What is MKV File?

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What is MKV File?
MKV file or Matroska video is an open source compression format. Open source means it is a free compression or container format. MKV file can hold indefinite number of files such as audio, images, subtitle tracks and videos compressed into a single file. The word Matroska is derived from a Russian word Matryoshka that means nesting doll. The nesting doll is a familiar Russian doll, which is cylindrical in shape that is housed within another doll. The doll is more commonly known as babushka doll.

Developers of Matroska intend     to make the container a universal format. MKV file is similar to various containers such as MP4, ASF and AVI. However, MKV file is totally characterized by open specifications. The .MKV file is utilized for video file, while .MKA is purely for audio and .MKS for subtitle files.

The history of Matroska can be traced back on December 6, 2002. It was the date the project was first announced as a division of MCF or Multimedia Container Format. The project was announced just after Lasse Karkkainen (lead developer of MCF) and (forthcoming) Matroska founder Steve Lhomme had a disagreement. The disagreement came about the application of EBML or Extensive Binary Meta Language as a substitute for binary format.

Developers of Matroska stressed that the employment of EBML offers extendibility for changes in format in the future.  The team of Matroska developers stressed that their goals are intended for long term employment as the container format continues to develop.

The goals that the Matroska team is stressing are:

  • Create a cross-platform container for multimedia, which is flexible, modern and extensible.
  • Extend a streaming support, which is strong and reliable.
  • Develop tools that can be utilized to create and edit Matroska files.
  • Develop and include libraries that can be utilized by other developers to integrate Matroska to their own applications.
  • Work out with hardware developers to incorporate Matroska with their multimedia devices.
  • Provide support for different operating systems and various platforms for hardware.

Today, Matroska had features like the various modern multimedia containers such as:

  • Menu systems very much similar to DVDs
  • Capable of audio and video streaming
  • Loaded with libraries and several tools, which permits various developers to include MKV application support
  • USB playback that supports direct television. This means that MKV files can be played automatically using televisions supporting USB.
  • Built-in mechanism for error restoration that is reliable.

Since MKV file is part of the open standard development, it is entirely free of charge. The project can be used by everyone including business entities that would like to integrate Matroska files into their similar products. The entire part of the MKV project is open source and therefore licensed under GNU L-GPL.

There will be times that a user may not be able to play .mkv file downloaded from the internet. If this happens the solution is to make sure that the system has the latest pack of codec. A codec pack refers to a compilation of the latest drivers used for decoding. Codec pack allows a user to play different extensions of multimedia.

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