Archives

2007-05-01

Today is matroska's 4th birthday !! We can't count the downloads for matroska any longer, as we decided to point people to the excellent CPPP DirectShow playback on Windows, or to VLC player from http://www.videolan.org. The excellent news here is, that a native MKV muxer is going to be made during the Google Summer of Code (SoC) and that hardware support for MKV is finally very close. A huge success story continues !

2006-07-14

After so many downloads (more than 4 millions total) of our pack for Windows, we have decided not to maintain it anymore and to invite users to use the CCCP pack which is better and constantly maintained. Our pack page now redirects users to the CCCP website.

2006-04-22

The success story about matroska continues, and it's developing fast ! More than 3 Million downloads for our container playback packs are showing pretty nicely, that demand is still growing and it's getting more and more used. The new video compression standard h.264 (AVC, MPEG 4 Part 10), available in the latest versions of widely used video compression programs such as NeroVisionExpress and allowing for incredible size/quality ratios, is actually one major reason for that :

The 'official' container for h.264 according to MPEG4 standard, a container format derived from Apple's MOV container with the name of MP4, does not offer official support for AC3 audio, the standard audio in DVDs ! It's only the flexible matroska container that currently allows to combine h.264 video streams with AC3 audio streams into a single file, and maybe even containing a vobsub (DVD style) or text subtitles stream with it. We also recently improved on support for those files having a varying number of frames per second, so-called VFR (Variable Framerate) video files, in our matroska tools. As this technique is used a lot in Japanese anime, the matroska container has more and more developed into being the standard container for anime fansubs ... and the industry is well aware of that !

Our menue system has been finalized some time ago, but unfortunately there is still no complete playback solution available for it. Best support is currently offered by the great VLC player from the French Videolan team, in its actual version 0.8.4. Besides buttons, most features of the matroska menue system are supported. A big disappointment to us was the fact, that the developers of ratDVD, other than stated before, never truely released the sourcecode of their DVD menue navigation DirectShow filter. In our opinion, this is clearly a conflict with the GPL license of the libdvdnav library (main Linux DVD menue library) they were using for it, but it's definitely not our job to clarify this. It seems that it will again be the Corecodec Inc. team with their great TCMP player who will be first to support the matroska menue system fully, we will see what they will come up with.

What else can we report :

- Our friends from Corecodec Inc. have released their fast h.264 DirectShow decoder filter CoreAVC for Windows Mediaplayer and other DirectShow based players. Unfortunately it can not be freeware, as they have to pay licenses to the MPEG Konsortium for every copy they distribute. It will allow for dramatic improvements with respect to the CPU load of your computer, when playing video material using h.264 video compression, about -20 - -30% compared to the already fast FFMPEG/ffdshow decoders.
The most important piece of software in the Corecodec community, besides matroska of course, is still the great TCPMP 'The Core Pocket Mediaplayer' for PocketPC, WinCE, PalmOS and Symbian devices .... needless to say, with excellent MKV and MKA support, allowing matroska playback on several million devices out there ! Its main developer, Picard, has recently put a beta version of a Windows Desktop version for Windows 2000/XP online, probably being the one mediaplayer using the least CPU resources, in case you want to use an older PC or laptop for media playback ... just try it out !

- the people from the Australian DVD player manufacturer Zensonic are still eager to be the first hardware player with matroska it seems, aiming to add basic MKV support to their brand new Z500 unit, a DVD/DivX/MP4 player based on the SIGMA EM85xx chipset. We again offered both free code and help to them, should they really want to start looking at that. Technically it should be possible to get at least the main MPEG4 ASP codecs (DivX, XviD) to play fine from MKV, in combination with AAC, AC3, Vorbis or MP3 audio, and SRT/SSA subs. The unit is currently not available in Europe, but we heard that it can be bought in the US now via internet and that official import for both US, Europe and Asia is planned before the end of the year ..... maybe then already including basic MKV support, we will see ! Rest assured, we will keep you updated !

- The well known audio player Foobar2000 went from version 0.8.3 to 0.9 recently, with major changes to the internal player architecture and plugin interfaces. We are more than happy, that a friendly japanese coder and matroska user by the nickname 'Ayana' has updated the existing matroska plugin to comply with the new interface of the 0.9 version of the player. It's not in the official installer of the player yet, you will find it here. Note that it will ONLY work with the new 0.9 version !
Foobar2000, although being a dedicated audio player, is enjoying a growing popularity even amogst video compression fans, because its not only a player but also a great audio conversion tool, e.g. to go from AC3 to MP3 or Vorbis audio.

- Avi-MUX GUI, the great AVI and MKV muxing tool from our friend and long time German supporter Alexander 'alexnoe' Noe, is now available in a new version, 1.17.5 . Besides many other improvements, his tool has now great support to create and edit 'editions' in a MKV file, a kind of very powerful chapters, allowing to define how a file is going to be played.
For example, with it you can easily create chapter entries in different languages, storing each of them in the same or a different edition, and the great Haali Mediasplitter (coming with our DirectShow playback packs) will then automatically display the chapters in the main language (locale) of the given playback computer.

- In case you should not like our new container format at all, or if you prefer to watch movies on your standalone DVD player in your living room, there are now 3 new options for you to convert your MKV files into other formats :
1. We uploaded a detailled Guide with screenshots on our homepage, showing how to easily convert most MKV files to DVDs, and to burn them in the same app, using DVD Santa 4.0 (payware). Unfortunately this method will still not work for those MKVs containing HD-TV captures in a picture resolution higher than DVDs (rare), or containing audio streams with more than 2 channels (Stereo), like the widely used 5.1 HE-AAC audio files created by Nero and other good AAC compressors.
Generally speaking we are pretty frustrated that the DVD Santa developers are still refusing to talk to us, for whatever reason. Maybe you, their potential customers, can make a change here ? Our Guide will contain a section at the end of it, telling you how to bother them for better MKV support in their tool.
2. One of the few remaining, harsh MKV enemies amongst the video developers (just read his comments on his homepage) has launched a nice tool called AllToAvi, allowing for pretty simple conversion of MKV files into conventional XviD/MP3 AVIs, of course in a pretty time consuming process and with the expected loss of quality/size ratio. Its based on Linux' famous mencoder and will of course hardburn the subtitles into the video stream, just right for the Sigma and Mediatek based DivX AVI players out there.
3. A more versatile tool, also based on mencoder and allowing to do basically the same and much more, is a new encoder called Mediacoder. As its more powerful then the above mentioned one, its also a bit more complicated to use. Big advantage is, it will work both ways, means it will read MKV files and allow converting them to DVD or AVI, but you can also CREATE MKV files from other files, like DVDs, and even using the brand new h.264 compression standard (using x264 from Videolan) ! I hope that soon i will have more time to work myself into it, and be able to make a nice Guide on how to use it, both ways.

That's it for the time being, sorry about the long wait for the update. I hope it will not take another 6 months for us to make a new news entry here, but we're all just human beings, aren't we ;-) ....

2005-08-26

As our Matroska Pack is gaining more and more popularity, it is time we take measures to lower the impact of the downloads on our server.The Full pack is downloaded and installed about 4000 times a day (stats from august, consistent with previous months). That represents a total of 14 GB downloaded a day. So we have now added 2 peer to peer options to download both packs: BitTorrent and eMule... But P2P is only effective if there are enough seeds. So anyone willing to help is welcome to host these files on their preferred P2P client.

Links are available from http://packs.matroska.org/

2005-06-06

So, what is to say about the matroska project ? Well, robux4 and the rest of the team is incredibly busy with developing our menue system into a fully usable state, which by the way will be heavily 'inspired' by the DVD menue system. The main reason to do this was to be able to use existing menue editors, as a result of our very realistic inability to create such a tool completely on our own.

However, while we are already perfectly capable to pack a complete DVD including all tracks, chapters and menues into a single MKV file, and with full functionality and using EVERY supported codec for the video/audio/subtitles streams, we are still struggling to achieve proper playback support for these files. All our attempts to do it on M$ DirectShow, still by far the most used playback platform, have failed so far. It is for this very reason that we recently had a very close look onto a tool called ratDVD, which was made to be able to pack a complete DVD into a kind of ZIP file containing various MPEG Program Streams, and using a DVD like file structure. The most important thing for us about this program, is truely the fact that its creator managed to code his own DirectShow based menue navigation filter, using the well known Linux library libdvdnav. We currently have no clue of how he did this, and look very much forward to his already announced release of the sourcecode, we promise we will have a VERY close look at it ;-).

But until this could prove to become a viable alternative for us, robux4 is very busy working on the implementation of perfect MKV playback support into VLC, the great opensource player of the Videolan group. This excellent mediaplayer had MKV support for a long time already, but now robux4 is working since several weeks already to add all the missing elements to allow playback of matroska files with editions, chapters, etc. including full menue and tagging support.

What other things have to be reported ? Well, we had to launch the matroska playback pack ver. 1.1.1 very soon after we had released the 1.1.0 version, because of a stupid bug caused by incomplete deinstallation of the old matroska splitter made by Gabest, allowing potential interference with the new official splitter coded by our Russian friend Mike 'Haali', as distributed in the new packs. I don't know how many users did notice that the splitter can be set to support MP4 files also during the installation process (it's deactivated by default), we better don't tell them or else our server load will become completely unbearable. The pack has more than 1 Million downloads meanwhile and it seems there is no end to that, counting the daily downloads.

The matroska fans using Foobar2000 (yes, they DO exist !), the great music player for Windows and designated WinAMP alternative, should test a new matroska plugin made by Toff. It fixes a couple of bugs, like with chapter display of files made with newer versions of mkvtoolnix, seeking in Vorbis_MKA files, and it will show most tags of the current matroska tagging system correctly now. To my knowledge, this plugin is not yet contained in any of the current official installer packs for Foobar2000 and can only be loaded from the given URL, not even Foobar's long time supporter Case is fully up-to-date here.

I guess this is just fine for a first news after a long, unwanted absence from my side, I promise to post more here now if my XHTML is approved by the other team members. Christian

2005-05-15

Even though it doesn't show, we are still very active. The work on menus is progressing well and will be supported in the forthcoming version 0.8.2 of VLC.

Meanwhile we have released a new version of our packs (v1.1.0) which had been downloaded more than one million times. It's a complete rebuild of the pack and includes new filters. The biggest changes are the use of Haali's Media Splitter instead of Gabest's one, FFDShow is now used for most codecs and we added WavPack with hybrid mode.

2005-02-06

New versions of libebml (0.7.3) and libmatroska (0.7.5) have been released today. They have been updated to reflect all the latest spec additions for the menu feature.

2005-01-02

No, we are not dead :-) ! The project is in a very interesting phase now, with many new features being prepared. It's maybe not ok to tell you too much before its actually existing and released, but for some reason we do have a big number of features half way working, but none is ready to be relased yet. Anyhow, here a short outlook into the near future of matroska :

  • MPEG 1/2 video support: Latest Pre-Release versions of mkvmerge (mkvtoolnix) have had support for Elementary Streams (ES) for some time now already, based on John 'spyder' Cannon's code. However, it was a big PITA to use, as you had to demux the MPEG ES from the MPEG files with TMPEGencoder or bbdemux before you could mux it into the MKV files. Mosu has now been working hard to allow support for MPEG files directly, and it's working fine for Program Stream (PS) and VOB files now. Expect an official release of this feature with next mkvtoolnix (1.2.0), except for demuxing.
  • Menues: We can extract menues from DVD's now, thanks to Steve 'robux4' Lhomme's program DVDmenuXtractor. The program will create a XML file that can be read by mkvmerge in latest pre-Release versions, so as a matter of fact we can now mux a complete DVD into a single MKV file, including video, audio, subtitles and menues. The only problem is, we still don't have a suitable player for playback, so it makes no sense to release this feature. We will either concentrate on updating the matroska CDL for TCMP (The Core Mediaplayer), make a dedicated DirectShow filter, modify the great Videolan player VLC or make a GStreamer plugin. The goal is, of course, to have a general use matroska menu navigator filter, for use in all DirectShow based players that add specific support for the matroska container. Stay tuned, there is more to come soon !
  • Wavpack 4: oh, not another lossless audio codec you might say. Well, this is not true. David Bryant and his codec has a couple of features that FLAC or TTA don't have :
    • a lossy mode : in addition to the lossless mode, Wavpack will offer a high bitrate, high quality lossy mode with excellent sound quality. Basically speaking, this mode will not use any kind of PSY model like in MP3 or AAC, leading to significantly higher bitrates for the encode (> 300 kbps), but also to very little loss of sound quality.
    • a hybrid mode : In this mode, Wavpack4 will generate 2 files from your source, a lossy file and a complementary file. The codec can then recreate the lossless file (and thus the original) if it has both files, though you can use the lossy file on your portable device and keep the complementary file on your server. In Matroska we keep both parts in the same file. And we can remove the correction part directly in mkvmerge or mkvextract

    Steve has added Wavpack4 support to mkvmerge now, expect a release also with 1.2.0

2004-10-08

There is a PERL parser for matroska files now, made by a user called Omion on Hydrogenaudio.org. I don't expect that many people will download this in its current phase (alpha), but you can find it on his website or in our SVN server. You can find some background about the parser on Hydrogenaudio in this thread.

Another very interesting tool was released from our old and dear friend Christophe 'Toff' Paris, shortly before he went to another town to start his new job here. This very useful tool is called MatroskaDiag and will analyze matroska files and then check your PC if you have all the right filters installed to play it with a DirectShow based player like Windows Mediaplayer, or more preferably Zoomplayer or TCMP. For interested developers, here are the sources in Delphi. Toff, from the whole matroska team, all the best for your new job and your new life. We hope you will always be our friend, as we are very proud to be yours.

Other news :

  • AvInfo and Gspot have support for MKV files now. Both are video info tools, similar to VideoInspector and MediaInfo. I couldn't test the two new tools still, but knowing the authors and the quality of their tools when i was using them for AVI files, i expect they did a good job.
  • Mosu has released the very latest version of Mkvtoolnix, 0.9.6 . More about it here.

2004-09-26

It has been a while since i had the time to write a long news entry, but let me just start now and see how much i can report about the last months since we had been celebrating our 1st birthday in May. A lot has happened since then, matroska is on a very good way to become a well respected and supported format. But here the news one by one :

  • The most amazing thing to happen was probably that we can now play MKV files on PocketPC's with Betaplayer. This great player is also a Corecodec project, like PocketMVP. Picard, its main developer, was using Haali's integer C library to implement matroska support in it, and there is more to come.
  • Talking about Haali's library, he released the alpha version of his DirectShow splitter filter already, you can get it here. Most of the bugs should be resolved already, and this new splitter will be the basis for all future developments we are working on now ... but of course, i cant tell you about this now ;) ...
  • Kyle Katarn has released a new version of his VideoInspector tool, that will tell you everything about your matroska, AVI, MPEG and MOV files
  • Spyder was recently improving on his alpha tool to mux MPEG 1/2 video into MKV files. It can be obtained from here, and there is a thread about it on Doom9.
  • We are working on a complete rewrite of the tagging system, find the docs proposals here. At the same time we are working hard on implementing our menue system, the proposal is here.
  • Goldenear was putting a lot of work into a tool to create matroska files containing a complete CD, with chapters marking every song. There are several options for the compression format to be used, but default is FLAC. The tool is called MKAencoder and can be obtained from here. Its a script for EAC, the great Audio CD ripping tool. He also updated the matroska plugin for Foobar2000, called foo_matroska, to be loaded from here. A Guide on how to use it was posted on Hydrogenaudio.org

Thats it for the time being, more news soon :) .....

2004-08-21

A new version of the Matroska Pack (v1.0.3) was released today. This version supports new Matroska fonctionalities, the TTA lossless codec and all other DirectShow filters have been updated.

Mkvtoolnix (v0.9.5) was also released with the same new functionalities and many bugs fixed. It depends on a new version of libmatroska (v0.7.3) that is up to date with all the latest additions to the specs.

2004-08-08

We have distributed the 200,000th Matroska Pack v1.0.2 this week-end.

2004-05-01

Its matroska's 1st birthday today !!! Exactly one year ago, we were publishing the first public tools to create and playback matroska files, at that time only for the Windows platform, of course after more than one year of preparation and specs definition already.
As of today, our matroska playback packs are downloaded more than 40,000 times each month, the format can be used and played back on Linux, Windows, MacOSX and BeOS, and this is certainly not the end ..... in fact we have big plans with matroska and gstreamer, so that we can make a real, free and opensource multimedia platform, similar to Quicktime and Video for Windows ( VfW ) or DirectShow.
A big, big thank you goes out to the team and all our supporters and users, as well as to all the developers who have been working actively on implementing matroska support in their tools, thus supporting our contraints to establish it as a free, modern and open alternative to good old AVI, and MOV. We hpe that there may be many many more birthdays for our 'baby' and that it will grow and become what its parents had in mind when designing it : a beautiful and intelligent opensource and open standard multimedia project. Here some more News about it :

  • the main libraries for matroska writing and reading, libmatroska and libebml, are now released under the L-GPL license rather than the GPL/QPL dual licensing system we have been using so far. This means that we are prepared to open up the format for developers wanting to implement matroska support into commercial applications by offering them a more liberal license, as we feel quite safe to do that after one full year of usage and testing.
  • matroska is on its way to go Stable Version 1.0 soon, we just havent finally decided if we will wait for the actual implementation of the matroska menue system until 1.0, or if we will add that later, once we will move towards 2.0.
  • Peter Pawlowski has extended his support for various audio compression formats packed in the matroska container in his great audio player Foobar2000, and added support for the very latest matroska tagging system. He also added more decoders to work in combination with containers like matroska and MP4, instead of their 'native' framing.
  • Frank Klemm, the developer of MPC, has started to work on a version of it that can be muxed into matroska, called SV 7.5, allowing the use of MPC for movies. After that, we hopefully we will even see him working on a SV8 version, with support for multi-channel ( 5.1 Dolby Surround ) and DRC ( dynamic range control ).
  • DVD, the author of DVDtoMKV, the great all-in-one DVD compression program, has finished his exams ( successfully, we have no doubts here, do we ) and promised to continue working on it soon. The first alpha was very well accepted by the users, and we are eagerly awaiting the next versions now. If you are interested to test the existing version, you will find it here.
  • A guy called DarkDudae made a nice Windows GUI for mkvextract, in case you really plan to extract the video and audio from your matroska files, to convert them into DVDs or any other video format. Read more about it on Doom9.
  • The new matroska playback packs for Windows, version 1.0.2, were released to the public on April 1st. We fixed a couple of minor bugs in some of the programs distributed in them, and also changed the standard behaviour for the installation of some of them, especially Morgan Stream Switcher, as it was causing problems on the machines of some users, especially those with overloaded 'codec packs' installed. You can download them here.
  • As mentioned above already, we are currently in the process of porting Gstreamer to Windows, investigating if we can use it to convert matroska+gstreamer into a real, free and opensource multimedia alternative to Quicktime ( with MOV ) and VfW ( with AVI ). We also have plans for a free movie editor based on this platform, and the possibility to export into MP4, AVI, MPEG and of course matroska from it.
  • There is still no stable release of Xine with matroska support, but it was reported to me that the CVS version is working quite nicely already. If you're on Linux, its a must for you to test it :-) ! If you dont like to be 'guinea-pig' for CVS, the latest pre-release ( RC4 ) is for you, it even has seeking support already. Of course, VLC and mplayer will work fine also, only the current Gstreamer plugin for matroska seems to have some problems still, being looked at.
  • The programmer of Zoomplayer, our friend and long time supporter |Blight| has improved matroska support in his latest version of his great Mediaplayer. It can now read Aspect Ratio ( AR ) information from the matroska track header, independant form the decoder filter that was used, and it will also read the track name and display it. If he goes on improving his matroska support at this speed, our two favourite players MPC and TCMP really will have to watch out to not get left behind ;-) .... but we heard TCMP5 is in the works already ....

    Ok, thats it for today ... more news in a couple of weeks, you all know i have been quite lazy about that recently, and i dont think this will change soon ;-) ..... and dont forget to have a toast on matroska's 1st b-day later during the day !
     

2004-01-20
Some more great news for the new year !!

  • foobar 2000, the great audio player and winamp alternative has native Matroska support now for .MKA files, thanks to a plugin from Jory 'Jcsston' Stone. Get the 'special installer' from here and activate matroska support in the installer setup.
  • We have MPEG2 and MPEG1 video in MKV working !! More about this soon ...

2003-12-03

This is the first news entry i am writing since august, what a shame !! Some people even contacted us if matroska is dead because of that, which of course is ridiculous, as matroska has moved forward a lot during the last 3 months. It were mainly private reasons that didnt allow me to update this page as often as i should have, please accept my apologies for that !
Now, to give you a brief overview of what has happened since august, read here :

  • We have added a new lacing system to libmatroska, reducing overhead for some audio formats significantly, by introducing a so-called 'EBML lacing' in addition to the old, well-known 'Xiph lacing', inspired by Ogg Vorbis. The main library will now by default mux any audio track in 'auto' mode, choosing the best lacing mode automatically for every audio track, and thus ensuring minimum overhead. Its not astonishing that a Vorbis track muxed into a .MKA file, in 9 of 10 cases, will now result in a smaller file than the original Ogg ;-) ....
    As a result of that, all existing demuxers and parser filters had to be compiled against latest libmatroska, otherwise they couldnt play the new files. Older files stay 100% spec compliant, as the new lacing is only an extension to the specs, not a change.
  • mkvmerge from Mosu's great mkvtoolnix set of matroska muxing/editing tools, is now capable of muxing DVD Style Subtitles, generally known a VOBSUBs, into the matroska container, and meanwhile most players do support playback of them fine. It was very surprising to see, that the DVD subtitles are not so big at all, especially when demuxed from their MPEG transport layer. Especially our Asian fans are quite happy about this feature, as it will allow them to save the OCR process, which reportedly isnt very big fun for Asian languages ;-) ! Of course, the size of a vobsub track is still a couple of MB ( typically 2 - 5 MB ) per language, so it will use a lot more space than a SRT or SSA track. To reduce this a little bit, we also added compression via zlib to the SPU packets in the subtitles, saving another 25 - 35% of the subtitles track size. Playback on Windows via DirectShow, again, is ensured thanks to Gabest's wonderful DVobSub subtitle filter ( vsfilter.dll )
  • both mkvmerge and VirtualdubMod have had the ability to write track names into matroska files since some time now, to allow custom descriptions of any audio or subtitles file, like 'english - Director's comment' . Unfortunately there was no way to read and display them in the players supporting matroska yet. This has changed now, because Toff from the corecodec Team modified the matroskasplitter.ax parser filter by adding a new powerful interface, and on top of DirectShow. Now it is possible to read those 'track names' on DirectShow, and meanwhile there are already 4 players supporting it, namely 'The Core Media Player RC5' , 'Zoomplayer' , 'BSplayer' and 'KoolPlaya' . Zoomplayer can now even support automatic aspect ratio compensation via this interface, and completely independant from ffdshow and its resizing capabilities. The Videolan team is implementing support for track names into VLC right now, so even on Linux this should be available soon.
  • AAC and SBR AAC tracks can now be muxed from MP4 files also, again in mkvmerge. That way the SBR ( Spectral Band Replication ) nature of the AAC track is also automatically detected, other than when its muxed from the AAC container.
  • we put up a new Samples Page, where we are offering state-of-the art sample files, so that new users can download them and get an impression what can be done with the powerful matroska container. The very latest of them is the Matrix Reloaded Trailer, and these will be available in 2 version, with XviD 1.0 Beta and RealVideo9, and both contain track names, chapters, and even attachements.
  • while matroska can support Variable Frame Rate ( VFR ) by nature, there are currently no video encoders available that would support this feature by default. We found a little workaround, as latest mkvmerge will allow to use an external Timestamp File to create those files, even if they were compressed on CFR tools. For more information, read the New A/V container section on Doom9.org .
  • we always received a lot of criticism, especially from the Linux world, why our main library is written in C++, instead of just C ! Our developers are still backing up this decision, as they are convinced that the object orientated C++ language will be better for a container format. However, we were aiming since some time to get support for matroska in the great FFMPEG open source video library, but to no avail, as their main developers were postulating a C library for integration of matroska into their libavformat collection of container demuxers. It was again our friend Ronald 'BBB' Bultje from the Gstreamer development team, who was closing the gap, by completely rewriting the matroska libraries libmatroska and libebml in plain C ! His library is already in the Gstreamer CVS, and was used for his matroska gst-plugin. We hope to be able to make a patch for libavformat soon, to get even better support for matroska than is existing already.
  • Last but not Least : There has been a lot of rumour about that, but yes, its true : We are in contact with at least one company making hardware DVD/MPEG4 players, about implementing matroska support into their units :-) !! We cant tell you right now who they are, but this is not a fake, and it may happen sooner than you all can believe ;-) .....
     

2003-08-04

  • The big 'CHIP/Liisachan' release is out, bringing us
    - chapters
    - matroska tags
    - attachement files
    - CRC32 EDC elements
    - file splitting with indexing
    - RV9 video in MKV ( Realmedia )
    - RA audio in MKV ( RealAudio )
    - SSA/ASS subtitles muxing into MKV files
    more details here. Also, we have been starting a nice test, the 'Anamorphic encoding test' ... not easy to undertake, but shouldn't really be a problem
    for you Pro's ......

2003-07-31

  • We were pretty lucky when i decided to send this email, my guess. Only by chance i was informed that VLC, the great opensource player and streaming server project from France ( now with native matroska support ), would be included in one of the upcoming issues of CHIP, one of the biggest ( if not THE biggest ) PC magazines in Germany. I just contacted the member of the CHIP team about including matroska tools in the same issue, and he promised to look at it. After a short while we were informed that a short article about matroska is already on its way, and they would be pleased to include our tools in the September issue of the magazine. However, they need the working software for testing until 4th august, and this was a fine opportunity to set a release date for the complete development team, and we wanted to have chapter support by then in best case. Now this seems to be working out great, most of our software is ready and already half way tested, and it seems that CHIP will really invest some time into presenting our tools in a very positive way. Chapter support was the last remaining feature where OGM, a kind of 'competing' opensource container format to matroska, had a small advantage, so we are quite eager now to release what we have done now, and we will do so on 4th august officially, same date when we have to give the software to the CHIP guys for getting it onto the CD coming with the September issue. Stay tuned and watch our features list turning green, there is even more to come ;-).

2003-07-28

  • We are back !!! Our team was going through a hard time during the last 4 weeks, but hopefully we have normality back now. What has happened ? Well, the central server of Corecodec.org, the opensource community we chose to be hosted on and where our CVS is on, was hacked from somebody who obviously wanted to hurt the project. You may ask why i can be so sure about this, well there are attacks and attacks, and this attack was simply ment to destroy the server, or in best case make sure that corecodec.org as a service will be down for a certain time, it was no attack to get control of the server to be able to make illegal things from it, or to make other fancy bullshiting from it.
    Everybody who was ever participating in an opensource project as an active developer can imagine how bad it was to have lost CVS, but to make sure this may never happen again we have installed some hidden CVS servers now, so in case corecodec.org gets hacked again ( and this is what we seriously expect to happen ) we can quickly switch to these private machines, and development of the container can go on by all means. Whoever is trying to prevent matroska from becoming widely adopted and used, and for whatever reason this is done, we will make sure he will fail. Every server can get hacked if somebody is just trying hard enough, no doubt. There is no need to prove to the world that corecodec.org can be hacked, we are not even claiming that its a pretty secured server, so the only conclusion we can make out of the repeated attacks ( this was not the first time, believe me ) is that matroska and corecodec are unwanted by certain people in the video and audio encoding world. You call me paranoid ? All servers get hacked occasionally ? Well yes, maybe i am really starting to become paranoid, but i can smell stuff if there is some, belive me.
    However, to show that all these attempts can not stop something thats REALLY good, please allow me to list the events of the last 4 weeks :
  • Thanks to our core dev team member Jory 'jcsston' Stone, who made it all rolling with a Real reader and a separate matroska writer plugin ( to be released soon ), we can now mux RealVideo 9 into matroska files, as well as most RealAudio codecs, and there are even three different ways to do it. Muxing Real video/audio into matroska is one thing, but playback on Windows, especially via DirectShow was a completely different story. It was again Gabest, the author of the best matroska DirectShow parser filter and the DirectShow muxer filter, who solved the problem by creating a wrapper filter for the Real DLLs, which can be found on every Windows PC once the RealOne player was installed. As all his other recent stuff, these wrapper filters can be found on his Guliverkli page. In the package there is also a Realmedia splitter filter, so that now all Real files can be played on every normal DirectShow based Mediaplayer, but this filter can also be used to mux Real content into the matroska container, if a suitable DirectShow graph is built in Graphedit, with Realsplitter opening the Realmedia files and matroska muxer filter connected to it. To make things easier for normal users who are not capable of building DirectShow graphs in Graphedit, there is a tool existing from 'Dark-Cracker', a well known developer and forum member of Doom9, who made an easy to handle GUI for that.
    Of course, muxing RealMedia into matroska will also work fine on Linux, Mosu implemented this into the well known MKVtoolnix compilation, and the latest version with Realmedia handling should be released soon. His last mplayer patch ( it is now in official mplayer CVS already ) can also play it fine, so the support for RV9 and RA in matroska is almost perfect on Linux already, and should soon be possible on BeOS and MaxOSX also, using the very same tools.
  • A big release can be expected from us soon, and this time we have set a date until we will make this release, and for a very good reason. By chance we got in contact with CHIP, one of the biggest ( if not THE biggest ) PC magazines in good old Germany. The CHIP guys promised to look at our tools for matroska file creation, and to include them into the SEPTEMBER issue of the magazine, if found good and working correctly. We dont have any doubts that our stuff is working, and with some luck we may even be able to add chapter support to most of the tools, mainly VirtualdubMod, both of the DirectShow parser filters and mplayer. To learn more about the planned features of matroska, and when we think we will be able to add them, can be found here.
  • Another important thing was being prepared in the last 4 weeks, and we expect it to be one of the most important milestones for the complete project. Most of the matroska files that are currently created by the various existing tools, are so-called 'VFW/AVI compatibility' files, simply because of the reason because they are made from either AVIs or OGM files, or created with tools that are VFW based, like VirtualdubMod. In this mode the matroska container is more or less clueless about the content it has, as all the tools do is to set the matroska codec IDs to V_MS/VFW/FOURCC for video and A_MS/ACM for audio, and all the important codec data are simply copied from the corresponding VFW structures ( BITMAPINFOHEADER, VIDEOINFOHEADER and WAVEFORMATEX ) in the KaxCodecPrivateDate filed in the matroska track header. This mode was always planned and is also very necessary to be able to support EVERY existing AVI file, whatever codecs it may use, but we were also always convinced that we should try to enforce that matroska files are used in their very own 'native' modes, also to express the cross-platform idea behind the project.
    Thanks to the work of David 'DaveEL' Leatherdale, author of the well known tool avs2avi and moderator on Doom9, we are a very big step closer to this goal. Dave, after adding MKV output to avs2avi, made a new tool called avs2matroska, and this tool is NOT using VCM codecs for file creation, but can use existing DLLs from certina codecs for file creation, and those files will be native files ! For a first test avs2matroska is statically linked to the opensource, education MPEG4 encoder project XviD, and first alpha versions are now being tested thoroughly by a limited team of alpha testers, but the created files work fine already. We hope to be able to release avs2matroska out into the wild on 4th august also, but certainly only to a limited audience of users who will be capable to compile their own binaries from the XviD sources, and only for test purposes. These native files should play perfectly in mplayer and VLC by then, and also on Windows DirectShow with ANY installed MPEG4 capable DirectShow decoder filter, such as DivX5, 3ivX, NeroDigital and of course the great ffdshow decoder filter, thanks to a small translator filter ( also made by DaveEL ) called 'timestamp manager'.

    I hope this is enough news for today, now that we have our CVS back we promise to keep you up-to-date about the development of the project more frequently :) !

2003-06-23

  • The latest matroska download pack for Windows users is now available from our downloads page. It was made by Brendan 'The Edge' from Ireland and does detect automatically what version of Windows is used, installing the correct DirectShow parser filter and subtitles filter ( Gabest' DVobSub ).

2003-06-22

  • Yes, its true !!! The Videolan guys have added experimental matroska support to the latest version of their nifty player, VLC 0.6.0. More on Videolan !
    To make it even better, Sam, one of the leading developers of Videolan suggested to include libmatroska into the official Debian release, which would make the matroska container format a widely supported thing at least in the Linux world. This would fit very well into the picture that at the last GUADEC meeting in Ireland the GNOME people from the Gstreamer team discussed the possibility to make matroska the default output format from gst-rec, the main capturing application from Gstreamer. Big thanks to Ronald 'BBB' Bultje here, who has been the main speaker for matroska in this respect.
  • Mosu has released mkvtoolnix 0.5.0 on his site . Major changes include the adding of SSA/ASS muxing, changing the win32 compile from cygwin to mingw, and the fact that in this release reference priority elements are supported now ( important for native MKV video streams with b-frames ).
  • The fansubber team from Anime-Xtreme.com have released their first anime movie using the matroska container. To get it you will need bittorrent. This is the first real movie release using matroska as container i am aware of, and this will definitely be the last kind of announcement for these from my side from now on, this is just to let you know that our hard work found its friends finally ;-) ... i am convinced this will NOT be the last release in .mkv container format ...
  • DaveEL is making it true. Expect a release of avs2matroska in not so far future, with xvid.dll dynamically linked and writing native matroska MPEG4 files.

2003-06-19

  • Gabest has made it possible : his last version of the DVobSub DirectShow filter ( 2.26 ) has a source filter coming with it, so that you can now mux SSA subtitles into matroska files with his latest matroska muxer DirectShow filter ! For playback of these files you need DVobSub 2.26 again, and his latest matroska DirectShow splitter/parser filter. Please check the Gulliverkli download pages for newer versions in any case before downloading. As a sidenote, his muxer filter will also allow transmuxing of Microsoft WMV9 video files ( ASF/WMV container ) fine into matroska files, from Graphedit, and with WMV9 VCM installed on your PC you can even open and edit the files in latest VirtualdubMod :-) ....
    Mosu has released a new version of his mkvtoolnix for Linux also, tagged 0.4.4 as the latest libraries are. This new version includes file splitting capabilities, and he has changed the CLI commands almost completely. There are 2 different win32 binaries now, first Mosu's cygwin compile and then a new VC6++ compile made by Nic, which doesnt require cygwin.

2003-06-15

  • libebml + libmatroska (v0.4.4), these packages contain the sources of the library to read/write matroska files. You can also get the Unix/Linux version of libebml + libmatroska.
    This version features better support for UTF-8 on all platforms, introduces some new elements and a much better structure for all tag elements.
    The library is written in standard C++ and can be compiled on many platforms. It has been tested under MSVC6, Linux GCC 3.2, Linux GCC 2.95, GCC 3.1-Darwin (Max OSX). It is licensed under a dual QPL-GPL license.

2003-06-09

  • Matroska DirectShow Filter (v0.4.3), again a new DirectShow parser. It is adding support for Vorbis playback via Corevorbis, as the other Vorbis decoder filter from Tobias Waldvogel, known as OggDS, has problems understanding the timestamp codes from matroska files correctly. It uses the latest library, same as the new VirtualdubMod. For users of Windows 9x/ME there is again a special compile to be used without unicode support.

2003-05-24

  • Matroska DirectShow Filter (v0.4.2), this file will allow you to play matroska files in any good DirectShow host.
    There is also an untested version usable for Windows 98 users with restricted Unicode support.
    Most jerkiness problems seem to be fixed, much less memory leaks, AAC is now supported.

2003-05-21

  • libebml + libmatroska (v0.4.3), these packages contain the sources of the library to read/write matroska files. You can also get the Unix/Linux version of libebml + libmatroska.
    This version enforce stricter checking of mandatory elements when writing and a better way to write Segments
    The library is written in standard C++ and can be compiled on many platforms. It has been tested under MSVC6, Linux GCC 3.2, Linux GCC 2.95, GCC 3.1-Darwin (Max OSX). It is licensed under a dual QPL-GPL license.

2003-05-19

  • Matroska DirectShow Filter (v0.4.1), this file will allow you to play matroska files in any good DirectShow host.
    There is also an untested version usable for Windows 98 users with restricted Unicode support.
    A crash when doing multiple seek has been solved, jerkiness should happen less often, seeking to a keyframe is supported when a Cue Entry is present in the file.

2003-05-11 : Iris release

  • Matroska DirectShow Filter (v0.4.0), this file will allow you to play matroska files in any good DirectShow host.
    There is also a version usable for Windows 98 users with restricted Unicode support.
    It has been rewritten from scratch and is now stable and support Play/Pause/Stop/Seek/Quit.
    Note : It will seek to Cluster boundaries, that means you may experience weird display if you seek on a non keyframe.
  • TCMP CDL plugin (v1.0), a plugin to read more data in matroska files when you use The Core Media Player.
  • libebml + libmatroska (v0.4.2), these packages contain the sources of the library to read/write matroska files.
    There is also a version for UNIX editors of libebml and libmatroska.
    The library is written in standard C++ and can be compiled on many platforms. It has been tested under MSVC6, Linux GCC 3.2, Linux GCC 2.95, GCC 3.1-Darwin (Max OSX). It is licensed under a dual QPL-GPL license.