.avi & .mkv compatible alternative to AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by m021478, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #1
    For quite some time now, I've been downloading movies online, which usually come in .avi or .mkv format, and I've been using VisualHub to convert them to .mp4 with H.264 encoding for playback on my AppleTV.

    The whole process is long and tedious and is really starting to wear on my nerves, and I was hoping someone might be able to suggest an alternative to my Apple TV that would be capable of playing back .avi & .mkv files on my TV without the need for any additional conversion, transcoding, resizing, resampling, compatibili-fying or any kind...

    I am hoping to find a piece of hardware capable of 'plug-and-play'-esque ease of use and simplicity.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #2
    I agree, I like my Apple TV, but I'm looking at a refurb Mini and Plex.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Donar

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #3
    Have a look at the Popcornhour NMT A110.

    Maybe installing Boxee in the ATV would do the trick also.
     
  4. macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #4
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Bel Air, MD
  6. macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #6
    A question that might be related - Does Apple TV have the same playback abilities as Front Row on a Mac? I know the interface is the same. Because I can play mkv and avi files fine on Front Row. Don't have an Apple TV, though, so I don't know if it goes both ways.
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Bel Air, MD
    #7
    Its more of a hardware issue than a software issue when its comes to .mkv, your computer has the hardware to play it and the ATV is kinda lacking
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    cleric

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #8
    PCH is the way to go imo.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #9
    Thanks for recommending the Popcorn Hour A-110... I'd honestly never even heard of this device, but based on this Cnet UK video review/demo, as well as on your recommendations of course, I think I just might have to pick myself up one of these bad boys!!

    Do you know if you can connect external storage to the A-110? How about playing back VIDEO_TS rips? Can it playback those?

    Thanks!
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Donar

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #10
    It should play back VIDEO_TS but i never tried. For external storage you can plug a usb thumb drive or HDD to the USB ports. Personally i stream from my Synology NAS over ethernet as i like to have everything in one place.
     
  11. dhd
    macrumors member

    dhd

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    Location:
    Hamster-Dam
    #11
    I think that you don't need to re-encode avi's to mp4, as they're already in mp4 video format. You will only loose more quality (the avi's you download are already compressed). If I were you I'll download mpeg stremclip, open the avi in question with it, go to File and Save as..., in the dialog box select MOV, once the file is saved you change the extension of that MOV to mp4 if you wish.

    Kind Regards
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #12
    I second the Popcorn Hour. It plays just about anything you throw at it. I'm seriously considering selling my AppleTV and getting a Mini instead.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #13
    you'll be happy you did :)

    just watch processor usage/heat with loong 1080p videos :)
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    #14
    The usb patchstick should allow for more playback of differing video. If I'm not mistaken my son patched his ATV and can now play .avi and .mkv format video. Might be worth investigating.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #15
    Yeah. I already have the Popcorn Hour and use it for watching high-def.

    The AppleTV chokes when I try to play .mkv files using XBMC.
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #16
    boxee

    just install boxee and everything will play for ya, that's how it works for me anyways
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #17
    I've tried XMBC & Boxee via atvflash and I always ran into issues with skipping and stuttering...

    I'll most likely give popcorn hour a shot and hopefully that will solve all my problems!
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    #18
    Agreed - MKVs dont play properly on a hacked Apple TV.

    Also, saving a MKV as a MOV gave me issues too... I am currently using Handbrake/VH to convert them. Pain.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2012
    #19
    Use mp4tools,

    This is far quicker - conversion equals loss.
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    #20
    Western Digital TV Live (with external USB drive or hub, depending on your preference) has always worked fine for me - plays anything you can throw at it (including TS files, as you asked). I rip Blurays using makemkv so have full 1080p resolution on very large files (20-30GB each) and the WD plays them with no problems whatsoever
     
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    My 2 x JB ATV2 plays MKV Files using XBMC without any issues at all?
     
  22. NMF
    macrumors 6502a

    NMF

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    #22
    Or you could just, you know, stop stealing your media. :rolleyes:
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    orpheus1120

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    Malaysia
    #23
    No passthru for TrueHD.

    I would instead suggest PopCorn Hour A-400.
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    #24
    If you have the extra money to spend why not just upgrade to a Smart TV. All my MKVs on my usb HD plugged into my Airport Extreme work perfectly and the interface is really easy to use. You will need a computer running plex, but from my experience it doesn't look like it uses the computer processor at all. I downloaded a 20gb MKV 3D movie just to try to throw such a large file at it and It did not stop or stutter one time. I do have mine hooked directly through ethernet, but it is way more reliable than XBMC IMO. If you are gonna spend that much why not get a new TV out of it?
     
  25. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    #25
    you know this thread is almost 4 years old, right?
     

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