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What Is MOV? MOV Format, Codec, and Tools to Convert/Play MOV Video

You will be fortunate if you have a pile of movies and videos with a file extension in .mov, or wonder to know what is MOV or how to open MOV files, because this page will guide you a thorough understanding of MOV format. Just click the link below that will lead you to the specific MOV section.

What Is MOV?

Before we dive into the definition of what is MOV format, we are obligatory to tell you the misunderstanding of MOV format that we are used to call it. In technical term, MOV, together with QT, is actually a file extension of QuickTime File Format (short for QTFF), natively used by the QuickTime framework. We usually call MOV and QT as QuickTime formats. MOV file uses Apple's proprietary compression algorithm to store audio, video, effects, subtitles or other texts, making it much easier to download or stream.


What are MOV advantages and disadvantages? Both MOV and MP4 use the same MPEG-4 formats, which are almost interchangeable in a QuickTime-only environment, with the latter being revised on the basis of the former in 2001. MOV contains one or more tracks, maintained in a hierarchical data structure consisting atoms. This makes it great easy for editing, due to the ability to contain abstract data references for the media data and separation of media data from the offsets. While MP4 is inferior to MOV format in editing purpose, since the former contains more B/P frames that video editing is needless.

On the other hand, MP4 is international standard, claiming the widest compatibility with hardware and software devices, while MOV is more preferred in Apple ecosystem. See more MOV vs MP4 >>

What Programs Can Open MOV Files?

There is no need to install any MOV codec in case of playing MOV videos on Macintosh computer or iPhone iPad because it is the default Apple format. Additionally, MOV is compatible with Windows OS. You can install QuickTime player to open MOV files on Windows or make use of Windows Media Player to play MOV videos with the addition of MOV parser like 3ivx codec. And it's of no help without knowing what codec setting used to output the MOV because MOV is a package containing hundreds of codecs. But you can either update the video for Windows codec pack or use DirectShow codec pack to play MOV files.

For Android users, a media player supporting MOV format is a must have, in order to facilitate the MOV video playback. But we highly recommend the third-party MOV converter software to convert MOV to a file format widely acceptable by mobiles, tvs, game consoles, such as convert MOV to MP4, in order to have all MOV files playable on all devices.

How to Convert MOV Format?

You should never expect all media players, devices online storage tools and websites output files in MOV format. Calm down if you find the downloaded YouTube videos won't play in QuickTime, the HD footages you shot with your camera won't open in iMovie, or the wedding recording sent from a friend working with Windows platform won't play on iPhone. Just take advantages of a MOV video converter - MacX Video Converter Pro to convert the various files like WMV, MKV, FLV, WebM, AVI, MP4 to MOV format for your Apple devices. It works 100% successful rate to convert MOV to 180+ output video/audio formats for easy sharing, playing, and uploading.

author- candice
Candice Liu

Candice's particularly skilled in writing and sharing video-related contents. Her guides cover from deep-seated video/audio parameters, to media entertainment on different platforms. She also enjoys shooting and processing videos by herself for a more reliable basis of informative info with her articles, which are never at the expense of eliminating an entertaining read.