14 September 2013

Difference between AVI and MKV Format

Posted by Vasim Tamboli
AVI and MKV are two popular video formats that are commonly applied in videos. Most people have portable media players such as MP4 player, PSP, MP5, NDS, PDA, iPAD, cellphones and much more. If you read the manual of your player devices, you will find that most of your devices can support AVI formats. But sometimes you may not see MKV in your supported formats list.

Both, AVI and MKV are file formats mainly used for playing videos with audios. However, what most people do not realize that AVI and MKV are not encoding formats, but are container files, i.e. basically wrappers for formatted video files. The main difference between the two comes not from the formats itself, but from the types of codecs used within the files.

What is .avi format?

AVI stands for Audio Video Interleave. It was included as part of the Video for Windows technology. It was developed by Windows in reprisal for the MOV file format, developed by Apple computers. AVI files can contain both audio and video data in a file container that allows synchronous audio-with-video playback. Like the DVD video format, AVI files support multiple streaming audio and video, although these features are seldom used.

Currently, AVI is the most popular and commonly used file format. It is supported by many video players, as well as some mobile devices. AVI usually has a low requirements for hardware, therefore, it can be played back well with older portable media players. If your device is not the latest or the hardware not that developed, you may choose AVI as the output video format.

What is .mkv format?

MKV is the file format for Matroska Multimedia Container, often simple called Matroska. It is an open standard free container format, which means that it is available freely for anyone free of cost. MKV is similar to other file formats, such as AVI, MP4, etc., in the manner that they are all container formats. An MKV file is an open source container format. It is a general-purpose audio and video container and a competing format to the popular AVI and MP4 formats. The most common file extension for the Matroska Multimedia Container is .mkv for video with subtitles and audio, however .MK3D for stereoscopic video, .MKA for audio-only files, and .MKS for subtitles only files are also used.

The name ‘Matroska’ comes from the Russian word “Matryoshka” meaning nesting doll, which is quite famous as a Russian cultural symbol. MKV offers a high definition visual experience, you can watch some high definition movies, usually, if you use a large screen to playback videos, MKV is the best video formats for you. Usually, MKV has a larger size than AVI or other common video formats.

How MKV is superior to AVI?

  • Supports H.264/AVC 
  • B-Frame support 
  • Supports variable audio bitrate 
  • Supports chapters, muxed subtitles, metadata/tags and dvd-like menus