|Internet media type||video/x-matroska, audio/x-matroska|
The Matroska Multimedia Container is an open free container format, a file format that can hold an unlimited number of video, audio, picture or subtitle tracks inside a single file. 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.
Matroska is derived from the Russian word "matryoshka" (матрёшка, [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.
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 another binary format. This coincided with a long coding break by the MCF's lead developer, which caused most of the community to quickly migrate to the new project.
The Matroska project developers believe that the use of EBML brings them a number of advantages, including making it easier to extend the format for decades into the future as new developments occur and/or as the project goals change. The format has been designed from the ground up for longevity and extendability (unlike formats such as AVI). The Matroska team has spoken openly on Doom9.org and hydrogenaudio.org about some of their long term goals, including:
- 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.
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 the LGPL. In addition to that, there are also free parsing and playback libraries available under the BSD license, for proprietary hardware and software adoption.
- Official Matroska Homepage
- Technical specifications for the Matroska Container Format
- Proposed RFC
- Matroska news page, with April 2006 posting of Zensonic Z500 support
- Zensonic forums official response of no Matroska support
- CoreCodec – Official Matroska Developer Project Home
- Perian (MKV) QuickTime Component For Mac
- Project Announcement on Doom9 forums
- Parser, de-/muxer and player
- MKVToolnix - Cross-platform tools for Matroska