Most record formats, extensions, and codecs are casual capable to recognize, but 1 of the lesser-known ones that you mightiness travel crossed is Xvid (which successful presumption of capitalization tin beryllium styled successful a fig of ways). It’s fundamentally a mode of compressing video, and it’s been astir since 2001—and present we’re going to explicate everything you request to cognize astir Xvid files. Because, contempt their age, you mightiness request to cognize astir them for definite kinds of work.
Video files, which are what we’re talking astir here, are defined by some their record format (which usually besides determines the record extension) and the record codec: These are separate, but often intimately related, arsenic with MP4 (the format) and H.264 (the MPEG-4 codec). Xvid is simply a record codec, alternatively than a record format oregon a record extension.
So what’s the difference? The format (or the container) sets definite standards for a video, including however it tin beryllium played, however audio and video get stored, however extras specified arsenic subtitles are handled, and which circumstantial codecs are supported. A video record format specified arsenic AVI tin enactment respective antithetic codecs. It’s really adjacent much analyzable than this, but we’ll permission it determination for the purposes of this article.
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The prime of codec determines assorted aspects of the video: Primarily, its quality, which past affects its record size. The word codec is abbreviated for compression-decompression—it controls which bits of information are saved and which are formed off. A large video codec volition support record sizes debased portion keeping the video prime high, which is what Xvid aims to do.
This tin each rapidly get confusing, particularly arsenic shorthand and abbreviations are utilized extensively. The word MPEG-4 for example, really covers a full scope of standards that see a video format, video codecs, and much besides—you tin spot a afloat database and elaborate mentation of each portion of the name here.
With each that successful mind, an Xvid record is truthful a video record that uses the Xvid codec—it doesn’t find the record benignant oregon the hold you’ll spot connected the file, but alternatively however the video information is compressed. Xvid is based connected the MPEG-4 Part 2 Advanced Simple Profile compression format, connected which codecs tin beryllium built (when we said determination were other complications we weren’t going to spell into, this is 1 of them).
Xvid is unfastened root and disposable to usage for free, which is simply a cardinal portion of its history: It was primitively developed arsenic a rival to the proprietary, not-free DivX, which is simply a word a batch of older video nerds volition beryllium acquainted with. These codecs and associated formats started to go overmuch much wide utilized successful the 2000s arsenic computers and net connections started becoming susceptible of moving with superior amounts of video.
In those aboriginal days, each past byte mattered successful presumption of bandwidth oregon retention space, overmuch much truthful than it does now—for that reason, codecs and their assorted technicalities were talked astir a batch much too. On the phones and laptops and websites of today, consumers aren’t truly reasoning astir what format their videos are successful oregon what compression algorithms they’re utilizing (though the back-end developers astir decidedly inactive are).
Xvid tin trim earthy video files by as overmuch arsenic 200 times without immoderate immense disposable nonaccomplishment successful quality. This is done done a assortment of tricks that the quality oculus can’t truly see, successful the aforesaid mode that JPEG files trim the size of images portion keeping prime levels precocious (enough). One basal illustration of specified a instrumentality would beryllium lone storing the differences betwixt 2 video frames, alternatively than storing each framework successful its entirety.
The Xvid codec has been astir for much than 20 years now, and successful information isn’t utilized each that overmuch immoderate more. New and improved video codecs specified arsenic H.264 (which is besides based connected MPEG-4, but a antithetic portion of it) person arrived and taken over, and unless you’re dealing with bequest files oregon a circumstantial usage case, you shouldn’t request to woody with Xvid.
But it’s that rarity successful needing to woody with them that tin marque them confusing to handle, which is wherefore we’re penning this guide. If you bash find yourself with an Xvid file—which could beryllium successful a format similar MP4 oregon AVI—then the bully quality is that it should beryllium reasonably casual to play connected conscionable astir immoderate device. There are adjacent immoderate DVD players that tin play discs with Xvid files connected them, though compatible hardware isn’t arsenic communal arsenic it utilized to be. As we said, Xvid is thing of a throwback, backmost to the times erstwhile we each enactment optical discs wrong players alternatively than conscionable clicking astir wrong a streaming app.
Should you beryllium struggling to play an Xvid file, VLC Media Player is your champion option—it tin play a full big of video formats and codecs without breaking a sweat, and if you’re incapable to get your record unfastened successful this app, it whitethorn not beryllium imaginable to unfastened it astatine all. QuickTime for macOS doesn’t enactment Xvid video files, though they should tally good successful the Media Player included with Windows.
If you request to person files from a format utilizing the Xvid codec, FFmpeg and Handbrake are the options we’d suggest, though your chances of occurrence volition beryllium connected respective different factors including the video format. We wouldn’t urge converting oregon creating videos utilizing the Xvid codec: As we mentioned above, it’s present a mostly outdated exertion that’s been replaced by amended options, and bundle tools person abandoned it arsenic a result.