Xbox One received native Matroska Multimedia Container (MKV) file support earlier this year and now, Microsoft has extended support to its current operating system. As of writing, those running Windows 8.1 can play MKV files without having to download a third-party media player.
MKV files are often associated with pirated movies and television shows found on BitTorrent and other popular file-sharing platforms. Windows’ lack of native support for MVK has led to the popularity of standalone media players like VLC but that could soon change.
By baking support right into Windows, Microsoft is also giving the open standard container a much-needed boost of legitimacy. And while some may argue that support has arrived a bit late with Windows 10 looming on the horizon, it's better late than never in my book.
Speaking of, Windows 10 will also carry native MKV support in addition to support for Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) files. FLAC is a lossless audio compression format that provides much higher audio quality compared to lossy formats like MP3. Despite being around since 2001, it still hasn’t really taken off even with the advent of high-quality streaming sources and dedicated FLAC audio players.
As for MKV support in Windows 8.1, it’s worth pointing out that it’s still limited by the operating system’s codec and subtitle support. I haven’t tried it out yet but if it’s just terrible, I suppose VLC is always an option.