What is an MKV file and how to open it?

What is an MKV file: While downloading videos from the internet, sometimes, you might stumble upon those with an MKV extension. Though these .mkv files are essentially video files like AVIs or MOVs, an MKV file is also capable of holding other media files like images and audio. MKV stands for Matroska Video files, and are multimedia container formats. They can combine audio, video, subtitles, ratings, and other related details into a single file. An MKV is a high definition video carrier that supports many video details like chapters, menu, ratings, and subtitles. The two main points to be noted about this file format are:

  • It is not a video compression format.
  • It is a container file that can be used to contain multiple audios, videos, etc. This way, you could store the contents of a movie or CD in a single file.

What is an MKV file and how to open it

It has some extraordinary features like fast seeking, chapter points, tag support, error resilience, etc. MKV files, since not an industry standard, are not supported by all media players. So to play an MKV, you have the following two options:

  • Download and use a media player that does support MKV files like VLC. You can find the list of supporting players, filters, editors, etc. from here.
  • Download the correct codecs for that particular video type to your media player.

Use VLC to Open .MKV Files

The VLC media player is one of the most efficient media players that support MKV files and will do your job almost every time. You just have to download and install VLC player and it will be ready for use, without requiring you to download any additional files. To start using VLC for your files,

1.Download VLC media player from here.

2.Double-click on the downloaded file to install VLC on your system.

3.That is it. Now, you can use VLC to play your MKV files easily.

4.Open your desired MKV file location in File Explorer.

Navigate to MKV file location then right-click on it & select Open With

5.Right-click on the file and select ‘Open with’.

6.Further, select VLC media player from the list.

7.Your .MKV file will start playing.

How to open an .MKV file in VLC media player

8.Another way to open the file is from the ‘Media’ menu of the player, from where you can easily browse your file.

From VLC Player media menu you can open your MKV file

You can also set VLC as your default MKV file player by:

1.Right-click on an MKV file.

2.Select ‘Open with’ and then ‘Choose another app’ from the list.

Right-click on MKV file then select Open With & then click Choose another app 

3.Select ‘VLC media player’ and check the box for ‘Always use this app to open .mkv files’.

Select ‘VLC media player’ and check the box for ‘Always use this app to open .mkv files’

4.Click on OK.

5.Once set as default, you can open any MKV file in VLC media player just by double-clicking on it.

Once set as default, you can open any MKV file in VLC media player just by double-clicking on it

Alternatively, you can use any other compatible media player to open your video files.

Download Codecs to Play .MKV files,

If you do not want to install any extra media player for MKV files, and would prefer using Windows Media Player or your other player that does not support MKV files by default, you can use this method.

MKV files, being high definition media containers, might hold many different elements which have been compressed differently and need to be decoded differently. For doing this, you need to download certain files called codecs that will enable your media player to play MKV videos. Codec, originally, is a shorthand notation for encoder-decoder which means that you can use them to compress or decompress digital videos. The app that opens the MKV file has to load the relevant decoders to successfully play the video. Codecs are also useful when certain MKVs just wouldn’t play, even on supporting media players, but the only risk with downloading codecs is that you might make way for certain malware while doing so. However, by downloading codecs carefully and from reliable sources, you can prevent all of the problems.

You can download codes safely from Ninite. At Ninite, you will find CCCP (which is Combined Community Codec Pack). CCCP is a popular codec pack that will enable you to play many MKVs. To download it,

1.Go to ninite.com.

2.Scroll down to ‘Pick the apps you want’ section.

3.Under ‘Media’, you will find CCCP. Check the box against it.

Go to ninite then under media checkmark CCCP

4.Scroll down and click on ‘Get Your Ninite’.

Scroll down and click on ‘Get Your Ninite’

5.Your file will be downloaded. Run the file to install it.

6.You will be able to play your MKV once you have installed the codecs. However, in a case you can’t still play the file, just restart your computer.

Use Media Player Classic to Open MKV files

1.Download and install Media Player Classic (MPC).

2.Try opening your file with Media Player Classic. There is a good chance that your video will play.

3.If it doesn’t, you will need to change a few settings as given below.

4.Open Media Player Classic (MPC) then click on View and select Options.

Open Media Player Classic then click on View and select Options

5.Select ‘Internal filters’ from the left pane.

6.UncheckMatroska’ from the menu.

Select Internal filters from the left pane then uncheck Matroska

7.Click on Apply and then OK.

8.Download and install CCCP.

9.Now you can easily watch your movies or videos which are in the .mkv format.


I hope this article was helpful and you get an answer to this question: What is an MKV file and how to open it, but if you still have any questions regarding this tutorial then feel free to ask them in the comment’s section.

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