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Thread: MP4 vs MKV

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  1. Member
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    Hello, I know MKV is a container that can hold an unlimited number of video, audio, picture or subtitle tracks in one file. But, when I discovered MP4Box GUI tool, that can also merge several video, audio or subtitle tracks in only one MP4 file, it made a question:
    Is MKV container necessary anymore? (because MP4 already can do what MKV does.)
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    Technically speaking, I don't think MKV can really hold an "unlimited" number of video, audio and subtitles tracks in one file. I'm sure there is some kind of limit.

    MP4 CANNOT do what MKV does. Here's the easiest example - MP4 containers do not support DTS audio.
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    MP4 also has poor support for muxed in subtitles compared to MKV (only plain text)

    MP4 can stream h.264 video (like flash, youtube etc...) , but MKV cannot unless you use webm compression and HTML5
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  4. Member dragonkeeper's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LeoKac View Post
    Is MKV container necessary anymore? (because MP4 already can do what MKV does.)
    MP4 may never be as versatile as MKV. Apple has ensured this by putting constraints on it just as they do all their products. Just my two cents.
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  5. Aside from all of the above, generally MKVToolNix is much faster at remuxing and adding additional streams as MKVs than MP4Box is at remuxing MP4s.

    I've not used MP4Box much but if memory serves me correctly there's a bit of stream extraction involved before remuxing. YAMB (another MP4Box GUI) often seems to extract streams, create some sort of image file and then uses the image to create the MP4.
    MKVToolNix on the other hand just seems to read from the source files while it's writing the new MKV. I've got two RAID volumes in this PC and as a general rule when remuxing I try to put the sources on one volume and the output on another. Remuxing seems to happen as fast as the drives can read and write, usually somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds to remux a 4GB MKV. By comparison, YAMB at least, is dog slow.
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  6. vanished El Heggunte's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LeoKac View Post
    ...

    Is MKV container necessary anymore? (because MP4 already can do what MKV does.)
    Both Matroska and MP4 still have their respective limitations.

    Besides, not all muxers and splitters support all features of those containers.

    For example, if you want to store DTS and VC-1 in MP4, you have to rely on ffmpeg or on L-Smash, and forget MP4Box.
    OTOH, only MP4Box can safely store MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video in MP4.
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  7. Personally I use MP4 99% of the time when I do video encoding, I only use mkv if I need styled subtitles, because ttxt (and the support for it) is really limited and afaik MP4 does not have a picture based subtitle format,...
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    Originally Posted by Selur View Post
    Personally I use MP4 99% of the time when I do video encoding, I only use mkv if I need styled subtitles, because ttxt (and the support for it) is really limited and afaik MP4 does not have a picture based subtitle format,...
    This...

    MKV creates all kinds of problems, example.

    I have Gundam Wing the entire thing even Endless Waltz. Here's the problems they were ripped with Make MKV and guess what? Doesn't matter what player it is, it defaults to Japanese Audio and English subtitles. Duh, I don't speak Japanese and never liked subbed Anime/TV show/Movies if I can avoid it. I accept it for Votoms, Area 88 and Initial D, because there is no dub or the dub is terrible (Initial D).

    In XMBC's May updates (Nightly Builds) they seem to have fixed this, I can't confirm yet and I am waiting for word back from ASRock as my Realtek NIC refuses to work with IPv6 which is needed for Windows Home Server 2011 and Home Group, I use both. Once I know what's going on with the motherboard, I will try a nightly build to see if they fixed it.
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  9. VH Wanderer Ai Haibara's Avatar
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    Just load the MKVs in MKVMergeGUI, then, and select which audio and subtitle tracks you want as default - or strip out all of the audio and subtitle tracks you don't want. Make sure the header compression 'feature' is disabled, though; many standalone players and similar hardware may still have problems with it, if it's used in an MKV. I don't know whether or not XBMC would have trouble with header compression, unfortunately.

    I can't really go into detail how to disable header compression in MKVMerge/mkvtoolnix at the moment, as I'm not at a system with mkvtoolnix installed. There are a few mentions of how to do it elsewhere in the forum, though.
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  10. Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    MKV creates all kinds of problems, example.

    I have Gundam Wing the entire thing even Endless Waltz. Here's the problems they were ripped with Make MKV and guess what? Doesn't matter what player it is, it defaults to Japanese Audio and English subtitles. Duh, I don't speak Japanese and never liked subbed Anime/TV show/Movies if I can avoid it. I accept it for Votoms, Area 88 and Initial D, because there is no dub or the dub is terrible (Initial D).
    That doesn't sound like a problem caused by using the MKV container as such. MKV (unlike MP4, I think) allows you to set default streams or apply the "force" attribute. Trouble is, most hardware players (and probably PC software players, although there's probably some which can be told to play a particular language by default) happily ignore all that and simply play the first stream in the MKV (first audio stream if there's more than one, or first subtitle stream, etc)
    Now assuming your MKVs do contain more than one audio stream you could use MKVMergeGUI to remux the MKVs while changing the order of the streams. That will probably fix it.

    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    In XMBC's May updates (Nightly Builds) they seem to have fixed this, I can't confirm yet and I am waiting for word back from ASRock as my Realtek NIC refuses to work with IPv6 which is needed for Windows Home Server 2011 and Home Group, I use both. Once I know what's going on with the motherboard, I will try a nightly build to see if they fixed it.
    I assume from the above XMBC can be told which is the preferred language to play? I doubt that'd be the case with any standalone players. MP4s would probably play using the same audio and subtitles if the streams were saved to the MP4 in the same order.
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  11. vanished El Heggunte's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    ......

    MKV creates all kinds of problems, example.

    ......
    I think the problem is not the container itself, but the lack of a "perfect" MKV splittter (regarding DirectShow at least). During several years, there existed only two DirectShow Matroska spliiters --- the one by Gabest, and Haali Media Splitter. Now there are three new alternatives (SolveigMM Matroska Splitter, AV Splitter and Nevcairiel's LAV Filters), however many/most ppl keep using Haali, either because old habits are difficult to kill , or because LAV Splitter does not support the so-called "ordered chapters" thing. But the truth is (unless things have changed a lot very-recently), Haali splitter misidentifies TrueHD and MLP audio as "AC3" , which means in this case it cannot use the LAV Audio decoder On the other hand, Nev's MKV splitter still has certain performance issues on older/slower computers,
    whereas AV Splitter does not.
    Last edited by El Heggunte; 18th Jun 2012 at 20:30. Reason: glitch with the emoticons :-/
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    Originally Posted by hello_hello View Post
    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    MKV creates all kinds of problems, example.

    I have Gundam Wing the entire thing even Endless Waltz. Here's the problems they were ripped with Make MKV and guess what? Doesn't matter what player it is, it defaults to Japanese Audio and English subtitles. Duh, I don't speak Japanese and never liked subbed Anime/TV show/Movies if I can avoid it. I accept it for Votoms, Area 88 and Initial D, because there is no dub or the dub is terrible (Initial D).
    That doesn't sound like a problem caused by using the MKV container as such. MKV (unlike MP4, I think) allows you to set default streams or apply the "force" attribute. Trouble is, most hardware players (and probably PC software players, although there's probably some which can be told to play a particular language by default) happily ignore all that and simply play the first stream in the MKV (first audio stream if there's more than one, or first subtitle stream, etc)
    Now assuming your MKVs do contain more than one audio stream you could use MKVMergeGUI to remux the MKVs while changing the order of the streams. That will probably fix it.

    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    In XMBC's May updates (Nightly Builds) they seem to have fixed this, I can't confirm yet and I am waiting for word back from ASRock as my Realtek NIC refuses to work with IPv6 which is needed for Windows Home Server 2011 and Home Group, I use both. Once I know what's going on with the motherboard, I will try a nightly build to see if they fixed it.
    I assume from the above XMBC can be told which is the preferred language to play? I doubt that'd be the case with any standalone players. MP4s would probably play using the same audio and subtitles if the streams were saved to the MP4 in the same order.
    From XBMC's June Release blog post and its NOT a stand alone player, its a Media Front End.

    For users who typically watch DVDs recorded in a non-native default language, developer Montellese has subtly altered the way XBMC picks the appropriate audio language from among multiple options. Rather than simply picking the audio that has been flagged as “default,” XBMC will attempt to match the language of the XBMC installation with the audio language. So if you are running XBMC in German, and you attempt to watch a movie that typically would default in English, but happens to have a German track, XBMC will attempt to recognize and then select that track for you.

    In addition, after selecting the appropriate language, XBMC will now make its audio selection based on the “best” track, rather than the first track listed. So in the past, there may have been 3 German language tracks listed in the following order: DTS-HD, MP3, and Dolby Digital. If XBMC was unable to play the DTS-HD track, it would default down to the next track and pick MP3. Now it will pick the next best track, and default to Dolby Digital.
    Not totally sure what it uses as an internal player I believe its VLC Player, since its open source and IMHO one of the best software players available.

    I didn't say it was MKV's fault, I was just making the statement that MKV is mostly used to contain multiple files in one container (as you said more than two audio tracks + sub-title text). I said who ever ripped it, made Japanese the first audio track. I can switch the audio to English but it will just default back to Japanese on the next episode played.

    I know I can remux it, I rather not. I have enough projects; Merging files back together, renaming files so theRenamer can fix them into sXX/eXX so theTVDB can find it, get the proper metadata, fan art, posters, dvd box covers, etc.

    As I said I hope this nightly build of XBMC fixes that problem. As I said its a front end, puts STB nonsense to shame.
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    Originally Posted by El Heggunte View Post
    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    ......

    MKV creates all kinds of problems, example.

    ......
    I think the problem is not the container itself, but the lack of a "perfect" MKV splittter (regarding DirectShow at least). During several years, there existed only two DirectShow Matroska spliiters --- the one by Gabest, and Haali Media Splitter. Now there are three new alternatives (SolveigMM Matroska Splitter, AV Splitter and Nevcairiel's LAV Filters), however many/most ppl keep using Haali, either because old habits are difficult to kill , or because LAV Splitter does not support the so-called "ordered chapters" thing. But the truth is (unless things have changed a lot very-recently), Haali splitter misidentifies TrueHD and MLP audio as "AC3" , which means in this case it cannot use the LAV Audio decoder On the other hand, Nev's MKV splitter still has certain performance issues on older/slower computers,
    whereas AV Splitter does not.
    I agree but both of you think I was blaming the container. I wasn't, I was saying MKV allows things I don't like to happen, like default language tracks not matching the default language of the computer. All those media splitters did the same thing, only worst. I am never running a bunch of codecs on my WMC machine other than the one that came with Media Center.

    I had Media Browser before, but I find XBMC much more useful. I don't have to worry about what formats, its internal player plays them all... Add-ons allow me to watch You Tube content without getting up, without using a browser, with my remote, logs into my account. Another one launches my games for console emulators with meta data from Moby Games or Game FAQ, including screen shots and fan created art.

    I tried to get VirtualDub to open the MP4 file created by MCE Buddy. The problem is the codec that MCE Buddy uses isn't seen by VirtualDub or Avidemux. I am glad I just experimented with it. I would love to use it and while there no real adverts in my Centurion files, I do want to cut the fluff that Boomerang provided to the file and just have a simple intro, title card and outro. So I guess I have to go through all 41 files.... I was hoping I could edit out the parts I don't want with WLMM (Live Movie Maker) but leave it as a .wtv file, so MCE can convert it in the background. But nope, WLMM forces you into saving it as a compresses file. That's okay its .wmv (700MB vs 400MB) but its still half the size (more) than the standard .wtv file. Its just I have to process all the files like this or just deal with the Boomerang Boomeraction intros and outros. Since I doubt I'll be sharing I may opt to just shrink them down and be done with it.

    I'll think it over...
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  14. Well I guess you might be able to understand why when you said "MKV creates all kinds of problems" in a thread discussing MKV v MP4, it could be taken as you were saying "all kinds of problems" could be created by using an MKV container.

    I've never used XBMC so I can't comment too much on it's options, but none of what you described sounds like it'd be happening any differently if the same video and audio were in an MP4 container rather than MKV. MP4 can also hold more than a single audio stream. The section on XBMC you quoted refers to DVDs. I'm not sure it necessarily follows the same applies to all file types.

    Having a player automatically default to the same language as the PC installation doesn't necessarily sound ideal to me. Being able to set the default language independently (using the player) or per file sounds like a better system. Mind you while I'd have to look, the Haali splitter (and probably the others) allows you to set a preferred language which would get it to use the appropriate audio regardless of whether it's the default or not and regardless of the default language of the PC. Of course that's assuming the correct language has been set for each audio stream in the MKV file or one of them has actually been set as the default. It's quite possible the language or default audio track wasn't specified when muxing, so the player would probably just play the first stream.

    To be honest I think the real problem is your MKVs weren't muxed correctly for your usage, but had they been MP4s I doubt the situation would be any different. Remuxing them to set the correct default/language/order of the streams would no doubt fix it but you don't want to do that. Personally I remux every single video as I obtain it, no matter where it came from. I basically use the muxing program to copy the video to it's destination on the external drive (instead of just copying and pasting), while setting the correct language and track order in the process. It hardly takes any more time than simply copying the file would do and as a result I don't have any of those problems. Plus while I pretty much always use my PC for playing video, I also copy a fair bit of it for others in this house to play using either a TV's built in player or a Bluray player. I discovered quite a while ago that any file I mux myself will play using the standalone devices correctly, assuming they contain supported video and audio. For some reason the standalone players are nowhere near as forgiving as the PC, and I found I was regularly giving files to others they couldn't play. Why I'm not sure, it may be as simple as not using MKV header compression, but I found 99% of the time remuxing the files with MKVMergeGUI would fix that, so now I just remux everything as a matter of course. I do the same with MP4s but also save the output as MKV because remuxing MP4s is painfully slow by comparison.
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    I understand an MP4 file could be made taking the default audio track depending what software is used. I have two choices with this set of files -

    1) Remux them and eliminate the Japanese audio.

    2) Get the original disc and rip them again

    PQ is fine, but since there is no batch file remux (that I know of) I'll just either look for a remuxer that can batch file or get the disc and rip them again.
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  16. Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    I understand an MP4 file could be made taking the default audio track depending what software is used. I have two choices with this set of files.
    You left out the choice of being able to remux the MKVs as MP4s without changing anything and probably have the same playback problem you're having now, which was basically my point.
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    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post

    I didn't say it was MKV's fault,
    Actually you did.

    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    MKV creates all kinds of problems, example.
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    Originally Posted by hello_hello View Post
    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    I understand an MP4 file could be made taking the default audio track depending what software is used. I have two choices with this set of files.
    You left out the choice of being able to remux the MKVs as MP4s without changing anything and probably have the same playback problem you're having now, which was basically my point.
    Without changing anything? I would delete the Japanese audio track it identifies itself as such, no guess work (MakeMKV).

    You just saying that for spite -
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    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post

    I didn't say it was MKV's fault,
    Actually you did.

    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    MKV creates all kinds of problems, example.
    Its a problem if YOU didn't do the ripping and encoding in which case I didn't.... So it does create a playback issue, Japanese audio starts and English sub-titles pop up. Not desirable and only happens with this set of MKV files.

    Around and Around we go with people constantly want to make their point. MKV is unnecessary much like FLAC is unnecessary given (until the floods) TB hard drives are fairly cheap. Even at $100 they are still cheap in the grand scheme of things. MKV's only value to hold multiple files in one.

    Given all the Americans that speak more than one language that's perfectly okay, but I expect things to be default in English.
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  20. Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    Without changing anything? I would delete the Japanese audio track it identifies itself as such, no guess work (MakeMKV).
    You just saying that for spite -
    No, I'm saying it because you started off saying the MKV container "creates all sorts of problems", which you later modified to "mkv allows these sorts of problems to happen" while refusing to acknowledge the same problems could occur using MP4 files containing more than one audio/subtitle stream, or at least attempt to explain why they couldn't.

    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    Its a problem if YOU didn't do the ripping and encoding in which case I didn't.... So it does create a playback issue, Japanese audio starts and English sub-titles pop up. Not desirable and only happens with this set of MKV files.
    Because obviously whoever ripped them either didn't set the appropriate language for each title or didn't mux the streams in your preferred order or your media player won't let you automatically play the desired audio/subtitle streams, or some combination of the above, and it's only a problem if YOU refuse to spend a minute or so remuxing each file so they play the way YOU want them to play.
    So if the files in question had originally been muxed as MP4s would you have interjected in this thread with a "MP4 creates all sort of problems" post?

    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    Around and Around we go with people constantly want to make their point. MKV is unnecessary much like FLAC is unnecessary given (until the floods) TB hard drives are fairly cheap. Even at $100 they are still cheap in the grand scheme of things. MKV's only value to hold multiple files in one.
    I love it when people introduce irrelevant arguments in order to try to avoid the point being discussed. This thread was created for comparing the MKV and MP4 containers, now you're trying to justify your claims by comparing MKV to flac (what the connection is there I've no idea) or by discussing the cost of hard drives. How none of that wouldn't equally apply to MP4 is a mystery to me. I guess we'll continue going around and around in circles until you're willing to discuss the topic.... the differences between MKV and MP4.... and why any of the nonsense in your previous posts mightn't equally apply to MP4.

    Originally Posted by dj4monie View Post
    Given all the Americans that speak more than one language that's perfectly okay, but I expect things to be default in English.
    The way I see it you have three options there.

    1) Don't watch pirate video, buy the discs and rip them yopurself.

    2) Remux them so they play correctly for you using your setup.

    3) Get over yourself.
    Last edited by hello_hello; 21st Jun 2012 at 11:09.
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    MKV was invented specifically to provide an open container format. Other popular formats such as AVI and MP4 are not open. They have limitations on what they support and there's not really a very good mechanism for making change although the addition after the fact of AC3 to MP4 specs shows that it can be done under unusual circumstances. Nobody says you have to like MKV, but it has survived precisely by being open and easy to implement.

    The fact is, dj4monie, that you expressed a minority viewpoint (MKV sucks) but you did in a way that questioned it on the basis of technology. You lost THAT argument but you don't seem willing to admit it. Personally I'm not real fond of AAC audio and I think that generally there are few reasons for using it outside of being married to Apple, but I don't think it sucks and I don't go around telling people that the technology behind it is crap. It seems to me that you found a specific file or sets of files (anime rips) that don't behave as you like, therefore you have erroneously concluded that the entire idea behind MKV is flawed and inferior to alternatives when we know for a fact that is not correct. That's about as logical as going to one ATM and finding out that it has no money and then concluding that all ATMs owned by that bank or all ATMs in the world regardless of owner are empty and it's pointless to have them as nobody can use them.
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    I am aware this thread is some months old but I just had to respond.

    Here are my 2 cents on the subject and this is from a general user point of view not a technological point of view.

    MKV works great but it isn't as widely supported as MP4. Example. I can play MP4 on my xbox 360 from a portable hard drive/Flash Drive or share on my computer. I can't do this with MKV without transcoding which I don't want to do. Basically this is it for me. I understand this might not make MP4 better in all things but for me and I would guess a large group of people (xbox users) MP4 is better than MKV because it will play natively.

    Until MKV works on my xbox MP4 will always be the winner for me. Another thing is I can use mp3tag to add movie art/title etc to my MP4 files in a standardized way, I know I could probably do it with some other software for MKV files but its easier on MP4 files and I am not aware of a standardized way to store tags in MKV.

    Just what I think.
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  23. I am not aware of a standardized way to store tags in MKV.
    Have you ever read the mkv specification? There are tons of official tags (http://matroska.org/technical/specs/tagging/index.html#tags).
    Most tools and Decoders just don't show all the tags,...
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    Originally Posted by Selur View Post
    I am not aware of a standardized way to store tags in MKV.
    Have you ever read the mkv specification? There are tons of official tags (http://matroska.org/technical/specs/tagging/index.html#tags).
    Most tools and Decoders just don't show all the tags,...
    I must admit I haven't read that at all, I did do some quick googling and found little but i must confess i wasn't giving it my full attention and it was some time ago. It would seem on first glance that my gripes about cover art and tags are remedied by this link to the mkv specification. Sadly i fear the issue with xbox 360 playback won't be so easily remedied and has been an issue for many years now which hasn't been fixed by dashboard updates. Not a problem with MKV as such but still a reason to make MP4 my format of choice in this discussion.

    Thanks for the link, I have bookmarked it for future reference should the day come when MKV works on all devices.
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  25. what works for people might not work for Microsoft, Sony or Apple devices this is pretty much obvious, they do not care about us but about their profit and they try to create their "closed market sphere" , just think of it when you buy next device for your living room , right now, there is still free choice

    ... since it is Christmas time now, ....imagine there is widely spread mkv export, imagine videoeditor like Sony Vegas Studio ,where each audio track gets its own track in muxed mkv and subtitle track also (made within Vegas), you create your own audio commentary for your home video that gets its own track (this is the holy grail for the future) just like that, this would be easy as 1,2,3 but is not going to happen etc, etc., ....
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  26. Originally Posted by d4rkcell View Post
    MKV works great but it isn't as widely supported as MP4. Example. I can play MP4 on my xbox 360 from a portable hard drive/Flash Drive or share on my computer. I can't do this with MKV without transcoding which I don't want to do. Basically this is it for me. I understand this might not make MP4 better in all things but for me and I would guess a large group of people (xbox users) MP4 is better than MKV because it will play natively.
    I'd not be too eager to blur the line between "supported" and "better" myself. It's a bit like saying AVI is better than MP4 simply because lots of people still use old AVI-only capable DVD players. Although a lot of people did not so long ago.... the number of angry comments posted to torrent sites and forums when the "scene" encoders switched from AVI to MP4 was considerable. Admittedly the majority of those people based their negative comments solely on an inability to play MP4 using their standalone player, but the number of claims regarding the picture and sound quality of AVIs being superior to MP4 surprised me a little, given the opposite is generally true.

    Now... it's probably a similar situation when it comes to MP4 vs MKV. Outside of the Apple world at least, MKV support is fairly standard these days. Many/most new TVs have built in media players and as far as I know they all support MKV as well as MP4. The two in this house do, as do most Bluray players. Sooner or later you'll use a different device for playing video, and the chances are pretty good it'll support MKV. I'd not by a player which won't. Even my smartphone happily plays 1080p MKV.
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