Files that contain the MKV extension are Matroska Video files which are open source and comparable to an AVI or MP4 file. MKV files are designed by Matroska development team and are a container format that is differentiated from other video file formats due to the fact it is based on Extensible Binary Meta Language (EBML) which supports future format extensibility.
MKV files are typically not in a compressed file format; however, they are capable of supporting video compression algorithms, video codecs, and audio compression formats. In some cases the MKV file is capable of compressing large amounts of data into small individual formats. In terms of content, MKV files contain video streams, audio, and optional subtitle capability.
Matroska designed MKV files to be delivered in other formats. For example, the file extension MKA (Matroska Audio) is associated with MKV files and is used to store audio in Microsoft Media Catalog (MMC) format. MKS files are known as TACT files and are associated with MKV and contain standalone subtitles.
How to Open MKV Files
Since MKV files are open source, they are also cross platform and capable of working with Windows, Mac OS X, UNIX and Linux. The file also works well with cross platform media applications such as VideoLAN VLC Media Player which is capable of playing most codecs without the codec pack in addition to opening and playing MKV files. This is an advantage since MKV files cannot be played without the assistance of a codec which is a digital encoder and decoder that ensures an MKV file is compatible with your operating system.
If you already have a codec, you can open MKV files in Windows using Media Player Classic, Winamp Media Player 5.6, and Windows Media Player with the Matroska DirectShow pack, and DivX 7 for Windows. Other programs such as CyberLink PowerDVD12 and Nero 11 can open MKV files as well. You can also convert MKV to another format using Xilisoft MKV Converter.
If you use Mac OS X and you have a codec, you can open MKV files using AppleQuickTime Player with the Perian component, DivX 7 for Mac, and Roxio Popcorn 4. If you want to convert MKV files to another format, you can use Xilisoft MKV Converter or ShedWorx Smart Converter.
If you are looking for codecs to open MKV files with an application other than the VLC Media Player, you can use Lazy Manâ€™s MKV for Windows, Matroska Pack, which is cross platform, or MediaCoder, which is in a universal format.
To open and edit MKV files, you can log onto Sourceforge.net and download the Matroska Muxer which works across multiple operating systems.