What Is an Xvid File and How Do I Play or Convert One?

Xvid files are video files.

Most file codecs, extensions, and codecs are simple sufficient to acknowledge, however one of many lesser-known ones that you just may come throughout is Xvid (which when it comes to capitalization might be styled in various methods). It’s primarily a means of compressing video, and it’s been round since 2001—and right here we’re going to elucidate the whole lot you have to learn about Xvid information. As a result of, regardless of their age, you may have to learn about them for sure varieties of labor.

What are video codecs and codecs?

Apple TV screenshot

Each video has a format and a codec.
Screenshot: Apple TV

Video information, that are what we’re speaking about right here, are outlined by each their file format (which normally additionally determines the file extension) and the file codec: These are separate, however usually intently associated, as with MP4 (the format) and H.264 (the MPEG-4 codec). Xvid is a file codec, quite than a file format or a file extension.

So what’s the distinction? The format (or the container) units sure requirements for a video, together with how it may be performed, how audio and video get saved, how extras resembling subtitles are dealt with, and which particular codecs are supported. A video file format resembling AVI can help a number of totally different codecs. It’s really much more difficult than this, however we’ll go away it there for the needs of this text.

The selection of codec determines numerous elements of the video: Primarily, its high quality, which then impacts its file dimension. The time period codec is brief for compression-decompression—it controls which bits of information are saved and that are forged off. An ideal video codec will preserve file sizes low whereas protecting the video high quality excessive, which is what Xvid goals to do.

This will all rapidly get complicated, particularly as shorthand and abbreviations are used extensively. The time period MPEG-4 for instance, really covers an entire vary of requirements that embody a video format, video codecs, and extra apart from—you possibly can see a full listing and detailed rationalization of every a part of the title right here.

What’s an Xvid file?

Xvid has been around since 2001.

Xvid has been round since 2001.
Screenshot: Xvid

With all that in thoughts, an Xvid file is subsequently a video file that makes use of the Xvid codec—it doesn’t decide the file sort or the extension you’ll see on the file, however quite how the video knowledge is compressed. Xvid relies on the MPEG-4 Half 2 Superior Easy Profile compression format, on which codecs might be constructed (once we stated there have been further issues we weren’t going to enter, that is one in every of them).

Xvid is open supply and accessible to make use of free of charge, which is a key a part of its historical past: It was initially developed as a rival to the proprietary, not-free DivX, which is a time period plenty of older video nerds will probably be aware of. These codecs and related codecs began to turn out to be way more extensively used within the 2000s as computer systems and web connections began turning into able to working with severe quantities of video.

In these early days, each final byte mattered when it comes to bandwidth or cupboard space, way more so than it does now—for that motive, codecs and their numerous technicalities had been talked about much more too. On the telephones and laptops and web sites of as we speak, customers aren’t actually desirous about what format their movies are in or what compression algorithms they’re utilizing (although the back-end builders most undoubtedly nonetheless are).

Xvid can cut back uncooked video information by as a lot as 200 instances with none enormous seen loss in high quality. That is performed by quite a lot of methods that the human eye can’t actually see, in the identical means that JPEG information cut back the scale of pictures whereas protecting high quality ranges excessive (sufficient). One primary instance of such a trick can be solely storing the variations between two video frames, quite than storing every body in its entirety.

How are Xvid information used?

Handbrake is your best bet for video conversions.

Handbrake is your greatest wager for video conversions.
Screenshot: Handbrake

The Xvid codec has been round for greater than 20 years now, and in fact isn’t used all that a lot any extra. New and improved video codecs resembling H.264 (which can be primarily based on MPEG-4, however a unique a part of it) have arrived and brought over, and until you’re coping with legacy information or a particular use case, you shouldn’t have to take care of Xvid.

But it surely’s that rarity in needing to take care of them that may make them complicated to deal with, which is why we’re penning this information. In the event you do end up with an Xvid file—which might be in a format like MP4 or AVI—then the excellent news is that it must be pretty simple to play on nearly any machine. There are even some DVD gamers that may play discs with Xvid information on them, although suitable {hardware} isn’t as frequent because it was. As we stated, Xvid is one thing of a throwback, again to the instances once we all put optical discs inside gamers quite than simply clicking round inside a streaming app.

Must you be struggling to play an Xvid file, VLC Media Participant is your best choice—it might play an entire host of video codecs and codecs with out breaking a sweat, and should you’re unable to get your file open on this app, it might not be doable to open it in any respect. QuickTime for macOS doesn’t help Xvid video information, although they need to run positive within the Media Participant included with Home windows.

If you have to convert information from a format utilizing the Xvid codec, FFmpeg and Handbrake are the choices we’d recommend, although your possibilities of success will rely on a number of different components together with the video format. We wouldn’t advocate changing or creating movies utilizing the Xvid codec: As we talked about above, it’s now a largely outdated know-how that’s been changed by higher choices, and software program instruments have deserted it because of this.

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