View Full Version : Problems with MKV video files - any video experts out there?

09-01-2012, 12:09 PM
I have downloaded about five episodes of a very old 1973 documentary series called "The Ascent of Man", it seems promising but I cannot play it. Windows Media Player (on Windows 7, I presume I am running Version 12, but hard to tell these days) does not like it and won't play it at all. My preferred media player (a device) won't play it either, correction it plays the audio with no sound. Another media player I have does play it.
I would like to convert it to something more usable, but don't know how I can establish the details and what the problem is.
Freemake tells me the video in the file is H264, 696x520, 527kbps, 25fps. It lets me convert it, but result is oddly flickery and basically unwatchable. I am using the latest version of Freemake, downloaded today (3.02 I think). I have converted one episode to multiple frame rate versions from 15fps to 29fps, all same result.
The flickering happens on both Windows Media Player and my media player device.

PS HNY, etc.

09-01-2012, 12:25 PM
Did some episodes a few weeks ago which were MKV Files

Converted them to AVI with no problems

Did VLC play them before conversion?

09-01-2012, 01:22 PM
I don't have VLC, but given that I have one device that does successfully play them, it would suggest there isn't a fundamental problem with the files and conversion to a more usable format should be possible.

09-01-2012, 01:36 PM
VLC is my go to player for when media player won't play a file. Alternatively you probably just need to find and install the relevant codecs.
AutoGK would probably convert the files, but I think it relies on the same codecs as media player so you'd have to get it to play first.

You could try this http://www.free-codecs.com/download/matroska_pack.htm but I can't personally vouch for it.

09-01-2012, 01:51 PM
Remember MKV is just a container type; it can contain audio/video with various encodings - AVI is also, but typically most AVI files you'll come across are designed to work with a "vanilla" Windows Media Player, so use common encodings. In theory you can recode the file by just copying the video data & re-encoding the audio to something friendlier for your gear.

Handbrake is a good, free converter which can recode the audio/video as necessary, but wants to create MKV or MP4 files only. VLC will at least let you know what the encodings are on the current copy of your video. If you really want to go commando, try FFmpeg, which does it all via the command line (although there are a few front-end GUIs for it around).

09-01-2012, 01:54 PM
Most likely it the haali media splitter that's needed. Splits the container (mkv is a container) to its streams.

x264 decoder is already part of Windows7.

09-01-2012, 03:28 PM
grab media player classic with the k-lite codec pack. it plays uverythang!

09-01-2012, 03:58 PM
+1 for: media player classic with the k-lite codec pack

09-01-2012, 04:37 PM
Robo, I suggest you hire the series on DVD from a video hire store - it is available. You will have much better quality than your download at 527kbps.

09-01-2012, 04:53 PM
Good point, although I've seen some pretty poor quality DVDs out there, and it's a pretty old show. TBH, I watched the first one on my non-preferred player and it's not that crash hot. It's okay, but he's not Dawkins.

09-01-2012, 05:09 PM
Maybe it seems dated, coming from the 1970s, but it is one of the milestone TV series from the BBC.

10-01-2012, 08:16 AM
Update: AutoGK doesn't appear to have been updated in quite a while and any new encoding I thought would fail to work with it. I loaded a newer version of Handbrake and it seems to have worked nicely, thanks for your input folks.