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AVI vs. MKV, Which Is Better?

May 24th, 2011 by DVDFab_Malcolm 173,837 views

AVI and MKV are two popular video formats that are commonly applied in videos. Most people have portable media players such as MP4 player, PSP, MP5, NDS, PDA, iPAD, cellphones and much more. If you read the manual of your player devices, you will find that most of your devices can support AVI formats. But sometimes you may not see MKV in your supported formats list. Or you may find your portable media player can support the both. If so, which format is the best choice?

What is AVI?

AVI is a video format developed by Microsoft in November 1992 as a part of windows technology. AVI files can contain both audio and video data in a file container that allows synchronous audio-with-video playback. Like the DVD video format, AVI files support multiple streaming audio and video, although these features are seldom used. Most AVI files also use the file format extensions developed by the Matrox OpenDML group in February 1996. These files are supported by Microsoft, and are unofficially called “AVI 2.0”.

Pros of AVI:

AVI is a typical video format that can contain high quality videos in small size. It can be played back on computer, game consoles, smart phones, tablets, MP4 player, MP5, PDA and so on.

AVI usually has a low requirements for hardware, therefore, it can be played back well with older portable media players. If your device is not the latest or the hardware not that developed, you may choose AVI as the output video format.

What is MKV?

An MKV file is an open source container format. It is a general-purpose audio and video container and a competing format to the popular AVI and MP4 formats. With its futuristic design approach, it can provide support for a vast number of audio, video and subtitle compression formats. Its features exceed even those of AVI and MP4 files.

Pros of MKV:

MKV has powerful compatibility and high quality that can be played back on many devices, mainly for high definition media player devices such as Asus, Oppo, Samsung, LG, Sharp LED/LCD TVs and Blu-ray Players, Sony PS3, Nokia N8, computer with media player software, and much more.

MKV offers a high definition visual experience, you can watch some high definition movies, usually, if you use a large screen to playback videos, MKV is the best video formats for you. Usually, MKV has a larger size than AVI or other common video formats. A large hard drive is necessary. MKV is also a formats that allows you to enjoy perfect quality 3D video[1].

DVDFab can help you to enjoy Blu-ray and DVD Movies better with the output video of AVI and MKV.

DVDFab Blu-ray Ripper provides high quality Blu-ray to MKV and Blu-ray to AVI conversion. You are allowed to define the parameters in detail and customize the conversions.

DVDFab DVD Ripper is a powerful tool for DVD fans, it can help you to rip and convert Blu-ray to MKV and AVI with ease.

You may also try to convert other video formats into AVI or MKV. DVDFab Video Converter is the best choice for you. It can help you to convert videos between the two most popular formats such as AVI, MP3, MKV, WMV, etc for different media player devices.

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  • http://mywebsite DVD to iPad 2

    In my opinion,AVI is better than MKV for the quality of AVI video is better

  • JDF

    Interesting article but PS3s (at least those in the US) cannot play MKVs. They come up as “unsupported”. Any MKVs that I get have to coverted to MPGs to play on the PS3.

  • DVDFab-Johnson

    yes, that’s true, but you can try to convert your MKV video to m2ts file or other supported formats.

  • http://www. luc r

    Great article! but I think what matters is the file format support. I noticed that itunes doesn’t support MKV files.

  • DVDFab-Johnson

    Yes, really, it is just the format support problems, you just need to convert them into supported formats. So a good video converter really matters.

  • http: luc r

    it’s not a painless process. Dvdfab is by far the most complete product I’ve seen and played with, but I got mixed results.

    My goal was to create a copy of my purchased bluray medias (>300) but with no visual or audible degradation. I tried almost every file formats and never managed to create a real extract of the main movie with integral audio and video.

    The only way I managed to get exact video/audio streams is to do a main movie extract, but this doesnt not generate a single file (except for .iso, which are not practical for media center softwares).

    Not a limitation that impact every users but I can’t say it’s painless.

    Windows media center, can import folder-based copies but it’s a pain when you want to user other one (like VLC).

    I would have prefered generating a m2ts file with direct copy of the video and audio streams.

    Well, it still works, just not the way I expected to make it work.

  • DVDFab-Johnson

    DVDFab Blu-ray Ripper-to MKV profile would be helpful for you and offer a satisfied output, one mkv file, with no compression involved, multi audio track/subtitle track support, one single file output.

    VLC can load movie folder, movie ISO, movie disc to play directly. Our suggestion is you’d better choose VLC as priority.

    The current “m2ts passthrough” also support multi-audio tracks for input,but you need choose “remux into file” for multi-subtitle output. You will get one single m2ts file, with no compression involved, multi audio track/subtitle track support.

    Hope the above said info would be helpful to you.

  • luc r

    There is probably a bug then. When I select MKV, remux profile, it tells me that video and audio are passthrough but when I compare my source and destination, my source is in DTS-HD and the mkv is DTS only. I did not choose the option to remove HD audio.

    I tried M2TS passthrough and it does seem to work as expected (my expectation).

    VLC is my swiss knife but I want it to be a backup solution. The goal here is to have movies played through Windows Media Center.

    When you compare the visual output of VLC against other movie players, I noticed that the default gamma is not the same, black becomes gray.

    thanks, I don’t know why I missed the m2ts passthrough..

  • DVDFab-Johnson

    Hello, Luc r, you may have a try the latest version of DVDFab, click here to download the latest beta version.

  • http://lu luc r

    I found out two things.. VLC did not have a rendering bug. It turned out that it uses the color profile from the NVidia control panel.

    By default, NVidia set the color profile for video file playback to to use RGB colors between 16-235 instead of 0-255. When I changed the setting in the Nvidia control panel, VLC turned out to be perfect. It also means that my other video players were bypassing the NVidia video playback setting because they were fine.

    Secondly, Arcsoft media theater may contain a bug! 🙂

    I generated two or three m2ts files from within DVDFab and when I was playing them with Arcsoft, it was not detecting them as DTS HD Master audio (only DTSHD). However, when I played them back with FFDSHOW in bitstream mode, my Pioneer Elite receiver received the audio as DTS HD Master Audio. I was able to detect 5.1 and 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio.

    I can now conclude that whatever the need, it’s the only software available that truly lives up to his name and outshine the competition by a friendly interface.

  • DVDFab-Johnson

    Thank you very much for your test and reviews on DVDFab, DVDFab shall never let you down, we have made some improvements on the home page and software. Now the latest version DVDFab has been released, you can have a try, you are also appreciated to offer us some suggestions on the home page, do you like the style? Or is there anything to do to make it better? We need your idea, thank you very much for your support, we will continue to work hard and make it better and better.

  • http:/ luc r

    The web site design is excellent! Everything is clear and perfect, it doesn’t need any improvements.

    The thing that may confuse a lot of your visitors is the products themselves. You have basically two products (passkey and dvdfab) but you split the functionality so it can sell as ~ 9 different products. I get the point but it’s totally confusing from a consumer stand point which product they should get.

    Then you need to advertise 9 different products which dilutes your effort when it could be a lot easier to promote only 2.

    Remember when people complained they were too many editions of Vista or Windows 7 (home, basic,premium, professional, ultimate)?

    I think you should have 3 products:
    – passkey
    – DVD workshop (could be any name)
    – Bluray workshop (could be any name)

    they other functionality should be sold as add-on to these 3 products.

    That way, you don’t need to promote a single ‘2d-to3d’ program, promote a DVD copy, promote Bluray copy, promote bluray to dvd.. etc..

    As an example, the main Bluray license would let you clone a BR movie. If someone insert a 3d movie, you show a popup saying that without the add-on, the 3d movie will be automatically converted to 2d. If the person want to keep the cloned movie in 3d, you tell them to buy the add-on (an open a web page send him to the add-on purchase page and automatically add the 3d-rip feature in the shopping cart).

    You could do the same thing for the ripping aspect or BR2DVD.

    Less confusing for users, less products to promotes.

    Whatever the product, the main business rule is to put 20% of efforts on the products and 80% of effort on the product’s promotion (ads, forums, blogs)

    I would also suggest you to create a brand new product.. since you’ve already put the ground work, you should go the extra mile and sell a product equivalent to ArcSoft MediaTheater 5. These products provide integration with Windows Media Center (or XBMC) to do the playback of movies or media files. You already decode the audio and video.

    well my suggestions could be endless, I suggest that if you want more, to contact me by email!

  • luc r

    even with m2ts passthrough.. arcsoft media theater 5 sees a difference between the 2.. the bluray disk indicates DTS-HD MSTR, and the rip displays DTS-HD.

    MSTR stands for MAster Audio which is one step higher than DTS-HD.

  • sunny

    Hi luc r,

    We just test DVDFab Beta at
    Use mkv.remux profile, uncheck the box “remove HD audio”, select DTS HD Master audio track, when the conversion task done, we play the mkv file with powerDVD 10 ultra, it plays with DTS HD Master audio correctly as we expected. Please give the new beta version another try.

  • Shaky

    DVDFab needs to incorporate DeShaker… it is a VirtualDub add-on that helps eliminate shaky video… PLEASE>>>>> add this to your software.

  • DVDFab-Johnson

    Really thank you for your advice, shaky, we will probably enhance the video stability with other new techniques that we developed, you know they have right on the Deshaker.

  • alex

    i have a BR LG player, bd590, with a 250Gb hard drive.
    How can I add via the USB or ripped DVD to the HD? When I follow the player instructions a popup says format not supported, the files ripped to either the external drive (USB or Memory stick) or the ropped DVD are .VOB extension.

  • DVDFab-Johnson

    Hi, Alex
    Please connect your external hard drive to computer, copy your ripped VOB file to your external HDD, then connect it to your Blu-ray player to play.

  • Monty

    I am in the process of learning how to back up my Blu Ray movies to a Seagate Hard Drive to play through my Panasonic Blu Ray player USB connection. I have had success with the MKV file format, but was wondering how to get an exact copy without compression. I am using DVD Ripper and Blu Ray Ripper.

  • http://www.dvdfab.com DVDFab-Johnson

    Hi, Monty, very glad that you are interested in learning how to backup blu-ray to hard drive. If you want high definition movie without compression, you may try the following options: dvd ripper- vob.passthrough, mkv.remux and blu-ray ripper -mkv.remux, m2ts.passthruogh.
    If you still have any problems, please feel free to contact us.

  • killerboots

    Hi there, I am going to try a disc that way to see if it resolves my issue..I can not use MKV..as I want to put the movies on to an external hard drive which I can only format as fat32….but I will have to look through the manual for my Blu ray player to see if it is compatible with M2TS files.
    I have already started to rip my “running man blue ray from America” (I can not buy that yet here on blu ray), I am going to try that format in a coule of hours when it is finished but I am not having a lot of positivity here I haven’t been very lucky so far trying to get my Master audio from my American blu rays.

  • http://www.dvdfab.com DVDFab-Johnson

    You may update your software to the latest version DVDFab to see the result

  • Gioodapper

    It is public knowledge that it is Microsoft that came up with AVI, I don’t know who came up with MKV, but I find AVI more flexible than MKV most MKV players are virus. I download a MKV player recently and it and whenever I try to play my AVI files my computer freezes.

    Listen people stay away from MKV!!!

  • http://www.dvdfab.com DVDFab-Johnson

    Usually MKV for mats video shall have higher quality than AVI, if you managed to find the proper MKV player, you will test it out.

  • eldien

    Well I don’t know about a proper MKV player but XBMC(X-Box Media Center) can play MKV files pretty well. You could use VLC Media player but it has issues when the video is really big in size/quality.

  • Guest


  • http://www.dvdfab.com DVDFab-Johnson

    Will the MKV files can run on other devices?

  • Enorthman

    “MKV has a larger size than AVI or other common video formats.” Anyone who encodes video and downloads video files knows that is an incorrect statement, its the other way around. MKV is smaller and better quality than the AVI.

  • SkierGolferNH

    It’s mid 2013 and there have been lots of changes. I’d love to see an updated version of this blog article.