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Best way to convert MKV for Apple TV 2...?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by PaulMoore, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular

    Hi there

    This is maybe a question answered elsewhere but I wanted to see if anyone had any more recent suggestions.

    What is the best way to convert an HD MKV file for Apple TV 2? Should I be using Handbrake? If so, is the nightly build the best? Any suggestions for settings? I want to convert the files with the best possible quality and then drop them into iTunes purely for playback on the Apple TV 2.

    As an aside- should HD content I've converted have an 'HD' flag in the list of titles on the Apple TV menu (like purchased content does)?
  2. macrumors 65816

    If the mkv has H.264 video and AAC audio (many of them do) within the ATV2's specs, you just need to put them into an mp4 container. You can do that with something like Subler or MKVTools to remux them into an mp4/m4v without re-encoding, which takes a lot of time. If it's in H.264 video but weird audio (like ogg) you can use MKVTools to convert only the audio to AAC and pass-through the video into an mp4/m4v. For any mkv's needing re-encoding, Handbrake is usually best.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Use iFlicks, I won't go into detail about it but it's a very nice program.

  4. macrumors 68020

    You don't have to get the nightly build anymore. They just released 0.9.5 and it has the ATV2 preset. Use that for your MKVs for some fantastic results.
  5. macrumors regular

    Thanks for the tips. Out of curiosity- should I expect a HD icon on the Apple TV menu?
  6. macrumors 65816

    Unless you intend to have both a standard version and an HD version, you needn't worry about it. If you want to, it's a piece of metadata you can set with an app like Subler.
  7. macrumors regular

    OK no I will only have the HD- I didn't know whether it was a flag when iTunes 'recognized' it was HD or if it was cosmetic.
  8. macrumors regular

    The latest version of Subler converts audio from unsupported formats to aac. It works quite well for mkv.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Apple tv 2 can handle mkv 720p with no problem. You don't have to encode again, just use mkvtools an remux to mp4, takes 1-5 min. take the mp4 file and use iflicks to tag it like itunes orginal movie.
  10. patent10021, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011

    macrumors 68000



    I used MKVTools on Conviction.mkv (4.5GB 620p file). In the track info area it listed Video #1: (h264) and Audio #1: (dts 6ch.) I used the mp4 tab and left the settings to default (video/audio passthrough). In 5 minutes on my old 2007 MacBook it spat out Conviction.mkv.a1.dts (968mb) + Conviction.mkv.v1.h264 (1.7GB). What do I do with these two files? I need to remux them into one m4v/mp4 file right? With what?

    EDIT: Ah I see what I did wrong. I used the mp4 tab when I should've just used the Quick tab-> ATV option.

  11. macrumors 65816

    Are you sure you didn't do "Extract" under the "Edit" tab?

    I'm not sure why you got those as the output, but those are the raw audio and video files that were inside the mkv. Ideally, you'd want to put the H.264 video and the audio (converted to a more iDevice-friendly codec like AC3) into an mp4. The H.264 video should be fine, but the DTS audio may be troublesome. I'm not sure if MKVTools has the capability to convert DTS audio yet. I'm not sure what does, so hopefully someone who knows can give you a better answer about the audio.
  12. macrumors 68000


    Nope. Was the mp4 tab. At any rate, I did it again under the Quick tab.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    MKVtools is by far the best apple to remux our movies. Subler you will lose surround if there is a dts track and iFlicks made movies unplayablle when the Apple TV was updated.

    Stick with MKVtools, works excellent.
  14. macrumors 68000


    Isn't there a way to batch conver with MKVTool? Could process a lot while I'm sleeping.
  15. macrumors 68000


    Doesn't the full version allow that? It's only $4.99
  16. patent10021, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011

    macrumors 68000


    I'll try it. I have the full version but didn't see any batch area. This does take longer than I thought thought. My single 4.5GB mkv took about 30 minutes on my 2007 Macbook. Hopefully no more than 10 minutes when I get my iMac. All done automatically but still. I have about 2TB of mkv files. That's why I JB'd. I'm testing this MKVTools method to see what is worth it for me. Also my Japanese anime mkv files have hard coded subs so I'll have to see if MKVTools keeps those.

    EDIT: So I ended up with a 3.85GB m4v file and aTV doesn't recognize it in my movies folder. I thought it was supposed to end up a mp4 file?

  17. macrumors 68000


    Taken from the MKV Tools website
    Going to give it a try and probably buy it myself because of this. I can then convert all my MKV files by simply leave it running overnight
  18. macrumors 68020

    Actually .m4v is the preferred container for the Apple TV so that is not the same. An mp4 and m4v are essentially the same. You can change them back and forth by just changing the file name extension. However, Apple designed the Apple TV to look for certain things only when they have an .m4v extension like subtitles, chapters, etc. so always use the .m4v extension for the Apple TV which is why most tools like MKVTools default to .m4v with their Apple TV presets.
  19. macrumors 68000


    Right...I've always known m4v to be basically the same and what Apple devices like, but aTV2 does not see my new m4v file. wtf
  20. macrumors newbie

    I use MetaX to modify/add the metadata.

    http://www.kerstetter.net/index.php/projects/software/metax - Mac
    http://www.danhinsley.com/metax/metax.html - Windows port

    I love it. It is quick and easy and gives you good control. By default, HD is set to 'no' for everything I have put in there. I don't have it in front of me right now, but I believe that is one the second tab.

    Just make sure you set your source and destination directories to be different, or you may actually send the file into the void.
  21. macrumors 65816

    Your ATV will recognise the higher resolution of an HD file, and automatically flag it as "HD" in the menu. iTunes will not but, as mentioned above, this only matters if you plan to nest HD and SD versions of the same movie. FWIW, you can get iTunes to show the HD flag by tagging your file as HD using Subler.
  22. macrumors 68020

    Are you sure about that? I don't think it actually flags it automatically. I think it requires you to use a tool to give it the HD flag.
  23. macrumors 65816

    I always tag my video files, but it is my understanding that ATV flags content as HD automatically if there are more than 480 lines. Can't confirm that from first hand experience, though.
  24. macrumors member

    I run my MKVs thru MKVTools. Under the MP4 tab, I select the Apple TV preset, pass thru the video, pass thru AAC or AC3 audio or convert to one of those formats. You can also simply mux in subtitles instead of having to burn them into the video track. I then run the created .m4v file thru Vidalin in order to tag with metadata and cover art and then add the tagged file to iTunes.

    It's a process with a few easy steps and by no means fully automated, but at the end I get pristine quality, full surround sound and beautiful metadata tags on my movies. Works for TV shows too.
  25. macrumors member

    This isn't true. Files need a special tag to have the HD flag. Vidalin is one of the few programs I know that can add this flag.

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