Full glossary

Video Compression

What is video compression?

The process of video compression relates to encoding a video so that it becomes smaller in file size. Compression allows videos to be transferred across the Internet or between devices more quickly. It is considered the lifeblood of over-the-top services like Netflix and YouTube, which rely on compression in order to stream video.

Video compression occurs by removing repetitive frames or unnecessary data from the original video file. However, when compression is used on its own, it doesn’t usually produce the highest quality of video, which is why video compression is generally used hand-in-hand with video encoding.

What are the different video compression formats?

After a video file has been encoded and compressed, it will typically be placed (or saved) into “containers” — more commonly known as “video formats”. You can tell what container a video file is in by looking at its file extension. Here are the most commonly used video formats:

  • MP4
  • MOV
  • AVI
  • WMV
  • FLV
  • WEBM
  • MKV
  • MPEG-2