How to play MKV files on your PC, Mac or mobile
One of the most famous and used video formats is Matroska ( MKV ), developed in 2002. The name honors the classic Russian dolls that are getting into each other.
Matroska is an open standard container format that can include an unlimited number of videos, different audio tracks, subtitles and codec types in a single file.
Obviously, the more content a single file has, the more size it will have and the more space it will occupy in our hard disk, cloud, etc. Anyway, Matroska is able to keep files of high resolutions in the smallest possible space.
It also incorporates quick search within the file, full support for metadata(ratings, descriptions) and 3D video (.mk3d). As if that were not enough, it also supports online streaming and tolerates partially corrupted files.
As we see, in many cases, the MKV files will incorporate everything necessary inside, and we will only have to worry about finding compatible programs with this format to be able to reproduce them.
VLC (VideoLAN VLC media player) is one of the most popular video and audio players. It is completely free and offers support for the vast majority of audio and video files that are included in an MKV. It is very unlikely that we have any problems when trying to reproduce them with this tool.
A few days ago VLC just launched its version 3.0, including one of the most demanded news: support for Chromecast . That means you can open an MKV file from your computer or mobile device and watch it directly on your TV.
One of the features I like most about VLC is that it remembers the point where you’ve stayed in a video file . If you are watching a movie and you have to leave it, you can close the application and by double clicking on the file you will return to the exact point where you had stayed.
One of its winning points is that it is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS . You can download all the versions directly from this link .
Plex is another old name in the world of video players. In addition to playing MKV, Plex allows us to create a multimedia center from which to broadcast content to any equipment in our house.
Once we have installed Plex Media Server, it will be dedicated to indexing all the files that are in the folders that we have specified, downloading covers, metadata and scores automatically.
In this way, we can have our entire library organized in one place: movies, series, music and photographs. It is true that we will need to spend some time configuring everything, but it will be very simple and it will save us a lot of time in the future.
Once we have configured our media server, we simply have to launch the application from which we want to play the content. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS and Chromecast.
VLC and Plex are the best options for several reasons : they are multiplatform, free and work perfectly. Anyway, if you have some kind of incompatibility could serve the following alternatives.
Elmedia is a well-known player for macOS with very good scores. The best of all is its design, being a kind of mix between VLC and Quicktime. It includes support for the vast majority of multimedia files and can be downloaded for free from the App Store .
GOM Player is a media player compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista and XP SP3 . Play from YouTube videos and 360 videos, including a codec search so we can find the one we need. It can be downloaded for free from this link .
DivX Player is also well known, being compatible with Windows and macOS . It can be downloaded for free and stands out (among other things) for allowing fast switching between subtitle tracks, audio tracks, advancing or rewinding “smoothly”, etc.
As we can see, it is not necessary to spend a penny on software to be able to play MKV files. There are payment options in each operating system, but they do not offer functionality that is worth the investment. In fact, in most cases, the tools discussed in this article offer a better experience.