Tip #1468: Which is Better: WebM or MP4?

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1468: Which is Better: WebM or MP4?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

While royalty-free is compelling for some, most of the time, MP4 is a better choice.

The WebM logo.

Topic $TipTopic

There are a gazillion codecs out there. WebM is one of the newer ones. Is it better than MP4?

First, as we all know, “better” is a very squishy term.

  • MP4 is based on the 2001 QuickTime File Format and supports a vareity of codecs: AVC, HEVC/H.264, and H.264. It is essentially ubiquitous – and plays on everything from computers to Bic pens. (OK, maybe not Bic pens, but just about everything else.)
  • WebM is much newer, released in 2010. Both create files about the same size – assuming the compression software supports tweaking the settings. WebM file sizes can be smaller than MP4, depending upon compression settings.

While the image quality of WebM is reported as “better,” but most consumers probably wouldn’t notice. Essentially, image quality is a wash.


The big benefits to WebM are that it is royalty-free and newer. The big benefits to MP4 are virtually universal playback and full support in a wide variety of software.

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2 replies
  1. Philip Snyder
    Philip Snyder says:

    Hi Larry,
    Tried uploading a very short (1.5 minute) webM video to Vimeo. It would not initialize or load. Previously, I was able to upload an h.265 version of the same video to Vimeo without a problem.



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