Stream Selection

LAV Splitter offers different ways to pre-select your preferred streams.


Video stream selection is not configurable, because files with multiple video streams are not common. However, if you encounter a file with multiple video streams, the stream with the highest resolution is chosen by default.


Audio stream selection allows you to configure your preferred languages, and if the file has streams properly tagged as such, those streams will be preferred.

You can enter as many language tags as you want, either separated by a comma or a space. The language tags themselves should be ISO 639-2 (3-letter language code).
Your preferred language should be the first on the list, the second preferred after that, and so on. (Example: “eng ger” – favor English streams, then German streams, then any other)

In case multiple streams match your preferred language, the best stream is decided on the quality. The first criteria is how many channels the stream has, the second is based on the codec used. Lossless streams are rated higher then lossy compressions.


There are 4 different modes to be used for subtitle selection.
Some of the modes will use the preferred languages in a similar way as the audio languages, the syntax for entering them is the same as well.

“No Subtitles”

No subtitles will be selected.

“Only Forced Subtitles”

Only subtitles marked as “forced” will be used, taking the preferred subtitle languages into account.


The “Default” mode will select subtitles in accordance with the typical interpretation of the Matroska spec. That means that subtitles matching your language preference will be loaded, as well as subtitles marked “default” or “forced”. If none of these factors apply, no subtitles will be loaded.


The advanced selection mode is the most flexible mode, and allows you to fully control which subtitles get selected. In addition to the rules already used in the other modes, it is also possible to use the audio language to determine which subtitle should be loaded. Example: You want no subtitles with English audio, but you do want subtitles with German audio. This is possible in advanced mode.

The advanced mode uses a different syntax for the preferred language field to enable these rules. Instead of a single language tag, a combined tag of audio and subtitle language is required (separated by a colon). The most basic tag would look like this: “ger:eng”. In this case, the interpretation would be “If Audio is German, use English subtitles”.

Note: Even though this may feel similar to the selectors Haali’s Media Splitter offers, LAV’s implemention does not allow you to speficy which audio stream is used through the advanced selectors, the audio language is only used to select which subtitles are used.

In addition to simply using two language tags, you can use the “*” character to match all languages, or the “off” token to disable subtitles. For example, following tag will enable any subtitles when the audio is english, and disable subtitles otherwise: “eng:*;off”.

As you’ve seen in the previous example, multiple rules can be concatenated using a semi-colon (or a space) to build rule chains. Again, everything is interpreted from left to right.

The example also shows that the audio language tag is optional. Consider following rule: “*:eng”
This rule means “Use English subtitles when Audio is *”. This rule applies to all audio languages, so you can omit the * and just write “eng”, which has the exact same meaning.

To complete the advanced mode, there are a number of flags for “default”, “forced”, “hearing impaired” and “normal” subtitles which are supported. The flags are identified by their first letter, and appended to the subtitle language separated by a pipe character (“|”). As an example, following rule will select any “forced” subtitles, and turn off subtitles otherwise:

To finish the section about advanced subtitles, here some examples of rules to inspire you:

This is the rule equal to the “Default” subtitle mode with English as a preferred language.

Select all normal subtitles, meaning “not forced, not default and not hearing impaired”

Load English “forced” subtitles if audio is English, load German “forced” subtitles if audio is German, no subs otherwise.

English Audio: Turn subs off; French Audio: English subs; Any other audio: try to find subtitles flagged “default”.