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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 in one file. It is intended to serve as a universal format for storing common multimedia content, like movies or TV shows. Matroska is similar in concept to other containers like AVI, MP4, or Advanced Systems Format (ASF), but is entirely open in specification, with implementations consisting mostly of open source software. Matroska file extensions are .MKV for video (with subtitles and audio), .MK3D for stereoscopic video, .MKA for audio-only files, and .MKS for subtitles only.
"Matroska" is derived from Matryoshka (Russian: матрёшка [mɐˈtrʲɵʂkə]), which refers to the hollow, wooden, "Russian doll", or Matryoshka doll, that opens to expose another doll that in turn opens to expose another doll, and so on. The logo uses "Matroška", with the caron over the "s", as the letter š represents the "sh" sound (as in "Matryoshka") in the Slavic languages in which it is used.
The project was announced on 6 December 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 a binary format. This coincided with a 6-month coding break by the MCF's lead developer for his military service, during which most of the community quickly migrated to the new project.
On October 31, 2014, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 will support HEVC and Matroska out of the box, according to a statement from Gabriel Aul, the leader of Microsoft Operating Systems Group's Data and Fundamentals Team. Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9860 added platform level support for HEVC and Matroska.
The use of EBML allows extension for future format changes. The Matroska team has expressed some of their long-term goals on Doom9.org and Hydrogen Audio forums. Thus, the following are "goals", not necessarily existing features, of Matroska:
- Creating a modern, flexible, extensible, cross-platform multimedia container format
- Developing robust streaming support
- Developing a menu system similar to that of DVDs 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 and hardware platforms
Matroska is intended to serve as a universal format for storing common multimedia content, like movies or TV shows. Matroska is similar in concept to other containers like AVI, MP4, or Advanced Systems Format (ASF), but is entirely open in specification, with implementations consisting mostly of open source software.
Matroska is supported by a non-profit organization in France (association loi 1901), and the specifications are open to everyone. The Matroska project is a royalty-free open standard which is free to use and the technical specifications are available for private and commercial use. The Matroska development team licenses its libraries under the LGPL, with parsing and playback libraries available under BSD licenses.
- Matroska Format Specifications, Matroska.org.
- See FAQ. "What file extensions does Matroska use?" http://www.matroska.org/technical/guides/faq/index.html
- "Matroska: Older Archives". Retrieved 9 September 2009.
- Lhomme, Steve (2002-12-06). "Re: Proposed Spec Changes". Newsgroup: gmane.comp.video.mcf.devel. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
- Frequently Asked Questions, the WebM project
- Gabriel Aul (October 31, 2014). "HEVC also supported in-box.". Twitter. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- John Callaham (November 1, 2014). "Microsoft: Windows 10 will support the HEVC video compression standard". Windows Central. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- Bogdan Popa (November 3, 2014). "Microsoft Confirms MKV File Support in Windows 10". Softpedia. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
- Gabe Aul (November 12, 2014). "New build available to the Windows Insider Program". Microsoft. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
- Matroska non-profit organization