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Streaming mkv movies to my TV without having to convert first?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by idyll, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Is it possible to stream mkv movies to my TV without converting them first?

    What about 3d mkv movies that are about 4gb in file size?

    I'm willing to buy any hardware or device needed to make this happen, don't have to be limited to an Apple TV.

    If there is no wifi solution, please let me know of a device that I could plug my USB hard drive into and play the mkv movies that way.

    Thank you! :)
  2. macrumors 6502

    Billy Boo Bob

    For AppleTV, I think you'll find that it has to be in a format that iTunes likes, therefore some sort of conversion will be necessary...

    I've found that iFlicks will take an MKV and generate a quick M4V file... The video seems to passthrough (assuming it's x264) and the audio does some converting (for iTunes compatible). Set for "iTunes Compatible". Couple minutes for an MKV movie to convert... Not like the long time Handbrake or whatever will take.
  3. macrumors regular

    I have been using Beamer running on my Mac and was worth it - never had an issue with all the MKV (including surround sound) files I streamed.

    I am not sure about 3D though.
  4. macrumors newbie

    For example - WD TV Live. Or any other multi-format media player, which are most of them.
  5. macrumors 68000


    +1 for Beamer. I never use Air Play anymore, this app is that good. It's a very simple app and does only one thing which is stream any kind of video to Apple TV and it does it remarkably well.
  6. macrumors 6502

    Great advice! Going to try Beamer. With Beamer I can stream to any AppleTV I choose, correct? Is it pretty good with 4gb or larger mkv files?

    Anyone have experience with 3d mkv files? I have problems playing them on my Mac let alone streaming them via wifi.. I found suggestions on changing VLC settings to get the 3d files to play but then I need to change the settings back every time I want to play a different file type such as avi.
  7. macrumors 68000

    What do you mean by 3D mkv files? Are they SBS/OU or full-frame-3D?
    Streaming the former is easy. I know of no solution to stream the latter, though.
    E.g. Sony streams their 3D demo clips in double-framerate mode, but that won't work from external input, just inside their SEN 3D Experience app.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Thanks! They are SBS/OU.

    Know of a good player to play them in OS X by any chance? When I try to play them I get the same image side by side.
  9. macrumors 68000

    What do you mean to play in OS X?? This OS doesn't have 3D support whatsoever nor does any Mac have a 3D-display. Modern Macs with nVidia cards should be able to display 3D image via HDMI to external 3D display under Windows, though.
    I use this SBS technique via my AppleTV. It's the 3D-telly that knows how to cut and strech this image properly for L and R eye. You need to switch the 3D-mode on your 3D TV set from normal to SBS or OU, according to source.
  10. macrumors regular

    What I use now is a Western Digital Media Player (No.1 on amazon)

    What I don't like is that I transfer all my mkv-files to an external hard drive then plug it into the media player and play it from there

    I know the updated model can play via wifi without a drive connected so basically like an apple tv with the beamer app included.

    I'm thinking now to update either to the new WD wifi Media Player or the Apple TV. I read about lags when streaming mkv to the Apple TV (i don't use iTunes file formats and never will). Is that really noticeable while watching?

    The other concern I have is that the Apple TV should receive a hardware upgrade soon, so is it wise to wait another month?
  11. macrumors 601

    Go with iflicks , it will turn your mkv into m4v in a minute , with metadata and will add the movie to iTunes for you

    Last time I used Beamer it did not work too good with large 1080/720p files
  12. macrumors 6502

    Thanks for all the help I received. I'll be using Beamer a lot and may even purchase the WD Media Player.

    For anyone wondering, I was setting this up for a friend and we ended up going with Plex. http://www.plexapp.com/

    This probably ended up being the best solution for him because all of his TVs are Samsung, so we installed the Plex app on them through the Samsung App store (free) and the Plex Media Server (free) on his Mac Mini. We put the movies on a Apple Time Capsule and told the Plex Media Server to get them from there.

    The benefit of this is he can access his movies from any TV in his house using his TVs remote without having to go to his Mac Mini each time he wants to play a movie.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Your .mkv's are probably mp4's, which is an iTunes file format.
  14. zen
    macrumors 65816

    Subler is free and will remux/transcode mkv files into m4v that the Apple TV will recognise. It can handle files larger than 4GB as it has a 64-bit offset checkbox.

    It's easy to use, and takes about 30 seconds to remux an mkv.
  15. macrumors regular

    But that is still all just a compromise.

    I want to download any movie file format and stream it straight to my TV without the need to convert anything - I don't care if it only takes a minute - it's an unnecessary step and inconvenient.

    I already read about the other solutions to work around this like:

    - airplay (not reliable and stuttering)
    - beamer (more reliable but still stuttering once in a while)

    I didn't invest thousands of dollars in a top notch plasma panel to work with a stuttering compromise, so I say goodbye to the current Apple TV and just go with Western Digital which has none of those issues.

    I also don't want to downplay the downside of this which is not being able to mirror my computer desktop on my TV. But since watching movies is my main priority I think Apple TV is simply the wrong choice for now.

    I will however check back for the rumored hardware update in October and see if Apple was able to fix the lags and stuttering.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Beamer is not a compromise, but how iTunes should have been.
    No remixing, no jailbreaking, just drag en drop (even additional subtitles). The stuttering is size-dependend, just stay below 5GB and your fine (note iTunes movies are about 3.5Gb on average, probably for the same reason).
  17. macrumors 601


  18. macrumors member


    I downloaded the trial for Beamer and I like what I see. It takes forever for Handbrake to convert a MKV sometimes. Definitely going to give it a shot.

  19. macrumors 68000


    Glad you like it. I think you'll be very satisfied. I've streamed some very large mkv files without any issues. All I can say is the larger files take a few extra seconds to load up. But other than that, love it!!!
  20. macrumors 68000


    I have a samsung tv from 2011 and I can just plug in a usb drive with movies on it and can use the tv remote to play them. It plays .mkv, mp4, avi and a few more formats.
  21. macrumors regular

    Give Plex connect a try and you gonna love it. I used to have WDTV live , then moved on to ATV3 , tried Airplay movies , Beamer ,converting everything to Itunes using Handbrake , Iflicks , Subler, Mp4tools etc this all was so much work.
    Now with Plex connect , I have to do nothing , it plays everything and has been enjoying it since couple of months now. Only thing is you will have to do a small hack of Trailers app. And then just direct your Plex server to Folders you keep you media.
  22. macrumors 601

    You don't need to convert the mkv if is h264
  23. macrumors member


    I converted them to use with iTunes at a smaller size...an mkv over 2 gb or so was choppy during airplay...seems to work well with beamer, though...

  24. macrumors member

    Is there a program similar to Beamer for Windows? I'm trying to play video to my ATV3 without converting, etc. Thanks
  25. macrumors member

    I use beamer as well! Have not had any problems at all. The best thing is that you can try it out for free! Works fantastic! Never tried to play 3D movies with it though.

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