Can AV Receivers Play MKV?

AV receivers are designed to transmit audio and video signals, allowing users to view files on various screens. You can use them for projectors, laptops, desktop computers, and television sets. MKV files are a form of video files, but they’re not the most common or user-friendly files on the market.

AV receivers can’t play MKV files because they’re not in the proper format. However, you can use different adapters, such as a VLC on a computer, to transfer and run the files. Some Blu-Ray players support MKV format, in which case you could make it work with an AV receiver.

Also read: Do AV Receivers Have DAC?

Can AV Receivers Play MKV

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following info about AV receivers playing MKV files:

  • Whether or not they’ll work on standard equipment
  • How to use MKV files on AV receivers
  • Answers to the most common questions about the process
  • Why you might be experiencing technical problems with MKV files

Will MKV Files Work on an AV Receiver?

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In most scenarios, people have reported having trouble getting an AV receiver to play MKV files. They’re not designed for the same format, not to mention that many reports claim copyright issues prevent them from working together. Furthermore, numerous updates have made it even more challenging.

Let’s examine a few reasons that MKV files won’t work on an AV receiver. Before you examine the reasons below, it’s important to note that you can still make it work by following the suggestions in the next section.

Without further ado, here are three examples of why they’re typically not compatible:

  • Some connections don’t come with the proper parts. AV Forums mentions that many old-school AV receivers don’t have the proper components and connections to work with MKV files. This issue means that there’s not much you can do unless you get adapters or rewire the whole device, which could be more costly than getting a new one. If you have this issue, you’ll want to review the steps later in this post.
  • Many AV receivers don’t focus on MKV files. When companies create AV receivers, they’re usually not worrying about MKV files. It’s because they’re not the best format, especially since they’re not too common. Rather than focusing on a wide variety of video formats, companies aim their attention towards the most popular formats to suit as many customers as possible.
  • Updates change the possibilities. Software updates on modern AV receivers often get rid of MKV file compatibility. This change is because not enough people are taking advantage of it, making it a pointless feature. Unfortunately, some people who still run MKV files are negatively impacted by the performance updates, making them seem more like a downgrade.

As you can see, there’s a handful of reasons why your AV receiver might not be playing MKV files properly. While it’s a minor setback, you’ll still be able to enjoy the files if you try some of the tips and tricks in the next section.

How to Make It Work

If you’re worried about accessing MKV files with an AV receiver, then you’ll be happy to know that there are a few possibilities.

While it seems like the vast majority of receivers have overstepped MKV files, there are a few that still allow it to work. On top of that, you’ll be able to try some adapters and additional hardware.

Here’s a list of five ways to get your MKV files working on an AV receiver:

  • Many Blu-Ray players are capable of running MKV files. They’re known as AV receivers, or rather they have an AV receiver on-board to transmit audio and video frequencies to a screen. If you have a Blu-Ray player, then there’s a chance that it’ll be able to run MKV files with the proper outlets.
  • AVS Forum suggests that you could get a VLC app on Apple TVs, which means you’ll be able to run a wide variety of files. Among the assortment include MKV files, so you’ll be good to go. It’s a good idea to test the waters and check for the app before you run off and buy a brand-new Apple TV, though.
  • Hook it up to your computer through an AV receiver. You’ll need to ensure that it has an HDMI port for this suggestion to work, but most of them do these days. This step is the most common for people who don’t have Blu-Ray or Apple TV since you can run it through a computer VLC app.
  • Convert the file on VLC Media Player. It’s quick and easy, not to mention the fact that it’s free to use. Nothing beats free, especially when it means you can dodge all of the aforementioned expensive products and connector pieces. You’ll be able to convert it to a different format that’s usable by AV receivers.
  • Last but not least, get an AV receiver that supports MKV files. This suggestion might sound simple, but many mid-tier AV receivers can play MKV files without a problem. They’re not as common, but spending a little bit extra money will go a long way when it comes to file conversions.

There are more than enough methods that you can try to make your MKV files work on an AV receiver. If you’re not able to make it work with your current setup, try the mentioned file converter to save time and money.

If you’re still confused about how the process works or how you can speed it up, read on.

FAQ and Common Mistakes

Now that you know how to run MKV files through AV receivers, you’re one step closer to solving the problem. That being said, there’s plenty of room for error, leading many people to have some questions.

Let’s analyze the most common questions and mistakes that people have dealt with in the process below.

  • Don’t try to rewire old equipment. It’s a waste of time. Many people try to repair or upgrade their AV receivers to make them compatible, but that’s not possible. You’ll be wasting your time because they need too many internal components to make it work, not to mention the interface can’t handle apps, in most cases.
  • To sum up the whole page, it’s better to assume that you can’t make it work. Sadly, these files aren’t the most compatible. Technically speaking, AV receivers only have to receive one type of audio or video to be labeled as such. If the company didn’t go into it enough, as you’ll see with low-cost options, then you’re not likely to make it play through.
  • If you’re just looking for the easiest way to run your MKV files, then head over to a VLC media player. You can find them for any operating system, even on phones and tablets. It’s the quickest solution that doesn’t require external AV receivers.

Finding out how to run MKV files is a breeze if you have access to VLC media players. Sadly, they don’t always help with AV receivers.


AV receivers can play most files, but MKV files usually aren’t on that list. There are a few tricks that you could try to make it work. However, getting a new system is typically the best course of action.

Here’s a quick recap of the post:

  • Use a VLC media player to play MKV files through an AV receiver.
  • Software updates and outdated features often make it impossible to run MKV files.
  • Never try to rewire an AV receiver unless you know what you’re doing.
  • MKV files aren’t the most common, so they’re not catered as much as other formats.

Check out my recommended AV receivers.

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