Best video formats: Future proof your home movies with the best video file format

Best video formats: Future proof your home movies with the best video file format

So, you’re all set up with the best VHS to DVD converters and you’re ready to digitize your home movie collection to preserve all those precious memories. Sure, you can burn them onto DVDs and store them that way, but DVDs themselves are already approaching obsolescence. 

So why not keep your videos safe forever by storing them on your home computer in a video format? You could even pick up one of the best external hard drives to keep your videos stored on - it’ll take up a lot less space than the dozens of VHS tapes you currently have sat on a shelf. But which video format is the best option?

You want to be sure that your memories are going to last forever, and storing them in a format that no media player is going to be able to read in a few years puts you in the same position you are in now. Luckily, we’ve rounded up our list of the best video formats - these have been around for a long time already and they don’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon either.

1. H.264/MPEG-4 

The best option for users looking to store their home movies in a digital video format. H-264 compression combined with storage in the MPEG-4 file format is by far the leading compression and format combination in the industry today. 

Occasionally, you will see these formats offered as independent formats (MPEG-4 or H.264), but don’t worry, they’re the same thing. Major video services like YouTube and iTunes adhere to the H.264 standards. So basically it’s not going anywhere for a long time.


Both AVI and WMV were developed by Microsoft and both have been around for ages, with AVI first popping up in 1992. AVI was essentially replaced with WMV in the early 2000s, but both formats are still used and most video players will play files in either format. Both AVI and WMV store video files at high quality which is good for video playback, but it also means these files take up more space than competing formats. 

3. MOV

Just like Microsoft has its AVI and WMV, Apple created its own video format called MOV which was specifically designed to work with QuickTime Player. It’s worth saying that both MOV and AVI/WMV will work on opposing companies devices too - so you can play MOV files on a Windows computer, and WMV files on a Mac with no issues providing you have a compatible video player. Like WMV, MOV takes up quite a bit of storage space due to the lack of compression. Good for video quality, bad for hard drive space. 

Ian Stokes

Ian Stokes is the Tech Editor here at Top Ten Reviews. He has extensive experience in tech and games journalism, with work published on IGN, Kotaku UK, Waypoint, GamesRadar, Trusted Reviews, and many more. You'll find him covering everything from smartphones and home computers to 3D printers and headphones. He's also our resident cocktail expert.