DVD ISO image file is an archive file of an optical disc. It is a sector-by-sector copy of the source DVD by specific disk imaging software, and it contains all written contents from an optical disc and owns large file size - almost the same file size as original DVD disc. Many devices can not directly play ISO Image. Moreover, an average 90-minute DVD ISO file has a size about 5 - 7.9 Gigabytes which may take too much storage. ISO to MKV is a good idea. After conversion, you can get easier access to play and compress movie size to save much more space. Then how to convert ISO to MKV with the best results? Is it possible o keep all the video, audio, subtitle tracks, menus of an ISO image file without quality loss when do the ISO to MKV conversion? And how to extract MKV files from ISO images free with Handbrake? Take it easy. In this article, we will introduces the 3 different methods seperately.


Part 1. How to Convert ISO to MKV with Good Quality-Size Tradeoff

There is a long list of ISO conversion programs and tools available. It's kinda a paradox to get the fast speed, optimal quality, and small size for the ISO to MKV conversion. However, a battle-tested DVD converter like EaseFab DVD Ripper Platinum can get the best possible results in a balanced way. It is available for for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, etc. And it has a Mac version compatible with macOS Big Sur and lower.

Furthermore, it owns 350+ profiles for converting ISO image to MP4/AVI/MOV for playback on devices easily and is built with powerful decryption technology for (DVD region code, UOPs, CSS encryption, Disney's fake etc.) copy protected ISO images and encrypted movie DVDs, even those Disney DVD movies with X-project DRM. Follow the detailed steps below to finish the job within just several clicks.

Simple steps to convert ISO to MKV with optimal quality-size balance

To begin with, you need to download and install EaseFab DVD Ripper Windows or Mac version on your computer. The guide below takes the Windows version for an example. Mac version has the same process.

Step 1. Load ISO files

Launch EaseFab DVD Ripper on your computer. Click IFO/ISO button to load the DVD ISO image file you want to convert. Batch conversion is supported so you can add multiple ISO image files to convert at a time.

Add ISO Image Files

Step 2 - Convert ISO to MKV in the Best Quality

Then click "Profile" and select HEVC MKV or MKV (H.264 codec) as the output format.

Tech details:

1. To get the best possible output quality and smallest file size, convert ISO to HEVC MKV. It has 50% smaller size at the same quality.
2. The default setting works well. Of course, if you want to customize video and audio encoding settings, just click the Settings button to customize these settings.

Recommended settings:

1. You're not suggested to adjust the frame rate and aspect ratio, if not necessary.
2 Use the codec H.264 or H.265 and lower the bitrate to a lower level. For example, adjusting the original 2500 to bitrates of around 1800-2000 is acceptable without noticeable pixellation.
3. Lower the resolution. Typical ISO movies are 720×480 (NTSC) and 720×540 (PAL). Adjust the resolution to 640×480 won't make any quality difference.

Please note: Adjusting these variables have some effect on the re-encoded video quality. You can go smaller, only at the cost of quality loss. Moreover, the file size and video quality is based more on bitrate than resolution which means bitrate higher results in big file size, and lower visible quality loss.

iso to mkv settings

Step 3 - Select desired subtitle/audio tracks or edit the movie (optional)

You can select one of audio or subtitle tracks you prefer from the corresponding drop-down Audio or Subtitle lists. If the subtitles in the language you want is missing, you can click "Add Subtitle" to add subtitles to your DVD movies. Click the "Edit" button, trimming, cropping, rotating, and some other editing features are available.

select or add subtitles

Step 4 - Start the Conversion

If you do not have other advanced and personalized settings, just hit "Convert" to beging ISO to MKV conversion. With this method, you can easily get an MKV videos from ISO image files with a good quality-size tradeoff.

Part 2. How to Convert ISO to MKV with Lossless Quality within 5 Minutes

To convert ISO to MKV with full quality, you're recommended to adopt EaseFab LosslessCopy for help. The program can easily extract the MKV videos from ISO image files with from DVD with all subtitles, menus, video, audio, chapters, etc. without re-encoding. Convert a ISO/DVD and even Blu-ray files to MKV in 5 minutes!

Apart from converting ISO to MKV losslessly, you can also rip ISO/DVD to MP4, MOV files with all audio tracks remaining. What's more, you can use the program to convert ISO to HEVC with re-encoded, but merely no quality loss and half file size compared to H.264 codec for enjoying on Android, iOS, smart TVs. The fact that LosslessCopy can be used with both protected and unprotected DVD discs is likely to appeal and in practice the app seems to cope well with all discs.

Step 1: Load DVD movies

[Guide] Convert ISO to MKV with full quality

Step 1: After you open EaseFab LosslessCopy, click Load Disc button to click "Load IFO/ISO" to browse and add the ISO image file you want to convert.

add iso image files

Step 2: Click the Format bar to follow "Multi-track Video" > "Lossless/encoded Multi-track MKV (*.mkv)", which enables you to get the output video with multiple audio tracks and subtitles while keeping lossless video quality.

select lossless mkv

Step 3 (Optional): Click "Settings" to switch to the "Multi-task Settings" interface where you can change video/audio/subtitle settings. For ISO to MKV lossless conversion with all chapter, audio and subtitles, you can keep the default settings without any change.

You can also click the "Audio" tab to check the audio channels you want and uncheck the unwanted. Click the "Subtitle" tab to check the subtitle language you want to keep and uncheck the unwanted ones. As you see in the following screenshot, you can tick off "Encode" option if you want to compress the audio tracks.

select wanted audio or subtitle

Step 4: Go back to the main UI and click "Convert" to start conversion from DVD to lossless MKV with multiple audio tracks and subtitles preserved.

Part 3. How to Convert ISO to MKV Free with Handbrake

Handbrake is a free to use open-source video transcoder that allows converting videos to MP4, MKV formats with support to an array of codecs. The program works on multi-platform, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. Additional features include batch scanning and queuing of encodes, VFR and CFR support, live static and video preview, title/chapter, and selection of range, and others. Besides video files, you can also use Handbrake to free convert DVD discs and ISO files to MKV or MP4 with the following steps:

Before starting HandBrake ISO to MKV, please make sure you have installed the latest version of HandBrake. If not, please download it here: HandBrake.fr

Step 1. Run HandBrake and a Source Selection interface will pop up.

Step 2. Click File on the left (Open a single video file) to import your ISO image file or drag and drop the ISO file directly to the interface. HandBrake will scan the DVD ISO titles and load the contents.


PS: However, one thing to note is that HandBrake CANNOT circumvent copy protection of any kind, it only works with DRM-free discs and ISO files. If you encounter the "Handbrake No valid source or titles found." prompt when importing an ISO file, this means that the ISO file contains copy protection encryption. In this case, you'll need to download libdvdcss - a part of VideoLAN project capable of reading and decrypting ISO image files locked by region codes 1-6 and CSS. Even with libdvdcss being installed, HandBrake only decrypts and rips some certain ISO image files with CSS. To rip any copy protected ISOs freely, you need a more powerful alternative.

Step 2: Once scanned, the ISO files will be added to the interface with its information. Next, choose the title and the preset format or the device as desired. Under the Summary tab, choose an MKV preset as the output format. If needed, audio and video codecs can be customized.

Step 3: At the Save As tab, choose the output directly. Click the green marked Start Encode button to begin the process of ISO to MKV handbrake conversion.


The limitation of Using Handbrake

Handbrake works as a basic ISO to MKV conversion tool with its share of limitations and drawbacks.

• A lot of users get errors like No Valid Source found where there is a problem locating and scanning the ISO file.
• No support for batch conversion of files.
• The editing features are limited as compared to other professional tools.
• The graphical interface of the program is not an easy one to use.
• With a lot of settings and options, the program can become a challenging one for the beginners.

Final Words

Above the top three choices for converting ISO image files to MKV. You can choose one method according to your demands. After the conversion, you can get smaller size and more convenient playback control on your movie files.

Compress movie size. An average 90-minute DVD ISO file has a size about 5 - 7.9 Gigabytes. While after we changed the .iso file to .mkv or .mp4 with almost the same high quality, the size is around 1.0 - 1.2 Gigabyte. So it reduces the data infomration by approximately 80% without any image loss visually.

Get easier access to play. Besides, given our more and more mobile lifestyle, we hope we could enjoy our favorite movies anytime anywhere. While ISO image files are often large and can't be played directly on most mobile devices. By comparison, MP4, one of the most commonly used video formats, can be played on almost all mobile devices and video players. So converting ISO to MP4 with a top ISO converter is the need and the trend.