How to set up mkv files for ATV3 use

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by c613m, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular


    Aug 9, 2011
    Hey guys,

    So I have about 4TB of movies / TV Shows, all in 720p mkv files. Currently, they reside on two seperate external drives (1 for movies, 1 for TV Shows). Without using Airplay on the Apple TV 3, what are my options in terms of having all files readily available to play directly on the ATV3?

    I was thinking of converting all mkv files to mp4, but then how could I set up iTunes that way?

    Here's my setup:

    iMac - iTunes installed on 128GB SSD, all content (35GB of music on 500GB HDD in iMac). Movies on 3TB Ext HDD, TV Shows on 2 TB Ext. HDD.

    Any advice or ideas would be great. I know converting all this content would take a tremendous amount of time...
  2. macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2009
    Parts Unknown
  3. macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2009
    Florida, USA
    You can encode using a tool like Handbrake but as you're aware, it will certainly take some time (although you can queue up a bunch of movies to say, run overnight while you're not using your iMac). A better option may be to just remux (with audio conversion as necessary) using software like MP4Tools. I use it to repackage the MKV contents into an MP4 container (I use the iTunes preferred variant m4v but doesn't really matter). Since I'm not encoding video, just usually converting audio from DTS to AAC stereo and AC3 5.1, it takes FAR less time and if you pay the $5 cost for the software you can also queue up a bunch of movies and let it do it's thing (the free version has an annoying pop up message for every use and doesn't allow you to queue multiple jobs).

    After that, I use iDentify to tags the films and just drop them into iTunes (make sure you don't have the 'Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library' box checked in Preferences > Advanced.

    I have all of my media on an external HDD attached to another computer and all works perfectly.
  4. macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011

    Download the 14 day free trial of iFlicks, which remuxes and only converts if needed, adds meta data automatically, deletes the original file and moves the movie to iTunes.

    Open the app, drop your movie folder into it, press start, kick back and relax. It's just that easy.

    Or do a show at a time, or ten movies, whatever floats your boat :)

    But the best way to do this is to move the movies to your internal hard drive first, then convert. Otherwise you will be severely cramped by the fact that the drive are external.
  5. macrumors 68020

    Mar 15, 2012
    Are the files h.264? If not, you'll need to transcode them. If they are, I would try remuxing a few (definitely include bluray in the test) first and see how that works for your particular system.

    Things to consider with just a remux:
    1) do you need subtitles (forced, regular, both)?
    2) does your wifi handle large/high bitrate files adequately?
    3) sometimes the specs of a remuxed file will exceed aTV specs and you will get some stuttering (or a freeze)
    4) there have been complaints of mp4tools having video/audio sync problems
    5) some experience issues FF/REV with remuxed files

    Transcoding solves all of these problems, as well as being more efficient with storage space, but at a cost....time.

Share This Page