Just how easy is it to find free MP4 videos? Well, there’s certainly no lack of video content covering nearly every category imaginable online. And over 180 million people in the United States watched 40 billion videos in January 2012. But finding that special combination of both MP4 and free together may be more challenging than you might first think.
The MP4 file format is popular because its high quality video can be packaged in a small size, making it ideal to be sent over the Internet quickly. It’s also a preferred format for many smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.
HOW DO YOU KNOW THE VIDEO ON THE WEB IS MP4?
Typically, you don’t. There isn’t a quick way to identify the format online. Occasionally the file type is displayed at the bottom of the frame along with other tools such as resolution and screen size selections. If so, you’re lucky.
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Once you find MP4 videos online use RealPlayer to download and save them on your computer. Then watch the videos whenever you want.
There may be additional information through a settings pop-up menu. Even that information can be misleading because you’re watching the video through your browser’s video plug-in. Usually referencing the Adobe Flash (FLV) player. The native file format the video is stored and can be downloaded in can be different.
Being able to choose HD or resolutions of 720p or 1080p is a good clue that MP4 video is available. Most of the time, the only way to be sure its MP4 is to download and look at the clip info in the library or when playing back. If the downloaded video isn’t MP4, RealPlayer can convert FLV to MP4. That’s great because MP4 is an ideal format for transfer to many smart phones, tablets and other mobile device, or to share with others.
Some websites do offer a choice of formats to download.
For the brave of heart, there are some hacks and special URL address routines that can uncover and extract MP4 files from some of the more popular social video websites. They’re on the Internet for you to experiment with, but we’re not delving into that complexity.
SEARCHING ONLINE FOR FREE MP4 VIDEOS
Typing in “free mp4 videos” or “mp4 video websites” to your search engine isn’t the best way to go. You’ll get millions of hits. Many are worthless links to file format converters or sites claiming to offer free movies.
Strangely, using “free videos” as your search does result in several worthwhile sources. Some sites like Metacafe, Dailymotion and OVGuide will appear, which do have many free MP4 videos on a variety of topics.
CONTENT – YOUR GUIDE TO FINDING FREE MP4 VIDEOS
Rather than chopping through a jungle of search results trying to match “free MP4 videos” with what you want, search by topic. Are you looking for music videos, do-it-yourself, a particular subject for education or training, sports, TV shows, movies or what?
That way you can at least focus on your interests, then see if the videos are free to download, and if they are the MP4 file format. I quickly found free video guitar lessons, video lectures from several colleges, tutorials on media production and technology reviews just to mention a few.
CAUTION: COMMERCIALS AND FREE MOVIES
Due to restrictions imposed by the website, sometimes the video you think you’re downloading is really only an advertisement preceding the actual video clip.
That commercial may be in MP4, but that’s not much help. Attempting to download clips from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” is an example. Ehow, VH1, Hulu and others also practice this. It is possible to download YouTube videos as MP4, but some videos may be copyright protected. Reputable software will prevent you from downloading protected content.
If you are searching the Internet to download free MP4 movies, especially first-run feature films, plan on being disappointed. You will absolutely find those sites claiming such content is available, but beware: Hollywood does not give away its livelihood for free.
Some of the sites are strictly bogus. Others have disclaimers saying they are only providing links to other sites so you can backup movies you supposedly already own. They also may require you to download some nebulous software to continue. Still others are scams to entice into buying insurance or some other product. There are also sites that don’t allow access because of the country (United States) you’re in.
But, don’t be dissuaded from pursuing free MP4 videos. They are out there, and available through completely legitimate providers. Until every site offers MP4, it will take some effort to find those videos, but you will.
Please feel free to share your tips to finding free MP4 videos below.