How Many File Formats Can Compressor Output To?

Apple Compressor is one of the leading video and audio conversion and encoding programs available today. Compressor's powerful optical flow technology makes encoding a single video file into multiple codecs or formats easier than ever. However, Compressor does not support all available formats when you purchase it from Apple. This article will give you information on the file types supported by Compressor and how to configure the program to be able to convert and encode in other popular video formats.

Out of the Box Video Format Support

Straight out of the box, Compressor provides all of the popular video formats that most Mac users will ever need. Of course, Compressor's preferred format is Apple's QuickTime Movie, and it is the default preference setting when encoding the video files. Nevertheless, Compressor does support other popular video formats, and below is a list of formats that Compressor can use to encode files without optional third-party plug-ins:

  • DV Stream
  • H.264 for Apple Devices
  • H.264 for DVD Studio Pro
  • MPEG-1
  • MPEG-2
  • MPEG-4, Part - 2
  • QuickTime Export Components
  • QuickTime Movie

Supported Image Sequence File Types

  • TIFF
  • OpenEXR
  • IFF
  • DPX

Compressor's Built-In Audio Format Support

In addition to native video codec support for the above file types, Apple Compressor also provides support for several audio formats right out of the box. Because MP3 is the most popular audio format used on the web today, Compressor naturally offers support these types of files and can be used to extract audio portions from a video and export it to a stand-alone MP3 file.

Compressor also offers support for Dolby Digital professional, which is commonly referred to as AC3. The AC3 format supports surround sound and is one of the most common audio formats used when authoring DVDs. However, for diehard Mac users, Apple's popular AIFF format is available for DVD authoring as well.

3rd Party Plug-Ins Offer More Options

While Apple Compressor adequately meets the needs of most Mac users, Windows users will probably find the program lacking in terms of support for all popular Windows video codecs and formats. Therefore, many users will be forced to turn to third-party plug-ins for encoding videos that will be viewed on some Windows machines.

If you're a fan of popular formats such as Windows Media Video (WMV) or Adobe's Flash Videos (FLV), there are several compressor plug-ins that will allow you to convert and encode videos using these file types. For instance, Telestream's Episode Series Encoder not only enables Compressor support for WMV and FLV files, it also allows you to convert and encode files using AVI, Real Media and 3GPP and hundreds of other popular formats.

The Telestream encoder plug-ins are expensive and range between $500 and $1000. However, there are other open source plug-ins that are available free of charge that do provide support for other file types in Compressor - albeit, they are not all-in-one solutions. Regardless, for almost any type of file format you can imagine, there is a plug-in made to enable Compressor to  convert or encode into that format. Doing a quick search on the Internet will turn up hundreds of links to sites where you can find popular plug-ins for Compressor.

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