MOV – Definition

MOV, considered as a file format for QuickTime player, was generated and developed by Apple Inc. since 1998. It uses the MPEG 4 codec for compression and contains different tracks to store movies and other video files. Each track usually has to be encoded with one or more kinds of codecs. Compared to other video formats, MOV file is a lossy compression after all, but it is still quite usable for its excellent high compatibility with different media player and editing tools. Not only can it be compatible with Macintosh platform, but it also runs well on Windows PC. Even some DVCPRO (a DV format of high definition) files are also MOV videos.

Filename Extension: MOV (QuickTime Movie)

Category: Video File

Popularity: Popular among Apple users

Developer: Apple Inc.

Facts about MOV

  • MOV is a file format especially for QuickTime Player, which means it runs perfectly on the Mac.
  • MOV format was produced by Apple Inc. After that, MP4 was also put into use as the international standard which was developed at the basis of the MOV, to a large extent.
  • MOV and MP4 have much in common for they both use MPEG 4 code for compression, thus they are interchangeable in the same Apple QuickTime environment.
  • MOV now is a widely adopted format recognized by computers and applications, and it is safe to use for a file transmission.
  • MOV is appropriate for video editing and web transmission as it is able to adjust the primary elements separately.
  • MOV saves multiple tracks independent with one another. It is able to enhance sound, picture quality and picture resolution separately, which makes editing a fairly easy thing.

Pros: The MOV file can be played on different platforms for its high compatibility and low storage space. It can be recognized by many different media platforms such as Mac, Windows, iOS and Android.

Cons: MOV has adopted a lossy compression of video tracks, which means the video quality cannot be equal to the original one. And each track (audio, video, text) of MOV of the file has been encoded with a specific codec. An application can play it smoothly on condition that it is able to recognize the codec.


Different from MOV, AVI is an old container published by Microsoft. Its full name is Audio Video Interleave which means combining audio and video tracks together by using a lossy compression. Although the quality of AVI is not that satisfactory, it was still very popular for its high compatibility at once. Now that Apple users are growing more and more, MOV is accepted by people widely. As for those people who don’t use Apple devices, AVI is still a video format being used commonly. Here is the comparison between the two formats.

Quality: Since both two formats take a lossy compression, the file will lose quality to some extent. However, AVI uses MPEG 2 for its compression while MOV adopts MPEG 4. Technically speaking, if taking two file formats of the same video into reference, we will find out that the MOV movie can have better quality.

File Size: As a matter of fact, MOV not only contains audio and video tracks but also sometimes includes text track as well. Taking a 3 min video for instance, one in MOV is 60 MB; the other in AVI is 45 MB. It is obvious to see that MOV is taking larger storage. Also we can refer to the bitrate. If the parameter is higher, the file size is larger. The total bitrate for MOV is 2900 kbps while the other for AVI is just 456 kbps.

Compatibility: Just being mentioned above, for those non apple users, AVI is still one of the main video formats for playing and transferring. Then among users who are in favor of Apple devices like iPhone and Mac, MOV has won great support.

Programs that can open MOV File


Apple QuickTime Player – Since MOV is preparing for Apple Quick Time player, it is the most proper media player to broadcast MOV video files undoubtedly.


Microsoft Windows Media Player – Microsoft Windows media player also goes well with MOV videos. That is to say, you can open MOV videos directly on Windows PC without installing anything, but it only works with version 10 and above.


VideoLAN VLC Media Player – VLC, published by VideoLAN Project, is a powerful media player which supports both audio and video files, discs, webcams, devices and streams. Moreover, it can be installed on different platforms such as Mac and Windows. And MOV movies can also be played smoothly by using this player.


Roxio Creator – Roxio Creator (formerly Easy Media Creator) is a popular multimedia software suite both for Mac and Windows. It allows you to edit video, audio, images and so on.

CyberLink PowerDVD

CyberLink PowerDVD – PowerDVD is an advanced movie and media player which can play Ultra HD 4K and 3D videos, which is also usable to play QuickTime movies. It also has media management tools, which supports for browsing, searching, online sharing and many other functions.

All-in-One Solutions for MOV format


Convert WMV to MOV – WMV, full name called Windows Media Video, is frequently used for streaming videos but it cannot satisfy the needs of users who are in possession of Apple devices for incompatible problems. To make this no more a question, users always tend to convert it to MOV movies instead.


Convert AVI to MOV – AVI is considered as a container format which supports multiple streaming audio and video. It works well with Windows PC but not goes smoothly with Apple devices and applications. If you want to take it easy and play it on your Mac, you are recommended to change AVI into a more suitable format, for which MOV is a good choice.


Convert VOB to MOV – VOB, named as “Video Object” in DVD specifications. It is a container format in DVD-Video media covering digital video, audio, and subtitles. Users often burn it into DVD for its good quality. However, VOB can sometimes take larger file size as compared to MOV file. For example, 4.7 GB is for a 2 hour video while MOV just takes 2.4 GB. Therefore, to save more storage, converting VOB to MOV is an effective way.


Convert SWF to MOV – SWF, abbreviation for small web format, is an Adobe Flash file format commonly used to bring animated graphics, video, and sound to the web. As a matter of fact, many SWF files could be only viewed on Adobe Flash Player. Most of the widely employed multimedia players like QuickTime or portable devices like iPhone cannot recognize SWF files. Anyway, a SWF to MOV conversion can help you break the limitation easily.


Convert MP4 to MOV – MP4 known as MPEG-4, is a popular format used to store video and audio data. Technically speaking, it was produced at the basis of MOV format. By the way, MP4 is usually used for sharing video files on the Internet. But sometimes, MP4 from website may not work well with Apple devices, such as iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc. As the default media format developed by Apple Inc., MOV is more suitable for the operating system of Apple devices. If you are a Mac user, to play MOV instead of MP4 is much stable and safe.

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