Chances are, if you have ever sent or received audio or video files, you have dealt with files that contain a .mkv extension. These files are often extremely large, making them difficult to share without compressing them first. Read on for more information about MKV files, what they are, and how to compress them.

What are .mkv Files?

MKV files -- officially known as Matroska Video files -- were originally created in 2002 and were named for Matryoshka dolls, which are hollow, wooden Russian dolls used to contain smaller dolls. MKV is a container file format supported by a non-profit organization in France, whereby audio, video, and subtitles are incorporated as a single file. The format is generally highly adaptive and easy to use, provided your device will run the files.

One common use of files bearing a .mkv extension is so individuals can store and stream their own collection of movies and television shows. MKV is often used for high definition online videos as it supports descriptions, ratings, cover art, and chapter points. Because MKV is a container format -- similar to MOV and AVI -- it can hold several different tracks containing different formats. Unfortunately, because certain decoders are needed in order to operate with certain coding schemes, often not all files will run on the same computer unless the necessary decoders are loaded. Mac operating systems, for example, are not natively able to run .mkv files through Quicktime, which means that Mac users need to download an app specifically to play this type of file.

Some of the goals that the Motroska team wished to accomplish through the container include:

  • Creating a cross-platform, multimedia container format.
  • Developing global support for those needing assistance with using this type of file.
  • Developing a menu system similar to the one used in DVDs.
  • Working with device manufacturers to ensure that MKV files can be embedded on more devices.

Why Should You Compress MKV Files?

MKV video files are more complex than AVI, which results in files that are massive, taking up precious space on your hard drive. If you were to attempt to store very many HD videos in this format, they could cause a number of issues, including computer slowdown. By compressing the files, you are able to store them more efficiently, leaving space for other files to also be stored on your device.

The other reason that you should compress your .mkv files is if you plan to share them through email or social media. Most email and social media platforms have limitations as to the size of file you can upload in order to share. Generally, MKV files will be much larger, resulting in the video not being shared as intended due to these size limitations.

In addition to simply being a large file because it is a container format encompassing a number of different files, there are other reasons why your MKV file will be large and require compression, including:

  • The codec, which is the method your computer uses to determine the interval between frames.
  • The keyframe, which is the base frame for determined by the codec and will serve as the base frame for the next few frames of change. Having a higher number of keyframes will improve the quality of your video, but will increase the size.
  • Artifacts, which are blocky pieces of image that occur when the keyframe does not update correctly.
  • Bit/data rate, which is the amount of data that each second of a video uses. A constant bit rate throughout the entire video will result in a larger file.

How to Compress MKV Files

MKV files can be easily compressed, with little quality loss, if you have the right software and you're able to follow a few steps.

How to compress MKV files in WinZip

From File Explorer:

  1. From your File Explorer select all of the files you want to compress.
  2. Right-click on the selected files. WinZip > Add/Move to Zip File… This will open WinZip with options about how you want your file zipped.
  3. Select your file options, like name, location, encryption, and any other features you want to include.
  4. Select Add. This will create a zip file in the location you selected containing all your files.

From within WinZip:

  1. From within WinZip locate the files you want to zip using the panel on the left.
  2. Select all of the files you want to compress.
  3. Select the Add to Zip button at the bottom of the left panel.
  4. After you add all of the files you want to the Zip file select the Save as button in the right bottom corner. Name your file and select save.

Note that you must have WinZip installed on your computer to use these methods.

Conclusion

WinZip is trusted by millions of businesses and consumers to provide file-sharing solutions that are easy to use but keep your information private. Having the right compression and encryption software for your platform and device can help boost your productivity while saving storage space on your device.


Download Winzip and Encrypt Files Today