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MP4 vs. WMV: What are the Differences?

Elaine Keith
Elaine Keith

Being a big fan of audio and video editing software, she always wants to share her skills with friends like you. That’s why she is here to help you. Do not hesitate to ask her if you are confused with our products.

Both MP4 and WMV are popular video formats, which can be applied to most media players, portable devices, and network platforms. However, few of you know the difference between them. Sometimes you would come across the incompatible issues, especially when you want to play .wmv file, which is a Windows Media Video file. Here we will give you a detailed comparison between MP4 and WMV and some tips on converting WMV to MP4 and vice versa.

Brief Introduction of MP4 and WMV

MP4 stands for MPEG-4 Part 14 which is a container format used to store videos, audios, subtitles, images, etc. Here is an example to make it easy to understand: MP4 container (.mp4) = MP4 format video (H.264 codec) + audio + subtitle. It is compatible with almost all media devices and players, including smart phones, tablets, media players, and others.

WMV is short for Windows Media Video which is developed by Microsoft for several proprietary codecs. It was originally designed for internet streaming applications then standardized for physical-delivery formats such as HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

The Differences between WMV and MP4

File   extension



Developed By:

Moving Picture   Experts Group



Video Formats Supported

MPEG-2 Part 2, MPEG-4 ASP, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.263, VC-1, Dirac,   others;

MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-4AVC/H.264, WMV-HD, WMV9

Audio Formats Supported

MPEG-2/4 (HE)-AAC, MPEG-1/2 Layers I, II,   III (MP3), AC-3, Apple Lossless, ALS, SLS, Vorbis, others

MP3, WMA, AAC, AC3, DTS, RealAudio, PCM,   etc.

Media Players Supported

Almost all media players

Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, MPlayer, Media Player Classic,   VLC Media Player and K-Multimedia Player

Portable Devices Supported

All portable devices like Apple, Android,   Microsoft devices and Sony game consoles

Microsoft devices, part of Android devices,   and Sony game consoles; not work on Apple devices

File Size


Even smaller than MP4 under same video quality

Pros and Cons: MP4 vs. WMV

About MP4


  • Better in video quality than WMV;

  • Supported by almost all OS (Linux, Windows, iOS and Android and so on), players & mobile devices;

  • Commonly used for sharing video files online;

  • Compression is possible with MP4 files.


  • It is a lossy file format. The process of encapsulation in MP4 will discard unnecessary data.

About WMV


  • Smaller in file size than MP4;

  • Compatible well with any Windows PC;

  • Maintain the high levels of quality;

  • A good choice for files which will potentially benefit from DRM. (There are DRM-free WMV files and DRM-ed WMV files);

  • Widely adopted format used by many appliances and devices;

  • Open standard and used widely in applications like DVDs and Blu-Ray.


  • Needs plug-ins like Flip4Mac when playing WMV files on Mac;

  • Video transmission has a delay;

  • Not suitable for some of the more common video applications today because of its resulting file size.

How to Convert WMV to MP4

After reading the paragraph above, you should be aware that MP4 is more compatible than WMV. WMV is playable on Windows media player but not readable by many devices like iPhone, iPad. To fix the incompatible problem, you can rely on Video Converter Ultimate to convert WMV to MP4. Video Converter Ultimate is a professional video converter which can help you to convert 150+ different media format, including MP4, WMV, AVI, MKV, FLV and so on.

Video Converter Ultimate – Convert WMV to MP4

Use Video Converter Ultimate to convert WMV videos to MP4 and other formats, like AVI, MKV and so on.

Convert WTV to MP4

To know more about WMV, please read:

WMV Video Converter - Convert WMV Videos and Vice Versa


What we learn from the comparison is that both MP4 and WMV have their own advantages and disadvantages. One does not clearly look better than the other. Usually, MP4 is highly recommended over WMV since it is supported by thousands of media players and portable devices. To convert WMV to MP, you should download Video Converter Ultimate to have a try!

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