Video formats can be confusing, and some might not work in your video player of choice, especially more obscure formats like MKV. It’s often easier or even necessary to convert them to something more usable, like MP4. Luckily, that conversion is easy to do. This guide explains how to convert MKV videos to MP4 easily.
What Are MKV Files, And Why Should I Convert Them?
MKV is not a video format. Instead, it’s a multimedia container format used to combine different elements like audio, video, and subtitles into a single file. You could use any video encoding in an MKV file and still have it play. The problem arises with compatibility. Not every device or video app can play MKV files, especially mobile devices. MKV is open source and not an industry standard, so it doesn’t have support on many devices. It won’t even work in Windows Media Player or Quicktime, the defaults for Windows and macOS.
The solution: Convert your MKV files to MP4. MP4 is compatible with most devices and apps, and you won’t lose much quality (if any) to the conversion process.
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The Simplest Solution: Use VLC
The VLC media player can recognize and play almost any video format, including MKV. It can also convert them to something more universal, like MP4. Here’s how.
- Head over to VideoLAN’s website and download VLC. When installing, make sure you read the fine print to avoid introducing your computer to any bloatware.
- Open the software, click the Media tab in the upper-left corner, and select Convert/Save from the resulting drop-down menu.
- Click the Add button and locate the file you wish to convert on your PC. Once it’s selected, press the Convert/Save button at the bottom of the window.
- Specify your desired video format. In this case, we’d recommend H.264 + Mp3 (MP4) using the drop-down menu beside Profile. Clicking the tool icon (next to the drop-down menu) will allow you to fine-tune your settings further.
- Specify under Destination where you would like VLC to export your file. Then, click Start. The timeline will turn into a progress bar, and once it finishes, your video will be ready. Remember that the old MKV file still exists. If you no longer want the old file and would prefer more storage space on your computer, you should delete all your old MKV files when finished.
A More Full-Featured Solution: WinX Video Converter
While VLC performs a simple encode on a single file, there’s a lot more under the hood that you might want to control if you’re doing any video production work. For this, WinX VideoProc handles the job well.
When you open it up, switch to the “Video” tab at the bottom, and the first screen you see asks you to drag media onto it. Drag your file in, and the rest of the controls will pop up. You can also add entire video folders and bulk encode them all at once, but we’ll stick to a single video for now.
Again, the default conversion option is MP4, so we don’t have to change much there, but if you want to take a peek under the hood, you can double-click the profile to change the settings.
From here, you can change many options, the notable ones being:
- Image quality, to adjust the quality in each frame and the encoding speed.
- Bitrate, to make files smaller at the cost of quality.
- Framerate to convert down to 30 or 24fps video.
Once you’re done configuring, you can hit “Run” to start the conversion.
Video conversion can take a while, especially with larger videos, but the app will automatically open up the folder where it saved your files when it’s done.
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Convert MKV Videos To MP4 Using CloudConvert (Web-based)
This is a hosted service, so you’ll have to upload your video files to their server. You may have privacy concerns, and if you do, you can use software to edit them on your device. Otherwise, you have the choice to delete your file as soon as it converts immediately. Just click on the X icon next to the Download button. Be warned that it can take up to 24 hours, but your videos should permanently be deleted from their servers.
Convert MKV Videos To MP4
Go to the CloudConvert homepage and click “Select File” to choose a file from your computer. If you click on the drop-down arrow within the Select File button, you can choose from files you keep in Google Drive, Dropbox, or other online storage options.
Select the arrow next to Convert To and choose MP4 from the video formats list. Then, click the “Convert” button to start the process.
The conversion doesn’t take too long, and you know the process is done when the option to download appears. (CloudConvert may automatically playback your newly converted video for you so that you can see if the conversion went well before you download the new file.) Click the green Download button to download your new video. Once you download your MP4 file, you can use it on any compatible device or platform. If you’re going to convert files frequently, you might want to add the CloudConvert Chrome extension.
How has this helped you? Let us know in the comments section.
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