What is an MKV video?

Learn about MKV videos and how they store video, audio, subtitles, and images in a single file format for easy storage and playability.

Matroska Video files, also known as MKV videos, are container files that support unlimited picture, audio, and subtitle tracks. They’re similar to MOV and AVI files, except they have a much larger amount of storage. They’re an all-in-one video format.

A complete multimedia storage container.

The MKV video format was developed in Russia as a multimedia container file. Much like Russian nesting dolls, MKV can incorporate all the video, audio, subtitles, and image data into a single file. You can even mix and match individual file formats, such as H.264 video and MP3 audio, or add several files of the same type, such as two audio files for multiple language support.

Unlike some of the more popular video file formats, like MP4, MKV doesn’t compress the data. That means .mkv files are typically rather large. But because of their all-in-one approach to combining various files, MKV videos are popular for professional applications.

Benefits of using the MKV video format.

Despite the large file size, MKV video is one of the best formats for moving pictures. Since all the data is combined into one file, it allows for nearly unmatched accessibility for users:

The only major downside to MKV video is that it’s not supported by all programs. You’ll need to use an open-source media player, like VLC or Miro, to view .mkv files. Still, if you want to create videos with multiple audio or subtitle options, MKV is a great format for combining everything into a single, easy-to-use file.

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