What is MKV Format?

What is MKV Format?

Last updated on December 28, 2015 by

MKV, less known as Matroska Video, is a free standard container format that can hold a wide range of video, audio and subtitle tracks in one file. This file type was developed back in 1992 in Russia. Steve Lhomme, the founder of Matroska as well as a group of programmers had facilitated its development. The name Matroska is originated from the Russian word “matryoshka”, which means the hollow “Russian Dolls”. Like other containers, such as AVI, MP4 or ASF (Advanced Systems Format), MKV is similar to those formats regarding the concept of storing multimedia content but it differentiates from them because it is entirely open in the specification.

Filename Extension: MKV

Category: Video File

Popularity: Very popular among movie fans

Developer: Steve Lhomme

Technical Details of MKV Format

  • This file format is derived from a project named MCF (Multimedia Container Format), the first project created for an open media container that is able to pack videos, audios and subtitles in one file.
  • Typically, Matroska file has four series for different files. They are MKA for audio files, MKS for subtitle files, MK3D for stereoscopic 3D video and MKV for video with audio and subtitles.
  • MKV is not an audio or video compression codec but a container format that can save many audio, video and subtitles in a single file. Users can use it to store a complete movie or CD.
  • As an open source item, it can be free to use personally for the technical info describing the original data is open to everyone, even to commercial groups that intend to support it in their products.
  • MKV is error-resilient. It can recover playback even if the file is corrupted.

Comparison – MKV and HEVC MKV

As we know by now, MKV can hold different media streams that come in different type of codec and the most common one is H.264 or AVC. Another video coding format that can be stored in MKV is H.265 or High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), which is the successor of H.264. Before we go further into the comparison, Let’s see the difference between H.264/AVC and H.265/HEVC.


H.264 and H.265: H.264 or AVC is the mainstream format for video compression currently. It is widely used in streaming video sites like YouTube and Vimeo, Blu-ray discs, and also HDTV broadcasts over cable and satellite. HVEC is better in this area since it supports web streaming and broadcast of Ultra HD videos, as well as 4K and 2K. H.264 supports up to 4K and 59.94 fps only, while HVEC supports up to 8K and 300 fps.


H.264 MKV VS. HEVC MKV: HEVC MKV means MKV files with HEVC codec. MKV files encoded in HEVC format has a lower bit rate than an H.264 MKV file, therefore, it can reduce the file size to 40-50% smaller than the H.264 file while still retains the video quality to the same file in H.264 format. However, due to the immature technology of HEVC, support for HEVC MKV is limited as compared to H.264 MKV at present since H.264 is still one of the most popular formats used in the compression of videos. But we are fully confident that the devices or applications available for HEVC MKV format are continuously growing because of its advanced features.

Players That Can Open MKV Files

VLC Media PlayerVLC Media Player – VLC Media Player is an open-source, cross-platform and portable media player which is the best tool to play MKV files. It has support to almost all types of audio and video formats. You don’t need to download extra codecs to play files in this format.

Final Media PlayerFinal Media Player – Aside from MKV, Final Media Player can also play 40 other video formats together with more than 40 audio formats. However, it’s only compatible with computers running Windows 8, 8.1, Vista and XP.

5K Player5KPlayer – 5K Player comes with a basic user interface that’s easy to understand. This application features additional functions including free song downloads, DVD and music playback.

MPlayerMPlayer – MPlayer can play a variety of media formats including physical media, container formats, video formats, audio format, subtitle formats, image formats, etc. Free and open source media player as it is, it can run on multiple platforms.

DivX Plus PlayerDivX Plus Player – DivX Plus Player is a program that’s not only compatible with MKV files but also play them in a good way. However, it is designed for commercial use. Users will be charged if they want to make use of this software for MKV playback.

All-in-One Solutions for MKV video entertainment


Add subtitles to MKV videos – Subtitles are very important for one to understand the story the movie tells. Sometimes the MKV movie we downloaded from video sites or purchased from store is not incorporated with built-in subtitles. This is really a frustrating experience for movie enjoyment. To make this no more a problem, we can add the corresponding subtitle tracks to the movie.


Extract subtitles from MKV files – MKV can include video, audio and subtitles in one file. If you want to save the subtitles from the movie for other use, you can extract it from the video through two easy methods.


Play MKV on Samsung TV – According to Samsung official website, the Samsung TV is able to play all media file types, such as the MKV format but some of the MKV files are not accepted by the TV because of incompatibility issues. For example, if the Dolby True audio is included in the MKV file, the TV will fail to support its playback. Thus, you’d better change the audio files into the one that your TV can recognize or just convert the whole file into another popular format.


Play MKV on Mac – MKV file format is not friendly with Mac OS. You need to download standalone player programs to play it on Mac. There are some other ways that can help you play MKV files on Mac if you would like to view it with its included media player QuickTime Player.

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Posted by:Apowersofton toVideo Converter.Last updated on December 28, 2015

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