mkv thumbnails.jpgI’ve been using Windows 7 Media Center as my dedicated media hub for the last few weeks, and it’s been a nice upgrade from Vista Media Center. Some improvements include support for up to 4 tuners for each type (QAM, ATSC, etc…), a lot of interface improvements, and HD support to name a few. It can even play AVI/DivX files natively without needing any add-ons.

Windows 7 Media Center does support HD content, but it isn’t able to handle Matroska files (with the MKV file extension) which is disappointing. The MKV format, for those of you unfamiliar with them, has become the chosen method for people ripping Blu-ray videos to their machine. Since those files aren’t supported the videos are treated just as any other file on your computer… they do not show thumbnail previews and, more importantly, are not playable.

The solution is easy though. DivX Labs has introduced a “tech preview” of what they call Project Remoulade. Part of the project is a simple download that adds support for MKV files to Windows 7. Once installed you’ll get thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer (including details like movie duration), you can watch the videos in Windows Media Player or Media Center, and it can even be streamed to UPNP devices like the Xbox 360 or other extenders. Their most recent release also added support for 64-bit versions of Windows 7 in addition to the already supported 32-bit.

It’s still not 100% perfect yet, and I’ve particularly noticed issues when streaming to my Xbox 360. For example, some movies that play on my computer will not play on my Xbox. Installing the free AC3Filter and Haali Media Splitter, however, made the rest of my videos work. I’m sure the DivX add-on will continue to get better, and I’m just happy to see them working on an easy way for people to play MKV files on their machines.

NOTE: You’ll need a DivX Labs account in order to download the file, but I just jumped over to bugmenot.com to grab an account that had already been created.

MKV Support on Windows 7 (Windows 7 only; 32/64-bit; Freeware)

There Are 7 Comments

  1. I was never much into those Media Centers.

    To play media on PC i use VLC or KMPlayer and connect to tv if necessary. A friend of mine has its PS3 linked to a server pc and operates as a media center itself.

  2. Methinks you’ll find this helpful:

    Preferred Filter Tweaker for Windows 7
    [codecguide.com]

    “Windows 7 uses its own DirectShow filters for decoding several audio and video formats. Using third party filters instead of the native filters is not possible without making changes to the Windows Registry.

    This tool allows you to configure your preferred DirectShow filters with just a few mouse clicks. It is quick, easy, and changes can be always undone

    If you for example prefer to use ffdshow or CoreAVC for decoding H.264 video then you can do so by using this tool.

    This tool is particularly useful for the Microsoft players, such as Windows Media Player and Media Center. Certain advanced third party players, such as Media Player Classic, are capable of using third party filters without the need for this tool.”

  3. Anyone know how to enable 5.1 to work through xbox360 with the above programs installed?

  4. hi, just a wee note to say thanks for your help. Now I can play mkv files on my 360.

    cheers

    Billy

  5. this program SUCKS. it won’t let you use it until you let them know some personal information about yourself

  6. Try VLC Media Player, it’s free, fast, plays MKV & almost anything else you can think of.

  7. Thanks! Worked like a charm. The latest official release now includes .mkv support so no registration needed now. Just watch out for that Google browser installation option, and make sure to deselect the Pro software in the install wizard because their only free trials.

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