The Matroska Multimedia Container or MKV file format is an open file container format used for rendering and storing videos such as movies and television shows. It has some similarities with the MP4 file format but has some notable characteristics and features that give it an advantage. Furthermore, the availability of open-source software that can read and play MKV video files makes it a free and universal file format.
Pros of MKV File Format: The Advantages or Benefits and Uses of Matroska Multimedia Container
Note that the Matroska Multimedia Container is a free and open or non-proprietary file format announced in December 2002. The emerging popularity of converting videos in DVD and Blu-Ray discs into storable and shareable formats during the early 2000s was instrumental in the adoption of MKV and the emergence of free media players and operating system support.
Below are the specific advantages of the Matroska file format:
• Multimedia Container: One of the advantages of the MKV format is that it is a multimedia container that can hold an unlimited number of video, audio, picture, or subtitle tracks in a single file. Note that the MP4 can also hold video, audio, and subtitle tracks in one file but it cannot contain multiple and unlimited tracks at once.
• High Video and Audio Quality: It is similar to MP4 when it comes to storing videos at 720P or 1080P and even higher with minimal file size. There are times when the audio quality of a Matroska video is better than an MP4 video but this depends on numerous factors. There is also an option to choose between lossless and lossy compression, especially when converting videos from DVDs and Blu-Ray disks.
• Free and Open Source: Remember that Matroska is a non-proprietary file format. Numerous software such as VLC Media Player are available for free because it does not require a licensing requirement. It is also well-documented and transparent. Relevant documents are easily accessible to the public.
• Supports More Codecs: Another advantage of MKV is that it supports different codecs for encoding and decoding compressed videos. The quality of a particular video file stored as a Matroska file depends on the type of codec used. The MP4 format supports also different types of codecs but MKV has more. Several codecs for MP4 are also available for this multimedia container file format.
• Other Features and Benefits: This file format has more features than most other file formats used for storing video. Furthermore, it can hold still images and arbitrary files such as XML. Metadata can be added without rewriting the entire file. It is also supported by the U.S. Library of Congress, the PREFORMA Project, and FADGI.
Cons of MKV File Format: The Disadvantages and Limitations of Matroska Multimedia Container
Of course, when compared to other container formats such as MP4, it is difficult to tell if MKV is better. Note that characteristics such as the size of the entire file and video and audio quality are determined not by the type of the container format used but by the coder used and the bitrate. However, Matroska still has notable issues and limitations.
Below are the specific disadvantages of the Matroska file format:
• Compatibility Issues: Note that MP4 remains the most popular multimedia container file format. Even mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS have native support for this format. Meanwhile, one of the disadvantages of MKV is that it does not have wider support than MP4. Users of iPhone and iPad devices would need to download a third-party media player to run Matroska files.
• A Note On Required Codec: Of course, it is also important to reiterate that Matroska is a container file format. Even third-party players developed for this format would not be able to read and run Matroska files if they do not have the needed codec required for decoding. This is another drawback and a notable issue.
• Can Have A Larger File Size: Another disadvantage is that it can have a larger file size compared to other multimedia container formats such as MP4. In most cases, a similar Mp4 file has a smaller file size than its MKV counterpart. It is also more complicated than the AVI format which translates to larger file size.
• Other Notable Issues: It is also worth mentioning that Matroska is not as popular as MP4. It is not a standard format for browser playback. Users would not be able to upload MKV videos on YouTube. Most media players are not also optimized to read and run this file format. Furthermore, remember that the quality of its audio and video still depends on the codec used for compressing the source video file.