3GP -- 3GP is designed for effieciency to make it suitable for streaming across mobile phone networks and storing on mobile devices with very littel storage capacity. Video rarely exceeds a resolution of 320x240 (or 368x208 for widescreen), and is usually 176x144 or 176x120. Audio will usually be encoded as either MP3 or AAC-LC (Low Complexity). Framerates for most mobile devices are Limited to 15fps.
3ivX -- Video format based on MPEG-4 video standard with certain modifications. 3ivX is pretty popular format among Apple Mac users, because of its extensive support for Mac. In other hand, Windows users have stayed away from this format because in its original format, 3ivX had to be stored in QuickTime file structure instead of AVI file structure -- most of the Windows-based video editing tools don't support QuickTime, but either AVI or ASF instead.
AAC -- AAC is a MPEG (Motion Pictures Experts Group) audio standard first adopted as part of the MPEG-2 family of standards. Like its predecessor, MP3, AAC is a Lossy Compression format capable of delivering relatively high quality at relatively low bitrates.
AIFF -- Apple Computers developed this audio format to store very high quality audio. It stands for Audio Interchange File Format.
ASF -- Microsoft's new audio/video format, meant specifically for streaming purposes. It doesn't specify how the video or audio should be encoded, but instead just specifies the structure of the video/audio stream. This means that ASF files can be encoded with basically any audio/video codec and would still be in ASF format.
AUDIO_TS, VIDEO_TS -- Most DVDs have both a VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folder, but the AUDIO_TS folder is usually empty. The empty AUDIO_TS folder is normally required for the disc to be recognized as a working DVD. DVD-Audio would be stored in an AUDIO_TS folder but is a separate format to DVD-Video. DVD movie files are stored in the VIDEO_TS folder. The TS stands for "title set" and is part of DVD structure. The VIDEO_TS folder will hold all the pertinent information such as Informaton (IFO) and any backup (BUP) files that are necessary for the DVD to even be read.
DivX - A new legal version of DivX video encoding technology, released by company called DivXNetworks. DivX, like many other MPEG-4 formats, can be played with certain MPEG-4 compatible, stand-alone DVD/DivX players.
DRM -- DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. DRM doesn't mean just basic copy-protection of digital content (like ebooks, MP3s or DivX videos), but it basically means full protection for digital content, ranging from delivery to end user's ways to use the content. If we speak about music DRM, companies wish to develop a product which would allow record labels to sell copy-protected audio tracks over the Internet, so that only the buyer could be allowed to listen the tracks.
DVD, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW -- DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc. It is very often used as a replacement acronym for DVD-Video, which is one standard based on DVD format. DVD+R is a propietary recordable DVD format, developed by DVD+RW Alliance. DVD+RW is a propietary re-writable DVD format, developed by DVD+RW Alliance. DVD-R is a DVD recordable format. A DVD-RW is a rewritable optical disc with equal storage capacity to a DVD-R, typically 4.7 GB.
FLV -- FLV (Flash Video) is a proprietary file format used to deliver video over the Internet using Adobe Flash Player (formerly known as Macromedia Flash Player) version 6, 7, 8, or 9. FLV content may also be embedded within SWF files. Notable users of the FLV format include YouTube, Google Video, Reuters.com, Yahoo! Video and MySpace.
H.264 -- MPEG-4 Part 10 is a standard for video Compression. MPEG-4 Part 10 was designed specifically with High Definition (HD) video for home theater applications in mind as one potential application. It also includes specifications for lower quality video for portable devices, allowing a single standard to be compatible across a wide variety of devices and applications.
ISO -- ISO refers to a CD or DVD image file with an extension of ".iso". ISO is a file that contains full content of the disc, including every single track, directory, file and information about the structure of the disc (i.e. ISO files can't be used as they are, but they need to be either "mounted" with tools like Daemon Tools or burned to CD or DVD in order to see what files the disc image actually contains). Normally ISO files are being used to replicate existing CD/DVD discs, transfer those discs over the network to other location (or to other person) and burn back to CD/DVD which then would be an identical replica of the original disc.
M1V -- An MPEG-1 video stream file. The video stream has been demuxed from the complete transport stream and should be stripped of any audio. It can then be muxed with audio and subtitles, etc back to a complete transport stream.
M2V - M2V is short for MPEG-2 Packetized Elementary Stream. It is the MPEG-2 video stream file. MPEG-2 video streams are usually stripped from the audio so they can be multiplexed (muxed) with new audio and perhaps subtitles before being put into one new transport stream. An M2V stream is created by using a demultiplexing (demuxing) software from an existing MPEG-2 transport stream.
M4V -- The video file you have legally downloaded from the Apple iTunes store has the M4V extension. These files can be movies, TV shows or music videos and all will include Apple's FairPlay DRM copyright protection. Tp play these files, iTunes must authorize the video. If your file is unprotected however, you can change the file extension from ".m4v" to ".mp4" or play with the following list of software: Apple iTunes, QuickTime Player, RealNetworks RealPlayer, Media Player Classic and Miro. WMP cannot play these files.
MOV -- MOV/.mov is a video Container format for QuickTime. The multimedia container file can hold multiple tracks, audio, video, effects or text files. Each Track, regardless of type, has its own digitally-encoded media stream using a specific Codec. MP4 was based on Apples MOV (Quicktime) container, which they were already using for MPEG-4 content. Rather than using a different type of file for elementary (separate video and audio) streams, MOV and MP4 use the same container regardless of how many or what type of streams are stored in it. Apple's iTunes online music store made audio only MP4 files a common site for consumers. Although not all portable media players can read them, Apple's M4A extension (for audio only MP4 files) has become anonymous with audio.
MP3 -- MP3 stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer III. It is not a separate format, but a part of MPEG-1 video encoding format, developed by MPEG group in early 1990's. MPEG-1 Audio Layer III (MP3) is a method to store good quality audio into small files by using psychoacoustics in order to get rid of the data from the audio that most of the humans can't hear.
MP4 -- MP4 is the official multimedia container for MPEG-4 video and audio. Although such video can be stored in a number of modern containers, including MPEG-2 PS/TS and Matroska, the development of MP4 is important because it gives hobbyists a replacement for the outdated AVI container which became the standard for MPEG-4 ASP (DivX, XviD, 3IVX, etc,...) video.
MPEG-4 -- MPEG-4 is one of the latest (audio and video) compression method standardized by MPEG group, designed specially for low-bandwidth (less than 1.5MBit/sec bitrate) video/audio encoding purposes. Probably the best-known MPEG-4 video encoders are called DivX and XviD, which both are nowadays fully standard-compliant MPEG-4 encoders.
OGG -- Ogg is a free, open standard container format maintained by the Xiph.Org Foundation. The Ogg format is unrestricted by software patents and is designed to provide for efficient streaming and manipulation of high quality digital multimedia.
RM -- RealVideo is a streaming video format developed by RealNetworks.
RMVB - RMVB is one of the newest file formats created by Real Networks and it has grown a pretty large following since its introduction due to its smaller file sizes yet still comparable quality when compared to other formats such as Xvid and DivX. At one time RealVideo was a de facto standard for anime fansubs, which have been used by anime fans to distribute movies and TV shows to areas where they aren't otherwise available. RealVideo became popular because of its (then) superior quality at exceedingly low bitrates. That has changed however with the introduction of MKV, and other MP4 containers.
SWF - SWF, short for Shockwave Flash and pronounced "swif" is an open file format that was created and developed by Macromedia. Adobe then purchased Macromedia and SWF is available from the acquiring company now. The format was created to be small enough to publish animations and vector graphics on the Internet and for the most part does so. SWF is occasionally used to create .gifs and menus for DVD movies, as well as television commercials.
VCD -- VCD stands for VideoCD (version 2.0 to be more specific). VideoCD is a standard developed in early 1990's that allows regular CD to contain 74 minutes of video and audio. Both, video and audio, are encoded in MPEG-1 format and stored on the CD in specific format. VideoCDs can be played in most of the stand-alone DVD players, in all stand-alone VCD players and in all computers that have CD-ROM drive.
VOB -- VOB stands for DVD Video Object. It is basically one of the core files found on DVD-Video discs and contains the actual movie data. Basically VOB file is just a basic MPEG-2 system stream -- meaning that it is a file that contains multiplexed MPEG-2 video stream, audio streams (normally AC3 and DTS formats) and subtitle streams.
WAV -- WAV format is the standard Windows audio file format and it was originally jointly developed by Microsoft and IBM. Format itself doesn't specify any particular audio compression scheme, but actually supports several compression types. However, the most commonly used -- and the one people typically refer as ".wav file" -- is the one that uses IMA/ADPCM compression at 4:1 compression level for 16-bit sounds.
WMA -- WMA stands for Windows Media Audio. A proprietary audio format owned by Microsoft, part of Microsoft's Windows Media technology. Encapsulated in an ASF container, WMA has one ability that seems to attract more and more businesses and allows this format to stick around. That's the easy inclusion of DRM or Digital Rights Management directly into the WMA file. This ASF container also gives the WMA two file options. (.wma for strictly audio and .asf for features simliar to ID3 tags in MP3s).
WMV -- WMV stands for Windows Media Video -- developed and controlled by Microsoft. WMV is a generic name of Microsoft's video encoding solutions and doesn't necessarily define the technology what it uses -- since version 7 (WMV7) Microsoft has used its own flavour of MPEG-4 video encoding technology (not very surprising, it's not compatible with other MPEG-4 technologies..). DivX video format is originally based on hacked WMV codec.
XviD -- An open source MPEG-4 video codec project which was launched in 2001 to continue Project Mayo's open source DivX codec. Original DivX codec was not developed from the scratch, but was just a hacked version of Microsoft's WMV video codec. This version, best known as DivX v3.11 alpha (which was the last official version of the hacked codec), quickly became ridiculously popular among videofreaks all over the world. XviD, like many other MPEG-4 formats, can be played with certain MPEG-4 compatible, stand-alone DVD/DivX/XviD players