Playing MKVs in Media Center

Don’t like codec packs? Try this: MKVs for Minimalists on Windows 7

The first step to playing MKV (Matroska) video files in your Media Center is to make sure your system is capable of playing MKV files in the first place. There seem to be innumerable ways to accomplish this and everyone has their own preference. For the sake of this small post I'm going to recommend a codec pack. Codec packs are often shunned as being bloated and containing conflicts within their own packages but I've found that the Shark007 Codec Pack is an unbloated and simple solution that just plain works. Currently Shark007 has a codec package specifically for Windows 7 in beta and the x64 Components are well tested and will work in Windows 7 as well.

For Media Center, users running an x64 version of Windows 7 who wish to use the codec pack will need both the codec pack and the x64 components. Users running an x86 version of Windows 7 will only need the basic codec pack.

Remember, there are many different ways to install mkv support on your Windows 7 machine, Shark007's codec pack is just one solution that works in both x86 and x64. There are many other resources around that can help you set up mkv support without codec packs and even alternative codec pack solutions to be used. If you’re looking for a more light-weight install try this guide: MKVs for Minimalists on Windows 7.

The second step is to get those mkv files displayed in Media Center (and Windows Media Player as well!). This step is even simpler than the first. To get mkv files to display in your Movie library all you need to do is install a simple registry fix.

Download either this x86 reg file or this x64 reg file to your desktop then double-click to run the file. A dialog will appear asking you to confirm adding the file to your registry, click to allow. Then restart your computer and voila! mkv files should now appear in your Windows 7 Media Center Movies Library (provided you setup your DVD Library to point to a directory containing mkv files).

Don’t forget to Try our guides on MP4 or Flac files!

17 comments:

QT said...

Once it plays on your W7 box, I find that the format is still not supported through the XBox 360 as an extender. I use the K-Lite pack.

MHealy said...

I don't have an Xbox 360 here to test it on at the moment, some extenders or configurations might need slightly different codecs or a slightly different process to get the hack working. I guess it may depend on the hardware being used on both the pc and extender.

v3gaS said...

Installed the reg hack. Im on win7 64 with Shark007 caodec pack. All my MKV files play fine through Media Browser and continue too (in Media Browser).

After using the x64 reg hack mkv fills still did not show in DVD library. I installed the x86 then they did!
BUT When I click on an MKV MC freezes instantly with an 'Media Center has stopped working'

MHealy said...

V3gas: I was able to replicate your situation once by un-installing all my codecs and reinstalling the latest shark007 codecs. The problem for me turned out to be I plug-in I had installed called "Media Control". I also used the start menu entry for Shark007 codecs label "Reset all to default". After that I was able to play MKV fine on my x64 Media Center.

Let me know if you are still having trouble getting it to work. Also, check your codec graphs using Graphstudio and let me know what comes up. You can find my guide on graphstudio here: http://www.hack7mc.com/2009/01/check-your-codecs-with-graphstudio.html

v3gaS said...

I can play MKVs fine but not in the native DVD library view of Win7 Media center. I just did a reset and still nothing however. same error. I will try a fresh reinstall, as this is a terst system for my main VMC and see if that helps.

v3gaS said...

http://www.digitalpimple.com/_images/capture.png

That is a capture from graphstudio

MHealy said...

hmm, my best guess is that a plug-in or other media center related program is causing the error. If you happen to figure out exactly what it is causing the problem let me know so I can put it up here. I hate to recommend a reinstall of Windows but I'm unable to reproduce the error after un-installing my Media Center plugins.

v3gaS said...

I managed to work out the glitches. I think the issue was some other changes I was playing with in the reg. My 32 WMP standalone was giving the error. Thanks for great work!
There was a few more things I needed to do to get my movie library to sort and display correctly my MKV movies correctly. I will be writing up those issues on my blog this week.

You can see pics here:
http://digitalpimple.com/blog/?p=72

Thanks

MHealy said...

Good to hear you got it worked out. I'll be sure to check out your write-up later this week.

Anonymous said...

Now to get the files accelerated (DXVA), so they don't tax the CPU as much. (MPC homecinema runs them fine with the Guru3D guide)

MHealy said...

I believe Shark's codec pack supports DXVA using MPC's video decoder if you enable it from the start menu. I've used it previously in Vista and fairly sure it made it into the Windows 7 pack as well.

mkv mkv said...

Worked for me with Shark and reg file

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