WebM is an open, royalty-free media file format designed for the web. WebM files consist of video streams compressed with the VP8 or VP9 video codecs and audio streams compressed with the Vorbis or Opus codecs.
Table of Contents
What is WebM?
Some key things to know about the WebM file format:
- Developed by Google to be an open standard for web video
- Uses VP8/VP9 video codecs and Vorbis/Opus audio codecs
- Small file size while maintaining high visual quality
- Supported by most major web browsers including Chrome, Firefox and Opera
- Widely used by sites like YouTube and Vimeo for HTML5 video
- Open source and royalty-free
- Optimized for web delivery
- Supported by HTML5 video tag
- Higher quality than MP4 at same resolutions
Playing WebM Files
There are a few easy ways to play WebM video files:
Use a Web Browser
Most modern web browsers can play WebM videos without needing additional software.
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
- Microsoft Edge
To play a WebM in your browser:
- Open your browser
- Go to File > Open File (Ctrl + O on Windows/Linux or ⌘ + O on Mac)
- Select the WebM file and open it
- The video should start playing automatically
Use a Media Player
Common media players like VLC, Windows Media Player, QuickTime and others include native support for WebM.
Steps to play in VLC:
- Download and install VLC Media Player
- Launch VLC
- Go to Media > Open File or hit Ctrl + O (Windows/Linux) or ⌘ + O (Mac)
- Choose your WebM file and click Open
- Video will begin playing
You can also just drag and drop WebM files directly onto an open VLC window.
Use Online Converters
If you need to quickly play a WebM but don’t have the right software installed, try an online file converter.
Many converter sites like Online-Convert allow you to upload a WebM file which will then be played in your web browser. This lets you watch the video without needing to install anything.
Most online converters also let you download the file in a different format after uploading.
Convert WebM to MP4
Since MP4 has wider device/platform support than WebM, you may want to convert your WebM videos to MP4. This allows you to play the videos on more media players, smart TVs, mobiles devices and other gadgets.
Benefits of Converting to MP4:
- Play videos on wider range of devices
- Upload videos to more video sharing sites
- Edit videos using more software tools
Here are some easy ways to convert WebM to MP4:
Use Online Converter Tools
The easiest way is to use a free online video converter like CloudConvert.
- Go to https://cloudconvert.com/webm-to-mp4
- Upload your WebM file
- It will automatically convert to MP4
- Download the converted MP4
Use Desktop Software
For batch converting many WebM files, a desktop app like HandBrake is better than online tools.
HandBrake is a 100% free and open source video converter available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
- Download and install HandBrake
- Open the application
- Click “File” and select the WebM video
- Click on the format dropdown and choose MP4
- Hit the Encode button to convert
The process is quick and easy – just make sure to choose MP4 from the format options when encoding.
Use Command Line Tools
On Linux and Mac it’s also possible to convert WebM to MP4 using command line tools like FFmpeg.
The basic FFmpeg command is:
ffmpeg -i input.webm output.mp4
input.webm is your source WebM file and
output.mp4 is the converted MP4 output.
There are also additional FFmpeg options you can use to adjust the encoding settings.
Playing WebM on Mobile Devices
Most modern smartphones and tablets can play WebM videos without any extra software or conversion needed:
- Android 4.0+ has native support for WebM
- iPhone/iPad can play WebM using the OPlayer app
- Windows Phone 8.1+ supports WebM playback
So uploading WebM videos to video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo works great for mobile viewers.
If you need to play WebM on older mobile devices, converting to MP4 is recommended.
The WebM format is ideal for sharing web video due to its open nature, small file sizes and HTML5 browser support.
Hopefully this guide has helped explain exactly what WebM video files are as well as showing the main options available for playing WebM files on both desktop and mobile devices. Let us know if you have any other questions!