AVI File Format Compression Pros and Cons - ByteScout
  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • AVI File Format Compression Pros and Cons

AVI File Format Compression Pros and Cons

Modern technologies offer the choice to capture, create, tweak, and share video content using digital technologies. A lot of video file structures or formats exist to pick from, and they all come with specific features and advantages. The leading formats include AVI, MPEG, and MP4.

  1. What is AVI file?
  2. History of AVI Format
  3. AVI Structure
  4. Opening the .AVI File
  5. Converting AVI
  6. Advantages of AVI compression
  7. Disadvantages of AVI compression
  8. MP4 Vs. AVi, Which Has The Best Video Quality?
  9. Is AVI a good video format?
  10. MP4 Vs. AVI
  11. Conclusion

AVI stands for Audio Video Interleaved. AVI is a video and audio file format used to store audio and/or video information digitally for playback purposes. AVI format enjoys built-in support in all the Microsoft’s Windows platform. AVI files have file extension .avi. Apart from Windows OS, AVI format is supported by all the major platforms. AVI works as a container to hold videos and audios created and compressed using several codecs like DivX and XviD. In this article, we have analyzed AVI pros and cons along with a small introduction to its history, structure, and conversion.

What is the AVI file?

Audio Video Interleave or AVI file is any file that has a .avi file extension. The format is usually employed as a format that has both audio and video. It is also the default Windows OS video format. A multimedia box that saves both video and audio utilizing different codecs such as XviD and DivX houses the file.

The file does not need substantial compression to store files and requires more space compared to other video formats like MOV and MPEG. However, you can create AVI files without using compression. This renders the file lossless and results in larger file sizes- about 2-3 GB/min of video. A lossless file retains its quality disregarding the number of times you open or save it. Also, you can pay the file back quickly without using any codecs.

What is .AVI?

You have a file that ends with the .avi file, and it requires specific applications to launch it. The .avi files can also be data files as against media or documents. This means they are not available for public view in the first place.

A lot of applications on the Mac platforms and Microsoft windows come with the support required to open and view the content of the .avi files. Not only that, but some Linux applications also support the opening of these files.

Other video editing applications also enable you to create videos in the format. That editing software also comes with specific features to manage the audio and video content in those .avi files.

History of AVI File Format

AVI file format was created by Microsoft in November 1992 with the intent of providing an advanced and robust audio and video file format for the Windows operating system. Microsoft used AVI as the file container for a new framework that added digital video playback to its OS. The company released AVI as an add-on for Windows 3.1. Within four years, the Maxtor OpenDML group developed a new file format extension for AVI (AVI 2.0).

AVI video file format became swept up in the rise of the Internet, allowing individuals to share video files. Today, AVI file format remains one of the most popular among different video formats. Both amateurs and professionals alike rely on it for video production.

In addition to using an AVI file format player like Windows Media Player, you can use some Web-based services, such as Google Drive, to play AVI files stored on the servers. This further encourages cloud-based media storage.

AVI Structure

AVI file format structure is based on the Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF). This file format allocates all the information in a particular file into blocks or “chunks”. Each chunk can be tagged as AVI. The AVI file itself then is divided into parts.

The structure of the AVI files is very simple. These files consist of at least two mandatory parts; a header followed by chunks of information. The header contains metadata of the file, such as the file size, frame rates, and similar characteristics, whereas chunks store actual audio and video information. The header is identified with the “hdrl” tag, while the audio/visual information is identified with the “movi” tag. Different codecs associated with different AVI compression schemes can encode or decode “movi” information.

Files using AVI file format sometimes have a third optional component. This third part indexes offsets. It is identified with the “idx1” tag.

Opening the .AVI File

Launch the file by double-clicking it. If the file connections are established appropriately, the default application will open it. However, you may have to download or buy the correct app. Not only that, you may have an existing app that can open the file on your device, but you are yet to sync the app with it. In this situation, instruct windows on the right application for opening that file. Subsequently, the .avi file will be opened by that default application.

Converting AVI

Some media viewers will let you save AVI files in a different format. But in most cases, you have to use a designated file converter to switch to other types of video formats. Many converters are free, and some are based online. Generally, you simply select or upload the AVI file, select the desired AVI file format, and then start the conversion by clicking “OK”, “Convert” or something similar. If not working online, you normally choose where to save the converted file before converting. If working online, you choose the save location when you download the converted file.

Advantages of AVI compression

Let us look into some of the advantages which AVI file format has over other ones.

  • There are lots of codecs currently available that can be used to achieve the desired ratio when you compress files online. Examples include DivX and XviD.
  • AVI video has exceptionally high-quality audio fidelity.
  • In order to make it compatible with the DV standard, DV-AVI standard can be compressed, unlike other audio/video formats.
  • AVI file format is developed by Windows, which makes it playable with all the major Microsoft and non-Microsoft operating systems.
  • Playable DVDs and disks can be created by using the AVI files in order to store initial audio/video information.
  • AVI file type does not require any particular hardware device or software application for the file to run. This automatically improves the number of individuals that can open AVI format files.
  • AVI is the most widely used AVI video format for promos, short movies, and advertisements owing to its compression capabilities. People are familiar with the format, recognize it, and know how to work with it.
  • The quality maintained with AVI is excellent for master files. You can lean on these master files to create files that meet a variety of sharing needs.

Disadvantages of AVI compression

  • If you compress AVI file online using some codecs, then in order to retrieve and play the file, the same codec must be installed on the machine. While installing a codec is a relatively simple process, many individuals can be frustrated trying to find the codec from a safe, reliable source. Even when those sources are available, users can find the interruption in the experience unsatisfactory.
  • AVI files, if uncompressed, can be very large in size as compared to the other file formats. You must be willing to trade disc space for the benefits of the AVI file and will not be able to store as many files.
  • If you compress AVI file online beyond certain limits, result in the loss of video quality. Given that modern viewers now are using screens capable of HD, Ultra HD and 4K, the tolerance for this loss of video quality might be decreasing.
  • The huge number of codecs available means that, even though good AVI compression is possible, you have to experiment to get the quality and compression you need.
  • AVI doesn’t support user interactivity (e.g., click to continue pauses).
  • AVI isn’t reliable for supporting softsubs. This is a type of subtitling where the playback device must combine the subtitle and video content as the media plays.

MP4 Vs. AVi, Which Has The Best Video Quality?

The first thing to put into consideration when making the comparison is quality. Which of the format possess the best quality? Both are container formats or wrappers for the audio codec, video codec, and other files. We won’t find the answer except we examine the differences between the two formats.

AVI relates to the DivX codec, which is known for compressing video into smaller sizes while maintaining high visual quality. MP4, on the other hand, is based on MOV- a lossy format that uses <PEG4 AVC/H.264 codec. This is why many individuals think AVI has better quality compared to MP4. Meanwhile, AVI can contain MPEG-4 video.

Is AVI a good video format?

It is another issue when comparing mp4 vs. AVI quality. While both are popular, AVI format is likely going to be utilized for Windows-based media players or other gadgets using the same codec. As a result of the large file size, the AVI file is rarely used for video streaming websites or portal devices. Mp4 format is utilized for all portal devices or video players, and they are used for compressing AV data for stream and web via the internet.

MP4 vs. AVI

In comparison, MP4 is widely used in different industries. You can utilize the AVI/MP4 converter to convert AVI to MP4 for iPad, iPhone, and other portal devices. The converted file can be useful for Youtube.

Another notable difference between MP4 and AVi is Advanced Audio Coding or AAC, which is the third part of the MPEG-4 standard. AAC is the audio compression in the MP3 format. MP4 is popular for its chapters and subtitles.


AVI is one of the most well-known audio-video formats. Still the best quality video format in many situations, AVI video format is holding its own compared to more modern video file formats. It is still widely supported and deserves consideration from any serious audio-video user or creator.


About the Author

ByteScout Team ByteScout Team of Writers ByteScout has a team of professional writers proficient in different technical topics. We select the best writers to cover interesting and trending topics for our readers. We love developers and we hope our articles help you learn about programming and programmers.