jacktorrance

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 21, 2009
214
18
Hi all,

Does anyone know whether it is possible to direct play 4K content from an iMac to Apple TV for playback on a 4K HDR TV?

At the moment I'm able to view the content (MKV) through Plex but this is having to be transcoded by the iMac prior to display which results in spinning wheels and messages about the iMac not being powerful enough to transcode.

I know that MKV is just a container and assume that converting to mp4 might work, I haven't tried this yet, but was hoping someone might've gotten it working with MKVs.

Thanks.
 

Poontaco

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2014
254
176
Hi all,

Does anyone know whether it is possible to direct play 4K content from an iMac to Apple TV for playback on a 4K HDR TV?

At the moment I'm able to view the content (MKV) through Plex but this is having to be transcoded by the iMac prior to display which results in spinning wheels and messages about the iMac not being powerful enough to transcode.

I know that MKV is just a container and assume that converting to mp4 might work, I haven't tried this yet, but was hoping someone might've gotten it working with MKVs.

Thanks.

Infuse. You can play 4K videos right from your Plex server without any transcoding.
It will passthrough DTS sound too.
 

timothevs

macrumors 6502
Nov 17, 2007
486
110
FL
@jacktorrance - do you have an Apple TV 4K? I too am interested in finding out whether direct play is supported by the native Plex App on ATV4K. So, to expand upon your question, in addition to 4K, can the Plex app play back 1080p/720p content without transcoding?

I am considering getting rid of my Gigabyte Brix and Intel NUC setup for HTPC's around the house, and Plex being able to play natively would be instrumental in doing just that.
 

Poontaco

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2014
254
176
@jacktorrance - do you have an Apple TV 4K? I too am interested in finding out whether direct play is supported by the native Plex App on ATV4K. So, to expand upon your question, in addition to 4K, can the Plex app play back 1080p/720p content without transcoding?

I am considering getting rid of my Gigabyte Brix and Intel NUC setup for HTPC's around the house, and Plex being able to play natively would be instrumental in doing just that.

Direct play is supported if the file being played will play natively on the Apple TV.

And have you tried Infuse?
Also; Infuse is a great option.
Have you heard of Infuse? It plays everything. And the basic version is free on the Apple TV app store.
 
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profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
4,777
5,206
I'm curious if Plex on Apple TV 4K has the ability to play back 4K content at all - or if they would need to update the Apple TV app?
 

timothevs

macrumors 6502
Nov 17, 2007
486
110
FL
Direct play is supported if the file being played will play natively on the Apple TV.

And have you tried Infuse?
Also; Infuse is a great option.
Have you heard of Infuse? It plays everything. And the basic version is free on the Apple TV app store.

Admittedly, no I haven't heard of Infuse. I am looking it up on Youtube as I type this. Thanks for the recommendation.
 
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jacktorrance

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 21, 2009
214
18
Direct play is supported if the file being played will play natively on the Apple TV.

And have you tried Infuse?
Also; Infuse is a great option.
Have you heard of Infuse? It plays everything. And the basic version is free on the Apple TV app store.

This worked a treat - you need to sign up to the pro version to play 4K HDR files but at £5.99 a year it's well worth it. I'm now finding that 4K files that are 50GB + in size play flawlessly. The subtitles feature is a really convenient addition too.

Thanks for the recommendation.
 

hxlover904

macrumors regular
Aug 20, 2011
200
74
Infuse. You can play 4K videos right from your Plex server without any transcoding.
It will passthrough DTS sound too.

Just an FYI for anyone else considering Infuse, you need to upgrade to the pro version for it to play mkv files. Since the free version advertises itself as being able to play them, I feel this was a bit misleading.
 

archer75

macrumors 68040
Jan 26, 2005
3,076
1,681
Oregon
I know my 4k HDR files work fine via plex on the shield. Not sure what the formats are inside your MKV but if the ATV doesn't support them it could be transcoding.
Infuse is too buggy for me to use. The library scan time makes it unusable for my TV shows as new ones won't show up until scanned. And it's messing up my play counts. Marking every other episode as watched when I haven't watched any.
 

Everbarve

macrumors newbie
Apr 3, 2017
5
0
I know my 4k HDR files work fine via plex on the shield. Not sure what the formats are inside your MKV but if the ATV doesn't support them it could be transcoding.
Infuse is too buggy for me to use. The library scan time makes it unusable for my TV shows as new ones won't show up until scanned. And it's messing up my play counts. Marking every other episode as watched when I haven't watched any.

For a local player, and more, MrMC
https://mrmc.tv

is excellent, utilises HW decoding on ATV 4K and costs much less than infuse (Subscription or Pro).
In fact, I left infuse for MrMC.
 

cardsdoc

macrumors 6502
Jun 9, 2007
357
58
Shaker Hts, OH
For a local player, and more, MrMC
https://mrmc.tv

is excellent, utilises HW decoding on ATV 4K and costs much less than infuse (Subscription or Pro).
In fact, I left infuse for MrMC.

I haven't used MrMC in over a year but back then found the UI wasn't nearly as nice as infuse and didn't offer much that infuse didn't. Has much changed with MrMC UI since then or is there anything particularly unique is does relative to infuse?
 

Everbarve

macrumors newbie
Apr 3, 2017
5
0
I haven't used MrMC in over a year but back then found the UI wasn't nearly as nice as infuse and didn't offer much that infuse didn't. Has much changed with MrMC UI since then or is there anything particularly unique is does relative to infuse?

MrMC stems from xbmc/Kodi and inherited its UI which relies on Skins; it got a new nice skin BTW (see the website) and also its features which are not found in infuse (PVR, TV, DLNA remote, etc.) .
The UI on infuse is actually “borrowed” from Synology DS Video app.
UI aside, since it’s a matter of preference, MrMC has very active and capable developers who continually improve the player.
Infuse behaved unkindly towards its infuse 4 Pro users by cutting the support to v4 completely leaving only two way to upgrade to v5; either subscription or another Pro purschase (to which I lost the trust).
With MrMC, you pay once for the product life-time. Support is competent and very responsive.
Player wise, Infuse 5.5.3 and 5.5.4 still have playback problems with HEVC on ATV 4 and even 4K although 5.5.2 was even better at that. In general, however, the player is good. MrMC has a proven player as well and the new version uses HW decoding under tvOS 11 and ATV 4K.
The media management capabilities on infuse, especially media info. scrapping, leaves a lot to wish.
MrMC media management is typical xbmc/Kodi.

An important feature, especially for ATV 4 users, in MrMC are the integrated Plex and Emby clients which are lacking in infuse.

I hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

cardsdoc

macrumors 6502
Jun 9, 2007
357
58
Shaker Hts, OH
MrMC stems from xbmc/Kodi and inherited its UI which relies on Skins; it got a new nice skin BTW (see the website) and also its features which are not found in infuse (PVR, TV, DLNA remote, etc.) .
The UI on infuse is actually “borrowed” from Synology DS Video app.
UI aside, since it’s a matter of preference, MrMC has very active and capable developers who continually improve the player.
Infuse behaved unkindly towards its infuse 4 Pro users by cutting the support to v4 completely leaving only two way to upgrade to v5; either subscription or another Pro purschase (to which I lost the trust).
With MrMC, you pay once for the product life-time. Support is competent and very responsive.
Player wise, Infuse 5.5.3 and 5.5.4 still have playback problems with HEVC on ATV 4 and even 4K although 5.5.2 was even better at that. In general, however, the player is good. MrMC has a proven player as well and the new version uses HW decoding under tvOS 11 and ATV 4K.
The media management capabilities on infuse, especially media info. scrapping, leaves a lot to wish.
MrMC media management is typical xbmc/Kodi.

An important feature, especially for ATV 4 users, in MrMC are the integrated Plex and Emby clients which are lacking in infuse.

I hope this helps.

Thanks, that's helpful. Will take another look at MrMC and see how I like it. Unfortunately I think the ATV itself remains the most limiting. All my content (primarily ripped blu-ray and dvd) are in plex which I really like. However in order to get HD audio passthrough, atmos as well as 24Hz I primarily use plex media player on a dedicated plex pc. I use ATV (now 4k) and TiVo OTA for everything else. My kids and wife will use plex through ATV as it's easier for them not to have to switch sources and they could care less about the audio. I know infuse and MrMC can decode HD audio and pass as LPCM but you loose atmos (for the few 1080p blu-rays that have it) and still a little skeptical that ATV is not touching the audio. So either way until ATV is able to better support the audio (24hz is sort of now supported but required changing modes) will probably not use Plex, Infuse, or MrMC on it much but always tinkering and re-evaluating best use.
 

archer75

macrumors 68040
Jan 26, 2005
3,076
1,681
Oregon
For a local player, and more, MrMC
https://mrmc.tv

is excellent, utilises HW decoding on ATV 4K and costs much less than infuse (Subscription or Pro).
In fact, I left infuse for MrMC.
For me I don't need to. I use my Nvidia Shield for all local content so I can get the HD audio. I use my ATV just for the streaming apps(aside from netflix)
 

Everbarve

macrumors newbie
Apr 3, 2017
5
0
Thanks, that's helpful. Will take another look at MrMC and see how I like it. Unfortunately I think the ATV itself remains the most limiting. All my content (primarily ripped blu-ray and dvd) are in plex which I really like. However in order to get HD audio passthrough, atmos as well as 24Hz I primarily use plex media player on a dedicated plex pc. I use ATV (now 4k) and TiVo OTA for everything else. My kids and wife will use plex through ATV as it's easier for them not to have to switch sources and they could care less about the audio. I know infuse and MrMC can decode HD audio and pass as LPCM but you loose atmos (for the few 1080p blu-rays that have it) and still a little skeptical that ATV is not touching the audio. So either way until ATV is able to better support the audio (24hz is sort of now supported but required changing modes) will probably not use Plex, Infuse, or MrMC on it much but always tinkering and re-evaluating best use.

Plex media player (based on mpv) is easily the best media player currently available; I have a similar set-up on Mac mini.
If you like nice UI, please look at Squire at squireapp.com; its player is, however, not HW decoding (yet), so its for l8mited use at 4K; but I don’t have a 4k TV anyway :)
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,342
5,157
Denmark
Remember the content of your MKV needs to be encoded with a codec that fits Apple's playback requirements if you want direct play, as Plex uses the built-in Apple TV media decoder and not a proprietary one.

And as mention by @Che Castro, the public release of Plex for Apple TV does not support 4K playback yet. Currently, everything will be transcoded to 1080p (Or whatever your AppleTV is set to output as).
 
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