F4V files are variants of the original flash (flv) file format and is effectively a flash renamed MP4 file. It supports H.264 offering which offers much greater compression than previously. The F4V file type is based on the ISO base media file format and supports the Flash player 9 update 3. F4V files cannot be played on iOS Apple devices, however they can be played through most browsers that support Flash.
Flash developers are actively encouraging developers to move towards F4V and away from the older FLV format. There are limitations with the old FLV structure when streaming H.264 or AAC which is now overcome by the F4V file type. As F4V is based on the ISO base media file format which defines a general structure for time based multimedia files such as audio and video. This baseline is used for other container formats such as MP4 and 3GP.
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MP3 is a digital music format which allows CD tracks to be reduced to around a tenth of their normal size without a significant loss of quality. MP3 gets rid of a lot of the information recorded in a song that our ears are not able to hear and then uses complex algorithms to reduce the file size. This then enables you to get hundreds of songs on to a CD and it also has opened up a new market over the internet - the download market as download times have been significantly reduced.
The MP3 format is a lossy format. That means that an MP3 file does not contain 100% of the original audio information. Instead, MP3 files use perceptual coding. In other words, that means it removes the information that your ear doesn't notice thereby making the file smaller. The reason lossy formats are used over RAW is that RAW audio files are too large to travel over the internet at any great speed. By using lossy formats it enables even dial up users to download mp3 files at a reasonable speed. RAW file formats generally require 176,000 bytes per second compared to a lossy format which requires 17,600. The difference is massive and so are the download times.