5 MKV Video Players for Mac OS X
MKV files are usually high quality videos compressed within a Mastroska container format. Typically you’ll encounter these with Bluray rips or video exported from an HD stream, and you might have discovered they won’t open in a standard movie player app. Not to worry though, MKV files can be played on a Mac easily, you just need to download a free application or codec that supports playing the high quality video format.
We’ll cover five excellent free MKV video players that will work on the Mac, some are just general movie player apps and some are full-fledged media center applications that will do far more than just playing HD video formats. Ultimately which is the best is up for debate, but since they’re all free there is no reason not to try them all and discovering which is the best for your specific needs.
#1 – VLC 2
The first recommendation is VLC, which will play just about any video or audio file thrown at it and MKV is no exception. VLC 2 recently came out with some pretty significant changes, and even if you don’t plan on using it to play .mkv movies, it’s a worthwhile app to have on any Mac. Some users report performance issues with playing MKV from VLC, but I’ve had no such problems.
#2 – XBMC
XBMC is another good app to play MKV video, it’s simple interface focuses on media use and it makes a great media console in general. To get the most out of XBMC, copy any MKV video files to the Movies directory in the users home folder and you’ll be able to quickly find them within XBMC.
#3 – Plex
Plex is very similar to XBMC and works as well. Although it is generally a great media center app, the most recent update took a strange turn and the interface is more confusing than it needs to be. Nonetheless, it still plays MKV files quite well, if you’re going to use it drag and drop the MKV video onto the Plex icon to load the movie, otherwise trying to navigate through Plex’s confusing new menus will likely leave you frustrated and lost.
#4 – Perian
Perian is a third party Quick Time component that adds support for a huge variety of video formats (including MKV) to Apple’s very own QuickTime Player. It’s easy to install and sits as a preference panel, and once it’s installed there is nothing extra required to use, just open the once unsupported videos in QuickTime Player. Perian is quite good, but some users encounter strange issues with OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion, so this may not be the best solution until Perian gets updated with full support for the latest versions of Mac OS X.
#5 – MPlayerX
I hadn’t used MPlayerX before, but after several of our readers recommended it in the comments I downloaded the app and gave it a try. Low and behold, MPlayerX works wonderfully to play MKV files, and the interface closely matches QuickTime Players black minimalist theme. Performance was excellent too. This is definitely another worthwhile choice for watching HD video on the Mac, and it’s available free on the Mac App Store. Thanks to everyone who recommended this, this may be my new favorite video player!
Which is the best? That’s up for debate. For general versatility, VLC is a must-have app for all computer users, MplayerX is really giving it a run for it’s money, but for overall media center functionality XBMC is great. Try out a few and see which fits your needs. Enjoy your movies!