.avi & .mkv compatible alternative to AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by m021478, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. m021478 macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2007
    For quite some time now, I've been downloading movies online, which usually come in .avi or .mkv format, and I've been using VisualHub to convert them to .mp4 with H.264 encoding for playback on my AppleTV.

    The whole process is long and tedious and is really starting to wear on my nerves, and I was hoping someone might be able to suggest an alternative to my Apple TV that would be capable of playing back .avi & .mkv files on my TV without the need for any additional conversion, transcoding, resizing, resampling, compatibili-fying or any kind...

    I am hoping to find a piece of hardware capable of 'plug-and-play'-esque ease of use and simplicity.

    Any suggestions?
  2. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    I agree, I like my Apple TV, but I'm looking at a refurb Mini and Plex.
  3. Donar macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2008
    Have a look at the Popcornhour NMT A110.

    Maybe installing Boxee in the ATV would do the trick also.
  4. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
  5. mastershakess macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Bel Air, MD
  6. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    A question that might be related - Does Apple TV have the same playback abilities as Front Row on a Mac? I know the interface is the same. Because I can play mkv and avi files fine on Front Row. Don't have an Apple TV, though, so I don't know if it goes both ways.
  7. mastershakess macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Bel Air, MD
    Its more of a hardware issue than a software issue when its comes to .mkv, your computer has the hardware to play it and the ATV is kinda lacking
  8. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    PCH is the way to go imo.
  9. m021478 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2007
    Thanks for recommending the Popcorn Hour A-110... I'd honestly never even heard of this device, but based on this Cnet UK video review/demo, as well as on your recommendations of course, I think I just might have to pick myself up one of these bad boys!!

    Do you know if you can connect external storage to the A-110? How about playing back VIDEO_TS rips? Can it playback those?

  10. Donar macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2008
    It should play back VIDEO_TS but i never tried. For external storage you can plug a usb thumb drive or HDD to the USB ports. Personally i stream from my Synology NAS over ethernet as i like to have everything in one place.
  11. dhd macrumors member


    Dec 12, 2007
    I think that you don't need to re-encode avi's to mp4, as they're already in mp4 video format. You will only loose more quality (the avi's you download are already compressed). If I were you I'll download mpeg stremclip, open the avi in question with it, go to File and Save as..., in the dialog box select MOV, once the file is saved you change the extension of that MOV to mp4 if you wish.

    Kind Regards
  12. Tenorsaw macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2008
    I second the Popcorn Hour. It plays just about anything you throw at it. I'm seriously considering selling my AppleTV and getting a Mini instead.
  13. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    you'll be happy you did :)

    just watch processor usage/heat with loong 1080p videos :)
  14. gerabbi macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2009
    The usb patchstick should allow for more playback of differing video. If I'm not mistaken my son patched his ATV and can now play .avi and .mkv format video. Might be worth investigating.
  15. Tenorsaw macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2008
    Yeah. I already have the Popcorn Hour and use it for watching high-def.

    The AppleTV chokes when I try to play .mkv files using XBMC.
  16. mfillhart macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2009

    just install boxee and everything will play for ya, that's how it works for me anyways
  17. m021478 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2007
    I've tried XMBC & Boxee via atvflash and I always ran into issues with skipping and stuttering...

    I'll most likely give popcorn hour a shot and hopefully that will solve all my problems!
  18. RealEvil macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2007
    Agreed - MKVs dont play properly on a hacked Apple TV.

    Also, saving a MKV as a MOV gave me issues too... I am currently using Handbrake/VH to convert them. Pain.
  19. ajzimmerman macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2012
    Use mp4tools,

    This is far quicker - conversion equals loss.
  20. crazytrain macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2009
    Western Digital TV Live (with external USB drive or hub, depending on your preference) has always worked fine for me - plays anything you can throw at it (including TS files, as you asked). I rip Blurays using makemkv so have full 1080p resolution on very large files (20-30GB each) and the WD plays them with no problems whatsoever
  21. Braddrum macrumors 6502


    Feb 4, 2013
    My 2 x JB ATV2 plays MKV Files using XBMC without any issues at all?
  22. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    Or you could just, you know, stop stealing your media. :rolleyes:
  23. orpheus1120 macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2008
    No passthru for TrueHD.

    I would instead suggest PopCorn Hour A-400.
  24. wknapp0924 macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2012
    Honolulu, HI
    If you have the extra money to spend why not just upgrade to a Smart TV. All my MKVs on my usb HD plugged into my Airport Extreme work perfectly and the interface is really easy to use. You will need a computer running plex, but from my experience it doesn't look like it uses the computer processor at all. I downloaded a 20gb MKV 3D movie just to try to throw such a large file at it and It did not stop or stutter one time. I do have mine hooked directly through ethernet, but it is way more reliable than XBMC IMO. If you are gonna spend that much why not get a new TV out of it?
  25. ScousePete macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2012
    you know this thread is almost 4 years old, right?

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