Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between WMV and AVI


AVI is short for Audio Video Interleave and it is the standard format of a video file for Microsoft’s “Video for Windows”. Microsoft released the AVI file format in November of 1992 as a part of the package. On PC, it is considered to be the most common format for Audio/Video (AV) data and it is the very example of a “de facto” standard.

This highly popular format is very similar to the DVD format which allows multiple steaming of data from both audio and video. The Maxtrol OpenDML group has been developing the file format extensions associated with AVI. These files are referred to as AVI 2.0 and being supported by the software giant Microsoft.

WMV is short for Windows Media Video. Just like the AVI file format, WMV was also developed by Microsoft ‘“ as if the name is not suggestive of that. However, the very purpose of WMV is to store video data in a compressed format. This is to make smaller video file sizes for more practical internet usage like online streaming of video content. Microsoft is not actually the first to create an internet-friendly format since RealVideo was the first to initiate a similar one. WMV was basically Microsoft’s version of RealVideo’s online streaming formats.

Additionally, for the practical purpose of sharing particularly across the internet, WMV will be the better choice. However, WMV is weak video format to use for editing.

Windows Media Video includes a codec (coder/decoder pair). It is used to compress video data during file creation and the data in that file will eventually be decompressed on playback. There are lots of codecs from different companies. WMV is a standard outlined by Microsoft as approved by SMPTE in 2006.

When a playback software, or hardware in other cases, is from Microsoft or associated with the company, it will most likely play .wmv files without a problem. WMV is a closed source, propriety codec that cannot be manipulated. It is not suggested for editing.

AVI has better video quality than WMV any day but will always have larger file sizes.


1. Videos in AVI format will have significantly larger file sizes compared to video files in WMV.

2. AVI will have better video playback quality and performance.

3. WMV is principally for online streaming just like RealVideo’s formats while AVI is best use for high quality playback on PCs and editing purposes.

4. There are many codecs and file extensions associated with AVI while WMV is a proprietary standard drafted by Microsoft.

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1 Comment

  1. So if you have the same video recorded in both WMV and AVI, and the files are the same size, which video will look better/be better quality?

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