

Finding the Best Online Document Converter

In the past, if you came upon a type of document you couldn’t open, you usually had to contact one of your “techie” friends for help.  Maybe you received a file from a friend you couldn’t open or maybe it was something you found online that caused a problem.  Luckily, it’s much easier to find an online file converter that allows you to solve the problem on your own.  However, it can still be frustrating to find the right file converter to use.

What is an Online Document Converter? online video converter

An online document converter is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an online tool that converts your documents from one type of file format to another.

Since it’s online, it means you won’t have to mess with downloading anything directly to your pc. While those tools can usually do an adequate job of converting your files, there is a reason they always come with a warning that says “are you sure you want to download this file?” It’s risky to allow any kind of program access to your computer, and this makes it a much safer idea to use an online document converter.

Why Do You Need a Document Converter?

There are many scenarios that would require you to convert documents from one type of file to another.

There are many different “types” of document files. This includes .doc, .docx, .pdf, .html, .txt, and many others.  The problem is that your computer may only have the ability to read certain types of files.

If you try to open a file type that is not supported by your computer, it won’t work. You either have to add that functionality to your computer (which can be a pain), or you have to convert the file to a type that your computer can read (which is now very easy).

Of course, there are also other scenarios you might need an online file converter.  One of the more common is that you want to submit one of your documents to an online site, but they only accept certain file types.   If that is the case, you have to convert your document before you can upload it to their site.

Picking an Online Converter

The most important aspect of picking the best online document converter for your purpose is to know what type of file you need at the end of the conversion. It is critical to pick a converter that can give you the result you need. The best option is to find a file converter that provides multiple options.

Cost of a Converter

Although there are many types of online file converters available that you can purchase, unless you have higher level needs, it’s usually not necessary to use a paid version. Basic free online converters can convert most of the basic file types into most of the other basic file types.

However, it’s not a bad idea to find a converter that does include the higher level functionality, in case you discover that you need it.

How to Choose an Online Video Converter

There are dozens of reasons that might make it necessary to convert video files to a different type of video file. Knowing that you need to convert your video is the easy part. It becomes a little more difficult when you start trying to determine HOW you will make that important conversion.

The good news is that there are hundreds of options when searching for an online video converter. Unfortunately, that is the bad news as well. There are so many options to choose from and it quickly becomes very confusing.

We’re going to help you with that. Here are some of the factors you should consider when searching for a tool to convert your video to a different file type.

Type of File Being Converted

The first thing you should do is make sure the online tool you are considering can handle the type of file you need to convert. This should be simple if you have a basic file type of WMV, MOV or AVI. However, if you have a more unique file type, you should make sure the tool you are considering has the ability to convert it.

Type of Output File

Along the same lines as the input file, you should also consider the type of file you need at the end of the conversion process. If you need to convert a video file, there is a reason you need to convert it. It’s important that the online video converter tool you use has the ability to provide you with the type of video file that solves your problem.

Features & Price

You should also consider the other features available from the video converter you are considering. If you just need a simple conversion, this may not be an issue for you, but if you want to receive encrypted downloads, convert very large files, etc, you should make sure the video conversion tool you are looking at has that ability.

As is often the case, you can probably find a free video conversion tool that handles most of the basic video conversions. However, if you have more complex needs, you may need to consider a more advanced tool, which is likely to cost money.

Of course, the best case is to find something that can be used for free while your needs are simple, but has the ability to also provide more advanced features if you determine they are needed.


You will discover a wide range of options when you start looking for an online video converter. However, an important consideration is how simple they are to use. This is where the online versions really stand apart from the options that require you to download something to your desktop.

The simplest way to convert your video file is to simply go to a good video conversion site, browse to the file you need converted, select the type of output file you need, press a button, and get your converted video file. If there are many more steps involved in with the tool you are considering, they are probably making the process much more difficult than it needs to be.

Future Use

Another consideration is to determine what other options are available on the site you decide upon. Chances are that at some point in the future, you will need to convert another video, PowerPoint, PDF or Word document into a different type of file.

It makes sense to find an online video converter that can also handle those other types of functions. That way, when it comes time for you to convert a different type of file, you will already know how the process works instead of starting from scratch with a different conversion site.

Now you know the key pieces of information that should be considered before choosing an online video converter. It’s time to pick the best one and start converting!

Convert Your PowerPoint to Video For Greater Flexibility

For many people, creating a Microsoft Power Point file is the best possible way to create and view a presentation. The templates available within PowerPoint make it easy to create slides and the nature of the presentation allow a speaker to switch to the next slide with a simple touch of a button, while maintaining eye contact with their audience.

However, the reality is that there are many circumstances when your carefully prepared PPT file is no longer the best solution.

Here are a few of the very common real-world scenarios when it would be helpful to have an online PowerPoint to video conversion tool.

Mobile Devices

Yes, the world has gone mobile. That means more people than ever before are accessing their email and important documents via a mobile device. If you have a presentation that people may want to watch while they are out and about, they may not be able to do it on their smartphone. Maybe they will watch it when they get back to their computer, but maybe they won’t.

If you convert your PPT to a video before you send it, people will be much more likely to view your wonderful work because they can do it wherever, and whenever they want.

Universally Accepted Format

Another common problem with PPT files is that you may have big plans for your presentation, but then discover the site you want to download it to doesn’t accept a .ppt file. If you want to add your presentation to most of the popular video sharing sites, you will need to convert the PowerPoint to a traditional video format.

This is the same reason some of our other online conversion tools have become popular. You can’t just create a great presentation; you have to convert it to the specific format accepted by the site you want to use for posting.

No PowerPoint

You may also run into problems with your PPT files if you send them to someone who doesn’t have PowerPoint on their computer. Most people who have PPT make the assumption that “everyone” has it, but that isn’t the case. Because of this, if you convert your PowerPoint to a video before you distribute it, the people you send it to will be much more likely to actually to view it.

Wider Distribution

If you have a presentation that you would like to “go viral”, chances are a PPT will cause problems. People are more familiar with videos and they will be much more likely to share your presentation if it is in video format.

How to Convert a PowerPoint to a Video File

Regardless of your reason for needing to convert your file, we have the solution. Use our online PPT to video converter to turn your presentation to a video so you can avoid many of the potential problems we’ve discussed.