.DV File Extension

Digital Video File

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What is a DV file?

A DV file is a video recorded by various digital video (DV) cameras, including those manufactured by Sony, Panasonic, and JVC. It combines lossy-compressed video data using the DV codec with uncompressed audio data in the Digital Video Digital Interface Format (DV-DIF), the raw form of the DV format. During the 1990s and 2000s, many amateur and professional videographers recorded video with their camcorders in the DV format.

More Information

Screenshot of a .dv file in VideoLAN VLC media player 3
DV file open in VideoLAN VLC media player 3

The HD Digital VCR Association developed the DV format in 1994, and Sony, Panasonic, and JVC spearheaded a consortium of video manufacturers that launched the format a year later. It aimed to transition from analog to digital data, offering higher video resolution and improved audio quality.

Popularity and Decline

Amateur and professional users widely used the DV videotape format in the 1990s and 2000s. However, with advancements in camera technology favoring memory cards, solid-state drives for video storage, and more advanced video file formats, the use of DV tapes declined rapidly in the 2010s. Additionally, magnetic tape couldn't keep up with increasing video resolutions and bitrates.

DV Format

DV cameras record video data compressed with the DV codec and uncompressed audio data (4-track 12-bit 32 kHz or 2-track 16-bit 48 kHz) onto magnetic tape in DV cassettes. When transferring video to a computer from a camera via Firewire, the computer may save the data in various DV file formats. Examples include:

  • DV-DIF - The raw form of DV, not wrapped in a container, and stored as DV or .DIF files.
  • QuickTime-DV - Wrapped in the QuickTime container, primarily used on Macs.
  • DV-AVI - Wrapped in the Audio Video Interleave (.AVI) container, primarily used on Windows computers. There are two types: Type-1 (stores interleaved data as one stream) and Type-2 (splits interleaved data into entirely separate video and audio data streams).
  • MXF-DV - Wrapped in the Material Exchange Format (.MXF) container.

NOTE: If a DV file contains video saved in a program-specific format, programs that support DV files but not the program-specific format will likely not open it.

How to open a DV file

You can open a DV file with various video players and editors. For example, the free, cross-platform VideoLAN VLC media player allows you to play DV files.

If you are a Mac user, you can play DV files with Apple QuickTime Player or import them into a video project in Apple iMovie and edit them. Both of these programs are bundled with macOS.

How to convert a DV file

Various programs, including VideoLAN VLC media player and Kdenlive, can convert DV files to other file types.

For example, VLC media player can convert DV files to the following formats:

  • .MP4 - MPEG-4 Video
  • .WEBM - WebM Video
  • .TS - Video Transport Stream
  • .ASF - Advanced Systems Format
  • .OGG - Ogg Vorbis Audio
  • .MP3 - MP3 Audio
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Programs that open DV files

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the Digital Video file format and Mac, Windows, and Linux apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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