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How can I play MKV files on ChromeOS?

I have a lot of videos in MKV format on my local network available over NFS/SMB? How can I get them to play, without transcoding, on a ChromeOS machine?

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Have you tried looking for MPlayer or Mplayer2, some people claim that they have VLC working in Chrome OS. – Darius Nov 26 '12 at 21:06
    
Thanks all, doesn't look like theres any good solution yet but thanks for the ideas. – wag2639 Dec 4 '12 at 7:14
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Some people report that renaming the files from .mkv to .mp4 is enough. Worth trying.

If this doesn't work, the only solution I can think of is converting the files to another format.

source

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mkv is not the same as mp4. – Cole Johnson Nov 26 '12 at 21:02
2  
@ColeJohnson: mkv and mp4 are both containers for video, itself encoded using a codec. All I can say is that this trick has worked for some people, but of course may not work for the specific video files of the OP. – harrymc Nov 26 '12 at 21:13

You might be able to get VLC to work. See https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/chromebook-central/SjJqx5nO_Sc

Apparently, Jolicloud for Chrome might work. Not sure though. Here's the app. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/jolicloud/nfakdllpdfjjbfommlcnfkedmbigkfdo/details

Unfortunately, VLC requires a lot of work to get going. Good luck!

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I don't think that it currently can be done universally without transcoding -- MKV is a container format and can house many different video/audio codecs (some of which are supported by ChromeOS and some are not). For those video formats that are supported I have had luck simply switching containers (from MKV to MP4) using ffmpeg. This preserves the original video (that is, does not transcode) but changes the container.

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Why some videos won’t play on Chromebooks

There are a number of possible reasons include:

  1. Chrome OS (the operating system on Chromebooks) lacks support for the video codec and/or audio codec inside your video file – see here for currently supported media file types and codecs

File types Microsoft Office files: .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt (read-only), .pptx (read-only). Learn more about viewing and editing Office documents. Media: .3gp, .avi, .mov, .mp4, .m4v, .m4a, .mp3, .mkv, .ogv, .ogm, .ogg, .oga, .webm, .wav Images: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .webp Compressed files: .zip, .rar Other: .txt, .pdf (read-only)

  1. Interlaced video is not supported on some Chromebook models
  2. Subtitle streams inside your video file are of an unrecognised format
  3. An update to Chrome or Chrome OS introduced a bug that causes video playback issues (best remedy here is to report the issue in the Chromebook Support forums, see this discussion as an example)

Fixes that Chromebook owners can try

Until Chrome OS supports more video file types and video/audio codecs, there are some things you can try to get your videos to work. Some work best if you’ve got internet access 24×7, others also work if you’re frequently offline. A more complex solution not suited for everyone would be to complement Chrome OS with another Linux distribution. Short of doing that, here are some suggestions:

  1. Upload your video files to Google Drive, Dropbox or another file storage service that includes video playback capabilities, then stream your videos from there

Works if you have internet access so your files can be streamed and if you don’t mind uploading your videos first, which can take quite some time depending on file size (see here for tips of how to speed up that process)

  1. Install a video player app from the Chrome Store that is able to play more video/audio codecs (and subtitles) than the Chromebook’s native player

Works for some videos and video container formats, though not for all. For instance this player works well with MKV files that contain H.265 video and supports a number of audio codecs. A good player that supports and even automatically loads subtitles is Subtitle Videoplayer – note that you might have to extract the subtitle stream from your movie file with another app and convert them to the right format (.srt) first

  1. Make sure Flash is enabled

Chromebooks come with the Flash plugin enabled by default and this helps to get more video file types to work. If you think this plugin might be disabled for one reason or another, check that you have Flash enabled

  1. Convert your video files to a format that Chromebooks understand

If none of the above suggestions provide relief, try converting your videos to a format that plays on Chromebooks since MKV video which can't be played with audio through Chromebook may contain DTS or AC3 audio codec which is unsupported by Chromebook.

This will allow you to play your movie files even without internet access directly from your computer or a connected external USB drive or SD card It will also reduce your video file’s size without noticeable quality difference (and save disk space in the process) Please note that converting will work for most video files but might not work in some circumstances. It’s definitely worth a try and might do the trick for you.

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