Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between MOV vs AVI

aviMOV vs AVI

AVI which stands for Audio Video Interleave is a relatively old container that was developed by Microsoft as the file format for its media player application. In comparison, MOV was developed by Apple for its Mac OS and the QuickTime application. Their primary difference is in the native support of lossy MP4 codecs like H.264. MOV supports these encoders while AVI does not.

AVI was once a very popular format, especially in the internet where the need for compatibility is quite enormous. Almost all players support this format, even portable devices like video players and video capable smart phones. Due to the age and the evolving needs of the people who use these formats, Microsoft has abandoned the AVI container for the newer and more feature packed WMV that they also developed but for the later version of the Windows Media Player.

The lack of native support for lossy codecs in AVI leads to incompatibilities, but there are hacks that have been implemented that allow MP4 encoded lossy videos to be stored in the AVI container. Despite these efforts, the shortcoming is still apparent as the bigger overhead still results in a bigger file size compared to saving in a container with native support like MOV. Aside from that, AVI also lacks support for the more advanced features, like B-Frames, that are available when using the MP4 format. Using hacks often leads to player incompatibilities that renders the resulting file unplayable in some players.

The AVI file format has been made obsolete in almost all cases. It has been replaced by more advanced containers like MOV and WMV which can store the same video better and in a smaller size. Despite all this, AVI is still used widely by most people. Propelled mainly by its popularity among most users. Having a file saved in AVI means that it can be played in almost any computer and set top player which is still not the case with MOV.

1. MOV was created by Apple as a container for QuickTime while AVI was developed by Microsoft for their media player
2. AVI is relatively old and has been replaced by Microsoft with WMV format
3. AVI does not provide native support for MP4 codecs while MOV does
4. AVI does have some of the advanced capabilities that are available in MOV
5. MOV can have subtitles in them while AVI cannot
6. AVI is still more popular compare to MOV simply because of its widespread use

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  1. Seems very biased

  2. This is very useful, thanks. I was wondering why only very old (pre 2007) Canon cameras produced AVI videos, while newer models use MOV.

  3. To tell you the truth I’m not that bothered about which format a video file has so long as it plays and I can watch it in decent quality. Our Samsung TV will not play vid files from a USB key with their default .mov extensions downloaded from my camera . If I delete .mov and re-name them with .avi they all play. Weird eh?

  4. This is why I HATE technology. Everything is several hoops of fire to jump through to get things to work. More valuable time is sucked up solving these issues when the issues are supposed to be solved FOR US! Screw Apple and screw Microsoft. If you were alive before the computer age, you would know how much simpler, quieter, and less stressed life was before these damn computers. Damn them to hell.

  5. What about quality? Does an AVI lose as much data through lossy compression as MOV?

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