Blackberry phones have been multimedia devices since the introduction of the Blackberry Curve. One of the biggest attractions for consumers to the newer generation of Blackberry smartphones is their ability to play videos. However, figuring out what video formats do and don't play on your Blackberry can be a bit tricky.
MPEG 4 Video
The native video format for Blackberry smartphones is the MPEG-4 format. This is a video and audio encoding standard that is common but not quite a universal standard on par with Adobe Flash Video (FLV). However, Blackberry's media management tool -- Blackberry Desktop Software -- includes a video transcoding utility that can convert most video formats to MPEG-4. MPEG-4 represents a standard for video playback and has several containers that synchronize video and audio files.
MPEG 4 Containers
According to feedback from Blackberry users, the most common MPEG-4 container used on Blackberry smartphones is the 3GP container; the MOV format is a close second. These are also the two default options when transcoding video with the Blackberry Desktop Software. Other popular containers include the MP4, M4A and M4V formats.
Other Video Formats
Blackberry smartphones can play back Windows Media Video (WMV), however, this file type is rarely used because the resulting video file is larger than if other file types, such as MP4, had been used to compress the same video. Very high-end video formats such as AVI files (Apple Quicktime) can also be played on a Blackberry smartphone. Conversely, clips from YouTube and Google Videos do not work on Blackberry smartphones, and neither do the native video formats for Sony PSP videos or Apple iPod videos, although both can be transcoded to MP4s for local playback. YouTube videos and Google Videos that can be saved to a desktop PC can also be transcoded to MP4s for playback on a Blackberry smartphone.
Blackberry smartphones cannot play FLV files natively, though the Blackberry Desktop Software can transcode FLV files into an MP4 format the Blackberry can play. There are also serious limitations on playable file sizes for video on Blackberry smartphones; there is some variation with Blackberry smartphone models, but according to the Blackberry Multimedia Manual videos larger than 3 or 4 MB generally don't play on a Blackberry Smartphone.
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