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M4V vs MP4: Understanding M4V & MP4 Differences

Catrina Jones
Catrina Jones

Catrina Jones is a qualified editor of this website aimed at multimedia software. She is a regular contributor of product tutorials, reviews as well as tips and tricks, helping all users edit, download or create enjoyable videos.

There are a lot of file formats that can be used in storing your videos depending on your needs. M4V, MP4, MOV, MKV, AVI, WMV, etc. are all common video formats that we'll have to deal with when it comes to video downloading, video uploading or video conversion. It can be somewhat confusing but there are only a few fundamental concepts that you need to grasp.

In this guide, let's look at what you need to know about M4V and MP4. We hope that by explaining their differences and commons so you are able to better understand which type of format would work best for your need.

MP4 (MPEG-4)

MP4 is currently the most widely supported video format playable by many portable audio players, Internet-connected TVs, and software based media players. MP4 is a video format based on Apple's QuickTime video format and is essentially identical to the Apple QuickTime MOV format, with additional features. MP4 video format most commonly contains AAC encoded audio and H.264 encoded video.

File extensions: .mp4

M4V (Apple's iTunes implementation of MP4)

M4V is a non-standard file extension of the MP4 (MPEG-4) format popularized by Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod and the iTunes Store. M4V is essentially identical to the MP4 except it has additional capabilities added by Apple. Since the file extension of .m4v was popularized by iTunes, the media opens in the iTunes application rather than by the default media player. The M4V format also allows for the inclusion of Apple's FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM).

File extensions: .m4v

M4V vs MP4: Understanding M4V & MP4 Differences



Developed by

Moving Picture Experts Group


Video Audio Codec

MPEG-4/H.264   (AAC)

H.264   (AAC/AC3)


Can be recognized and played by   almost all media players and devices

Only be played on a computer   through iTunes and its usage is limited to Apple products


No   copy protection


Apple   places the FairPlay DRM copyright protection on most iTunes M4V files

Devices supported

Almost all the media players and   devices

iTunes/iPhone/iPad/iPod/Apple TV,   etc. from Apple family.


The   most widely-used video format;

Supported   by many video programs and various hardware devices;

Better   supported by portable devices than the MOV format;

The   default format for portable Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod;


Highest resolution for MP4 is   1440x1080/30p (16:9);

Audio channel is only available   on 2 channels/48 kHz (sampled frequency).

Not as widely-used as MOV format;

May be copy-protected using   Apple's FairPlay DRM copyright protection.

MP4 vs M4V: How to Convert M4V to/from MP4

Both MP4 and M4V are served for specific needs. One may be playable on PC while the other may run into error when it comes to the improper codec, resolution bit rate and more. So you can rely on a video converter like Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate to handle to MP4 to M4V or M4V to MP4 conversion task. Video Converter Ultimate can convert MP4 to M4V, AVI, WMV, MOV, MKV and vice versa. Besides, it is able to convert video for particular devices including DVD, iPhone, Samsung, LG, Xbox One, PS4, etc.

Note: Video Converter Ultimate is able to deal with both DRM-ed M4V and DRM-free M4V. So if you get the DRM-ed M4V videos from iTunes Store then don't worry, this program could remove the DRM out of them and convert them to other video formats. However, it could only convert video to DRM-free M4V.

Video Converter Ultimate – Convert Any Video You Like

Video Converter Ultimate lets you convert MP4 to/from M4V on Mac and Windows easily. Download and have a try!

Step 1. Import M4V Video

Launch Video Converter Ultimate and click on "Add Files" button to import M4V video to the program.

Import M4V Video

Step 2. Select Output Format

Go to "Output Format" and choose "Format" > "Video" > "MP4" and the output format.

Select Output Format

Step 3. Start Converting M4V to MP4

Click on "Convert" to starting converting M4V files to MP4 video.

Start Converting M4V to MP4

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