Digital container format

A container file or just a container ( from the English container for container ) is in digital data processing a file, which in turn can contain different files and file types. As a container format, however, the manner of arrangement is referred to as disparate data formats are stored within a container - that is, the internal structure of a container file. The possibilities of different container formats differ greatly from each other. The simplest case of a container is the Merge multiple files into one (often compressed ) archive file, such as in ZIP or TAR format.

Based on the concept of the container format is often used in the sense that the data contained in it provide a meaningful whole - for example, the video data in such a way with audio data merge that they result in a playable film or to combine text with images, and other information that they have a compound document arise.

Media container

Containers usually contain data of different codecs. The widespread AVI container can contain, for example, one image taken by the Xvid codec MPEG -4 video track and one created with LAME MP3 audio track. Some container formats can also contain other data such as subtitles, menu structures or additional audio tracks. Other container formats other hand, can contain only audio data. For example, contain RIFF WAVE container usually an uncompressed audio track (mostly in PCM coding ); However, MP3 -coded audio data are also possible.

The merging of the audio and video tracks in a container file of a particular container format is handled by a multiplexer. When playing the tracks corresponding by a demultiplexer (also called splitters ) separated again in order to be then decoded by the respective codec can.


Audio-/Video-Containerformate can at least contain an audio and video stream. Some formats also allow the embedding of subtitles (such as VOB, MP4, MKV ), menu structures (eg, VOB, MP4, DMF) or other content.

Other container formats

Note: Audio-only container formats can contain any video data.