Ever since I started learning about mkv files here, I've been very facinated by them. The Makemkv software also has helped me decide that this is probably the best choice for me as far as backing up my dvd's go. I love having everything in a single file (makes it portable!) and I love the fact that mkv is the only format that can retain the additional dvd stuff like commentary tracks, menus, etc.
But I have a lot of mkv related questions. Not of the format itself, but how players handle it. How do I use the additional features like the commentary tracks and menus? Which players handle it well, and how do they do it? Please don't direct me to the videohelp and doom9, etc., forums as I've been there and haven't been able to find clear answers. You guys here are very good at clearing things up for me. Of course, if there is a specific post that is helpful, please let me know.
Let's consider KMplayer, a popular player that we are almost all familiar with. It has normal previous/next buttons, but that only moves up and down the playlist, not within chapters of a single mkv file. But then, how do you get the root menu? How do you navigate with subtitles enable/disable, commentary enable/disable, language changing, etc.? One of my problems is I don't have a good test mkv file, and I haven't made one myself yet. It would be nice if someone could point me to a feature-packed mkv file that I can test. Something with menus, chapters, commentaries, different languages, subtitles...the works, so I can test everything out.
I have not seen anyone using mkv files in this all encompassing way. I've created my own a few times, but they just had chapters, and I was able to navigate them using right click context menu options that were probably meant for dvd's (I'm talking abotu KMP here). Most players don't have mkv specific options. They can play the file, but it's not clear how to access the extra stuff.
So I'd like to discuss this further here. I'd love to hear of others' experiences who have experience with mkv files. The idea of mkv files are really cool. To be able to package dvd's with their entire contents in one file is truly a great thing. I'm sure part of the reason why it's hard to find good information about it is because of its potential impact to piracy. If it were extremely easy to convert DVD's to mkv (a la makemkv) it makes piracy of dvd's very easy. Right now, converting dvd's to single files is a pretty complex thing. Compression/size is an issue. audio/video syncing is an issue. hardly ever will you be able to get all the dvd extras and stuff. If you go to the forums I mentioned above, a lot of the conversion methods are quite complicated. They involve multiple softwares, many of which are command line type of applications. It's pretty hairy stuff. Anyway, this is not about piracy, I just mentioned it because I feel that is why mkv is a little bit of a hush hush issue. Commercial companies won't like to promote them. The big time media players like WMP will probably not support them well because of that. And that's probably also the reason why casual users don't know much about it, if at all. Even regular users will come across avi and mpg once in a while, and are familiar with the words, but not mkv. To me, it seems to be superior in every way to all the other common file formats. It sure beats backing up your DVD's using ISO images with the annoying AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders.