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Popular iPad 2 Video Formats Explained

As we took a look at several DVD to iPad 2 converter and iPad 2 video converter software applications, we discussed several different video and audio formats, such as H.264, MPEG-4, QuickTime, MP3, M4A and others. We’d like to take a closer look to give you a better understanding of the popular video and audio format supported by the iPad 2.

iPad 2 Video Basics

The video frame size, or aspect ratio, such as 640 x 480, measures the width (640) by the height (480), in lines of pixel resolution. All of the DVD to iPad 2 converter apps change the size of the final video format, depending on the size of the iPad’s screen. However, all iPads will play back multiple video frame sizes.

The frame rate refers to the playback of individual video frames per second (fps). The North American frame rate standard is 30 fps (known as NTSC or National Television System Committee), while in Europe it’s 25 fps (known as PAL or Phase Alternate Line). Motion pictures are recorded and played back at 24 fps all over the world.

There are a few types of high-definition (HD) video: 720p (with a frame size of 1280 x 720, progressive scan) and 1080i or 1080p (frame size of 1920 x 1080, progressive scan or interlaced). The highest possible resolution is 1080p, compared to 1080i and 720p. HD’s aspect ratio is 16 x 9, or widescreen.

Standard definition (SD) was for years the only common way to watch television programming, DVDs and VHS tapes, until the rise of HD in the early 2000s. The NTSC frame size is 720 x 480, though it can also be 640 x 480. With PAL video in Europe, the frame size is slightly bigger at 720 x 576. SD’s aspect ratio is 4 x 3, or full screen.

iPad 2 Video Format

Keep in mind these are specifically for Apple computers running DVD to iPad 2 converter software. While some of the software we looked at can create Windows Media (WMV) and AVI video formats, among others, they aren’t supported by the iPad.

QuickTime: Apple’s premiere video and audio encoding format is commonly used by both professionals and consumers alike for production purposes and delivery. There are many encoding options that are a part of QuickTime, including H.264, MPEG-4 and others. The two formats below are QuickTime video codecs, which are compatible with the iPad.

MPEG-4 (MP4): A very popular format for video and audio encoding, MPEG-4 is part of a wide variety of production and delivery applications, from professional and consumer high-definition video cameras, to distribution of home media, mobile video and broadcast television. There are variations to the format, including the popular H.264.

H.264 (a.k.a. MPEG-4 AVC, Part 10): H.264 is fast becoming an ideal video format for delivery, such as videos on the iTunes Store, Blu-ray discs, YouTube, satellite TV and others. It is also known as MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding). Many video professionals also use H.264 for general video and web delivery, due to its high quality but lower bit rate, making the resulting video sizes small. M4V is the Apple video and audio standard for iTunes Store video and movie purchases and is based on H.264.

iPad 2 Audio Format

Like video codecs, there are numerous audio formats available. We’re looking at the most common ones that are supported by the iPad 2.

MP3: MP3, also known as MPEG-2 Audio Layer 3, is perhaps the most common audio format for web and device delivery. However, when audio is compressed too much when creating an MP3, the sound quality is greatly diminished. Some would even argue that a properly compressed MP3 is inferior to other audio formats.

AAC: AAC, or Advanced Audio Coding, is generally considered the “new MP3,” since it compresses at a similar bit rate but maintains higher sound quality. The resulting file sizes aren’t as large as uncompressed audio, which makes it an attractive audio format when ripping CDs or sound from a DVD.

M4A: This is the audio MPEG-4 format (specifically, MPEG-4 Audio), which maintains great sound quality without a large file size.

WAV: Also known as Waveform Audio File Format, WAV is similar to the AIFF audio format and is considered a very high-quality codec since it supports completely uncompressed audio. This may mean terrific sound quality, but the file sizes are very large. It’s used on Windows computers.

AIFF: AIFF, Audio Interchange File Format, is similar to WAV in that it supports uncompressed audio. It’s mostly used on Apple computers.

We hope this tutorial on video and audio formats will help you to decide which format is best for your iPad. We recommend using either MPEG-4 or H.264 for your video formats, and AAC for audio, regardless of the iPad you own.

Though there are a limited number of video and audio formats supported by the iPad 2, the available options are still great for creating the best possible visual and sound experience. You can also convert them to iPad video format with 3rd-party iPad 2 video converters.