Video Transcoding -- the Mkv Container

By: IC

Among the many video containers at Matroska or MKV extension is one of the best, this new format was launched back in 2002 and currently an open source project which is available to anyone. Compared to other video containers MKV doesn't actually stand for something, it is often referred to as the Matroska multimedia container.

Matroska is an English word which is derived from the Russian word "matryoshka" which makes reference to an egg shaped doll within a doll, in the case of digital media this would represent media within the form of media which doesn't necessarily make much sense however, it is used to represent the flexibility and capability of this container.

When it comes to video transcoding the word "container" is best suited to describe what Matroska can do, this open-source project was developed in order to handle multiple video tracks which can have an amazingly high bit rate which can be compared to high-definition video and even Blu-ray quality.

The video extension used for Matroska projects is .MKV and audio projects use the .MKA extension which can handle MP3, OGG and Vorbis streams. The Matroska video streams usually carry the H.264 video compression method, it may also use ACC/AC3/DTS for audio streams.

Because of the many video and audio streams this particular container can handle there are not many players which can read and decode this format. Arcos is the brand of one of the first products which was able to read this form of digital media and due to its increasing popularity it is expected that more media players would be able to handle MKV.

This multimedia format is very popular among the anime community because it was originally used to rip video streams from DVDs which had subtitles and different audio tracks, the AVI extension is also heavily used to share such content but the only difference is that AVI extensions need hard coded or external subtitles. When it comes to software, many applications are able to read the format either, this race at the much popular Windows media player can't handle such extensions, in order to solve this problem several video players which can read MKV files have been created, some examples are: the VLC player, the Core, to BS player, media player classic, virtualDub MOD, the Xbox media Center, and many others.

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