MKV vs. MP4: Which Video Format Is Right for Your Project?

| Updated on March 27, 2024

If you’re working on a video project, there’s more you need to think about than what appears on camera. On the more technical end of things, you have to consider the best file format for your video. You have a few options, but the two formats you’re likely fighting with is MKV vs MP4. 

MP4 and MKV are two of the most popular video formats used today. Each has its own set of pros and cons that will determine the best option. Let’s explore why MP4 and MKV is so popular video formats now.

What Is MKV?

The MKV format, or Matroska Multimedia Container, is one of the most popular video formats used. It popped up in 2002 thanks to Steve Lhomme, who is now a Google developer.

With an MKV file, you can hold infinite video, audio, and photo files, as well as subtitles. MKV is open source, meaning it’s free for all to use. Essentially, though, all you need to know is that it’s a file format used to play videos.

What Is MP4?

MP4, or MPEG-4, is another video format. It can also store audio and images, and is considered the standard by most.

MP4 is one of the most versatile video formats, with compatibility across most machines. It’s supported on most streaming sites, cellphones, Mac and Windows, and more. MP4 is widely accepted in many industries, and has a compact size that many users enjoy.

MKV vs MP4: A Technical Comparison

The best way to decide between MKV and MP4 is to put them head-to-head in a series of technical comparisons. We’ve done exactly that to make your choice simple.

MP4 vs MKV Quality

To start with, which one is the best quality?

Although MKV files are typically larger than MP4s, they’re not better quality. You can get the same video and audio quality out of an MP4 and an MKV file. It all depends on what you’re recording with, and your compression.

So, it’s a tie regarding quality.

MP4 vs MKV Compression

When it comes to file size, MP4 is the clear winner.

MKV files are typically larger than MP4, even at the same quality. You can compress MKV files, but you may see a loss of quality. MP4s typically don’t need to be compressed, as they come in smaller sizes in general.

In the MKV vs MP4 file size battle, MP4 is the clear winner. You’ll have a much faster time uploading your MP4 file anywhere, from the web to a flash drive.

MP4 vs MKV Compatibility

Compatibility is a key factor in any video project. You want a file that works on whatever machine you have to deal with.

MP4 is accepted on far more platforms than MKV. You can upload MP4s to YouTube, play them across most computers, and upload them to most devices. On the other hand, your default video player or device may not accept MKV.

MKV vs MP4 Audio

MKV videos have one major advantage over MP4 when it comes to sound quality.

That advantage is FLAC. MP4 video files do not support FLAC audio, one of the highest quality audio files there is. FLAC is lossless, meaning it loses no quality with compression, offering the absolute best listening experience there is.

MKV also supports SSA subtitles, and MP4 doesn’t. In this case, MKV is the winner. MP4 audio is perfectly fine, but it doesn’t go that extra step that MKV can.

The Pros of MP4 for Video Projects

There are lots of pros that come with the MP4 file type for video projects specifically.

As we touched on above, MP4 is compatible with a lot of machines and browsers that MKV isn’t. MP4 is smaller, it’s quality is just as good, and the MP4 format has the support of the industry association behind it. Your mobile device likely accepts MP4 right from the get-go, while it doesn’t likely support MKV.

In this way, the MP4 format is probably the most suitable for video projects. You may not know what type of computer/machine you’ll need to work with to present your video project. This is especially true if it’s a work or school project where the computer is supplied to you then and there.

You can even upload your MP4 to YouTube and stream it from the machine, meaning you don’t need to worry about compatibility at all. Considering all this, MKV can’t compete unless you’re using your own computer to present the project. If that’s the case, feel free to use the MKV format.

Converting MKV to MP4

Whatever filetype you want, the good news is that you can convert from MKV to MP4, and MP4 to MKV.

There are plenty of free websites that allow you to convert video formats straight from your browser. If you want a more secure experience, you can also find downloadable programs (both free and paid) to convert your files through. Conversions are often quick, but may result in some lost quality of both video and audio.

You can learn how to convert mkv to mp4 in more detail at the link provided.

Which Format Should I Use?

In the battle of MKV vs MP4, who comes out on top?

MP4 tends to be the more versatile, competent file format for most video projects. However, that might not be the case for you. To determine which filetype you’d like to use, read over the comparisons above and make the best decision for your specific case.

For more informative articles on business, tech, and much more, check out the rest of our blog.

Also Read- Best YouTube to WAV Converter

Chitra Joshi

Content Writer & Marketer

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