How to quickly convert MKV to MP4 file using VLC?

Jan 2016

How to quickly convert MKV to MP4 file using VLC?

Do you have a video in MKV file and you can't open it because some program (like Sony Vegas Pro) doesn't support this format? If so, you probably wonder how to convert it into some different format. I just discovered a way to do this.

To understand this method, first you need to know that media file formats are just containers (for example, MKV is Matroska). Each format encapsulates a set of streams, usually one video and one audio stream. Now, each stream is encoded using some specific codec. There may be various codecs used, but for the file I needed to convert, Media Player Classic (my favorite movie player, installed with K-Lite Codec Pack) shows following information after selecting File > Properties:

Type: Matroska
Video: MPEG4 Video (H264) 720x400 25fps [V: English [eng] (h264 main L4.0, yuv420p, 720x400) [default]]
Audio: AAC 44100Hz stereo [A: aac lc, 44100 Hz, stereo [default]]

MPEG4 Video is the same codec that may be used with MP4 file format! It means we could convert ("repack") the file to just different container format, rewriting streams as-is without actually converting video or audio - which should be very fast (converting a long movie takes only few seconds) and wouldn't cause any quality loss.

To do that, I used VLC media player. This program has its own set of codecs for many video and audio formats, so it doesn't depend on codecs installed in Windows. The player is actually just an overlay on top of a powerful library that can also do different things, like streaming video over network (that's probably where the company name "VideoLAN" comes from) or convert files.

So to convert an MKV file to MP4:

  1. Run "VLC media player".
  2. From main menu select "Media" > "Convert / Save...".
  3. On "File" tab, click "Add..." button.
  4. Choose you MKV file. After that, it should be added to the list. (Alternatively, you can drag&drop a file into the list.)
  5. Click "Convert/Save" button.
  6. Select Profile: "Video - H.264 + MP3 (MP4)".
  7. Click on the icon button that has hint: "Edit selected profile".
  8. On "Encapsulation" tab, leave "MP4/MOV" selected.
  9. On "Video codec" tab, check both "Video" and "Keep original video track".
  10. On "Audio codec" tab, similarly select both "Audio" and "Keep original audio track".
  11. Click "Save" button.
  12. In "Destination" selection, click "Browse" button to select directory and file name for you destination MP4 file.
  13. Click "Start" button.
  14. Observe progress bar in the main window as file is converted.
  15. After that, my VLC (version 2.2.1) seems to hang in an infinite loop so I have to kill it using system "Task Manager", but it doesn't matter - the destination file is already created.

Comments (98) | Tags: video | Author: Adam Sawicki | Share


2016-05-12 13:32:18
i did the whole procedure as u said to do..but the only biggest problem i am facing is that the video is not showing after convertion of file from mkv to mp4. using VLC
2016-05-23 20:40:24
Same as rupinder no video but i get the audio track
2016-05-23 22:07:32
Worked for me, but not very fast.
2016-05-25 16:17:19
Same as rupinder and bokel - No video, just audio. Converts a 160mb file to just over 20mb. What's the go with this?
2016-05-25 18:04:36
Same as rupinder and bokel - No video, just audio. Converts a 160mb file to just over 20mb. What's the go with this?
2016-05-31 02:17:09
This works great for me thank you,
I can now stream it to the smart tv.
2016-06-02 01:46:15
my guess on different people having different results is that its using external codecs installed on your windows system, not compiled into or included with vlc as dlls, i am just guessing here, but maybe try one of the codec packs (i like combined community codec pack cccp cuz its gpl/open source)
2016-06-13 08:25:14
Worked great for me, very fast!
2016-06-26 06:53:25
OK guys, I've got the inverse problem..mkv to m4v, I have video but NO AUDIO!! Followed the instructions exactly for "convert/save"

OSX Yosemite
2016-07-05 15:36:04
Very, very slow. A 15 minute video took 10 minutes to do the first 2-1/2 minutes. I finally just exited VLCPlayer because it was slowing everything down.
2016-07-10 13:08:46
Great...converted in seconds and result r also very good.
2016-07-15 04:37:42
Same as rupinder and others, followed above to the letter and converts only audio, i have tried this on a laptop and PC both do the same sound no video.
2016-07-24 21:03:49
This worked for me! The video quality was not great, admittedly, a bit jumpy, but overall completely watchable.
Km Asad UF
2016-07-26 09:54:04
wow its very fast...
500 mb only 30s....

tnx a lot...dear...
2016-07-29 06:42:15
KM Asad UF please guide me how it work? and what was the version of vlc media player.. i am not succeed. please any body can help??
2016-08-13 02:10:56
Ha! I've got video but no audio. At least that gives me some options.
2016-08-25 11:23:56
I have saved myself from the conversion problem. I have simply downloaded PlayerXtreme and it plays 40 format videos for me.
2016-08-28 11:11:19
Had a different problem: conversion "worked" but the result is sped up and skips many frames, so that the 1 minute video is only about 5 seconds in total. Same result with linux and Windows 7 VLC.
I finally used an online mkv to mp4 converter to do this for me. I'll compare the codecs in the original and finale to see what the differences are, and try to manually set the same thing for conversion in VLC
2016-08-31 10:09:50
I compared the original file (MKV) with a successfully-converted MP4 file by "Online video converter to MP4".
The streams have been swapped, for one thing, the video remains the same format, but frame-rate vastly reduced. Audio is a completely different codec.
Have not yet checked if I can duplicate such a success on VLC.

Original: mkv file

stream 0 (audio)
codec: Vorbis Audio (vorb)
channels: Stereo
sample rate: 44100 Hz
bitrate: 128 kbps
encoder: Google

stream 1 (video)
codec: H264 - MPEG-4 AVC (part10) (avc1)
resolution: 640x480
display resolution: 640x480
frame rate: 1000

Converted successfully by online provider: mp4 file

stream 0 (video)
codec: H264 - MPEG-4 AVC (part10) (avc1)
resolution: 640x480
display resolution: 640x480
frame rate: 25

stream 1 (audio)
codec: MPEG AAC Audio (mp4a)
channels: Stereo
sample rate: 44100 Hz
2016-09-08 03:39:02
Audio is out of sync.
2016-09-27 00:45:31
thank you
2016-09-30 18:41:05
very very damn solw man , please tell me some thing that this should go faster
2016-10-08 16:37:00
Same as rupinder - get the coveted file w/o Video
2016-10-13 06:30:45
just follow the exact procedure and it will works just like on me .. thanks a lot bro its working 100%
2016-10-14 02:01:59
For those complaining about slow speeds, try using a decent computer. Cheap laptops with i3 or AMD cpus aren't going to give you good speeds. That's just the truth.
Thank you!
2016-10-14 20:46:32
Conversion took only seconds with a 931 Mb video. Many thanks!
2016-10-21 07:03:39
I'm using a better than decent computer and the speed is still really slow. I can deal with that though.

I have the same problem as some above; video, but no audio. Tried 4 different audio formats (including the option to keep original audio track) and still nothing...
2016-10-22 17:05:06
Worked great, thanks for the info :)
2016-10-24 09:03:32
Using VLC 2.2.4. Followed the instructions precicely, but absolutely nothing happens after pressing Start. No progress bar, no video display or sound (but don't expect either anyway), nothing. Very strange.
2016-10-24 09:27:14
Worked a treat for me...Thx. and really quick too...
2016-10-28 19:46:27
i followed inscrutions but subs dont show. does anyone know why
2016-10-31 03:33:18
Thanks m8 worked perfectly
2016-11-05 00:29:07
doesnt work dont waste your time.
2016-11-10 02:26:29
Speed is ok - sound and video are perfect - just want to know how to save as MP4 not as m4v!
2016-11-15 12:19:10
Same comment as earlier. A/V perfecr, very quick, 300 Mb movie converted from MKV to MP4 in seconds. Can be added to homevideos in Itunes. But dont show subtitles
2016-11-16 13:31:56
Conversion is really fast. Only problem is, that my mkv has got 2 audio tracks, resulting in an MP4 file that has NO audio track after all. :(

Should probably extract one audio track with popcorn first...
Thank you!
2016-11-18 00:52:05
Just found out that with some video codecs this doesn't work.
2016-11-20 18:22:02
I am trying to convert my MKV to MP4 with foreign lector track (comes as default) disabled and matching foreign subtitles disabled as well. Unfortunately my MP4 comes with no audio at all after conversion (fortunately subtitles are gone, at least one positive aspect). Any idea how to deal with this?
Thank you!
2016-11-20 23:08:49
MKV can handle many video and audio codecs, MP4 can only handle a few. If you try to convert MKV with video and/or audio that isn't supported by MP4,the conversion by VLC won't work. In that case you have to convert the video and/or audio to a format that MP4 "understands".
2016-11-29 21:51:20
It processed really fast (under 5 seconds) but the audio was unsynced and the video stuttered from time to time which increased the audio desync.

Chose the "Video for MPEG4 in 720p" and it worked like a charm (took maybe 2-3 minutes to process a 27 min video but its stutter free and audio is synced.

Now i can watch this on my new iPad mini 4 woho! \o/
2016-12-11 00:30:52
Works like a charm indeed. Converted ~1GB 720p mkv in less than a minute (on an old hexacore Phenom II). I just had to set the audio format to actually process the original (Dolby 5.1 AC3) into regular stereo mp3, cause I initially was getting an empty audio track.
2016-12-16 01:49:56
I had the same problem as many - video converted in under 10 seconds, but I had no audio. A quick look at the audio codec used in the original mkv explained it - it was some codec I've never heard of.

SO I kept "Keep original video track" option, and chose to convert the audio track to mp3. Worked like a charm! It's a little slower, since it does have to convert the audio, but nowhere near as slow as converting video - it took about 5 minutes to do a 2 hour video.
2016-12-20 22:11:33

It worked perfectly, only took 3 mins for a 2 hour video.

typically it would take me 6 hours any other method i tried before this.

Goku san
2016-12-22 11:24:22
Thanks buddy. You saved the day. It's so easy
2016-12-22 12:15:23
Anyone that this is not working for cannot read the instructions properly.

Read them and ensure every step is done it will work.

My PC only has 4GB of ram and is 10 years old, completed in about 2 minutes a HD film that was 2 hours long.
2016-12-24 06:59:06
Worked perfectly for me! super fast.
2016-12-24 17:07:22
No Audio (tried every possible selection!)
OSX 10.11.6
VLC 2.2.4
2016-12-25 20:10:58
followed instructions, hit start, window closes and Im left with a 0 byte file. no progress bar shown.
2016-12-25 20:17:32
nevermind the original files arent working, not vlc's fault
2016-12-27 05:37:22
every thing is r8 but conversion stops at 7 min or so....i have to convert till 800 mb pls help
Mr Film
2016-12-30 17:03:13
Works a charm! Many thanks!
2017-01-01 11:41:33
Amazing.. Worked soo amazingly
2017-01-02 11:12:11
no audio!! why??? please respond!!
Asanka K
2017-01-02 16:36:33
worked like a charm!!! 170MB in less than a min!!!
Thanks for the tip!!
2017-01-02 22:19:24
I dont have the option for "Video - H.264 + MP3 (MP4)." The only option I have is "Video - H.264 + AAC (MP4)," so I'm not getting any audio on my conversion. Don't know what to do because I'm woefully ignorant about how codecs work.
2017-01-04 11:45:49
Followed the steps. File seems to convert, but when I go to the folder where I saved it, its not there. What am I doing wrong?
Help Required
2017-01-06 06:01:38
I follow the steps and video works but the audio is lagging behind the video now, I do not understand
2017-01-06 21:06:57
this doesn't work!!! all it does is zoom through quickly. leaves a file which doesn't work
2017-01-17 23:10:33
What do i put as my destination file??? help me please
Supernatural asshat
2017-01-18 18:34:16
The destination file is simply were you want to save the file to
2017-01-19 03:19:38
it works but delay audio
2017-01-19 11:47:57
i've tried so many times but the results are just the same. the audio is left behind. what should i do?
Lord Raiden
2017-01-19 23:11:05
I set up a new profile and manually entered 'Video - H.264 + MP3 (MP4)' as it was missing from the drop down list.

Converting an MKV to MP4 results in Audio but no Video. Really don't get it. Maybe try a stand alone converter?
B Side
2017-01-24 15:14:35
I followed all instructions, but after the conversion the is a serious audio delay. How can I resolve this?
2017-01-28 22:41:42
Just ran this 2 different times and keep having the same problems as mentioned above. It did convert, but a 2 hour movie took about 13 hours and there is a serious audio delay.
2017-01-29 16:52:13
No video shown :(
2017-01-29 20:17:58
Tried this but my computer crashes every time (tried 3 times). Using Win7 64bit, 8GB RAM. Using VLC 2.2.4
2017-01-29 20:21:15
When I mean crash, I mean it's like some one cut the power to my machine. No BSOD. It gets to about 25% done and this happens
2017-01-30 09:01:39
Thanks that was super helpful! ♥
2017-01-31 20:18:26
2017-02-01 16:43:30
It works and quickly, however there is a delay in audio. Can't figure out how to sync video & audio during conversion
AZ Gizmo
2017-02-01 22:39:26
The MKV I'm converting is a rip from a Blu-Ray, and it's converting the file in real time... Meaning the movie is 1 hr 53 minutes, and so far it's only 40 minutes into the conversion.

One second of film converted to MP4, one second at a time.
2017-02-02 13:55:41
Man, my VLC player totally crashed :v
2017-02-02 19:35:57
Have tryed it, only problem is that i get the audio but no video. When naming the new file must we put in an extension?
2017-02-09 09:24:56
I tried it. It converts really fast but the audio is lagged behind. So right now I'm trying to convert to 720p like Pudo and hope that fixes the audio problem.
2017-02-10 17:54:49
Once I got as far as step 12, there was NO file to select. What am I even supposed to do? I wanted to create a new file, not save over an old one. I tried saving it over its' old MKV file, and it just chose to not convert at all.
2017-02-14 05:21:20
Worked perfectly. Converted 750 MB .mkv file to mp4. Thank you for the post.
2017-02-16 13:11:02
Thanks a lot. Totally worked.
2017-02-21 10:39:32
Nothing is recorded, Only the audio is recorded for me.
Akash Sikdar
2017-02-22 12:27:40
Thank you so perfectly..a huge help for iPhone users!!God bless you..
2017-02-25 06:20:51
Followed the guide word for word and I still don't have any audio.
2017-02-27 10:39:08
Great !! It worked for me . Just take 30 secs to convert 760 MB file . Wow !!
2017-03-01 10:36:08
Great. Handbrake took over 18 minutes to convert it. This only a few seconds.
2017-03-01 14:47:18
Disappointed. First time it worked great and saved as mp4 file. Second time I used the same settings but only had audio and no video. It also saved as m4v instead as mp4. What's the matter? Adam would you mind to answer please?
2017-03-03 05:59:28
2017-03-06 16:28:40
doesnt work no sound no video no nothing
2017-03-08 21:26:08
I do all the steps but when i get to the save part and click the save button... it doesnt save
2017-03-09 03:45:44
Hey asswick, I always get horrid desync between video and audio

How fix
2017-03-11 18:23:35
I could could convert it into a VLC however, there was no sound. Could anyone let me know what am I missing. Grateful.
2017-03-12 01:11:51
did conversion number of times, still just audio
2017-03-12 11:40:27
I found an easiest way to convert mp4 to avi here:
2017-03-14 17:16:30
converted from mkv to mp4, audio aligns on the first half but does not align on the second half
2017-03-15 06:47:42
what i did was follow the steps outlined above but in addition, in the video codec, i clicked KEEP ORIGINAL VIDEO TRACK and in the audio codec, i clicked MP3 works
2017-03-18 22:21:24
its for my youtube,im trying to covert my mkv file into a mp4
2017-03-19 13:08:06
Doesn't work. Don't know why I am surprised these things never do.
2017-03-22 00:09:58
This worked for me although the different options in my version of VLC were a little different. The file saved as M4V but I just renamed it to .mp4 and it was fine. Using a mac.
always have questions
2017-03-22 22:38:37
File saved as M4V but when i renamed it to MP4, it wont do it, it'll suggest to change it to mp4.m4v. I don't know why the extension was changed to m4v
2017-03-25 01:48:59
people if your file doesn't have the right audio and video "format" with the mkv, it's not going to work right. it needs to have something like aac and mp3. or something like that. remember the part at the first where he was explaining that it is just a holder... if it isn't holding the right stuff, it won't work. im not a computer guru, so that is about as simple as it can be explained.

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