MKV to AVI Converter

fair
key review info
application features
  • Encode AVI with DIVX, XVID, Windows Media Audio and Video Codec, DV Video Encoder, etc.
  • (3 more, see all...)

Video conversion software is everywhere and turning from one standard to another is a cinch with most software. With Matroska files (MKV), however, the task may prove to be quite a difficult one, as the format is more complex, being able to contain video, audio and subtitles. The format is highly appreciated among anime fans since it features selectable subtitle tracks and audio streams, chapter entries or menus (just like DVDs).

As the cross-platform, open-source gains more and more turf, the need of converting to and from MKV will grow significantly. So having a converter that can handle this format easily and with the least effort from the user would be a good addition to your software collection.

DigitByte Studio comes to the rescue offering MKV to AVI Converter, a shareware application designed exclusively to convert MKV files to AVI video standard, just as its name says, and to split the resulting file. The software comes at a $29.99 price and no time restriction for evaluation purposes. There is however a limitation that prevents full use of the software without paying the fee: it will convert only 1 minute of any video you try to convert. It is a pretty harsh limitation, but even so you can judge the quality of the software.

The interface is as simple as can be, not requiring too much effort from the user, as everything is explicit. Before starting your work with the software, there are a couple of things you should be aware of: the application does not bring matroska codecs, so you will have to download them on your own and the recommended codec to work for the best conversion results is DivX, although it comes with a list of codecs by itself.

Once you have loaded the MKV file to be converted to AVI, the application will pop up a video player allowing you to view the file either in its native size or in full-screen. It is a minimalist player allowing you to stop or pause the video and nothing else. But these functions are not altogether forgotten as the user can achieve jumping to a desired time by dragging the slider in the main application window. You are also displayed the current playing time and the total duration of the file. However, the downside is that you cannot accurately move to the desired scene by inputting the corresponding time, but have to move the slider by mouse. Trying keyboard arrows will do you no good, as the video will keep playing at normal speed.

Setting the start and end time for defining the video scenes to be converted is achieved by pressing on Start Time and End Time buttons under the drag bar. You will automatically be given the times, but accurately defining one of the values is a tough task as it can be achieved only by dragging the bar with the mouse.

The list of options is brief and easy to configure. Users get to define the location for saving the conversion result, set the resolution (there is a list of presets but you can also customize it yourself), the framerate, resize mode (preserve aspect ratio or stretch), choose the video compressor and configure it for the best output, and the audio compressor.

MKV to AVI Converter brings absolutely no codec, neither for video, nor for audio, and the available list presents only the codecs you have already installed on the system (those that come by default with the operating system and those installed by yourself). Since it is priced at $29.99, I would have expected at least open-source codecs to be available, if not more, or at least guide the user towards downloading locations of recommended ones.

Testing the application was not as smooth as we expected, because there were some files the software labeled as corrupt or there was no appropriate codec installed on the system and could not be processed, although they were played just fine in video players and all codecs were in place. When testing the application on a different computer, it crashed at each attempt during the conversion.

For starting the conversion process you need to keep the video window open, otherwise Convert button will de-activate. Resource usage is pretty high during the conversion process and a middle-end computer may have a really tough time with the operation.

Testing the application on multiple Vista equipped computers (Basic, Business and Home Premium) resulted in many problems with the conversion and crashes. The cases the process was completed successfully were not too many and sometimes the same file would be handled differently on two systems.

The Good

We had some success with converting from MKV to AVI and making all the settings is a cinch. The application permits configuring the video codecs.

The Bad

The application comes with absolutely no video codec and relies on what the user installs on the system. More than this, the user benefits from no direction to download the appropriate codecs for the best result possible.

During our testing there were multiple crashes of the software and some of the MKV files put to the test were not loaded at all, the software giving alerts that either the video is corrupt or the appropriate codec needs to be installed.

The Truth

MKV to AVI Converter proved to be unreliable during the conversion, as throughout our testing it failed to deal with all the files we fed it and constantly crashed. The tests were performed on multiple computers running various editions of Vista.

Even if everything worked as intended, the price would still be a bit too much considering that there is no video codec included in the package and the user has to download them by him/herself.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:


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user interface 3
features 2
ease of use 3
pricing / value 1


final rating 2
Editor's review
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