The best free and paid MKV players for Mac in 2023

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MacBooks can't play .mkv files natively, so you'll need a third-party app or QuickTime plug-in. Check out the top 10 free and paid MKV players for Mac. Learn about their pros, cons, and special features, and make your choice.

Top 10 MKV players for Mac

Find the MKV player for Mac that meets your needs, but don't forget to look at the bigger picture. What other formats does this app support? What about playback controls? Any extra bells and whistles? You might be surprised to learn that some Mac video players can even run online YouTube videos without ads! So make sure you know all the pros and cons.


1. Elmedia Player

Our number one recommendation is Elmedia Player – an MKV video player for Mac that can replace all other apps for you. It plays not only MKV but also tons of different formats. HD and Ultra HD videos that might lag in other apps work flawlessly here.

Access to all audio and subtitle tracks is just two clicks away. You can also add third-party audio or upload your subtitles. But that's the basics. Let's get to the fun stuff.

  • Mark important or interesting parts of the video. Select Bookmark from the right-click menu. Now, you can jump to that part with one click.
  • Navigate through a long video. MKV files support chapters. These are logical segments into which the video is divided. Select Chapters from the right-click menu and jump to the point you need without scrolling.
  • Stream video to any Smart TV, AirPlay, Roku, or DLNA device. You don't need any additional settings or plug-ins.
  • Watch videos in picture-in-picture format. You can even customize the size of the minimized window.

Elmedia Player for Mac to play MKV

Pros
  • Free version with basic functionality available: video, audio, and subtitle playback, universal format support, etc.
  • Available on Setapp in the Pro version.
Cons
  • The best features are available in the Pro plan.

Price

  • Free (basic features)
  • $9.99 on Setapp
  • From $19.95 on the developer's website.

2. Movist Pro

Movist Pro is another MKV player for Mac that also works with over 30 other video formats. 

This app supports hardware-accelerated decoding of the H.265/HEVC codec. Simply put, it efficiently plays large files (4K) while using relatively few resources. The video won't freeze, and your Mac won't slow down.

In addition, Movist Pro takes care of the picture: it tries to reproduce the HDR color as best as possible on non-HDR monitors.

For easy playback of each new video, the player allows you to set many default settings: default track language, video quality, filters, equalizer, etc.

Movist Pro media player

Pros
  • Possibility to adjust the saturation, brightness, and contrast of the image.
  • Available on Setapp.
Cons
  • No AirPlay support (it's coming soon).

Price:

  • $7.99 on the developer's website.
  • $9.99 on Setapp, together with 230+ other apps.

3. VLC Player

VLC is one of the most popular free Mac .mkv players. It supports dozens of formats and offers a large (perhaps too large) number of options. For example, you can customize the audio and visual effects and even make the image psychedelic or wavy.

It's a good player, but the dated design and cluttered interface can spoil the experience.

VLC Player

Pros
  • Can open damaged MKV files.
  • Synchronizes audio, video, and subtitles if they play out of sync.
Cons
  • Considered less secure than paid players.

Price: Free


4. Mac Blu-ray Player Pro

Mac Blu-ray Player Pro is primarily designed to run Blu-rays and is excellent at it. With it, you can also open MKV on Mac quite conveniently. However, the list of features is plain: there is no equalizer, no settings for displaying subtitles, picture-in-picture, and other valuable details.

Pros
  • Excellent player for Blu-rays.
  • Works with 4K video.
Cons
  • It's not worth buying the Pro version just to play MKV files.

Price:

Starting at $19.95 per year.


5. Perian

Perian was a plug-in that extended the functionality of Quick Time to play MKV files. However, you probably won't be able to use Perian anymore. It doesn't work on operating systems older than OS X 10.8 (released in 2012), and the developers stopped supporting it around the same time.

Pros
  • Works on computers running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or earlier.
Cons
  • No longer available for download from the official website.

Price: Free


6. Plex

Plex is a client-server media player platform. The original idea is this: on Plex, you create an account and a media server to which you add videos in any format, including .mkv. Then, you log in to your account from another device and run the video. During playback, the program transcodes the video to the format your device supports.

Plex streaming

Pros
  • Own library of free movies and shows.
Cons
  • Too tricky if you only need to play MKV files.

Price: $4.99 per month.


7. MPlayer X

MPlayerX plays MKV and, according to the developers, "any media format in the world without additional plug-ins or codec packages". To play, drag and drop the video. The app can find the next file to run on its own if the file names are numbered in any guessable pattern. Another feature is its handy playback controls, entirely based on trackpad gestures.

MPlayer X

Pros
  • Plays videos from YouTube.
  • Supports subtitles in various languages, including Arabic and Hebrew.
Cons
  • Risk of malware.

Price: Free


8. OmniPlayer

OmniPlayer is an application from the Mac App Store that plays MKV on Mac and additionally supports over 40 video formats. The free version is sufficient to watch videos, jump through chapters, and make minor adjustments, such as delaying or advancing audio. Most valuable features, such as color equalizer, speed increase and decrease, subtitle delay, etc., are only available in the paid version.

OmniPlayer

Pros
  • Picture-in-picture feature is available.
  • Convenient settings panel.
Cons
  • The best features are paid.

Price

  • Free (basic)
  • From $3.99 for the VIP version.

9. Cisdem Video Player

Cisdem Video Player works with .mkv files as well as dozens of others, including those in 8K resolution. Buttons for selecting an audio track and subtitles are located right on the control panel, which is very convenient. The app's paid version allows you to convert videos to other formats, including those compatible with Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, and Vivo devices.

Cisdem Video Player

Pros
  • Nice and clear interface.
  • Picture-in-picture function is available.
Cons
  • No jumping between chapters.

Price

  • Free (basic)
  • From $19.99 for a lifetime license.

10. DivX

DivX is an MKV player with a nice interface but a minimal set of functions in the free version. In fact, you can only watch the video and change the subtitle or audio track. But even here, you may run into difficulties, as free DivX doesn't support some common audio formats, such as AC3.

DivX for Mac

Pros
  • Runs multiple subtitle tracks simultaneously.
  • User-friendly interface.
Cons
  • Annoying ads for the Pro version.

Price

  • Free (basic)
  • $19.99 for a Pro version.

MKV format: What is it & Pros and Cons

Maybe it's important for you to know what MKV is and what makes it so unique. Here's a simple explanation.

MKV is a video container. You can think of it as a box that contains many audio, video, and subtitle streams. It's handy for storing and navigating videos. For example, you can have a video with English, Spanish, and any other audio stream as a single file instead of several separate files.

MKV pros:

  • Easy selection of audio, video, or subtitle tracks. You can switch between them on the fly without stopping playback.
  • Easy navigation. You can split the file into chapters – logical parts of the video – and quickly switch between them.
  • Error resistance. MKV files can be played even if they are damaged.
  • Metadata support. You (or the file's author) can add a title, author, genre, and so on. This is useful for categorizing content.
  • High quality. MKV files usually provide excellent video and audio quality.

MKV cons:

  • Limited hardware support. Not all devices can play MKV by default – Mac is an example.
  • Potentially larger file sizes. MKV can take up more space compared to some popular formats, such as MP4 and AVI.

For all its advantages, the only significant problem with MKV is that Mac can't play it by default. Fortunately, this problem is easily solved by installing an MKV player.

And one more solution: How to open MKV file on Mac? There are at least three ways.

  • Open an MKV player and drag and drop a video file.
  • Right-click on a video file > Open with > choose the player you want.
  • Open an MKV player > File > Open video > choose the video.

Choose whichever is more convenient!

Try the best players to watch .mkv on Mac for free

Of all the MKV players for Mac reviewed, we recommend Elmedia Player and Movist Pro. They are the most robust and secure media players you can install on your Mac. They both have a free version with fairly extensive functionality and an even more advanced paid version. Plus, they're both part of Setapp, an app platform with 230+ apps. Try them all free for 7 days with a single subscription.

If you have a specific need – for example, if you want your player to work with Blu-rays – check out Mac Blu-ray Player. And if you want a streaming service plus a media player, check out Plex. If you also need to convert videos, try Cisdem Video Player.

Finally, if you don't want to install a new MKV player on your Mac, try converting MKV videos to MP4 and playing them with QuickTime. Read the detailed guide here.

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