The Matroska Multimedia Container is an open standard 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 an English word 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.
|PopcornHour||A-100, A-110, B-110||http://www.popcornhour.com|
|iStar HD||Mini (HDMI 1.1), Mini (HDMI 1.3)||http://www.istarhd.com|
Initially the uptake of the format was low. It was initially used almost exclusively for DVD rips of anime, as the container allowed the viewer to choose between the original language track and a dub. In recent years, however, Matroska has seen wider use due to the scene adopting it as a format of choice for high definition content ripped from HDTV and next generation video discs (HD DVD and Blu-ray). It usually carries H.264 video, one or more AC3/AAC/DTS audio tracks and sometimes one or more subtitle tracks (sometimes coupled with one or more embedded TrueType or OpenType font). Before H.264, most MKV files from the above mentioned scene contained RealVideo (RV9, RV10) encoded video tracks, which at that time was slightly superior to MPEG-4 Part 2 (used e.g. by the DivX, Xvid and FFmpeg MPEG-4 codecs), especially for anime material, in combination with MP3 or Vorbis encoded audio streams and soft-subtitles.
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 everybody, 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 GNU LGPL. In addition to that, there are also free parsing and playback libraries available under the BSD license, for proprietary software adoption.
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