.MKV vs .MOV vs .MP4 - Why on earth are they different qualities?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Doju, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. macrumors 68000

    Jun 16, 2008
    I have a 720p HD file of House Season 6 Episode 1 in the .MKV format. Wanting to use it in iTunes, I then converted it to .MOV and was surprised by the stark loss in color. I then took the .MOV and converted it again to .MP4, and the quality looked just as good as the .MKV, if not better. And on top of that, it was over 200MB smaller than the lower quality .MOV and equal/lower quality .MKV.

    Why is this? I'm kind of annoyed, because converting it again takes ages, and I can't go right from .MKV to .MOV in Quicktime Pro, I recall. What's the deal?

    See pictures for comparison:

    1) .MKV
    2) .MP4
    3) .MOV

    Attached Files:

  2. macrumors 68000

    Aug 24, 2008
    That's odd since it has never happened for me. There has been debates about how much better is .mp4 than .mov in terms of quality but I've never seen an actual change in the color profile. All the first part of the process does is remove the mkv container and use a .mov container and does not alter the video. As for the second part of the process, since it is only pass-through encoding, it should take about a third of the time that VisualHub or Handbrake does and uses far less system resources.

    Has this been the case only with this file or all your mkv's?
  3. macrumors demi-god


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    If the MKV's video is in .h264, you should be able to export it direct to a MOV file using these instructions originally provided by forum member str1f3:

    -Load the movie in Quick Time Pro

    -Save as a Self Contained Movie (this saves it in .mov) and is very quick.

    -File - Export - Export as "Movie to MPEG-4" - Options - Select File Format "MP4" - Select Video Format: "Pass Through".
  4. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jun 16, 2008
    All MKVs, unfortunately.

    @CWallace: That's exactly what I do, only the last step has nothing to do with .MOVs, it just creates an additional .MP4.
  5. macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2009
    The three sample screenshots show no difference in color "profile". It is a difference in brightness and contrast.

Share This Page