3GP and 3G2

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3gp is the name of a video file format for mobile devices such as mobile phones 3rd generation or PDAs. This format has been specified by the 3GPP organization. Files of this format have the file name extension " .3 gp ". It is used in UMTS.

The video file format used in the context of 3GPP2 for mobile phones after the CDMA2000 is functionally similar to 3gp and has the file extension " .3 g2 ".


In the 3gp format is a so-called container format that is largely based on MPEG- 4 Part 12. Within this container the actual video data, in addition to control information and the audio channel included. The format allows for two audio and three video codecs:

  • Video: MPEG -4 Part 2 or H.263 or H.264, with H.264 does not work on all mobile phones
  • Audio: AMR, AMR -WB and AAC -LC

The MIME type ( content-type ) this type of file is " video/3gpp " ( audio and / or video data) or " audio/3gpp " ( audio only ). Note that a message sent from a web server " video/3gpp " file can contain both audio only as well as audio and video data. A conversion from 3gp files to other formats (and vice versa) can be done for example by means of computer programs HDX4, MEncoder, Pinnacle Studio or FFmpeg.


Using the format found inter alia in the recording of their own video clips with the video function of the mobile phone camera in mobile videos to download at a cellular or mobile entertainment providers as well as for video content in multimedia messaging service (MMS). Therefore, the resolutions 128 × 96, 176 × 144, 220 × 176, 320 × 240 pixels and are mainly still some undocumented other sizes used as image sizes. It must be noted that the terminal supports the size used. Important for this is not only the screen resolution, but also the ability of the built-in media player to deal with the appropriate size. For this reason, and the different support of the above audio and video codecs means a specified " 3gp - ability " of a terminal does not automatically mean that every 3gp video also running on this device. What is needed to support the codec used and the associated parameters (such as resolution or bit rate) is crucial. Automatic detection systems with wireless providers or premium providers but make sure that without intervention by the user in the correct format is provided (Handset Detection).

The format offers 3gp the ability to regulate by the DRM system like on PCs system to distribute the temporal availability of video files. Further details can be found in the 3GPP TS 26 234 ( up to Release 5) and 3GPP TS 26 244 (Release 6).

Film data in 3gp format can use the freely available open source player VLC media player or slogan - be played directly and with other free closed-source players like QuickTime and RealPlayer - eg on the distribution Xubuntu. Even more open source projects like MPlayer or video editing software Avidemux are capable of.