Understanding the Difference Between MTS and MP4 Video Files

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Essentially MTS and MP4 are both file extensions that are used by different types of video
formats. Although they do share some similarities in common the container formats that
use the extensions have significant differences as well.

If you want to understand the differences between MTS and MP4 video files, however, you
need to first understand what each one is.

What is an MP4 Video File?

A video file with an MP4 extension basically means that it is using the MP4 container. The
MP4 container is a very versatile container that can use a wide range of codecs though in
most cases it is paired with the H.264 video codec and AAC-LC audio codec.

Overall MP4 has very few limitations and restrictions as a container, which is partly the
reason why it is so popular and widely used. Together with H.264, it is the most common
and widely-supported video format and is often preferred by online platforms and video
streaming.

What is an MTS Video File?

In contrast to the MP4 extension, an MTS extension indicates that the video uses the AVCHD
format that was developed by Panasonic and Sony for use with their camcorders. It should
be noted that normally the files use the MTS extension only on the camcorder itself, and use the M2TS extension once they are imported to computers.

The AVCHD format shares a lot in common with MP4 with H.264 and was designed based on it. However, it has a very strict set of specifications that it follows that mirror broadcast TV and HD standards in order to provide uniformity.

The specifications of AVCHD are largely the source of the differences between MTS and MP4
video files.

Differences Between MTS and MP4

The main areas where MTS and MP4 video files differ from one another are the areas where
the AVCHD format has restrictions, such as

  • Video codec:

The AVCHD format requires the use of the H.264 video codec to encode videos.
Although it is the codec most often used in MP4 video files, as a container MP4 has
no such restrictions and can use the H.263, HEVC (H.265), MPEG-2, or other videos
codecs.

  • Audio Codec

As far as audio codecs go, MTS video files use Dolby Digital (AC-3) or PCM
uncompressed audio. It is possible for MP4 to use those codecs, but more often than
not it is encoded with AAC.

  • The resolution, frame rate, and aspect ratio

The resolution, frame rate and aspect ratio of AVCHD videos are strictly defined
based on broadcast and HD video standards up to 1080p/23. As a container MP4 has
no such restrictions and can be encoded using any resolution, aspect ratio and
frame rate that is required.

Suffice to say MP4 is a more ‘liberal’ container than MTS and not tied to as many
restrictions. Because of its similarities, you can quite easily convert an MTS video file to MP4 using an MTS to MP4 converter such as Online Video Converter for example.

Ultimately it is up to you which container and format you wish to use. The AVCHD format is
a good option due to its support on some Blu-ray players that make it easy to watch,
whereas MP4 is a far better multi-purpose format that is more versatile.

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