Play HD mkv Movies on Quicktime in Mac OS X Leopard

Have an .mkv movie file? Wondering what the heck it is and how to play it?

High Definition movies in 720 or 1080 pixel width format are often encoded and packaged as a Matroska format video with a .mkv file extension.

Apple QuickTime doesn’t handle this format natively so you have to add a package handler for mkv files to QuickTime to play .mkv files.

A quick and easy solution to how to play .mkv files is to install Perian, which makes QuickTime play .avi, .flv, and .mkv files and handles many different and popular encoding formats for video.

Perian for QuickTime

Remember to fully quit and re-launch QuickTime after installing Perian (don’t just close the QuickTime window, it’s still running until you Quit the program). This allows QuickTime to reload its list of handled formats and encodings.

When double clicking on an .mkv file to play it, you may have to wait until the entire film is buffered in QuickTime before it will play smoothly. You can tell the progress of the buffering by looking at the grey timeline bar that is inching across the bottom left of the QuickTime window, starting near the 00:00 time marker. This is one of the oddities of the .mkv Matroska video package format. Don’t ask me why this happens, just keep this in mind next time you want to watch an mkv video on your Mac use Perian.

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HI. You can also download VLC for Mac which also can play mkv files. Thanks for the write up.

Thank you so much! I tried the initial suggestion of installing the A52 Codec, but the audio didn’t work until I downloaded Perian.

The smoothest playback I get with mplayer.

I finally got the audio to work on quicktime. Many thanks!

Hey thanks for the product, worked great except for one problem. Any one else not able to play flv files in a flash player or Adobe Flash CS3 for that matter? I mean I can open the flv files with no problem in quicktime now but I cannot open them in flash or a flash player. That and the video playback in quicktime sort of freezes a little but the audio keeps playing.

Thanks! Worked perfect!

Funcionou na perfeição. Sem espigas!

thank you very much, it is great, thank you again.

Mussafir, VLC is fine for most items.

However, VLC cannot smoothly play 1080p files on a Macbook, while Plex can do it very well.

Thanx a lot!!!
Its tooo good….

The reason why Quicktime is slow when opening mkv movies, is the fact that quicktime needs to have the whole movie buffered for fast searching through the movie. Quicktime doesn’t work with indexes.

I like the minimalistic feeling when watching series or movies windowed on a mac !

To use Perian on 10.6 Snow Leopard is fine.

See here:

Natalie Schawel

Natalie Schawel’s avatar

Thank you, this is perfect! VLC doesn’t work for Mac OSX 10.4.11, so this is ideal. Thanks again!

It worked perfectly. Thank you

This was awesome - thanks!!

this is perfect! thanks a million

Downloaded and installed within 30 seconds. A true thing of beauty. Many thanks.

VLC had very jerky playback of high bit-rate x.264 in MKV container.
Perian immediately fixed this issue. I think VLC can’t handle too high bit-rates like QuickTime can.


I have a USB flash with .mkv movies, but when I plug the flash in my mac it does not show anything (it looks like empty flash). Is this because I need to download a mkv player?

Just google search Step by step guide on how to play MKV, HD MKV files on PS3/Xbox 360/iPad/iPhone/Samsung/Android/QuickTime/Zune/PowerPoint/BlackBerry/Nokia and more.

You will find an All-in-one Solution on How to Play MKV files and Edit MKV Movies

It solves:

Convert MKV, HD MKV to MP4 to helps play MKV on PS3, PSP, Zune, Wii, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, Android, Sansung, BlackBerry, YouTube, Facebook and more
Convert MKV, HD MKV to WMV/AVI to helps play MKV on Xbox 360, Windows Media Player, and Windows Movie Maker etc
Convert MKV, HD MKV to MOV to play MKV on QuickTime, Mac, Wii and more
Convert MKV, HD MKV to DV for importing MKV to iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express
Convert MKV, HD MKV to MPEG-1 for inserting MKV to PowerPoint or burning MKV to VCD
Convert MKV, HD MKV to MPEG-2 to burn MKV to DVD
Convert MKV, HD MKV to 3GP/3GPP to play MKV on mobile phones like Nokia
Convert MKV, HD MKV to FLV, VOB, WebM, ASF, MPG, SWF etc to play MKV anywhere