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Converting .mkv files for playing on a PS3

As of yet, Sony have still not released any firmware updates which will allow you to play .mkv files directly from your storage device or NAS server. To play them at the moment, you will could transcode them before hand . This could be a time consuming process if you have a number of mkv movies. You could transcode then on the fly using Media Server software such as PS3 Media Server or Tversity but the quality and performance of this can vary depending on the power of your PC, if you have a wired network etc.

Another option is to remux the mkv file into a format that can be understood on the playstation and this can be done in a matter of minutes as it doesn't require any re-encoding to take place. An good tool for this is mkv2vob. There's not much to the install but see below for an guide on the conversion.

MKV2VOB Configuration

Before we begin the conversion process, its worth looking at the configuration options for mkv2vob.

mkv2vob configuration

  • Temp Directory :- Change this to your required location but you can simply leave this as the default. N.B. Your temporary directory cannot be the same as the destination directory
  • Output Type:- You have 3 options here, File, AVCHD Disc, AVCHD USB. Leave this as File for the majority of cases.
  • Preferred Audio Language:- There may be more than one audio track in the MKV file so select your preferred option. If your option is not available, it will choose the first track available.
  • Video Transcoding:- Some videos will not play without transcoding. Leave this as Automatic to let mkv2vob do the decision making for you.
  • Preferred Subtitle Language:- If the mkv file contains subtitles and subtitle language is not the same as the audio language, the video is transcoded regardless of any transcode settings.
  • File Splitting:- Choose from a number of predefined options if you want to change to this.The default is none which will keep the same file size (approximately).
  • Output File Extension:- Automatic is the best here but you can also change it to mpg, m2ts, vob, mp4 and avi. mpg offers the best playback compatibility apparently.
  • Transcoding codec:- If the file has to be transcoded, you can select the codec to use. Select from MPEG-2, XVID or X.264. X.264 is best for your HD files but will take a long time to transcode.

MKV2VOB Checkbox options

  • Always encode subtitles:- Encode the subtitles even if they are not the same as the audio language
  • Load Subtitle from file:- This will pull in a matching subtitle file with a .srt or .ass extension. You will also need to set the preferred subtitle language.
  • Overscan compensation:- If your TV has an overscan feature, use this option to place the subtitles higher up in case they get cut off on the bottom of the screen.
  • Large Subtitles:- For the visually challenged.....
  • Always transcode DTS:- Transcodes the Audio to AC3 or PCM.
  • Use 448Kbps AC3:- If you have an older decoder which doesn't understand higher bitrates, select this option.
  • User Old File format:- Check this if you have an older PS3 firmware. It is also more compatible with PC's.
  • Automatic Update

Converting MKV files for PS3

Using MKV2VOB to convert an mkv file to a format playable on the PS3

MKV2VOB allows you to convert a single file or will convert all the mkv files in a directory.

Browse for the source file/directory and then click the Add File/Add Directory button and off it goes. If you are not transcoding, it should take a couple of minutes but this depends on your PC and the size of the movie.


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