Difference Between FLV and MP4 and 3GP

FLV, MP4 and 3GP are popular container file formats developed by Adobe Systems, MPEG and 3GPP respectively. FLV is a member of Flash video family and is the preferred file format for delivering video in most popular video sites such as YouTube. MP4 is defined in MPEG-4 specification. Both FLV and MP4 allow streaming. 3GP is dedicated for GSM-based phones and is a member of 3GPP family along with 3GP2.


FLV is a video file format dedicated to deliver video over the internet. It is a container file format compatible with Adobe Flash. It belongs to the family of Flash Video files along with the F4V. FLV has the audio and video encoding similar to the SWF files (which can be used to encode Flash video). Along with F4V, FLV is a product of Adobe Systems and are consequently supported by Adobe Flash Player. However, FLV’s original developer was Macromedia, which was bought by Adobe very recently. FLV is supported as the default video file format by many popular video sites such as metacfe.com, YouTube, VEVO and Hulu. Many popular news providers such as Reuters.com use FLV. FLV is slowly becoming very popular beating other competitors like RealVideo and WMV.


MP4 (more precisely known as MPEG-4 Part 14) is a container file format for multimedia. It is based on the standard specified in MPEG-4 and can store MPEG conforming digital audio and video. But it can also store subtitles and still images as well. Furthermore, streaming is allowed in MP4 by using a separate hint track to include streaming information. MP4 files have the official extension of .mp4. It is important to note that not all players that claim to be MP4 players are able to play .mp4 files (they are only able to play .mp3 files and few other video file formats).


3GP (with .3gp extension) is another container file format dedicated for multimedia on phones. This is based on the standard defined by the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project). This is specifically used in 3G phones but also can be used in 2G and 4G phones as well. 3GP files can store some MPEG-4 video streams and AMR, AAC audio streams. 3GP2 is a similar file format to 3GP, but is slightly limited than 3GP in few areas of performance. 3GP was designed to be used with GSM-based phones.

What is the difference between FLV and MP4 and 3GP?

FLV, MP4 and 3GP are three container file formats developed by Adobe Systems, MPEG and 3GPP, respectively. FLV and MP4 are used for general use, while 3GP is dedicated for GSM-based phones. MP4 and 3GP supports variable bit rate audio, but FLV does not have this capability. However, all three formats support variable frame rate video. 3GP uses 3GP Timed Text for subtitles, while MP4 uses ttxt, VobSubs and BIFS for subtitles. However, FLV does not support subtitles. Both 3GP and FLV do not support menu support (like in a DVD), while MP4 has this useful capability. FLV is the only format out of these three that supports MP3 audio format.