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What Is An MKV File And How Do You Play Them (2020)

When you are downloading online videos, you must have come across various file formats of videos. MKV file format is one of the most used formats for HD movies.

Similar to that of the MP4 and AVI file format, MKV is also widely used for storing large HD files to excellence.  

Let us see what MKV file formation is and how to play them on your PC, Smartphone, and any other devices.

What is an MKV File

MKV files are also called the Matroska Video files. These files are mainly useful for playing videos. The MKV is the implementation of a standard free container format called Matroska.

It helps store multimedia content in large files. This file format is mainly designed for storing videos with high quality and video subtitles.

MKV supports more number of audio and video codecs, so it is suitable for easily accessing every platform. These are also quite a suitable option for accessing the USF, SRT, and SSA subtitles.

The MKV is quite similar to that of the MOV, MP4, and AVI. This open standard video format was initially developed by Lasse Kärkkäinen and Steve Lhomme in 2002. The Matroska format is also called the Matryoshka doll in Russia.

What Is An MKV File And How Do You Play Them (2020)
  • MKV is free and does not require any licensing fees
  • MKV file format is easy to change with editing tools
  • Compact file size
  • MKV supports Internet and LAN streaming
  • Handles Variable Frame-rate video encoding (VFR)
  • Supports reliable error restoration features
  • Supports direct playback
  • Supports RTP and HTTP video streaming

With the use of this MKV file, it is easier to access several audios, pictures, videos, and even the subtitle tracks without any hassle. The restriction of license or patents does not cover MKV. Another most important factor is that MKV is supported by many players along with its special features such as

  • Multiple soundtracks
  • Subtitles
  • Multiple sound sources

MKV is also similar to other file formats, such as MP4 and many others. This MKV has a structured system mainly helpful for maintaining multimedia data. Therefore, it is a quite easier option for streaming the video/audio files along with the subtitles.

The MKV platform is also a quite easier option for storing multimedia files with information retrieval aspects. Since this is one of the universal formats, this is mainly useful for supporting the Codecs. MKV files store encoding methods so that the multimedia files are quite safer to access.

MKV formats are mainly useful for the HD videos as well as video streaming features online. In fact, the WebM format is also based on the Matroska container profile.

What Is An MKV File And How Do You Play Them

Why Use MKV

MKV is quite a popular option among users in the anime fan-subbing community. The main reason is that this is widely helpful for supporting multiple audios with subtitle tracks. MKV is not a video compression format, it is only a multimedia container format.

Of course, the MKV container files have been mainly designed for increasing performance and storing more data. Some of the key features of this MKV format files are-

  • Supports chapter, Menu, and Metadata
  • Fast seeking
  • Easier to choose audio and video streams
  • Compatibility for online video streaming
  • Subtitle support for both the hard-coded and soft-coded
  • Error recovery feature is mainly included as it allows playback of the corrupted files
  • MKV supports all audio and video formats
  • Highly adaptive
  • Easy to use

What Applications Can Access the MKV File Format

  • VLC Media Player
  • Nero Burning ROM 2017
  • Winamp player
  • KM player
  • Cyber link Power DVD
  • Media Player Classic Beta

How Do You Play MKV files on Windows OS

MKV is not the industry standard platform, so, all the media players do not support it. For playing MKV files, you can use an MKV-compatible media player. Alternatively, you can download appropriate Codecs for Multimedia players.

  • Choose MKV file
  • Right-click the MKV file format
  • Choose “Open with option.”
  • Click default program
  • Choose Media Player Classic if default program option is not available
  • Click VLC media player in the list of program
  • Click ok

When the MKV supported software is not available, then you can simply download and install the file format from the internet.

How to Open the MKV File in MAC OS X

Accessing MKV files on Mac OS X is quite a simple process as you can simply follow the below instructions

  • Choose MKV file
  • Right-click MKV
  • Click “Open with option.”
  • Select default program
  • Choose VLC Player, iTunes, Mplayer in the list of the program if you can not find the default program
  • Click ok

How to Convert MKV File

For converting the MKV file, you can simply use free video file converters as this is quite an efficient option for gaining better access. Usually, the video files are large, hence, it is important to use online MKV converters such as ConvertFiles- which is the most recommended option.

Alternatively, programs such as Freemake Video Converter are also good for converting MKV into an AVI, MOV, MP4, or DVD file. Therefore, it is quite a simple option for easily converting the file into the preferred format with the use of Freemake Video Converter.

How to Edit MKV Files

MKV file format allows the user to edit video files instantly. It is easier to add or remove subtitles from the video file. Another most important aspect is that the MKV file format allows the user to add chapters for the preferred video.

There are various tools available for quick editing features, such as the MKVToolNix program. The MKVToolNix program supports various subtitle formats such as PGS/SUP, SRT, VobSub as well as SSA. Users can simply add or even delete the subtitles in the soft-coded MKV file.

Chapter Editor also comes with a program allowing you to quickly start and end the custom video chapters.

  • Use the GUI version of MKVToolNix
  • Edit length of MKV file
  • Cut out portions of the video
  • Merge several MKV videos

How to Use VLC Media Player to Open an MKV File

Most people like to use the quicker option for accessing MKV file formats. The VLC media player is the best option for playing MKV files. The main reason is that the VLC media player has built-in support. There is no need to install any extra plug-in for the VLC media player to play MKV files.

Downloading and installing the VLC player is also quite easy. If you do not have the VLC player in your Windows OS or Mac OS, then you can simply follow the below instructions.

  • Access the VLC website
  • Download VLC file to install
  • Free to install the VLC software
  • Within 2 minutes, the entire installation process will be done
  • Open the MKV files
  • VLC associate with all supported video and audio formats

Make VLC Player as the Default Option for Playing the Video Files

  • Right-click the MKV file
  • Point to “Open With”
  • Choose “VLC Media Player”

For making the VLC Media player as the default option for watching any movies or videos on MKV files, follow the below instructions

  • Right-click any MKV file
  • Click “Open With”
  • Click “Choose Another App”

How to Copy MKV Files with VLC Media Player

  • Download VLC from the official site
  • Install VLC on your PC, Laptop or Smartphone device
  • Run VLC on the gadget
  • Add MKV files
  • Drag-n-drop option
  • Transfer videos from a PC into the app using iTunes
  • Sync your device to apply the changes
  • Click the Play button
  • Start the playback

How to Make VLC the Default Player for MKV Files on Windows

  • Double click MKV to open
  • Click “Open With option.”
  • Click “Choose another App”
  • Choose VLC player from the list of software
  • Click “Always use this app to open .mkv files.”
  • Click the "Ok" button
  • Save the changes
  • MKV files will be opened in VLC

How to Make VLC Player Default for MKV Files on Mac OS

  • Open Finder
  • Choose MKV file
  • Select Get Info
  • Right-click on the file
  • Select Triangle Sign next in the “Info window.”
  • Open “with option.”
  • Click VLC from the app list
  • Open MKV files with VLC
  • Click “Change All”

Use of Media Codecs to Play MKV Files on both PC and MAC

Codecs are computer programs mainly used for encoding or decoding the digital media files. For plating the MKV files, it is quite essential to use the Codecs. You can find several codecs online for free.

  • Codecs are easier to use as a favourite media player
  • Easier to play all video files
  • Provides you with a better option to reproduce a wide variety of audio and video files
  • Codecs support more multimedia files


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About the Author

Piyush Kashyap is a Ph.D student at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur. He is a budding editor/ writer and has been working as a part-time reviewer for online content. He loves to read tech-based articles and has a knack for reviewing such articles He likes to stay updated about the latest trends in technology. He has also been working as a reviewer for many scientific journals. He also writes articles based on science. Know More About Piyush

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