Difference Between WMV and AVI

WMV and AVI are both commonly utilized video file formats for storing and sharing videos. However, there are a few important differences between the two formats.

The compression algorithms used by WMV and AVI differ significantly. WMV files use a highly efficient compression technology, resulting in high-quality video with reduced file sizes. AVI files use a less efficient compression approach, resulting in larger file sizes.

Read this article to find out more about WMV and AVI and how they are different from each other.

What is WMV?

Microsoft created the WMV (Windows Media Video) video format. It is a highly compressed video format meant to deliver high-quality video in reduced file sizes. WMV files are compatible with a wide range of devices and platforms, including Windows, Mac, and mobile devices.

  • To achieve its high compression rates, WMV uses a variety of video compression techniques, including motion compensation, variable-length coding, and inter-frame prediction. These strategies help decrease the amount of data needed to represent each frame of video, resulting in smaller file sizes and faster video playback.

  • WMV's very efficient compression method is one of its main features, allowing for high-quality video with smaller file sizes when compared to other video file formats. WMV is suitable for online streaming since it allows for faster video loading times and minimizes the amount of bandwidth required.

  • WMV also supports digital rights management (DRM) technology, which lets creators of content protect their intellectual property rights by restricting access to their videos. WMV is therefore a popular format for internet video distribution and content delivery networks.

  • Despite its popularity, WMV has limitations. One of its major disadvantages is that it is not as extensively supported as other video formats, particularly on platforms other than Windows. In addition, WMV files may sometimes be compatible when played on multiple devices or software programmes.

What is AVI?

AVI is an abbreviation for Audio Video Interleave, a multimedia container format created by Microsoft in 1992. The AVI format is designed to store audio and video data in a single file, allowing for simultaneous playing of both media types.

  • An AVI file is made up of two parts: the file header and the data streams. The file header contains information about the file, such as the file type, video codec, and audio codec. The data streams contain the real audio and video data.

  • AVI files have the problem of not supporting modern video compression technologies such as H.264 or HEVC. As a result, they may be less efficient in terms of file size than modern video formats. AVI files are also compatible with several common media players on mobile devices.

  • AVI files can also contain numerous audio and video streams, making them helpful for storing bilingual movies or audio commentaries. Closed captions and subtitles can also be supported.

  • AVI has some drawbacks, despite its widespread use. It cannot store high- definition video or audio, and its file size can be fairly huge. In addition, due to their age and limited capabilities, certain modern media players may not accept AVI files. In recent years, newer formats such as MP4, MKV, and MOV have become more popular because of their improved compression and support for modern codecs.

Difference between WMV and AVI

The following table highlights the major differences between WMV and AVI −




File Extension







It uses the Windows Media Video (WMV) codec.

It uses different codecs such as MPEG-4, H.264,and DivX.


WMV is compatible with Windows-based systems.

AVI is compatible with various platforms and systems.

Editing Compatibilities

It has limited editing compatibility.

It has more editing compatibility and flexibility.


WMV is suitable for streaming over the internet.

AVI files are suitable for streaming over the internet.


Less popular

It is more widely used and one of the oldest and most popular formats.

Full form

Windows Media Video

Audio Video Interleave


Close Source

Open Source


In conclusion, WMV and AVI are both video file formats with advantages and disadvantages. WMV is a highly compressed format that delivers high-quality video with reduced file sizes, making it perfect for online streaming and sharing on Windows-based systems. AVI is a widely supported format that can be played on a variety of devices and platforms, despite using less efficient compression and resulting in larger file sizes.

Finally, the choice between WMV and AVI depends on your personal needs and preferences, such as the intended use of the films, the devices and platforms on which the videos will be played, and the amount of storage space available.

Updated on: 17-Apr-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started