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Does VLC Play MKV? How to Fix VLC MKV Playback Errors

Does VLC play MKV? The answer is Yes.

VLC is one of most popular free programs with the ability to play various videos, audios, DVDs, CDs. MKV is one of VLC's supported formats. However, MKV playback errors still come from time to time like a nightmare. For example:

  • MKV video codec not supported error with a message that "No suitable decoder module".
  • You may get stuck in 4K HEVC MKV stuttering, video lags, dropped frames, pixelated image and even crashing/freezing on VLC.
  • Unable to see subtitles, or subtitles not loaded correectly when playing MKV in VLC.
  • Sometimes, VLC plays MKV in no sound, no video with a black/green screen, or audio video out of sync.

If you're unfortunate to be one of those who have encountered "VLC won't play MKV" issues, how can you fix them and play MKV smoothly in VLC? This article gives you easy solutions.

[Solved] VLC not Playing MKV Files? Play MKV with VLC Alternative or Convert MKV for VLC

Here comes Winxvideo AI that you can use to directly play any MKV videos files up to 4K smoothly when VLC media player is not playing MKV videos, or fast convert any MKV videos for VLC to play without issues.

What if VLC doesn't play MKV files?

Solution 1. Convert MKV to Better Compatible MP4, AVI, MOV for VLC

MKV is a video container which is able to hold video and audio streams in different codecs. There are some codecs that are not very friendly to VLC. For example, it may contain the codec HVC1, a file extension that contains RAW data encoded with H.265/HEVC. VLC HVC1 playback errors occur frequently. Therefore, you can convert MKV to another formats like MP4 to avoid the VLC MKV playback problems.

Winxvideo AI offers the simplest and fastest solution to convert any 4K/HD/SD MKV for VLC. It can convert 4K/HD MKV to MP4, H.264, MPEG4, AVI, WMV, MOV, and 420+ profiles. It supports Intel, AMD, and Nvidia GPU acceleration to convert MKV HEVC, VP9, VP8, etc. with fast speed and high video & audio quality.

  1. Get the MKV video converter and open it. Then click Video Converter button on the main UI and then hit the + Video icon and import the MKV file not played in VLC.
  2. Pop up the Output Profile window by clicking on the Target Format option at the bottom. Select one format as output format and click OK. MP4 Video (codec: h264+aac) is the best for VLC.
  3. Click browse to set destination folder to save converted MKV video and hit RUN to start conversion.

Solution 2. Adjust the VLC Playback Settings

When VLC doesn't play MKV files properly, it can be caused by incorrect settings, such as hardware decoding, caching value, video output module. Here are a few settings that may lead to MKV video playback errors with VLC.

  • Disable/enable the GPU acceleration - Many users have solved the problem by disabling the VLC hardware decoding. Open VLC, select Tools > Preferences. Then click Input/Codecs, and change the Hardware-accelerated decoding from Automatic to Disable or vice versa.
  • Disable the Accelerated video output(Overlay) - If you don't want to update the display adapter drivers, you may try to disable Accelerated video output/Overlay video output. Open VLC, select Tools > Preferences. Click Video and check/uncheck the Accelerated video output/Overlay box under the Display section.
  • Change the outputp module - If the VLC still won't play MKV videos, try to change video output module. Open VLC, select Tools > Preferences. Choose the Show Settings to All at the bottom of the interface. Find Video and select Output module. Open the dropdown menu and here are several different output options. Change the video output modeul from Automatic to OpenGL or others and try again.

Solution 3. Check the Hardware Compatibility

As mentioned earlier, MKV can contain some advanced codecs at high resolutions. For example, the source MKV file can be a 10-bit HDR HEVC file at 4K 60fps. To play the MKV videos with VLC smoothly, you need to make sure that your hardware are fully compatible.

For 4K H264

  • Quick Sync 4 (Intel Broadwell ~)
  • PureVideo HD 5 cards (Nvidia GT 520 ~)
  • UVD 5.0 cards (AMD Radeon R9 ~)


  • Quick Sync 5 (Intel Skylake ~)
  • PureVideo HD 7 cards (Nvidia GTX 950 ~, or GTX 750 SE)
  • UVD 6.0 cards (AMD Radeon Rx300 ~)

For HEVC 10bit

  • Quick Sync 6 (Intel Kaby Lake ~)
  • PureVideo HD 7 cards (Nvidia GTX 950 ~, or GTX 750 SE)
  • UVD 6.0 Fiji/Carrizo cards (AMD Radeon Rx400 ~)

Solution 4. Play MKV Smoothly with Best VLC Alternative

You may be suggested to search for a VLC alternative to play MKV when asking the question "Dose VLC play MKV?" because of VLC playing errors. There are too many MKV players in the market, but the best VLC alternative should accord with some points.

  • Play MKV file smoothly and correctly without sound, subtitle errors and other interruptions.
  • Output high quality audio system and HD videos.
  • 100% clean and safe without any bundled adware, malware, spyware.

5KPlayer is the best VLC alternative to play MKV files. This totally free and stand-alone multimedia player aims to play 4K and HD videos, like MKV, M2TS, AVCHD, various standard videos, music audio files and DVDs at ease. Supporting up to 8 channels, Multi-channel DTS, TrueHD, AC3/Dolby, it can provide excellent sound effects during playing. Moreover, it is very easy to use. You can load MKV files for playback by clicking "Video" button, or dragging & dropping.

Furthermore, you can use 5KPlayer to stream video audio from iPhone/iPad/iPod to Mac, or from Mac/PC to Apple TV, AirPlay-enabled speakers, etc. with the built-in AirPlay feature.

  1. Download 5KPlayer on Windows
  2. Download 5KPlayer on mac


author - Kaley Torres

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Kaley Torres is a self-motivated, creative editor with eight years of marketing and SEO experience, specializing in writing on DVD, video, audio, images, new digital contents etc. With a partiality DVD collection, Kaley also enjoys digitizing DVD and is keen to share her DVD video conversion solutions as well as video sharing tips on social media.

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