Electronic Team uses cookies to personalize your experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our cookie policy. Click here to learn more.

What Is an MKV File and How You Can Play It?

Elmedia logo
Top choice


4.8 Rank based on 1531+ users Reviews(793)

The MKV extension is used by the Matroska project, as a catch-all multimedia container. Like MOV and AVI files, they can be used to store video media. But unlike those formats, they can also hold MP3 or FLAC files as well, making them a complete audio and visual file compiler. MKV files can hold audio formats at the same time as video formats, art files, chapter points, even subtitle files as well, making them perfect for creating complete movie or video experiences. The .mkv format can also incorporate files that use different encoding as well - for example, there’s undoubtedly thousands of people playing mkv files that contain H.264 video and AAC audio! It turns several media formats into one cohesive MKV file format.

The MKV extension

How to Play MKV on Mac with the Elmedia Player

1. First, download the app from the homepage, and install it on your Mac.

Open MKV on Mac

2.Open up the Elmedia Player app.

There are a number of different ways you can play files.

  • You can drag and drop the file onto the desktop icon.
  • You can also use the app to search for the file you want to play.
  • Or, you can simply right click on the file, and use Open With to select Elmedia.
How to play MKV on Mac for free

3. Simply sit back and enjoy your content.!

Eight Reasons You Should be Using .MKV Format Files

  • Fast, easy seeking within file
  • Chapter Entries
  • Full tagging and metadata support
  • Selectable video/audio/subtitle streams
  • Modular and expandable
  • Playback recovery possible even when stream is damaged
  • Streamable over Internet and local networks (HTTP, CIFS, FTP, etc.)
  • DVD-style menus

Pros and Cons of MKV Files

icon pros Pros

  • Supports all video and codec combinations, including H.265 (aka MKV HEVC movies)
  • Highly flexible: can contain video, audio, subtitles, pictures, 3D objects, and more
  • Nonproprietary: open source and completely free
  • Amazing video and audio streaming capabilities
  • Usable on both local and Internet protocol streams
  • Plays corrupted files
  • Reliable error recovery mechanisms
  • Has accessible, comprehensive, and clear documentation
  • Allows fast-seeking using chapter markers
  • Supports preservation formats from the Library of Congress, FADGI, and PREFORMA Project.

icon cons Cons

  • Typically bigger file format
  • Additional file editing tools possibly required
  • Not usable by all media players
  • Most of these cons are pretty minimal. For instance, using a good media player like Elmedia Player completely avoids that last drawback.

Categories of Matroska Files

The Matroska MKV multimedia container is a free, open-source format that contains four types of files within the container: MKV (Matroska Video), MKA (Matroska Audio), MKS (subtitles), and MK3D (stereoscopic/3D video). If you’re looking for how to play an MKV file on Mac, these are your best choices, and what follows is a quick breakdown of them.

MKV Files

This format is commonly used for HD movies and TV shows. It’s great for video, movie audio, and videos with subtitles. The best players that support the MKV extension include Elmedia Player, Windows Media Player, 5KPlayer (with the MKV codec), and VLC, though sound and subtitle support might not be available.

MKA Files

This format usually contains various audio compression formats including MP2, MP3, AAC, AC3, DTS, and many more. It’s used normally as an audio file, able to support whole music albums as well as being able to support karaoke subtitles. You can also easily divide audio files into separate tracks or chapters, and merge it with the .MKV format for a complete audio/visual experience.

MKS Files

With the MKS extension, you can easily import various subtitle formats including VobSub (.sub), SubRip (.srt), Sub Station Alpha (.ssa/.ass), and Core Media Player XML universal subtitle format (.usf). All open-source MKV players can launch an MKS file just by double-clicking it.

MK3D Files

The MK3D extension is typically found in home theatres because it enables 3D visuals in .MKV format media files. Using two isolated video tracks, it provides 3D video support. Most of the time this is done with two isolated video tracks, one for each eye. However, it’s also been known to be one track with data for both eyes in differing formats.

Here’s a list of the most frequently asked questions we get about MKV files. If you still have questions, let us know in the comments and we’ll answer you as soon as possible.
  • Elmedia MKV Player for Mac is how to open a mkv file on macOS without downloading extra plugins or codecs. It’s quick and easy.
  • Third-party video players such as Infuse 6, Playable Pro, or Flex can play MKV on iPhone.
  • Playing MKV files can be done on Android with MX Player.

MacOS users can open .MKV format files with this MKV Player for Mac. Here are quick and easy steps to do it with Elmedia Player.

  • Download, install, and open Elmedia Player on your Mac device - for free!
  • Either just drag-and-drop your MKV files into Elmedia Player as it’s running or right onto its icon. Alternatively, right click the video file, choose “Open with” in the Finder window, and select Elmedia Player.
  • Click “Play” and enjoy!

If you’re looking for a software-free option, head to It’s simple, easy, and the only thing you download is the converted MKV file. All you do is select the MKV file you want to convert, select “Apple” as the format it’s going to convert to, and what resolution it’s going to be in. You can also select “.mov” in the file extension selection, which is Mac’s default video file format. Select “Convert,” and you’ll download the converted file that you can immediately play! What format to choose, MP4 or MKV, depends on your needs.

Yes, it can play MKV files, but you’ll need the latest version of the program to do it.

Unfortunately, there are some MKV files that VLC can’t process and it crashes without a warning. To avoid this when you’re watching your favorite movie, consider either converting the MKV file to another format so VLC will play it without issues, or use another third-party player that can play MKV on Mac like Elmedia Player, IINA, or MKPlayer.

Unfortunately, there’s no positive answer for how to play an MKV file with QuickTime, because it’s impossible. The component that used to support this format has been removed from QuickTime, and won’t be coming back. That means you’ll need to download a third-party program like Elmedia Player if you want to enjoy MKV files on Mac. You can also convert the MKV files to a format QuickTime can handle, like .MOV or .MP4.

Elmedia Player Free

Requirements: OS X 10.12+ , 89.44MB free space
Version 8.4(3056) (16 Mar, 2022) Release notes