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Published Date: 5 November 2022

What is MKV?

The MKV video file is a royalty-free Matroska multimedia container format that was launched in December 2002. It can carry a multitude of video, audio, or subtitle files in a single file which facilitates easy storage and playability. This is not unlike containers like AVI, MP4, MOV or ASF, however, MKV is open-source and is used for short video clips like teasers, trailers, promos, etc. It is also a popular format in the anime fan-subbing community—where MKV's support for multiple audio and subtitle tracks (.SRT, .SSA, .USF) proves to be useful.

Note: "Matroska" is derived from the word "Matryoshka" which refers to a Russian doll that comprises multiple smaller dolls nested within.

Benefits of MKV

  • MKV is an all-in-one video format like MOV and AVI, but it offers much more storage space.
  • Regardless of the large file sizes, MKV is widely used and highly effective for moving pictures.
  • MKV even allows you to mix and match formats, like H.264 and MP3, or combine individual files of similar types (two subtitles or audio files) for better language support.
  • With data stored in one single file, it facilitates unmatched accessibility.
  • It provides support for chapters, menus, and metadata.
  • It is known for its quick-seeking capabilities.
  • It allows both hard and soft-coded subtitles.
  • MKV even allows you to mix and match formats, like H.264 and MP3, or combine individual files of similar types (two subtitles or audio files) for better language support.
  • It includes error recovery in case the player encounters corrupted files.
  • It includes multiple languages.

Drawbacks of MKV

  • MKV files do not undergo compression, so they are much larger in size.
  • MKV video is not compatible with all programs. Media players such as VLC or Miro are required for accessing and playing MKV files.

Use-cases of MKV

  • MKV is ideal for use if you are looking to create videos and include different audio and subtitle options.
  • It is excellent for storing all types of data in an easy-to-use, manageable format.
  • MKV is ideal for professional video editing.
  • Major video editors like Adobe Premiere Pro allow MKV files which simplifies exporting video projects. Other supported platforms include Media Player Classic and VLC media player.
  • It is supported by encoders like Matroska and MakeMKV, as well as multiplexers and demultiplexers like MKVToolNix.

Related Terms

Video Quality

In simple terms, video quality is the characteristic of a video that determines how clear, crisp, and detailed the video transmitted to the viewer is.

Video Watermark

A video watermark is a digital copyright tool used to identify the video's copyright owner or prevent illegal distribution.


1:1 is a commonly used aspect ratio in videography. It produces videos that are a perfect square; the width and height of the video image are the same.

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