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 would possibly come throughout is Xvid (which when it comes to capitalization might be styled in a lot of methods). It’s primarily a means of compressing video, and it’s been round since 2001—and right here we’re going to elucidate all the pieces it’s worthwhile to learn about Xvid information. As a result of, regardless of their age, you would possibly must learn about them for sure sorts 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 typically carefully associated, as with MP4 (the format) and H.264 (the MPEG-4 codec). Xvid is a file codec, relatively 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 comparable to subtitles are dealt with, and which particular codecs are supported. A video file format comparable to AVI can assist a number of completely different codecs. It’s really much more sophisticated than this, however we’ll depart it there for the needs of this text.

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

This could all shortly 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 embrace a video format, video codecs, and extra moreover—you possibly can see a full checklist 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 due to this fact a video file that makes use of the Xvid codec—it doesn’t decide the file kind or the extension you’ll see on the file, however relatively how the video information is compressed. Xvid relies on the MPEG-4 Half 2 Superior Easy Profile compression format, on which codecs might be constructed (once we mentioned there have been further problems we weren’t going to enter, that is one in all them).

Xvid is open supply and obtainable to make use of without spending a dime, 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 numerous older video nerds might be aware of. These codecs and related codecs began to grow to be way more broadly used within the 2000s as computer systems and web connections began changing into able to working with severe quantities of video.

In these early days, each final byte mattered when it comes to bandwidth or space for storing, 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 immediately, shoppers aren’t actually interested by what format their movies are in or what compression algorithms they’re utilizing (although the back-end builders most undoubtedly nonetheless are).

Xvid can scale back uncooked video information by as a lot as 200 occasions with none big seen loss in high quality. That is performed by way of a wide range of methods that the human eye can’t actually see, in the identical means that JPEG information scale back the dimensions of photos whereas maintaining high quality ranges excessive (sufficient). One fundamental instance of such a trick can be solely storing the variations between two video frames, relatively than storing every body in its entirety.

How are Xvid information used?

Handbrake is your best bet for video conversions.

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

The Xvid codec has been round for greater than 20 years now, and in reality isn’t used all that a lot any extra. New and improved video codecs comparable to H.264 (which can be based mostly on MPEG-4, however a special a part of it) have arrived and brought over, and except you’re coping with legacy information or a selected use case, you shouldn’t must cope with Xvid.

But it surely’s that rarity in needing to cope with them that may make them complicated to deal with, which is why we’re penning this information. If you happen to do end up with an Xvid file—which could possibly be in a format like MP4 or AVI—then the excellent news is that it needs to 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 widespread because it was. As we mentioned, Xvid is one thing of a throwback, again to the occasions once we all put optical discs inside gamers relatively than simply clicking round inside a streaming app.

Do you have to be struggling to play an Xvid file, VLC Media Participant is your only option—it might probably play an entire host of video codecs and codecs with out breaking a sweat, and if you happen to’re unable to get your file open on this app, it is probably not attainable to open it in any respect. QuickTime for macOS doesn’t assist Xvid video information, although they need to run fantastic within the Media Participant included with Home windows.

If it’s worthwhile to convert information from a format utilizing the Xvid codec, FFmpeg and Handbrake are the choices we’d counsel, although your probabilities of success will depend upon 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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