March 28, 2022

AVCHD vs. MP4: Which One to Choose?

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To change AVCHD to MP4 or vice versa, use Movavi Video Converter!

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Don’t know which format to use: MP4 or AVCHD? Here, you’ll find a detailed AVCHD vs. MP4 comparison to help you choose between the two formats. And if you want to convert your video from MP4 to AVCHD or vice versa, check out Movavi’s converter:

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Comparison parameter

MP4

AVCHD

File extension.mp4.mts, .m2ts
Video codecsH.264/MPEG-4 AVC, HEVC, MPEG-2 Part 2, MPEG-4 ASP, H.263, and othersH.264/MPEG-4 AVC
Audio codecsAAC, MP1, MP2, MP3, AC-3, Apple Lossless, ALS, SLS, and othersDolby Digital
Video resolution and frame rateUp to 1440 × 1080 at 30pUp to 1920 × 1080 at 60i
CompatibilityAlmost any device and playerBlu-ray discs, camcorders

The debate about MP4 vs. AVCHD has been going on for some time now, and it's not going to stop soon. This is because these two data formats are very important for video editors. In the recent past, video technologies have grown tremendously, and the two major players have emerged to be MP4 and AVCHD, which are the leading formats both for recording and processing of videos.

Read on to learn about the difference between AVCHD and MP4 and how to convert AVCHD to MP4.

MP4 vs. AVCHD

What is AVCHD?

The Advanced Video Coding High Definition (AVCHD) video format was invented by Panasonic and Sony in a bid to produce the best codec for recording videos. It is mainly used by camcorders to store videos. AVCHD uses MPEG-4 for videos and both linear PCM and Dolby Digital (Dolby AC-3) for audio.

The AVCHD format can compress videos in small disc spaces while at the same time preserving the details and quality of the video. This format has been improved to include stereoscopic video along with 50 and 60 frames per second mode of the 1080p. AVCHD is compatible with Blu-ray, meaning you can burn its videos to DVDs and Blu-ray discs directly without having to convert them to other formats.

AVCHD pros

  • AVCHD is able to record good quality live pictures
  • It is compatible with Blu-ray Disc format
  • AVCHD can easily record 1920 by 1080 resolution at 16:9 aspect ratio, 60i, 50i footage
  • With AC-3 Dolby Digital codec, it produces good quality audio

AVCHD cons

  • AVCHD file size is disproportionate. For instance, an AVCHD file size of 100 MB is only 25 MB when saved in other types of formats
  • It is difficult to save in one file because of the .m2ts file format

What is MP4?

MP4 player stands for Motion Pictures Expert Group -4 Part 14 format. It is a very popular format and is commonly used in streaming videos online. It is a multimedia container that's able to store still images, subtitles, audio, video, and more data in just one file.

Because MP4 is able to reduce file sizes and hold a wide variety of data, it is ideal for both offline and online use. It is part of ISO base media file format and is based on QuickTime File Format. MP4 supports Initial Object Descriptors and MPEG.

MP4 pros

  • MP4 can allow you to save a single movie file so you can access it easily
  • You can play MP4 on a number of players and devices
  • The MP4 file format makes it easy to copy, move and upload files over the net
  • MP4 allows storage of multiple files so easily

MP4 cons

  • MP4 audio channel is available only for two channels; frequency 48kHz
  • The audio codec of the MP4 file format is low quality
  • The highest resolution that MP4 can attain is only 1440 by 1080 at 30p and 16:9 aspect ratio

Both formats are used widely in video playbacks and video recording. But which one is better: AVCHD or MP4? You can only answer that question after going through the features discussed below.

File extension

All MP4 files have a .mp4 extension anywhere and anytime. AVCHD files, on the other hand, have the .mts format, but when stored in a computer, they acquire the .m2ts extension.

Video quality

When comparing the AVCHD vs. MP4 quality, we should take into consideration the video resolution and frame rate. MP4 can go up to 60 frames per second at 1080p, which is inferior to the AVCHD file format. The specifications of the AVCHD format ensure that it captures videos at the highest quality possible. An AVCHD video contains even the most minute details captured by camcorders. So, if you compare AVCHD vs. MP4 for Canon recordings, for example, AVCHD definitely wins in terms of quality.

Video and audio codecs

MP4 uses MPEG-4 H.264/AVC as video codec and MPEG-4 LC-AAC codec for audio. AVCHD uses the same video codec as MP4 but uses AC-3 (Dolby Digital) audio codec. Even though the two file formats use different audio codecs, the quality of audio they produce doesn't differ much. So, in terms of audio codecs, there is no winner between the two.

File size

Now let’s compare MP4 vs. the AVCHD video format in terms of file sizes. AVCHD is mainly used by video recorders because it gives the best video quality. However, its files consume more space despite the compression capability offered by MPEG-4 H.264/AVC. An MP4 file takes up 3 times less space compared to an AVCHD file. That's why MP4 is more suitable for online streaming and storage as compared to AVCHD. So, in terms of file size, MP4 wins.

Compatibility

MP4 is compatible with many more devices than AVCHD, which explains why many people prefer it for streaming services. It is widely referred to as a universal format. MP4 is the most widely used media container. There is no doubt that its compatibility is higher than that of AVCHD.

AVCHD is compatible with the Blu-ray format. Its files can be burned directly on DVD and Blu-ray discs. Though AVCHD was previously used for DVD recording, many people today use it to record video on HDD and on non-solid-state memory cards on camcorders such as Panasonic, Canon, Hitachi, Sont, Leica Camera, or JVC.

Popularity

On matters of popularity, MP4 is preferred by users who like to use smaller size files and compatible devices like computers, Android phones, or iPads. MP4 is popular among those who prefer to use a smaller size and compatible devices like iPad, Android phones, computers, etc.

AVCHD is very popular among those who like to work with high-resolution video formats. AVCHD is popular among Blu-ray discs, camcorders, PlayStation 3 gaming consoles, HDTV sets, etc.

Playback

With MP4, you can playback in many devices, including Android, iPhone, VLC, iMovie, QuickTime, and Windows Media Player, among others. On the other hand, AVCHD has limited usage; its supported devices are PlayStation 3 console, Blu-ray player, and computer with specific software such as Magix Movie Edit Pro 15 Plus, Pinnacle Studio, Cyberlink PowerDirector, QuickTime, and VLC, among others.

This means MP4 is a clear winner when you are looking for the most popular format to edit further and playback.

Which one is better: MP4 or AVCHD?

So, AVCHD vs. MP4: which one is better? The choice between AVCHD and MP4 actually depends on the individual's preference and taste. While AVCHD gives you high-quality videos, it takes a lot of disc space, meaning you'll be limited in terms of the number of videos you can store.

The MP4 file format only takes a small disc space, but the quality of the videos is lower than that of AVCHD. You can store many videos in this file format, but they will have low quality. In terms of audio quality, the two file formats tie.

So, if to compare AVCHD vs. MP4 for Sony camera recordings or choose between AVCHD vs. MP4 for Panasonic shooting, the verdict is the same – AVCHD provides higher quality, while MP4 takes up less space.

Converting between AVCHD and MP4

Whichever file format you choose, you can easily change it to another format if you have the right software. If you want to convert MP4 to AVCHD and vice versa, you can use Movavi Video Converter.

  1. Download and install the program.
  2. Hit Add Media and select Add Video. Then choose the files you want to convert.
  3. Go to the Video tab, select MP4, and pick the desired preset. To convert a video to AVCHD, choose a preset from the M2TS (MPEG2-TS) group.
  4. Click Convert.

Ben Jacklin

Ben is a writer from the UK with qualifications in Media and Music Technology, he specialises in software reviews and tutorials. Ben has been blogging about media and tech subjects since he was a teenager from his base in the East of England.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between AVCHD and MP4?

The AVCHD format provides better video quality and is normally used on camcorders like Sony and Panasonic. MP4 files have a smaller file size than video in AVCHD and can be played on almost any device. Both formats can use the H.264 video codec, but MP4 can use other codecs as well.

Is AVCHD better quality than MP4?

Yes, AVCHD files can have a better video quality – they have a bigger video resolution and frame rate than MP4 videos.

AVCHD vs. MP4 for Mac: which is better?

Older macOS versions don’t support the AVCHD format. More recent versions provide the support for this format, but you might need a third-party player to open AVCHD files. With MP4, you won’t have problems opening your video files. You also might want to choose MP4 to store your files on the computer since MP4 videos take up less space than AVCHD files.

AVCHD vs. MP4 for editing: which is better?

AVCHD is a better format for editing since it provides higher video quality. However, if your video editor or computer isn’t powerful enough, editing large AVCHD files might be a problem. In this case, it will be easier to edit an MP4 video.

Which format is better for YouTube? AVCHD vs. MP4.

Not sure whether to choose AVCHD or MP4 for your YouTube videos? If we have a look at the list of recommended video formats for YouTube, we’ll see that AVCHD isn’t included. MP4, on the other hand, is a recommended format for YouTube videos.