Along with hardcore gaming, Xbox One is a complete media center system capable of playing an array of file formats, including MKV (Matroska Media Container).
The .mkv extension is a container that supports multiple video and audio codecs, such as your typical H.264 video and AAC audio. Generally speaking, a container describes the structure of the data and other information about the video and audio streams.
In addition, containers can include other types of data, including subtitles, images, chapter information, menus, and more. It’s like the content you’ll find on a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, but MKV is a much more flexible format that supports a slew of container features.
Xbox One uses its built-in Media Player app to bring MKV support to the console, and in this guide, you’ll learn the codecs and MKV features supported in the console.
Xbox One MKV codec support
Remember that MKV is simply a container, and it can include an array of video and audio tracks encoded with different codecs.
Xbox One can play .mkv videos using the following codecs:
|Matroska ID||Microsoft Media Foundation||Description||FourCC or WAV identifiers|
|V_MPEG4/ISO/ASP||MFVideoFormat_MP4V||MPEG-4 part 2 video||MP4V|
|V_MPEG4/MS/V3||MFVideoFormat_MP43||Microsoft MPEG 4 codec version 3||MP43|
|V_MS/VFW/FOURCC||Maps to several codecs usually supported in the AVI format that are available on the console.|
|A_AAC||MFAudioFormat_AAC||Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)||WAVE_FORMAT_MPEG_HEAAC|
|A_AC3||MFAudioFormat_Dolby_AC3||Dolby Digital (AC-3)|
|A_MPEG/L3||MFAudioFormat_MP3||MPEG Audio Layer-3 (MP3)||WAVE_FORMAT_MPEGLAYER3|
|A_MPEG/L1||MFAudioFormat_MPEG||MPEG-1 audio payload||WAVE_FORMAT_MPEG|
|A_PCM/INT/LIT||MFAudioFormat_PCM||Uncompressed PCM audio||WAVE_FORMAT_PCM|
|A_PCM/INT/BIG||MFAudioFormat_PCM||Uncompressed PCM audio||WAVE_FORMAT_PCM|
|A_PCM/FLOAT/IEEE||MFAudioFormat_Float||Uncompressed IEEE floating-point audio||WAVE_FORMAT_IEEE_FLOAT|
If you have an .mkv video file that is not playing on your console, usually the problem is that the container doesn’t support video and audio streams.
Xbox One MKV container features
While Xbox One doesn’t support every MKV feature, the console supports the container in a number of ways:
- The first track of video or audio will be played if multiple tracks are detected.
- Captions won’t appear when there are multiple captions tracks.
- Captions and images won’t appear when there are multiple fonts and images present.
- Menu and chapter information isn’t supported.
- When files with chapters refer to supplemental files, the supplemental files won’t play.
- Thumbnail images are only available on files stored on a USB drive.
- According to Microsoft, using this set of features, the console will be able to play most MKV files.
It’s worth pointing out that Xbox One doesn’t support all the MKV container features, but it includes support for the features that will bring the most value to users.