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AVCHD is a format that was specifically developed by Sony and Panasonic and is frequently used in their (and other’s) camcorders. It is most easily recognized by the unique file extensions that it uses – MTS or M2TS.
Just like any format, AVCHD isn’t ‘perfect’ – and it has advantages and disadvantages compared to the other options out there.
Advantages of AVCHD
Overall the main reason why AVCHD is popular nowadays is because it is widely used in camcorders and other video recorders. That is due to the advantages that it possesses:
- High quality video that is standardized and supports 720p50/60, 1080i50/60 and 1080p50/60 to mirror broadcast and HD standards.
- Compatibility with AVCHD devices such as Blu-ray players due to the standardization present in the format. Not all Blu-ray players support AVCHD however, and the ones that do will have its logo on the player.
- Decent compression due to the use of the H.264 codec, although MP4 with H.264 is generally better at compression. On top of that newer codecs such as HEVC (H.265) are far more efficient.
- High quality audio due to the use of the Dolby AC-3 codec that is generally better than the AAC-LC codec used in MP4 videos.
- Allows a single clip to span multiple files by using metadata. That enables longer high quality videos to be recorded and stored while still acting as a single clip.
Overall the main advantage of AVCHD is its standardization and its support by Blu-ray players. It can be burned onto a DVD, Blu-ray disc, or memory stick and be played on devices that support it without any issues.
Disadvantages of AVCHD
As mentioned AVCHD isn’t perfect and there are several main disadvantages that often result in other formats being used instead:
- Not as widely supported on other devices compared to formats such as MP4 with H.264 despite its support on Blu-ray.
- Standardization can be restrictive if you want to specifically create videos that are outside of the normal HD standards, or that use a different frame rate.
- Does not currently support 4K video which is quickly growing in popularity and is likely to eventually become the new video standard.
Because of these disadvantages, there will undoubtedly be situations where it will be necessary to convert AVCHD to MP4, and for example you can use Online Video Converter to do that. Because of the similarities between the formats it does translate well, and you shouldn’t have any issues. At the end of the day AVCHD is good at what it does – recording high quality video and enabling it to be played back easily. However for online use and distribution, a more versatile format is often a better option.