If you love watching movies and television shows, you probably came across MKV files. In recent years, more and more video files come in MKV encoding. It is steadily becoming one of the most popular video files especially for those who love downloading their multimedia.
So, let’s find out more about MKV and how you can play such files.
What is Matroska Video (MKV) File?
MKV files, also known as Matroska Video format, is an open source, open standard, and extensible multimedia container. That means it can handle various multiple media files such as .MKA files (Matroska audio), .MKS files (subtitles), .MK3D files (3D videos), and, of course, .MKV files which contain video files.
Contrary to popular belief, MKV file format is not a video or an audio compression format. However, MKV files are generally lighter in size than other formats. It was developed as an envelope that can contain various videos, subtitles, audios, and streams. It can store complete multimedia, movie, or CD in a single file.
MKV is the brainchild of Lasse Kärkkäinen along with Steve Lhomme and a team of programmers with the goal of creating a comprehensive multimedia container file format. The team eventually became the Matroska Project, an open standards project. The name was derived from the Russian word matryoshka, a nesting doll.
What Makes MKV Unique?
Matroska file format is created with the future in mind. It enables fast seeking and full metadata support including tags. Moreover, it can carry chapter entries, menus, and selectable video, audio, and subtitle streams
MKV files are also modularly expandable while makes multimedia editing easy. It can recover playback even when the stream is damaged making it error resilient. Due to its smaller file size, it makes it perfect for streaming over the Internet and local network. Due to this, it is the basis for .WebM file format which is an open source, high-quality, open media format for the web.
While most modern media players for MKV, here are our top five picks for the best ones.
1. VLC Media Player
The VLC media player is a complete, free, and open source multimedia player. The VideoLAN Project product plays practically any multimedia file format such as MPEG-4, MPEG-2, MP4, WMV, MP3, H.264, and of course, MKV without the need to download any codecs at all. Moreover, it can also accommodate video input from streams, webcams, various devices, and discs. That is why the all-around multimedia player has gained the reputation of being a “play everything” video player.
The player interface is very simple to use with blazing speed. Moreover, VLC media player is available in most systems. You can download its Windows 10 app version which follows the operating system’s design language. It is also available for Mac OS, Android devices, Linux distros, and more. It also receives frequent updates and an active user community where you can find various tips and tricks.
2. Aiseesoft Blu-ray Player
Aiseesoft Blu-ray Player was created to allow you to play Blu-ray discs on your computer. It has evolved into a flexible media player which can play 720p and 1080p HD videos losslessly. Moreover, it can handle UHD 4K videos along with non-Blu-ray formats such as MPG, MP4, M4V, H.264/MP4 AVC, WMV, 3GP, MKV, AVI, ASF, F4V, FLV, and VOB. You can also play audio file formats such as FLAC, WMA, MP3, AAC, OGG, and more.
This sleek video player can also handle DVD discs and ISO files with smooth audio and video quality. It can even handle DVD menus where you can choose specific scenes. The modern looking interface will also allow you to capture screenshots, choose audio tracks, and select subtitles on the fly. Moreover, you can customize various playing effects without downloading any add-ons.
Kodi is a multi-platform home theater application in PC. Formerly known as XMBC, which is also the name of the non-profit technology consortium managing the software, Kodi is a free and open-source media player application which takes multimedia management to the next level. It can play various video and container file formats like MKV, AVI, MPEG, FLV, WMV, and more. Beyond videos, you can view other multimedia formats such as music and photos.
While controversial due to being used by illegal streaming servers, Kodi can stream from various network clients and servers such as FTP, HTTP/S, AFP, DAAP, AirPlay/AirTunes, and much more. It takes a smart TV approach in its interface by allowing you to manage all media files in one place. Moreover, the various add-ons, plugins, scripts, and extensions add interesting functionalities to the application.
PotPlayer has gained a good reputation in recent years despite competing with huge names like VLC. It was developed by Kakao, a South Korean company. The multimedia player uses techniques like QuickSync, DXVA, and CUDA. PotPlayer is a powerful application and speedy performance due to its lightweight. It supports various subtitle formats such as SMI, SRT, Vobsub for DVD, SMI Ruby tags, and ASS/SSA animation.
It allows fine control for contrast, brightness, hue, noise reduction, and more. PotPlayer is also an amazing 3D video player. It supports various 3D glasses whether you are watching on 3D TV or PC. Also, it supports multiple 3D outputs such as top and bottom, side by side, and page flipping.
KMPlayer, also known by several names like KMP, K-Multimedia Player, and The KMPlayer, is another South Korean multimedia player developed in 2002 by Gang Yonghui. It was later acquired by Pandora TV, a Korean streaming video company. The media player can play many video file formats including 3GP, AAC, WMA, WMC, RealMedia, FLV, MKV, and QuickTime. Moreover, it can also handle VCD, DVD, and Blu-Ray.
You can play 3D videos even in machines with low CPU and memory. Its optimized stable playback is possible through GPU support. It is also available in mobile phones with KMPlayer Mobile App. Users can also connect their PC version of KMPlayer to their smartphones using KMP Connect and stream their media files.
Which of the media players above do you use to play your MKV video files? Do you use another MKV player? Make sure to check if a Windows 10 app version of your favorite player exists. Compared to desktop applications, Windows 10 apps are optimized to your operating system which makes the experience smoother and seamless.