How to Enable MKV Playback in Windows Media Center

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How to Enable MKV Playback in Windows Media Center

Post#1 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:24 am

In Windows 7, Media Center comes pre-installed. Another thing that Windows Media Center is missing is playback support for Matroska Video (MKV) files. With the rising popularity of the MKV format, this can become quite troublesome. In this tutorial learn how to use a work-around to add MKV playback ability to Windows Media Center.

Step 1 – Download FFDShow Tryouts

Adding MKV playback support to Windows Media Center doesn’t take much, in fact it mostly involves downloading a few codecs. Let’s start with the first one: Download FFDShow Tryouts.

Once the download is finished go ahead and run the installer, it is pretty straight-forward.

Note: If you are running a 64-bit operating system you will need to also download this file to enable 64-bit rendering.

Step 2 – Download Gabest’s MKV Splitters

Now we need one more codec called Gabest’s MKV Splitters.

Download the 32-bit version or download the 64-bit version depending on which version operating system you are running.

Once downloaded, Extract the contents of the archive to the C:\ directory* (root) of your computer.

*Or whatever custom directory you’ve installed Windows to.

Now that the contents are on your C:\ drive, Right-Click the gabest_splitter_enable.cmd file and select Run as administrator.

A messages will pop up confirming that the installation was a success.


Step 3 – Downloading the Registry Modification

The last thing you need to do is to download and open a registry file. Again, there is a different version for 32-bit and 64-bit computers.

Download the 32-bit version

or Download the 64-bit version

Once downloaded, Right-Click the registry file and Select Merge (this will require administrator privileges).

If a warning dialog pops up, Click Yes to continue.

Once downloaded, Right-Click the registry file and Select Merge (this will require administrator privileges).

If a warning dialog pops up, Click Yes to continue.

And you are done!

P.S.: I just thought about this while posting a "Streaming MKV to XBOX360" post here. I will check to see if MKV files with this tutorial.
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DJ DOC
 
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Post#2 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:59 pm

Or, you could just follow the guide linked below, which is the source for what the OP posted above:
http://www.hack7mc.com/2009/02/mkvs-for ... ows-7.html
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Post#3 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:40 pm

Or you could skip step 1, go directly to step 2, collect popcorn, skip step 3, and enjoy the movie.
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Post#4 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:58 pm

Thank you all for your replies. I really do appreciate it.
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Post#5 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:23 am

Thanks For the great post DJ Doc :)

Will this also work for Windows 8?
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Post#6 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:30 pm

Easy! Uninstall all other codecs ( k-lite, ffdshow, LAv) then install shark 007. Enable optimize for TV and done! You will now enjoy MKV and FLV support, no more converting.
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Post#7 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:15 am

BCloud wrote:Easy! Uninstall all other codecs ( k-lite, ffdshow, LAv) then install shark 007.

So in other words:

  1. Uninstall unnecessary software.
  2. Install other unnecessary software.
Sounds like a great plan...except for the "unnecessary" part.
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Post#8 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:54 pm

richard1980 wrote:
BCloud wrote:Easy! Uninstall all other codecs ( k-lite, ffdshow, LAv) then install shark 007.

So in other words:

  1. Uninstall unnecessary software.
  2. Install other unnecessary software.
Sounds like a great plan...except for the "unnecessary" part.


The best thought-out plans always work. At least it works for me. :crazy:

It prevents conflicts by uninstalling the other codecs.

I play mkv, flv on my WMC extenders using this setup. Havn't tried it with ISO files yet. :think:
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Post#9 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:29 pm

BCloud wrote:The best thought-out plans always work. At least it works for me. :crazy:

It prevents conflicts by uninstalling the other codecs.

I play mkv, flv on my WMC extenders using this setup. Havn't tried it with ISO files yet. :think:

You missed Richard's point. The Shark codec pack is not necessary to play MKV's.
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Post#10 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:05 am

barnabas1969 wrote:You missed Richard's point. The Shark codec pack is not necessary to play MKV's.

Nor is any other codec pack. The only thing required to open an MKV file in WMC is a splitter. Personally I use Haali Media Splitter.
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Post#11 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:00 am

That only works though if everything contained in the mkv is playable via Windows' default codecs. Haali splitter isn't going to enable the computer to playback full HD audio such as DTS HD MA if that's what your mkv contains. Or PGS subtitles as another example.

So a splitter might not be enough depending on what the mkv contains. A codec pack/additional software might still be needed.
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Post#12 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:21 pm

staknhalo wrote:A codec pack/additional software might still be needed.

True, but not to open the MKV file...only to decode the underlying streams.

Step 1: Open MKV file. Tool required: Splitter
Step 2: Decode underlying audio/video streams. Tool required: Codec
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Post#13 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:03 pm

I'm curious what other people's playback quality on extenders is like with their MKVs? I've never had very good quality. I mean, I can get MKVs to play on xbox 360 extenders in mediacenter, but it looks like the transcoder reduces the quality REALLY REALLY poorly-- like I'm watching an internet video from the mid-90s on a 28.8 modem.

As an example, I have a MKV that contains H264(avc1) video with really high bitrate and DTS Audio. It plays on local HTPC in mediacenter just fine. Plays on Roku3 via Plex Media Server on the same HTPC perfectly. But when a connected xbox360 media center (connected to the same HTPC) tries to play it, it plays & I get audio but resolution and bitrate quality are horrible.

I seem to recall there was a way to tweak the transcoder settings manually. Anyone happen to remember how to do that? I believe they get set initially based on the Windows Experience score but in cases where an unrelated object brings the entire score down (like HTPC from a server with no good graphics card) then you're kinda screwed.

Thoughts?
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Matt O. ...tivo what? ...dish dvr--uh... huh? ...cable dvr fees--you're kidding, right?

Post#14 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:54 pm

I'm kind of late to the party, but trying to understand the bare minimum I need to play mkv in WMC (I don't care about HD audio). Just Haali and the registry mod in Step 3 of the first post, or will Gabest work just as well? Looking at the registry mod, it appears to enable mkv playback in WMP, so would be a required step in all cases, correct? I've already installed ffdshow, but would like to remove it (without breaking anything hopefully) if it really isn't necessary.

TIA
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Post#15 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:15 am

I think either splitter will work. The registry mod just defines the .mkv file extension as playable by Media Player (and therefore Media Center).
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Post#16 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:31 am

I am using Lav filters now and don't have any complaints.
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Post#17 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:09 am

3rob3 wrote:I am using Lav filters now and don't have any complaints.

So to clarify, if I just install Lav filters and do the registry mod, I'm good to go. It does the splitting as well?
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Post#18 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:18 am

Yep, that's all I did. If you have an AVR capable of bit streaming you need to check which audio types to bitstream in the LAV audio config.
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Post#19 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:25 am

Thanks. I just loaded LAV, and it's working great.
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Post#20 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:40 pm

What if you want to support subtitles? What's the minimum software I would need? I've used ffdshow tryouts with Haali before but have since settled on ffdshow tryouts + LAV. LAV by itself (along with the registry mod) allowed me to play all of my MKVs; however, there were no subtitles at all. So far ffdshow worked well. Are there any other more minimalist software I could try that would enable subs? I've tried LAV + some directvobsub thing and got no love.

Thanks,
Jack
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