Differences between mp3 and mp4

As many know, both mp3 and mp4 are two types of multimedia files -compressed- in smaller formats. With the name of mp3 and mp4, electronic devices with the capacity to store and play multimedia content in mp3 and mp4 formats are also colloquially known.

In this sense, uncompressed multimedia content usually takes up considerable space on electronic devices, but the mp3 and mp4 formats act by reducing the size of the original files so that they are easy to store and play on devices with less storage capacity, generally, laptops and for streaming over the internet.

However, these formats are different, so in this article we are going to point out these differences more thoroughly, starting from their brief definitions.


The mp3 is a compressed audio format that was developed in 1987 and its acronym stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, which was developed by the Moving Picture Experts group with the purpose of achieving a smaller file size. This format is currently the most widely used audio format in the world, despite the fact that part of the audio frequency range of the original file is lost during compression, but it allows the file size to be reduced by up to 15 times.

Likewise, these mp3 files can be played both on computers and on portable audio players, players that also commonly receive the same name as mp3, which vary in size and design as well as in storage capacity, which generally allows it to be expanded. through the use of memory cards. Finally, mp3 files often have the .mp3 extension after the file name.


The mp4 is a compressed audio and video format, which was developed at the end of 1988. It is important to note that the mp4 format is a container format, that is, it houses an audio track and a video track, which can be encoded in different formats and that can be adapted to the implementation that will be made of the resulting file.

The standard formats for mp4 are AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) for audio and H.264/AVC for video, both formats have an excellent relationship between compression and quality, since the loss of definition is minimal. In this way, mp4 files usually have the extension .mp4 after the file name and can be transmitted over the Internet without much difficulty.

Additionally, by the name of mp4, electronic devices with the capacity to store and play audio and video in mp4 format are colloquially known, which may vary depending on the design, size and storage capacity, which can be expanded. also through the use of memory cards.

As we have already seen, there are some differences between the mp3 and mp4 formats, which we will summarize below:

  • The mp3 is a compressed audio format, so only sound can be recorded with this codec, while mp4 is a multimedia container format, which allows you to store both audio and video.
  • Mp3 files are distinguished by the .mp3 extension and mp4 files are known by the .mp4 extension.
  • Portable mp3 players usually transmit only audio, so they usually only have one audio output to connect headphones or speakers, while portable mp4 players usually incorporate, in addition to the audio outputs, a screen to view the audio output. video part.

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