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Posted by Chris Ellison - Oct 24, 2023 | Contact Author

How to Convert ISO to MKV Free with Best Quality on PC/Mac

ISO is a digitized optical disk image file that replicates all the data and structure of the original disk, such as CD, DVD or Blu-ray. It's big in size and not compatible with most platforms. So some people would like to convert ISO to MKV since MKV is the format that can contain all the video, audio, subtitle tracks, chapters, and menus of an ISO image file without quality loss. And MKV can provide better compatibility than the ISO image format.

There are many programs out there that can help you to transcode ISO to MKV. If you are unaware of them, you can check the following 4 programs which are commonly listed in the top ISO to MKV converters. They can help you convert ISO to MKV free with lossless or high quality. Read on to find a suitable one for you.

Part 1. Reasons for Converting ISO to MKV?

1. Compress movie size. The ISO images are often used for backing up source Blu-ray/DVD/CD discs, and contain all the written contents of discs including Chapters, subtitles, audio tracks, descriptions and menus. So, an ISO file usually owns a large file size – almost the same file size as the original DVD or Blu-ray disc. The same content MKV files are about 10% smaller than DVD files and roughly 40% smaller than Blu-ray files, so a 10GB ISO DVD file can be saved in a 1GB MKV video without quality loss.

2. Reserve all DVD/Blu-ray contents and get easier to play. If you have ever encoded DVD or Blu-ray into MP4, AVI, or MPEG format, and been slightly frustrated with the loss of DVD or Blu-ray extra elements, then you can switch to MKV as the DVD or Blu-ray backup format. Like ISO image file, MKV can also contain all detailed chapter information, sub-chapters, titles, multiple audio and video streams, subtitles, attachments and custom metadata and it provides better compatibility than ISO image. Once converting ISO to MKV, you can then play the contents with much more media players, or stream them to Plex, Xbox One or Roku.

Part 2. Top 4 Ways to Convert ISO to MKV on Windows & Mac

Way 1: Convert ISO to MKV Losslessly with DumboFab Video Converter Ultimate

DumboFab Video Converter Ultimate is overall the best way to convert any (protected) ISO to MKV with lossless or high quality. It has the following features that can cater to your specific scenarios.

  • ◉ Convert BD/DVD ISO to MKV losslessly with all/selected audio and subtitles tracks while preserving chapters info.
  • ◉ Rip any Blu-ray/DVD discs and ISO image files to MP4, H.264, H.265, AVI, WMV, MOV, FLV, and 350+ output profiles;
  • ◉ Flexibily adjust video/audio codecs, pixel dimensions, frame rate, bit rate, audio sample rate, etc. to produce optimal file size.
  • ◉ Finish ISO to MKV conversion at fast speed, owing to the support for the advanced GPU Acceleration.
  • ◉ Edit video: merge titles, trim video, crop video, and add external subtitles.

[Tutorial] How to convert ISO to MKV with lossless or high quality using DumboFab

Step 1. Load ISO Image File

Download and install DumboFab Video Converter Ultimate on your PC or Mac. Launch this ISO to MKV converter and click "Load Disc" button and then click "Load IFO/ISO" to choose the ISO image file you want to convert to MKV.

Load Source ISO Image File

Step 2. Select Lossless or High Quality MKV File As Output File

① Convert ISO to Lossless MKV

Click "Format" bar, move mouse cursor to "Multi-track video" category and then select Lossless/encoded Multi-track MKV as the output format.

Tips: DumboFab Video Converter Ultimate transfers video from DVD to MKV container in two ways, lossless output and encoded output. Both the two ways enable users to preserve wanted audio tracks and subtitles streams in the source movie.

All audio and subtitle tracks in a source file are checked to be saved in the MKV container by default, if there are some tracks you don't like, you can click Settings button and go to Multi-task Settings window to uncheck and remove them under Audio tab and Subtitle tab.

Convert ISO to Lossless MKV

② Convert ISO to Common MKV with High Quality

Click "Format" bar, move mouse cursor to "HD/4K Video" category and then select MKV HD Video (*.mkv) as the output format. You can choose one desired subtitle and one desired audio track from the corresponding "Subtitles" and "Audio" tab.

Tips: To encode ISO image to MKV with good quality-size balance, you can click "Settings" button to adjust the bitrate from "Medium Quality" to around "1500~2000 kbps.

Convert ISO to HD MKV

Step 3. Start ISO to MKV conversion.

When everything completes, you can hit the big "Convert" button to start converting BD ISO or DVD ISO to MKV with lossless or high quality.

Way 2: Convert ISO to MKV Free with Handbrake

Can Handbrake convert ISO to MKV format? Yes. Handbrake is a popular and open-source tool to convert ISO to MKV, MP4 and WebM format on Windows, Mac and Linux. There are advanced parameters you can tinker with, available for precise encoding settings, effects, parameter adjustment, etc, which, though, are something of a learning curve.

The only difference is, while DumboFab Video Converter Ultimate can losslessly convert ISO, Handbrake will always compress the media. It doesn't support video pass-through (also called video copy or video remux). Overall, Handbrake is a great choice if you don't mind quality loss when encoding ISO to MKV.

[Tutorial] How to convert ISO to MKV free with Handbrake

Step 1. Download, install Handbrake on your computer. Run Handbrake and click "File" to add the ISO file. Wait for the Handbrake to scan the ISO file, once it's done, you will be brought to the main UI.

Note: If you see the "No valid source or titles found" prompts in Handbrake, it means the software cannot detect ISO or the ISO is protected. You will need way 1 to deal with tricky ISO files.

Step 2. Download, install Handbrake on your computer. Run Handbrake and click "File" to add the ISO file. Wait for the Handbrake to scan the ISO file, once it's done, you will be brought to the main UI.

Convert ISO to MKV with Handbrake

Step 3. Click Preset > Matroska, and then choose a MKV format. You're commended to choose H.264 MKV 480p30 for NTSC DVD and H.264 MKV 576P25 for PAL DVD.

Step 4. Hit Start Encode button to begin converting ISO to MKV. Note: HandBrake will decode the ISO image file and re-encode the video into MKV in H264, H265, or other codecs, during which quality loss will happen.

Way 3: Convert ISO to MP4 with MakeMKV

MakeMKV is the first choice of many users when it comes to extracting MKV from a DVD without quality loss. This tool is specially designed to convert Blu-ray and DVD disc to MKV format. Still, you can load ISO into MakeMKV for conversion.

MakeMKV can convert ISO to MKV with all video and audio tracks, chapters information, and all meta information. It works fast because it doesn't transcode video, just extract. The disadvantage is that it will export a super large MKV file. An lossless MKV file from a DVD ISO image file will take about 4-8 GB. So make sure the hard drive on your computer has enough free space.

[Tutorial] How to convert ISO to MKV free with MakeMKV

Step 1. Download and instlal MakeMKV from its official webpage. After that, open it on your computer.

Step 2. Import ISO to MakeMKV by clicking the folder icon. The shortcut key is Ctrl+O.

Note: If MakeMKV fails to detect the ISO file, you can also try mounting the ISO as a virtual DVD in Windows first. To do so, simply right-click on the ISO file, and hit the Mount option from the context menu.

Step 3. Set the output folder at right side.

Step 4. Click the Make MKV icon to convert ISO to MKV with MakeMKV.

Convert ISO to MKV with MakemKV

Way 4: Convert ISO to MKV Free with VLC

The famous media player VLC offers the ability to convert ISO to MKV and various other formats. Some users may already have it on their computer. So there's a good chance that you don't need to get extra software to encode ISO image files to MKV.

However, there are things you need to know when transcoding ISO to MKV using VLC. VLC doesn't support ISO image files with copy protections, though it has no problem playing them. You don't have many options to control the outputp quality or settings. VLC is not the best ISO to MKV converting solution, but it will work if you have only a few of unencrypted ISO files to convert.

[Tutorial] How to convert ISO to MKV using VLC

Step 1. Download, install and launch VLC media player on your computer.

Step 2. In the VLC menu bar, click on "Media" and then select "Convert/Save".

Step 3. In the "Open Media" window, select the "File" tab. Check the "+ Add" button to choose the ISO file you want to convert. Then, click on the "Convert/Save" button.

Convert ISO to MKV with MakemKV

Step 4. In the "Convert" window, select the MKV format as the desired output format. If you cannot find MKV profile from the drop-down menu of Profile, click the "Create a new profile" button and then choose MKV under the "Encapsulation" tab. You can also adjust the video and audio settings if needed.

Convert ISO to MKV with MakemKV

Step 5. Click on the "Browse" button next to the "Destination file" field and select the location where you want to save the converted MKV file.

Step 6. Click on the "Start" button to begin the conversion process. VLC will start converting the ISO file to MKV format.

Part 3. Final Words

The best free ISO to MKV convertr goes to the open source software undoubtedly. However, they are not competent to either convert copy-protected ISOs or convert files in a fast manner. Taking the most concerning factors into account, the running system, ease of use, supported ISO files, the conversion speed, and the price, DumboFab Video Converter Ultimate is actually the best option for you to convert ISO to MKV or any other formats without any fuss. And don't forget it can do far more than this. Download and unlock more features in DumboFab Video Converter Ultimate now!

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