From Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase
Matroska/матрёшка is an extensible open standard audio/video container format for various video and audio codecs. Matroska is based on EBML, a binary variation of XML. It's aim is to replace the aging AVI format and be a powerful alternative to other container formats like ASF, MP4, MOV, RM, MPX and Ogg/OGM. It can store Audio Only, Video Only, or both, and is free for personal use.
Matroska has all the features you would expect of a modern A/V Container including:
- Streamable over internet (HTTP and RTP)
- Fast seeking in the file
- High error recovery
- Menus (like DVD's have)
- Chapter entries
- Selectable subtitle streams
- Selectable audio streams
- Modularly Extendable
- Sophisticated Tagging
The current official tool for creating a Matroska file (available from Matroska's Home Page) supports the following audio and video codecs:
- MPEG Audio 1, 2, 2.5 Layer III
- MPEG Audio 1, 2 Layer II
- MPEG Audio 1, 2 Layer I
- PCM Integer Big Endian
- PCM Integer Little Endian
- Floating Point, IEEE compatible
- Dolby AC3
- Digital Theater Systems
- Ogg Vorbis
- FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Compresion)
- Realmedia Audio Codecs (including Real Audio 1, Real Audio 2, Real Audio Cook, Sipro Voice Codec, Real Audio LossLess Format, and the Sony ATRAC3 Codec)
- AAC Audio (including both LC AAC and HE AAC)
- QuickTime Audio Codecs
- MPEG4 ISO Profile Video, i.e DivX 4/5, XviD, FFMPEG (including Simple Profile, Advanced Simple Profile, and Advanced Profile)
- Microsoft MPEG4 V3 (and derivatives, including DivX 3, Angelpotion, SMR, etc. V1/v2 covered in VfW compatibility mode)
- Real Video (Real Video 1.0, Real Video G2/G2+SVT, Real Video 8, and Real Video 9)
- Video from QuickTime files (including the Sorenson and Cinepack codecs)
- MKV - File containing at least one video stream and possibly audio and/or subtitle stream(s).
- MKA - File containing at least one audio stream and possible subtitle stream(s).
- MKS - File containing at least one subtitle stream.