Ask LH: How Can I Play MKV Files?

Ask LH: How Can I Play MKV Files?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m a bit of a tech newbie, so this question is probably going to sound silly, but I have come across a lot of MKV files lately. What are they and how can I get them to play on my computer or tablet? Cheers, Vacant View

Dear VV,

MKV is an open source multimedia container format popular with film and TV buffs. Unlike AVI movie files, MKV is compatible with newer video codecs and allows for extra features like removable subtitles and multiple audio tracks; just like a DVD.

To make MKV files play on your computer, you need to download a compatible media player. While it’s possible to get Windows Media Player to play MKV files, you’ll need to install the relevant codecs and filters first, which can be pretty time consuming. Switching media players is a lot simpler.

Our go-to option for desktop MKV playback is VLC, which you can download here. The VLC media player boasts support for MKV along with all the latest video codecs, so your files should play automatically without having to hunt down extra codecs.

Another option worth checking out is PotPlayer — it’s a fast and feature-packed player that comes with oodles of customisation options.

If you’re looking for a tablet solution, we’d suggest MoboPlayer (free) for Android and GoodPLayer ($2.99) for iPad/iOS. Whichever player you plump for, make sure you download the very latest version.

Cheers Lifehacker

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