For this article, I feel need to clarify some things, especially. First, let’s talk about how MKV is not a video format but rather a file format, which is a very different thing. MKV stands for the Matroska Multimedia Container, a file format designed to contain an unlimited amount of video, sound, images and/or subtitles, and even other things, within a single file. The concept is very similar to other containers such as AVI, MP4 or ASF.
Today, this container is most commonly used for high-definition video, but nothing prevents anyone to put something else inside, ie. an MPEG2 video from a satellite and titles for it, or just a common divX. What confuses most of the people is HD video since it’s encoded with highly efficient and high-quality encoder by an H.264 video standard, so most of us think that MKV is a new video format. One of the problems is when you get an MKV file, without a special program you can have no clue what exactly is inside.
How does it work
If you would put a simple DivX with or without subtitle into an MKV file, it doesn’t mean you can put it into your favorite DVD player, which otherwise readily plays our DivX. The first thing in the playback of the MKV is a piece of software called the splitter whose task is to read a file and split it into its components.
Those parts are then sent where they belong. Video component into a video viewer section, audio into the sound reproduction section and subtitle into a section which will draw it on the screen, and that is something our old, reliable, DVD player doesn’t know how to do. It doesn’t know how to read and split something called MKV, even if it knows how to handle everything inside. Furthermore, HD is even more complicated. Even if it could split the MKV, our DVD player has nowhere to send H.264 since it only supports DivX, XviD and MPEG encoding. That is why you need MVK converter.