Best Apple solution for MKV playback?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by VirtualRain, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    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?
     
  2. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    Plex or MPlayer OS X Extended. Enable ffmpeg multithreading and libavcodec in the preferences.

    What's wrong with the Vista HTPC again?
     
  3. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #3
    Perian. Work on both Mac and Apple TV.
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    chaos86

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #4
    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.
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Gatteau

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    Italy
    #5
    .MKV Playback

    That's one thing I've long wondered and it could be what's holding me back form getting a MBP.
     
  6. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors 65816

    chaos86

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #7
    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.
     
  8. macrumors regular

    BORIStheBLADE

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    #8
    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.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #9
    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?
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Billy Boo Bob

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Dark Side Of The Moon
    #10
    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.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    BORIStheBLADE

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    #11

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

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #12
    Mkv

    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.)
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #13
    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?
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #14
    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.
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    #16
    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.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #17
    FAIL! :p
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #18
    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.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    #19
    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.
     
  20. macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    #20
    I have a MacMini (as an HTC) and use plex. It plays 720p mkvs flawlessly.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #21
    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
     
  22. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #22
    Where did you get Compressor?
    I just found it bundled with Final Cut Studio.

    Would be nice to get it seperatly.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #23
    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.
     
  24. macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #24
    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)?
     
  25. thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #25
    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?
     

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