If you happen to have visited Sim Lim Square in recent weeks you’ll come across multimedia players claiming to support a new format — MP5. So what is MP5? When it comes to multimedia players, MP5 does not refer to the submachine gun in FPS games.

MP5 is not MP5

So, what is MP5 then?

MP5 actually refers to RMVB (RealMedia Variable Bitrate), a multimedia container format from RealNetworks. The reason why it was given the name MP5 is probably due to Chinese manufacturers wanting to simplify the names of the different formats supported on their devices, as the MP3 and MP4 formats are already widely known to consumers.

Somehow it just manages to confuse people that MP5 is a more superior format than MP3 and MP4, but in fact they are just different names for container and encoding formats for multimedia.

RMVB is one of the most widely used encoding formats for asian language shows seeded on BitTorrent trackers from Mainland China. If you have been a downloader of such shows then you will know that it is the most common format used.

With such devices entering the market, it makes watching RMVB encoded shows easier on players as there is no need to convert the files to a different supported format. If you’re shopping for a multimedia player right now, it’s also wiser to get one with MP5 support to ensure maximum compatibility.