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Old 01-18-2013, 12:55 PM   #1
freedomsbeat212
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Default Easiest way to playback mkvs on AppleTV 3 (no jailbreak)

I'm running a mac mini in my home office as a media server and all was well until I upgraded my plex/appletv2 to an AppleTV3. I do like the new features of the 3 and the speed difference (and airplay mirroring works great), so rolling back to the 2 isn't ideal..

I've heard of options mostly involving airplay work arounds. Anyone know what the most seamless one would be? Plex from my ipad worked but kinda stuttery

Last edited by freedomsbeat212; 01-18-2013 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:35 PM   #2
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The most seamless one would be to convert the MKV into MP4 files. The upside is that you can then share your iTunes library with your Apple TV, and you won't have to use AirPlay anymore. The Apple TV just automatically fetches the video from your iTunes library over the network and plays it back.

Your iPad can also do the same while using Home Sharing. So one iTunes library can serve video contents to all of your iOS devices wirelessly.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:43 PM   #3
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I use AirVideo at home for that sort of thing. My desktop hosts up the videos, and will transcode them on the fly if necessary, I then use AirPlay within AirVideo to beam it to my AppleTV.

Converting all of them over to an iTunes compatible format would obviously work as well.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:28 PM   #4
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let's take a step back here.

when you encode a video, you use a video compression codec, and an audio compression codec.

then after its done, you stick both parts (or more, such as subtitles), into a container.

in this case, .mp4, .m4v, and .mkv are ALL containers.

typically, you will encode videos using the h.264 codec. the raw file created (container-less) is typically in a .h264 "file".

most players can't play "raw" files. so you have to stick them in a container.

you can always extract raw video from containers.

knowing all this, you can easily go back and forth between .mp4 container and .mkv container, because you would just extract the underlying video (demuxing) into .h264 raw video and change containers (remuxing)

(note: renaming a file from .mp4 to .mkv is not the same thing as "changing" containers - you have to use a program to do that)
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AkumaX View Post
let's take a step back here.

when you encode a video, you use a video compression codec, and an audio compression codec.

then after its done, you stick both parts (or more, such as subtitles), into a container.

in this case, .mp4, .m4v, and .mkv are ALL containers.

typically, you will encode videos using the h.264 codec. the raw file created (container-less) is typically in a .h264 "file".

most players can't play "raw" files. so you have to stick them in a container.

you can always extract raw video from containers.

knowing all this, you can easily go back and forth between .mp4 container and .mkv container, because you would just extract the underlying video (demuxing) into .h264 raw video and change containers (remuxing)

(note: renaming a file from .mp4 to .mkv is not the same thing as "changing" containers - you have to use a program to do that)
Ok, let's take a step forward. Knowing that he is on a Mac Mini, what software would he do to do that?

And knowing that I am using Windows 8, what would I use to do that? Handbrake in both cases or...?
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:34 PM   #6
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Can you use airvideo to serve streaming HD .mkv's with realtime conversion to the Iphone, and then from the Iphone use Airplay mirroring to send it to the HDTV?
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Ok, let's take a step forward. Knowing that he is on a Mac Mini, what software would he do to do that?

And knowing that I am using Windows 8, what would I use to do that? Handbrake in both cases or...?
On Mac OS X, you can use Subler.

http://code.google.com/p/subler/

Note: Mountain Lion has a codec issue with Subler. The fix is also documented in that Google Code site.

I typically just do a conversion with Handbrake since most family videos I record aren't in MKV. But if you have MKVs... then Subler will make your life a lot less miserable.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStu View Post
Ok, let's take a step forward. Knowing that he is on a Mac Mini, what software would he do to do that?

And knowing that I am using Windows 8, what would I use to do that? Handbrake in both cases or...?
Subler for OSX (as runaway prisoner pointed out)

For Windows, there's a multitude of programs.. but most recently I've had very good results with XMediaRecode.

Select .mkv file
Choose output format (Apple iPad, whatever)
*important* under Video Tab, make sure you select Video Copy
Add Job, Encode

Since it's just copying the video, there is no video encoding done. Essentially it's just taking out the video stream from the .mkv and putting it in an .mp4.
The whole thing should take less than 5-10 seconds.

Notes:
- for simple mkv conversion to mp4
- (if the mkv had multiple audio tracks, you can select which one you want)
- from the looks of it, it seems like the audio has to be re-encoded to aac (no audio copy)
--- this might be necessary if the audio is not "apple compatible", such as ac3 (.mp4 container doesn't officially support ac3 or mp3, so apple playback would throw a fit)
- this will only work if the underlying stream (the raw h264) was already "apple compatible":
--- there are some video files that are ridiculously compressed using very advanced encoding techniques that apple quicktime and stuff might not like. if it doesn't play in itunes, then it won't copy to iphone/ipod/stream to apple tv
--- in this case, you really would have to re-encode the video portion

_______

Different method: use MKVExtract to extract raw video and audio, then use YAMB to mux back into mp4 container (assuming the video and audio files are already "apple compatible")
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:56 PM   #9
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Sweet! Thank you guys
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempered81 View Post
Can you use airvideo to serve streaming HD .mkv's with realtime conversion to the Iphone, and then from the Iphone use Airplay mirroring to send it to the HDTV?
I'm doing something similar with plex - plex server to iPad/iphone to appletv. Seems to get bogged down/stuttery, especially at anything above dvd quality (works fine for xvids, 720p+ mkvs are stuttery)
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runawayprisoner View Post
On Mac OS X, you can use Subler.

http://code.google.com/p/subler/

Note: Mountain Lion has a codec issue with Subler. The fix is also documented in that Google Code site.

I typically just do a conversion with Handbrake since most family videos I record aren't in MKV. But if you have MKVs... then Subler will make your life a lot less miserable.
I had know idea this could be done. I just tried it on an mkv, and it worked flawlessly. This is amazing.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStu View Post
Ok, let's take a step forward. Knowing that he is on a Mac Mini, what software would he do to do that?

And knowing that I am using Windows 8, what would I use to do that? Handbrake in both cases or...?
Im not as familiar with mac as i am with windows but surely this is a matter of choosing mp4 as his container when muxing his encoded video instead of mkv?

MKV is not even an option for a lot of video encoders I have used on my mac

mkvtoolnix (MKVmerge) is a good option for your windows 8 question.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumpleforeskin View Post
Im not as familiar with mac as i am with windows but surely this is a matter of choosing mp4 as his container when muxing his encoded video instead of mkv?

MKV is not even an option for a lot of video encoders I have used on my mac

mkvtoolnix (MKVmerge) is a good option for your windows 8 question.

it is, it's just the education that mp4 and mkv's aren't "different video files", but are just "wrapped" differently

hmmm, orange juice in a glass bottle or plastic bottle? lol
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:41 PM   #14
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I've had endless problems converting MKV to iTunes compatible files with Subler. I usually could get it to work, but even when it worked there often would be weird playback issues like audio sync problems.

Finally, I just gave up.

It's moot now though since I'm just playing my video files directly on my jailbroken Apple TV 2. Since you have both, could you use both your Apple TV 2 and Apple TV 3?
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:29 AM   #15
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MKV2M4V from the Mac Store for easy and fast conversion to .m4v.

Or, play it as an mkv using Beamer.
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Old 06-27-2014, 07:03 PM   #16
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I haven't even fully read this thread, usually I find info on forums and then just run. But I wanted to share with you, that in months of being frustrated trying to figure out how to get mkv's running on my apple tv, i just downloaded subler, and in less than a min i have a working mp4 that is playing on my apple tv. while i was writing this, the handbrake conversion finished, and will probably work too, but subler was almost instant. i don't understand all of the tech behind it, but wanted to let others know that its worth a try. video and audio quality are excellent, and the subtitles transferred as well. the last post i read was saying that the video didn't need to be converted, just "re-contained" and that appears to be exactly what happened, and it works great! the whole thing took less than a min.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:37 PM   #17
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PlexConnect for AppleTV:

https://blog.plex.tv/2013/06/04/intr...nks-different/
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:06 AM   #18
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Necro thread.

MP4Tools will transcode MKV without losing quality.

http://www.emmgunn.com/mp4tools/mp4toolshome.html
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