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How To Open and Play MKV File On Windows and Mac

How To Open and Play MKV File On Windows and Mac

Matroska Video files, commonly known as MKV files, are a versatile container format that can hold an unlimited amount of video, audio, picture, or subtitle tracks in one file. Serving as a universal format for storing common multimedia content, like movies or TV shows, MKVs are not natively supported by all media players. That’s why, as someone enthusiastic about exploring and enjoying a vast array of content, I’ve navigated through different methods of playing MKV files, and I’m here to share these reliable strategies with you. Let’s guide you through seamless experiences using VLC player, DivX player, and highlight the MKV file player for MacElmedia Player, the best solution to play MKV on Mac.


Common Scenarios:

Incompatibility Blues 🎞

  • You’ve downloaded an MKV movie, but your default media player refuses to open it, leaving you puzzled and frustrated.
  • When you attempt to play the MKV file, the video plays but without any sound, leading you to wonder about missing codecs.
  • A friend has shared an MKV file with you, but your Mac doesn’t seem to recognize it, and you’re lost in the digital woods.

Quality Matters 🌟

  • You’re a cinephile who appreciates high-definition content and needs a media player that supports crisp visuals and sound encapsulated in MKV files.
  • As an avid fan of foreign films, you frequently require a player that can handle multiple subtitle tracks often packaged within MKV video files.

Seeking Versatility 🔄

  • Your collection boasts an array of MKV movies and TV shows, and you need a media player adept at handling playlists and media libraries efficiently.
  • You’re always on the go and desire a player that can smoothly run MKV files on your laptop with minimal resource consumption.

Step-by-Step Guide. What Is A Mkv File And How Do I Play It?:

Method 1: Playing MKV Files Using VLC Player 📽

  • Download and install the VLC media player from the official website (VLC website).
  • Open the VLC player, navigate to ‘Media’ and click ‘Open File…’ to select the MKV file you wish to play.
  • Enjoy your video, as VLC supports a vast array of codecs and will typically have no issue playing MKV files.

Note: VLC also allows you to manage subtitles, audio tracks, and even tweak video settings for an optimized viewing experience.

Conclusion: VLC media player is a powerful and free option suitable for playing MKV files on various operating systems.

Method 2: Playing MKV Files Using DivX Player 🗂

  • Visit the DivX player official site (DivX website) and install the player.
  • Launch DivX player and drag-and-drop your MKV file onto the player window or use the file browser to select and open your file.
  • Control playback and explore additional features like streaming content to DLNA-compatible devices right from DivX player.

Note: DivX player provides a sleek interface and enhances video playback, supporting high-quality video formats, including MKV.

Conclusion: DivX player stands as a robust tool for enjoying high-quality MKV video content with added streaming capabilities.

Method 3: Elmedia Player – A Premier MKV File Player for Mac 🍏

  • Download Elmedia Player from the official website by following this comprehensive guide on how to get this premier MKV file player for Mac.
  • Install the application and open it. Through the top menu, click ‘File’ and select ‘Open’, then choose the MKV file you desire to play.
  • Immerse in a seamless viewing experience with the array of advanced features like video adjustments, subtitle management, and audio equalizer that Elmedia Player offers.

Note: Elmedia Player not only plays MKV files flawlessly but also supports a comprehensive list of other formats, making it a versatile choice for Mac users.

Conclusion: For Mac users, Elmedia Player emerges as a top-tier choice, delivering smooth playback and a rich feature set ideal for MKV files.

Method 4: Adjusting MKV Codec Settings on Mac 🛠

  • If the MKV file still won’t play, download and install a codec pack that supports MKV, such as Perian, to complement your current media player.
  • After installation, try playing the MKV file again in your preferred player. The new codecs should enable playback if they were previously missing.
  • Verify playback performance and ensure that your Mac’s media player is up to date with the latest version for optimal codec compatibility.

Note: Be cautious and download codec packs from trusted sources to avoid compromising system security.

Conclusion: Installing additional codecs can bridge the gap in native support and allow seamless MKV playback on Mac devices.

Method 5: Converting MKV to a Compatible Format 🔄

  • Use a video converter tool such as Handbrake to convert your MKV file to a more universally playable format, like MP4.
  • Load the MKV file into Handbrake, select your desired output settings, and start the conversion process.
  • Once the conversion is complete, open the new file using your media player of choice.

Note: Converting files can result in a loss of quality, so adjust conversion settings to balance quality and file size according to your needs.

Conclusion: While not a direct method of playing MKV files, converting the file ensures compatibility across a broader range of media players.


Precautions and Tips:

Enhance Your Playback Experience 📹

  • Always make sure your media player is updated to the latest version to have the most recent codecs and features.
  • Consider installing reputable third-party MKV codecs if your media player struggles with MKV files.
  • For improved performance, especially on older Macs, closing other resource-intensive applications while playing high-definition content can enhance your experience.

Subtitle Handling Made Easy 🗣

  • Once you open an MKV file in players like VLC or Elmedia Player, you can load external subtitles or choose from the embedded ones by accessing the subtitle settings.
  • For sync issues with subtitles, these players allow you to adjust the timing so the subtitles align with the video.

Understanding MKV Files

MKV, also known as the Matroska Multimedia Container, is an open standard free container format. It gets its name from the Russian nesting dolls, ‘Matryoshka,’ because like the dolls, MKV files can hold a multitude of media ‘layers’ inside a single file. The primary advantage of MKV is that it does not restrict the video or audio codecs, meaning the quality of the content is only limited by the stored data itself, not the container that holds it. Therefore, MKV files are capable of storing high-resolution video and audio.

But what truly makes MKV files stand out is their ability to hold multiple video/audio tracks and even subtitles in different languages, all within the same file. This feature makes it the preferred choice for fansubbing communities and archivists. With all these possibilities, it’s apparent why a robust and secure player like Elmedia Player is an essential tool for Mac users to fully enjoy the richness of MKV content.

For more information about MKV files and other multimedia formats, resources like the Matroska Organization or digital archiving websites can provide extensive insights. Additionally, communities like VideoHelp offer forums and guides about video formats and encoding, which can be beneficial for both novice users and seasoned professionals.

Useful info: Find the best Mac music player.


In conclusion, while MKV files may offer unparalleled flexibility for storing high-quality video, audio, and subtitles, they call for compatible media players to unlock their full potential. Players like VLC, DivX, and especially Elmedia Player for Mac rise to the occasion, delivering exceptional experiences. From personal experience, I’ve found that having a versatile and reliable media player is the key to hassle-free access to the world of high-definition content stored in MKV files. Remember to keep your software updated, explore codec options if needed, and consider file conversion as a last resort to ensure the enjoyment of your digital media collection.


An MKV file (Matroska Video File) is a container format that can hold video, audio, picture, and subtitle tracks in a single file. It's known for its flexibility and support for multiple media content.

You can play MKV files using various media players such as VLC Media Player or MPC-HC. Simply download and install the player, then open the MKV file with it.

Yes, the MKV format is compatible with Mac computers. You can use players like VLC Media Player for MacOS to play MKV files.

Yes, most modern smartphones support the MKV format through media player apps like VLC for Android or iOS, or native video players on certain devices.

No, typically you don't need to download specific codecs, as many media players come with built-in support for MKV files. VLC Media Player is a comprehensive solution for this.

You can convert MKV files to other formats using video converter software or online conversion services. Some popular media players also offer conversion features.

MKV files can be larger or smaller in size depending on the video and audio quality they contain, but the MKV format itself doesn't inherently affect file size.

Many video editing programs can edit MKV files, but some might require you to convert the file into a compatible format beforehand.

Streaming MKV files over the internet is possible, but the support depends on the streaming platform and the player used by the audience.

Most DVD players do not support the MKV format directly. You would need to convert the file to a DVD-compatible format before burning it.