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VirtualRain
Sep 3, 2009, 06:28 PM
What are my Apple based solutions for playing my MKV h.264 720p videos? (I'm replacing my Vista HTPC)

What are the pros/cons of these solutions...
1. Hacking an AppleTV? (What's the best way to play MKV on ATV?)
2. MacMini and Plex?
3. Converting my HTPC to a hackintosh?



Eidorian
Sep 3, 2009, 06:34 PM
Plex or MPlayer OS X Extended. Enable ffmpeg multithreading and libavcodec in the preferences.

What's wrong with the Vista HTPC again?

hitekalex
Sep 3, 2009, 08:06 PM
What are my Apple based solutions for playing my MKV h.264 720p videos? (I'm replacing my Vista HTPC)

Perian. Work on both Mac and Apple TV.

chaos86
Sep 3, 2009, 10:58 PM
In future, don't use MKV. It's a technically superior container, but really, why would you use it? It has a very low adoption rate in devices.

If you put the same h.264 video with AC3 audio in an MKV container and an MP4 container, the MKV won't play on anything but a mac or pc with extra plugins, but the MP4 will play in windows media player, quicktime, xbox 360, ps3, psp, iphone, and inside most FLV players.

Gatteau
Sep 3, 2009, 11:03 PM
That's one thing I've long wondered and it could be what's holding me back form getting a MBP.

hitekalex
Sep 3, 2009, 11:10 PM
In future, don't use MKV. It's a technically superior container, but really, why would you use it? It has a very low adoption rate in devices.

If you put the same h.264 video with AC3 audio in an MKV container and an MP4 container, the MKV won't play on anything but a mac or pc with extra plugins, but the MP4 will play in windows media player, quicktime, xbox 360, ps3, psp, iphone, and inside most FLV players.

Hmm.. I beg to differ. MP4 container doesn't even support AC3. Yes, Apple kind of hacked it, to make AC3 passthrough work on Apple TV. But try playing it on anything else - AC3 passthrough won't work.

MKV on the other hand is very flexible, and has full support for H.264, AC3, DTS and just about any combination of video/audio. Works on Apple TV too with Perian.

chaos86
Sep 3, 2009, 11:50 PM
Hmm.. I beg to differ. MP4 container doesn't even support AC3. Yes, Apple kind of hacked it, to make AC3 passthrough work on Apple TV. But try playing it on anything else - AC3 passthrough won't work.

MKV on the other hand is very flexible, and has full support for H.264, AC3, DTS and just about any combination of video/audio. Works on Apple TV too with Perian.

Ok mp4 doesn't support ac3. I, like many, use a 360 to play movies on my tv, and an iPhone to play movies away from home. Try to use Mkv there. I just finished a site (primalscreen.com) which is flash in a browser and has an iPhone version too. It has one database of movies for both, all in mp4. Mkv never stood a chance in that project. Honestly if you had to bet on which container and codecs to use if you want to encode a video that will work on all your devices for at least 10 years, you wouldn't pick mkv, so why would you pick it now?

The only real category where it wins is that it's not proprietary in any way, but in the video container market, being proprietary doesn't really seem to affect anything, so I don't care about that.

BORIStheBLADE
Sep 4, 2009, 12:09 AM
Um I think .MKV is a great container. It can hold multiple audio, video and subtitle streams and chapters.

Most of the new streamer play .MKV.

VirtualRain
Sep 4, 2009, 12:07 PM
What's wrong with the Vista HTPC again?

I'm purging Microsoft from my home. While Vista makes for a very functional HTPC, it's crude, it's noisy, and it's not easy to play my iTunes content in my living room. If I keep the guts and convert it to a Hackintosh, I would likely migrate it to an HFX case... http://www.hfx.at/

However, selling the PC and getting an AppleTV with Perian may be the way to go... is anyone else using this solution besides Hitekalex?

If the AppleTV could play 1080p, I'd do it in a heartbeat... as I'd like to enjoy the full res my 52" XBR4 monitor can offer.

Any other thoughts?

Billy Boo Bob
Sep 4, 2009, 01:28 PM
However, selling the PC and getting an AppleTV with Perian may be the way to go...

Any other thoughts?

I've tried playing 720p MKV files on my ATV... No luck... In order to get ATV to play them I have to convert them down in Handbrake.

While I do enjoy my ATV plenty, I'd sure like to have a Mac Mini to put in it's place. From time to time I'm able to use my sister's MacBook Pro on our TV and it handles 720p MKV directly just fine. I understand the later Mini with the nicer video card does just fine as well.

BORIStheBLADE
Sep 4, 2009, 01:57 PM
I've tried playing 720p MKV files on my ATV... No luck... In order to get ATV to play them I have to convert them down in Handbrake.

While I do enjoy my ATV plenty, I'd sure like to have a Mac Mini to put in it's place. From time to time I'm able to use my sister's MacBook Pro on our TV and it handles 720p MKV directly just fine. I understand the later Mini with the nicer video card does just fine as well.


I think he's talking about hacking it with a flash drive to run Nito or XBMC.

DigitalRhino
Sep 4, 2009, 02:06 PM
Last I tried nito didn't run my 720 mkv's very well, some slight stuttering here and there. XBMC however does run them for the most part (I personally hate the control scheme they have set up, so i never use it.)

VirtualRain
Sep 8, 2009, 02:21 PM
Update on my decision making...

Since I have a PS3, I decided to try out a variety of solutions for MKV playback on the PS3 as a possible solution despite the fact that this wasn't on my original list of options.

Here's what I found trying to stream, convert, etc. a 1080p h.264 DTS MKV...

- Nullriver MediaLink: FAIL! No transcoding.
- PS3 Media Server: FAIL! Buggy ("data is corrupted"), quality loss.
- VUZE: FAIL! Slow to convert, quality loss.
- MKVTools: FAIL! No DTS support

While PS3 Media Server has promise, it's too complex, buggy, and there needs to be a way to preserve the video quality... perhaps there is but it's too damn complicated. Why can't it just determine the optimal settings based on the file?

hitekalex
Sep 8, 2009, 03:21 PM
While PS3 Media Server has promise, it's too complex, buggy, and there needs to be a way to preserve the video quality... perhaps there is but it's too damn complicated.

Could have told you that from the beginning.. PS3 Media Server sucks, as do other transcoding solutions.

Get an Apple TV, install Perian & ATVFiles, and you can play back MKVs with no hassles and in their original quality.

tonyled
Sep 8, 2009, 04:01 PM
i use this http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/ to transcode mkv to my xbox360 and it works just fine

METOO999
Sep 9, 2009, 05:04 PM
Update on my decision making...

Since I have a PS3, I decided to try out a variety of solutions for MKV playback on the PS3 as a possible solution despite the fact that this wasn't on my original list of options.

Here's what I found trying to stream, convert, etc. a 1080p h.264 DTS MKV...

- Nullriver MediaLink: FAIL! No transcoding.
- PS3 Media Server: FAIL! Buggy ("data is corrupted"), quality loss.
- VUZE: FAIL! Slow to convert, quality loss.
- MKVTools: FAIL! No DTS support

While PS3 Media Server has promise, it's too complex, buggy, and there needs to be a way to preserve the video quality... perhaps there is but it's too damn complicated. Why can't it just determine the optimal settings based on the file?

MKV2VOB (Windows program) remuxes MKV into MPG containers with no quality loss and it supports DTS too. On some 1080p files, it might have to transcode, but most of the time it doesn't. It also cuts files automatically into FAT32 compliant 4 GB sections for USB drives. I don't know if these outputted files can be streamed. I haven't tried it yet.

VirtualRain
Sep 9, 2009, 05:10 PM
MKV2VOB (Windows program) remuxes MKV into MPG containers with no quality loss and it supports DTS too. On some 1080p files, it might have to transcode, but most of the time it doesn't. It also cuts files automatically into FAT32 compliant 4 GB sections for USB drives. I don't know if these outputted files can be streamed. I haven't tried it yet.

FAIL! :p

VirtualRain
Sep 9, 2009, 05:11 PM
Could have told you that from the beginning.. PS3 Media Server sucks, as do other transcoding solutions.

Get an Apple TV, install Perian & ATVFiles, and you can play back MKVs with no hassles and in their original quality.

I'm currently in the process of trying to convert my Vista PC to a hackintosh... I'll try that out first. If that fails to offer the usability I'm after, then this is next.

METOO999
Sep 9, 2009, 05:25 PM
FAIL! :p

Ah, big deal. It's the only solution for the PS3 and MKVs. I use Crossover, so I don't even have to boot into Windows anymore.

Compile 'em all
Sep 9, 2009, 05:29 PM
I have a MacMini (as an HTC) and use plex. It plays 720p mkvs flawlessly.

jlasoon
Sep 9, 2009, 09:07 PM
What are my Apple based solutions for playing my MKV h.264 720p videos? (I'm replacing my Vista HTPC)

Get an Apple TV
Get an 8 core MacPro
Get Compressor 3.5 + Qmaster
Encode MKVs in a flash using AppleTV preset
That's how I do it :D

Transporteur
Sep 11, 2009, 04:42 AM
Get Compressor 3.5 + Qmaster

That's how I do it :D

Where did you get Compressor?
I just found it bundled with Final Cut Studio.

Would be nice to get it seperatly.

jlasoon
Sep 11, 2009, 12:12 PM
Where did you get Compressor?
I just found it bundled with Final Cut Studio.

Would be nice to get it seperatly.

Should of been more specific. I do have Final Cut Studio. Makes it somewhat easier for me I guess. I encoded the whole season of fringe (24 episodes) in roughly 12 hours, all at 720p with the AppleTV preset within Compressor.

northy124
Sep 11, 2009, 12:52 PM
I encoded the whole season of fringe (24 episodes) in roughly 12 hours, all at 720p with the AppleTV preset within Compressor.
That sounds quite good IMO.

Two questions:
1. How do they compare to HandBraked files, better or more or less the same?
2. How long do you think it would take on a C2D 2.53GHz, 4GB RAM, 250GB HDD with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics 15" MacBook Pro (planning on buying one when I go to US at christmas)?

VirtualRain
Sep 11, 2009, 01:38 PM
Get an Apple TV
Get an 8 core MacPro
Get Compressor 3.5 + Qmaster
Encode MKVs in a flash using AppleTV preset
That's how I do it :D

I'm curious why you don't just do as someone else suggests and hack your AppleTV to run Perian so you can playback your MKV's without conversion?

dynaflash
Sep 11, 2009, 02:24 PM
How long do you think it would take on a C2D 2.53GHz, 4GB RAM, 250GB HDD with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics 15" MacBook Pro (planning on buying one when I go to US at christmas)?

Much longer than hb with the same settings.

taeclee99
Sep 11, 2009, 02:43 PM
I have my macbook 2.0 hooked up to my sony Bravia 52 LCD TV and have no issues playing 720p mkv's with Plex. However when playing 1080p mkv's the audio often goes out of sync with the video. The macbook has no issues playing these files on a normal pc lcd. I have not figured out how to remedy the audio sync issues yet.

I am thinking about switching over to a dedicated media player for my tv such as the new Popcorn Hour C-200. This media tank plays everything that you through at it.


www.popcornhour.com

Tom Sawyer
Sep 15, 2009, 08:49 PM
I have my macbook 2.0 hooked up to my sony Bravia 52 LCD TV and have no issues playing 720p mkv's with Plex. However when playing 1080p mkv's the audio often goes out of sync with the video. The macbook has no issues playing these files on a normal pc lcd. I have not figured out how to remedy the audio sync issues yet.

I am thinking about switching over to a dedicated media player for my tv such as the new Popcorn Hour C-200. This media tank plays everything that you through at it.


www.popcornhour.com



FWIW, I have two NMT's... one by popcornhour and another brand unit off ebay ($150) and they are fantastic. EVERYTHING I throw at it plays beautifully, even mounting DVD isos with full menus etc. Full unprocessed M2TS (30gb files), MKV's (HD, h264 etc and SD) with AC3/DTS passthrough. The menu system is not sexy, but it is very functional. Supports every network streaming and file system out there, however you want to stream to it works... CIFS share, NFS share, UPNP etc..

I plan on buying one of their new faster units at some point, but for now these are great, I replaced 2 PS3's with them and have never looked back, highly recommended!

niteviewer
Sep 22, 2009, 01:30 PM
Get a macmini (add xtra memory) and install Plex.

Then put your movies on some type of server (use anything you like for windows, linux or mac). Currently using an intel nas se4200 with 4 TB raid.

This setup is great. Most of the movies on the nas are in mkv format and there are usually no playback problems (fyi, there will always be a couple of movies that may give you a problem).

Warning: DO NOT USE APPLETV, this is hardware that apple will probably drop in the near future. Currently have 2 units that I'll probably give away.

Good Luck,

VirtualRain
Sep 22, 2009, 02:03 PM
Yep... just purchased a 2009 Mac Mini for HTPC duty. Sold my old Vista machine. I'm going to hook up a dual-drive FW800 enclosure to the Mini so it will be a NAS and Plex HTPC all-in-one with low noise and power consumption. Perfect!

TuckBodi
Sep 22, 2009, 02:45 PM
Warning: DO NOT USE APPLETV, this is hardware that apple will probably drop in the near future. Currently have 2 units that I'll probably give away.

I'll take your ATV's.

:apple: + Crystal (http://www.netbookchoice.com/2009/06/06/broadcom’s-pci-e-crystal-hd-media-accelerator-in-pictures/) + Patience (http://tinyurl.com/l6v37r) = :D

Consultant
Sep 22, 2009, 02:51 PM
That's one thing I've long wondered and it could be what's holding me back form getting a MBP.

KMV works fine in Macs.

This is the Apple TV section.

niteviewer
Sep 22, 2009, 02:58 PM
Also, don't forget to install "Perian" and "Flip4Mac".

Good Luck!!!

northy124
Sep 22, 2009, 03:32 PM
Also, don't forget to install "Perian" and "Flip4Mac".
Why? Plex has it all no need for that crud.

hitekalex
Sep 22, 2009, 04:32 PM
Warning: DO NOT USE APPLETV, this is hardware that apple will probably drop in the near future. Currently have 2 units that I'll probably give away.

Did Steve Jobs call and personally tell you that, or do you have some special knowledge that no one has? PM me, I will send you my address so you can dispose of your "useless" Apple TVs - I will gladly pay for shipping :rolleyes:

roderick
Sep 25, 2009, 02:10 PM
Almost all blu-ray rips are .mkv