How to Watch MKV files on a Mac

The Mac OS X doesn’t play MKV out of the box, but there are some quick downloads you can grab in order to watch MKV files on your Mac.

A very common problem Mac users have is playing MKV files. When you Mac tries to open WMV files by default in QuickTime, you’ll commonly receive an error message along the lines of ‘This is not a movie file’. This gets really annoying if you come across a MKV file and want to watch it on your Mac. Is there a way to play MKV on Mac?

Yes it is possible to playback these types of files on a Mac. OS X doesn’t come with the software you need by default, but there quite a few downloads that can get the job done. In order to play an MKV file in Mac (Mavericks & Mountain Lion included), we need to first learn something about the MKV format:

An MKV file is a free, open source container format developed by Matroska. It can hold different types and unlimited number of video, audio, picture or subtitle tracks in one file. For instance, there might be an .avi file contained within an .mkv file. An MKV file is not associated with a single player like QuickTime. That’s the reason why people usually feel frustrated when they try to play an MKV file in QuickTime. Here are some easy solutions:

Solution 1: Play MKV with VLC Media Player for Mac

VLC Media Player is one of the best free MKV player for Mac. Apart from MKV, it can also play various other regular video/audio formats, including AVI, WMV, MP4, MOV, FLV, MPEG, etc. and even DVDs and CDs. With it, you don’t need to install any codecs or filters to play MKV videos on Mac. Just add the MKV videos to VLC playlist and play them on your Mac freely.

(Tips: If you don’t want to install too many players on your Mac and want to watch MKV videos with iTunes or QuickTime player, you can take a third-party program like Brorsoft Video Converter for Mac to convert your MKV files to Mac compatible format.)

Solution 2: Play MKV with MPlayer OS X

Media Player Classic is another great free MKV video player for Mac users. This player emerged out of the Google Codes project as an attempt to create an all-round player. MPlayer OSX is a simple but powerful video player designed specifically for Mac and can handle MKV playback. It features more options and preferences than VLC Player, with the only drawback being that the first time it plays a video, it has to build a font cache, which can take a while. Luckily, it only has to be done once.

To play MKV files with it, you need to first install the updated Matroska Pack: run Media Player Classic and click View > Options to disable Matroska and then install the latest Pack. After that, you can add the MKV videos to it and start playing them on your Mac without any troubles. In addition to MKV, MPlayer OS X can also play AVI, MOV, RM, MPEG, DVD, etc. files.

Solution 3: Play MKV with QuickTime – Install Perian plugin

Perian is a free, open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats like the MKV. When you’ve had Perian installed, you have to quit QuickTime completely and then restart it. Note that you don’t just close the QuickTime Window; in fact, it’s still running in the background. To do this, QuickTime can update its format and encoding library.

Note: If the Perian plugin is no longer working in your Mountain lion or Mavericks, there is another doable workaround. Please try a reliable Perian alternative for Mac Mavericks or Mountain Lion.

Additional Tips: Play MKV with QuickTime or iTunes on Mac by converting MKV format

Since QuickTime and iTunes are perfect for playing videos on Mac, you may want to view MKV files on Mac with them. However, MKV format is not supported by neither QuickTime or iTunes. Luckily, there are some ways to make MKV playable inĀ  iTunes and QuickTime. What you need to do is to convert MKV on Mac to QuickTime supported MP4 or MOV format. To do this, you can use Brorsoft MKV Converter for Mac to help you. With it, you can easily convert MKV to MOV, MP4, M4V, AVI, WMV, ASF, FLV, etc. popular video formats on Mac while keeping the video quality. After the conversion, you ca easily play MKV using QuickTime on Mac.

Free download MKV converter for Mac:

The main interface of the Mac MKV converter is as below. As you can see, it can also serve as a good MKV player for Mac since you can preview the loaded video files on the viewing window.

To convert MKV to QuickTime or iTunes on Mac, simply click Add Video Files to import the MKV videos to the program. Then choose Video Formats and select MP4 as output format. When all the settings are done, press the Convert button to convert MKV on Mac for playing and sharing the videos anywhere you like.

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