Convert MKV files for Apple TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Nickb, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. Nickb macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2007
    Hello everyone.

    First time on here, after having problems with my ATV i came on here to find the answer - and find it i did, so thanks for everyone posting comments, it helped me figure out a really annoying problem.

    What id really like to know is if there is a program i can get to convert MKV files to use on ATV as i want to put high def films on there but most seem to be MKV files.

    Any help would be great.

  2. Nickb thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2007
    p.s i use viddy up to convert my avi files - is this a good program to use, or is there a better one that i could use?
  3. speakerwizard macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2006
    visual hub will covert mkv to appletv as a preset, its a great app
  4. Nickb thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2007
    yeah i read about visual hub on another thread - good app then, might have to buy that. Does it take a long time to process.

    Also what is the best app to use for ripping dvd's, as i tried one app and i took 24hours to convert 8% which cant be right, so what should i use?
  5. mr_matalino macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2005
    Mactheripper is a popluar app to rip DVD's.
  6. taeclee99 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2002
    Anywhere but here
    Use handbrake to convert dvd's to apple tv compatible mp4's. It works great and best of all it's free.
  7. Nickb thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2007
    ok cool ill try those. But how do people rip HD dvd's? as ive been downloading some 720p torrents but takes ages.
  8. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern California
    I tried using VH to convert a multichannel mkv and it says it cannot convert from multi channel. Do I need to do something different? I tried going into the advanced and choosing 2 channel and no go. Ideas?
  9. motownflip macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    I just bought and am using visualhub now. Nice program. Wish it was faster, but oh well. Also, use meta x to tag your movies. Another nice, free program.
  10. acidzerocool macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2007
    A little off topic but what can I use to tag movies in the PC world? I have been doing the Amazon thing but takes for ever with all the movies I have.
  11. billabong macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2004
    Go with Visual Hub, I haven't had a single problem ever. Then use MetaX to tag them..
  12. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern California
    VH seems to work for everything accept multichannel mkv files. Well at least ones from 720P rips that I have found. It works fine for the TV Rip HD downloads I have found but not sure if they were multichannel to begin with. I would really like to play some of these HD 720p movie rips without hacking the aTV. Im sure in time but I guess now its a no go.
  13. billabong macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2004
    Haven't had any problems with multichannel stuff, it has worked with DTS & Dolby 5.1 stuff...
  14. jayholler macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    Script based on Visual Hub

    I got the demo from Visual Hub, transcoded a 720p H264 AC3 file and ended up with a 2 minute file that played great on the Apple TV. So then I viewed the log and pulled the ffmpeg command and options from that. Below is a script based on exactly that but stripping out the 2 minute restriction and the stuff visual hub uses to save the output to a file instead of the stderr screen.

    ### Transcode 720p H264 mkv files for the Apple TV
    # Get the beginning time from the date cmd.
    # ffmpeg cmd
    ffmpeg -y -i $1 -threads 4 -s 1280x720 -aspect 1280:720 -r ntsc-film -vcodec h264 -g 150 -qmin 8 -b 4500k -level 31 -loop 1 -sc_threshold 40 -partp4x4 1 -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -refs 2 -qmax 51 -maxrate 4500k -bf 1 -keyint_min 40 -async 50 -acodec aac -ar 48000 -ac 2 -ab 128k  $1.mp4
    # Get the ending time of the transcode process from the date cmd.
    # Inform us with an email
    echo "Transcoding of $1 was started on $START and completed on $END." > /tmp/emailmessage.txt

    My script also gives me an email using another script I set up on my linux box so I can be notified by email when it is done. I'm running this on Ubuntu Hardy Heron with the ffmpeg installed from the medibuntu repository. As long as your ffmpeg binary can handle x264, ac3, and aac it should work perfectly. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get the trick of not transcoding to work because the files I have are high profile H264 and the Apple TV can only play up to Main Profile H264. The transcoding process takes a long time, but at least you can do it with free tools.

    I run the script by putting the file in the same directory as the script and executing it this way:

    ./ file.mkv

    Have fun! And remember to only use legal material, as copyright infringement is illegal!!
  15. spencers macrumors 68020


    Sep 20, 2004
  16. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
  17. The General macrumors 601

    Jul 7, 2006
    A lot of times the video stream in the MKV is actually compatible with the ATV, and you'll just need to transcode the audio. So I would open the MKV in Quicktime and check the movie inspector first. The ATV can play up to 1280x720 @ 24fps, 5mbps for h.264 and 3mbps simple profile mpeg4. Just check here and make sure the stream is compatible:

    If so, I would use VisualHub and set the video to passthrough. That way you lose no quality when transcoding, only in audio. Plus it goes wayyyy faster. I did this for a 720P Battlestar Galactica episode and it took 3 minutes and it was done and played fine on the ATV.
  18. eddyg macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2003
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    HandBrake snapshot 3


    Have you tried HandBrake snapshot 3? That now converts "anything", not just DVDs, to MP4/AVI/MKV (and it's free).

    HandBrake Snapshot 3

    Note that this is a development release and not a full release, i.e. is not fully tested.

    Cheers, Ed.
  19. ScootPatoot macrumors regular

    May 16, 2008
  20. northy124 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
  21. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Eddy and Dyna - any chance of handling DTS, DTS-HD and True HD transcoding to AC3? How about VC-1? It seems with those then you'd have all the Blu-Ray formats covered as well (other than encryption and de-HDCP'ing).
  22. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Of course theres a chance :)

    But, as you already know ... rome wasn't built in a day ( apologizes for the stupid analogy ).

    There is so much on the HB plate now. Some pretty neat stuff. But, like all things open source, it depends on how much time volunteers have to commit to the project. van already has a handle on vc-1 but it hasn't been tested. It's both the good and bad of open source software.
  23. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Very cool. I saw a posting somewhere that listed all the codecs used in Blu-Ray movies and it seemed like more than half were in DTS, and few were in AC3. Any chance the XBMC (or Plex) code, which does audio transcoding on the fly, could be incorporated?

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