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Playing MKV Files Using RealPlayer

by Tom Volotta on March 5, 2012

Playing Matroska  (MKV) video files Matroska video fukewith the free RealPlayer wouldn’t ordinarily be possible. Why? RealPlayer does not have its own built-in support for MKV.

However, there is a quick and reliable solution. We’ll explain how to play Matroska files perfectly with RealPlayer.

WHY DO YOU NEED A MKV PLAYER?

As a container format, MKV has the capability of handling virtually unlimited streams of digital media. In addition to multiple tracks of audio and video, an MKV file player can read subtitles, chapter points, menus, and other information called metadata encoded in the format. One example is a sports event or a music concert where multiple camera angles are being sent simultaneously for users to select from in real time while viewing. Even 3D video that requires the synchronized playing of two matching, but slightly offset, video streams to create the stereoscopic effect can be a Matroska file. These powerful features open new creative possibilities for content producers and ultimately, the enjoyment of users.

IF IT’S NOT BUILT-IN, HOW DOES REALPLAYER BECOME A MKV PLAYER?

Although RealPlayer is not a native MKV file player, MKV is open standard software. That means its underlying computer code can be used freely by anyone, including developers of digital media products. Open standards also simplify legal matters for companies wishing to incorporate the MKV file extension in their products.

As with most digital media, this is complicated territory. In simple terms, Matroska can be added-on to the other file formats RealPlayer already supports making it a MKV windows media player. Then MKV files can be played. It’s somewhat similar to installing or updating the Adobe Flash Player in your web browser so you can watch FLV videos online.

Adding MKV is done with a Codec Pack. This software allows RealPlayer to recognize, open, decode, and play Matroska files. In the case of Matroska, the recommended product is the Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP.) Oddly enough, Matroska did make their own MVK codec pack, but discontinued development because they considered the CCCP version to be much better. The CCCP codec pack is a free mkv player download.

HOW TO INSTALL CCCP AND TURN REALPLAYER INTO A MKV VIDEO PLAYER

Although MKV can run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and other operating systems, CCCP is only for Windows. The Combined Community Codec Pack link above takes you directly to the page where you can download CCCP. If you have any questions, particularly about installing, go to their main page and scroll to “Installation Instructions.”

Other codec packs running on your computer could cause conflicts. A special program from CCCP called Insurgent (available through the same link to download CCCP) will check through your system and advise of any problems, and what to do about them. Some codec packs may need to be uninstalled.

USING REALPLAYER AS A FREE MKV PLAYER

For testing, I downloaded the full version of the short movie “Sintel” in the MKV file format at 1080p HD. “Sintel” is available under the Creative Commons Attribution license, free for everyone to distribute, learn from, or re-use.

To find the video look for “Sintel.2010.1080p” in your system’s download folder. You’ll see “MKV File” under the type column, with a size of 1,144,950 KB. Select “Open with” to be sure you’re pointing at RealPlayer, not another program. RealPlayer immediately opens the Now Playing window, automatically setting it to the full 1080p resolution and begins to play “Sintel.”

The visual quality was stunning and the sound excellent. Watching and listening to the movie was smooth and clean, with no apparent dropped frames or blocking artifacts – those little squares you sometimes see when digital video isn’t working quite right. I played “Sintel” on a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo machine and was impressed with RealPlayer as a MKV video player. It displayed the 1080p video beautifully.

REALPLAYER AS A MKV PLAYER

There are two drawbacks to fully exploiting RealPlayer’s capabilities with MVK. First, Mastroska videos cannot be saved in the RealPlayer Library as other clips – so you’ll need to look for those files as mentioned above. Second, you can’t access RealPlayer Converter to change an MKV file into another format, such as MP4. This is unfortunate if MKV is the only format the video is available in and you want to transfer it to a smart phone or other device.

Given the overwhelming advantages of being able to play MVK content on RealPlayer, these problems are minor and may be resolved in the near future by RealPlayer engineers.

There is a general problem, not confined to RealPlayer, on converting Matroska to other formats. Many of the special multiple video, audio, subtitle, and metadata features contained within an MKV file may well be lost when converting to another format. If you have a simple video and audio program, you’ll probably be fine though.

Let me know if you have questions about playing Matroska files using RealPlayer. I’m happy to help.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 suzie March 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Thanks. I never knew I could play mkv on my realplayer. I guess I don’t have to have two players on my pc afterall.

2 Tom Volotta March 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Yup. CCCP works great for MKV on RealPlayer.

3 krankenkasse March 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

THX

4 reolann March 14, 2012 at 11:25 pm

thx a lot.it really works of playing MKV files on real player.

5 Tom Volotta March 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm

krankenkasse and reolann,

My pleasure. You are both welcome.

6 sad guy April 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm

it didnt work for me. i downloaded the latest CCCP and real player and it still doenst work.

7 Tom Volotta April 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm

There may be a conflicting codec pack on your system. You might have to first uninstall them, then run the CCCP Insurgent program BEFORE doing the regular CCCP install.

http://www.cccp-project.net/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

Scroll down to “Installation Instructions” for details.

Let us know if that works for you.

8 remixedcat April 21, 2012 at 1:20 am

CCCP FTW!!! It’s a great codec pack even recommended by audio and video snobs… LOL…

avoid installing k-lite at all costs, it’s ruined 2 of my systems… it took a reformat to resolve.

9 Tom Volotta April 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

CCCP does get good reviews. Matroska actually stopped development of their own codec pack because CCCP’s was superior, and is the one they recommend.

I don’t know much about K-Lite. I have undergone the ordeal of doing a few complete system reformats, so can empathize with the grief you went through!

10 Sam May 5, 2012 at 1:11 am

Hey,in my comp not working.It is sayin u need to have xp sp2

11 Tom Volotta May 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Hmmmm… What version OS are you running?

RealPlayer 15 requires at least Windows SP 3. CCCP says Windows XP Service Pack 1 is all it needs minimum system requirement.

Try using the “Insurgent” software from CCCP on your system BEFORE doing the CCCP install. Also make sure there are NO other codec packs lurking on your machine. CCCP seems to be sensitive that that.

http://www.cccp-project.net/

Follow the Installation Instructions:
http://www.cccp-project.net/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

Let us know if this helps or not.

12 Igor August 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I read this site and instructions from you, and im grateful because i solve my movie problems with.mkv. THANKS!!!

13 Tom Volotta August 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

That’s good to hear. Thanks for letting us know.

…TV

14 Amy February 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

This Really Works! I’m So Happy! Thank You!

15 Tom Volotta February 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Amy,

Yeah, it’s a simple but effective fix for the free RealPlayer. Converting is limited though. Check the new RP 16 Plus. It will handle MKV by itself. I am not positive it will convert to/from MKV, so you might want to check with Support to confirm.

Oh, why do you like MKV? Anime multi-channel captions? Multiple streaming capabilities in general, or other qualities?

…TV

16 Ramesh April 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I did exactly as stated, there were no codecs to uninstall. However when I tried to open an mkv file, Real Player stated it needed to download a codec, tried downloading and then failed to find any. How do I fix this?

17 RealPlayer Team April 6, 2013 at 9:45 am

Hi Ramesh,

Performing a clean uninstall and reinstall can help you resolve many issues, try uninstalling and reinstalling RealPlayer by following this link:

https://real.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/8721.

Make sure you delete the RealPlayer folders as mention on the link before reinstalling RealPlayer.

If that doesn’t work, send an email to help@real.com so that we can help you further.

18 Luis A Ramos Jr May 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I downloaded the current version of CCCP software and had RealPlayer 16 installed on Win 7 laptop and had the same error message as Ramesh above. Re-installing Real Player and CCCP softwares will allow me to watch MKV files. Right?

19 RealPlayer Team May 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Hi Luis,

Yes, you can try uninstalling and reinstalling RealPlayer by following this link: https://real.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/8721

Make sure you delete the RealPlayer folders as mention on the link before reinstalling RealPlayer.

If that doesn’t work, send an email to help@real.com so that we can help you further.

20 Lloyd May 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm

lol after i installed it i was able to watch it on windows media player also

21 Areesh Shamsi July 22, 2014 at 7:52 am

I need to know that real player installed on Nokia Symbian 60 phones can play MKV files? Please help me.

22 Brinton Felixraja July 23, 2014 at 2:52 am

Sorry, RealPlayer for Nokia Symbian 60 phones is no longer supported. In general, RealPlayer (as well as all other players) can only support formats that are pre-installed on the phone. Please consult the manual that came with your phone for more information.

The latest version is RealPlayer Cloud and it is currently available for iOS, Android, Windows 8, 8.1 touch-screen devices and Roku.

If you have any additional questions, please send an email to help@real.com

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