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Matroska (Матрёшка)
Filename extension .mkv .mka .mks
Internet media type video/x-matroska audio/x-matroska
Developed by
Type of format Container format
Container for Multimedia

The Matroska Multimedia Container is an open standard free container format, a file format that can hold an unlimited number of video, audio, picture or subtitle tracks inside a single file.[1] It is intended to serve as a universal format for storing common multimedia content, like movies or TV shows. Matroska is similar in conception to other containers like AVI, MP4 or ASF, but is entirely open in specification, with implementations consisting mostly of open source software. Matroska file types are .MKV for video (with subtitles and audio), .MKA for audio-only files and .MKS for subtitles only. The most common use of .MKV files is to store HD video files.

Matroska is an English word derived from the Russian word "matryoshka" (Russian: матрёшка, IPA[mɐˈtrʲoʂkə]), which means "nesting doll" (the common Russian egg-shaped doll within a doll). This is a play on the container (media within a form of media/doll within a doll) aspect of the matryoshka as it is a container for visual and audio data. The transliteration may be confusing for Russian speakers, as the Russian word "matroska" (матроска) actually refers to a sailor suit.


[edit] History

The project was announced on December 7, 2002 as a fork of the Multimedia Container Format (MCF), after disagreements between MCF lead developer Lasse Kärkkäinen and soon-to-be Matroska founder Steve Lhomme about the use of the Extensible Binary Meta Language (EBML) instead of a binary format. This coincided with a long coding break by the MCF's lead developer, during which most of the community quickly migrated to the new project.

[edit] Goals

The use of EBML provides extendability for future format changes. The Matroska team has openly expressed some of their long term goals on and

List of Goals

  • creating a modern, flexible, extensible, cross-platform multimedia container format;
  • developing robust streaming support;
  • developing a "DVD-like" menu system based on EBML;
  • developing a set of tools for the creation and editing of Matroska files;
  • developing libraries that can be used to allow developers to add Matroska support to their applications;
  • working with hardware manufacturers to include Matroska support in embedded multimedia devices;
  • working to provide native Matroska support in various operating systems.

[edit] Software support

Listed below is software that has native Matroska support.

[edit] Media players

Name OS Website
ALLPlayer Windows
ALShow Windows
BS.Player Windows
Chameleo Cross-platform
CorePlayer Cross-platform
DivX Cross-platform
GOM Player Windows
Gstreamer-based Players (Totem, etc.) Cross-platform
The KMPlayer Windows
TotalMedia Theatre Windows
Media Player Classic Windows
MPlayer Cross-platform
Target Longlife Media Player Windows
The Core Pocket Media Player Windows Mobile
Totem Movie Player Unix-like
VLC media player Cross-platform
xine Cross-platform
Zoom player Windows

[edit] Media centers

Name OS Website
Boxee Cross-platform
MediaPortal [2] Windows
MythTV Linux
Plex Mac OS X
PS3 Media Server Cross-platform
XBMC Cross-platform

[edit] Tools

Name OS Website
Avidemux Cross-platform
FFmpeg Cross-platform
HandBrake Cross-platform
MKVToolnix Cross-platform
VirtualDubMod Windows
VSO Software
Perian Quicktime Plugin for Mac OS X [3] Mac OS X
Conceiva software Windows

[edit] Hardware support

A number of set-top boxes such as the Popcorn Hour and EGreat[4] NMT's and DVICO TVIX media players have stated publicly in user forums that they are considering or pursuing Matroska support. Some end users in these public forums report partial success in use with certain codecs and files. The first chipset to include Matroska Video support has been released by Texas Instruments under the name "DaVinci". It is used in the Cowon A3 portable media player. Although an increasing number of standalone players now support the AVI format, thus far Matroska support is practically nonexistent. Support in this area is essential for the container to achieve the degree of ubiquity foreseen by its proponents. There is a sort of "chicken and egg" logjam where the manufacturers hesitate to support it because it is not widely used, and it is not widely used because of very limited hardware support.

[edit] Samsung LCD and LED TV

The Matroska format is supported by many new Samsung LCD and LED Televisions. Matroska support has been confirmed in the 2009 6 Series (LE40B650) and 7 series (UE40B7020) range of televisions. Matroska files can be played out of the box on these televisions directly from USB flash drives or HDD based storage devices when connected to the television's USB slot.

[edit] Zensonic

The Matroska homepage indicated in an April 2006 posting that playback on settop devices would be forthcoming starting with the release of the Zensonic Z500 media player, but the Zensonic company never implemented Matroska support. Zensonic Changed the company name to Ziova and have since released the CS-615 which has Matroska support.

[edit] Sigma Designs

Sigma Designs do not contain any built in support for Matroska, though some OEMs (such as Western Digital) do provide support in their firmware packages.

[edit] Sigma based hardware which supports Matroska

Company Model(s) Website
Skydigital Venice-V38 [New!!] Venice-v36
Mediagate MG-800HD
Hantech - Siso Markus-800
Sarotech DVP-570, DVP-260X
PopcornHour A-100, A-110, B-110
Egreat EG-M31A, EG-M31B
Kaiboer K007 official forum only
HDX HDX900, HDX1000
Dune HD Ultra
TViX M7000, M6500
iStar HD Mini (HDMI 1.1), Mini (HDMI 1.3)
Western Digital WD TV HD
Ziova Ziova CS-615

[edit] Cowon

The Cowon A3,O2 supports Matroska as well as many other formats, including the Ogg Vorbis and FLAC open audio formats. Aspects of the Matroska supported is that of multiple audio tracks. If the Matroska file has chapters or subtitles, then these features are not accessible, however, the movie plays as normal. Subtitles in the SubRip (.srt) or SAMI (.smi) format load automatically with the movie once the subtitles are in the same folder and has the same name as the movie.[5]

[edit] Content in Matroska

Initially the uptake of the format was low. It was initially used almost exclusively for DVD rips of anime, as the container allowed the viewer to choose between the original language track and a dub. In recent years, however, Matroska has seen wider use due to the scene adopting it as a format of choice for high definition content ripped from HDTV and next generation video discs (HD DVD and Blu-ray). It usually carries H.264 video, one or more AC3/AAC/DTS audio tracks and sometimes one or more subtitle tracks (sometimes coupled with one or more embedded TrueType or OpenType font). Before H.264, most Matroska files from the above mentioned scene contained RealVideo (RV9, RV10) encoded video tracks, which at that time was slightly superior to MPEG-4 Part 2[citation needed] (used e.g. by the DivX, Xvid and FFmpeg MPEG-4 codecs), especially for anime material, in combination with MP3 or Vorbis encoded audio streams and soft-subtitles.[citation needed]

[edit] License

Matroska is an open standards project. This means it is free to use, and that the technical specifications describing the bit stream are open to anybody, including companies that would like to support it in their products. The source code of the libraries developed by the Matroska Development Team is licensed under GNU LGPL. In addition to that, there are also free parsing and playback libraries available under the BSD license, for proprietary hardware and software adoption.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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