Help with mp4 tools and mkv files...

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by gpspad, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. gpspad macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2014
    Sorry if this is the wrong place for this post, but since Im converting for use with my ATV I figure someone else may have come across this problem.

    I am using MP4 Tools to quickly batch convert files to mp4 for iTunes. I used to use handbrake, but it takes forever and someone here mentioned mp4 tools. MP4 tools works much better when it works.

    Most of the time mp4 tools works ok, every once in a while I will find some mkv files it refuses to open. It opens some mkv files fine, but just spits others out.

    Any ideas on whats happening or what I might be doing wrong?
  2. Longkeg macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2014
    S. Florida
    Think of the mkv file as a cardboard box. Inside that box is usually an MP4 waiting to get out. MP4 tools opens that box and takes out the MP4 goodness for you. Sometimes something other than an MP4 gets put in the mkv box: windows media, avi, etc. MP4 tools doesn't know what to do with these and, well you know the rest. For these tough nuts Hanbdrake is probably still your best option.
  3. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    No experience of the tool you are using but I use handbrake with no trouble. You batch all the files and leave it to run overnight never had a problem. Handbrake is extremely slow in doing original rips but never found it to be a problem converting MKV's.
  4. Mac... nificent macrumors 6502

    Nov 20, 2012
    Does anyone know of a tutorial that shows how to properly use handbrake for batch files?
  5. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    You don't really need a tutorial just set up handbrake how you want the defaults and then just select a source and "add to queue" from the top menu and then select the next source and keep doing this until all the files have been added to the queue. You can start processing once the first file is there. You can also change the default directory for each file before you do the add to queue.
  6. priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Jan 13, 2011
    You need to understand the fundamental difference - HB always recompresses. MP4tools mostly re-encapsulates (If you select Pass Thru option). If the video in MKV is not H.264/AVC, then it can not be just repacked into iTunes-compatible MP4. So you need to recompress. You can use MP4tools for that, or HB, whatever your preference.
    So the bottom line is this - before deciding to just repack your streams from MKV into MP4 you need to be sure, that the source MKV contains the iTunes-compatible streams (AVC+AAC or AC3). Non-compliant audio stream is a minor problem, because MP4tools can recode them to proper formats and this will go fast on any modern computer.
  7. gpspad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2014
    Thanks for the help, I understand this a little better.

    So I'm dealing with mkv files MP4 tools will not open. I guess there is non MP4 files in it.

    Is there a tool that will peak inside the MKV box and tell me what is inside the box?

    Also am I correct in thinking that I should try MP4 tools first, then use handbrake if it doesn't open in MP4 tools?

    Lastly am I correct in thinking that the other tools MKV tools abd AVI tools won't do any good as they only convert files to those formats?

    I am just starting to build a library and not sure what standard file format and resolution size to use. I just want the library to play via iTunes and transferred into my apple devices. There is a lot to this.
  8. The Mad Hatter macrumors 6502a

    The Mad Hatter

    Oct 12, 2004
    For 'peeking' inside a MKV, try either MKVTool (yes, they make an app for MKVs too) or MKVToolNix.
  9. NameUndecided macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2011
    I have no experience with MP4 Tools. But I do use Subler, , which I gather does much the same thing as Tools (moves an h264 codec from an mkv container to an mp4 container) and I strongly recommend it.

    On the rare occasion that Subler does not work for me, it's most often because the file is the newer h265 type rather than h264. When I open an mkv in Subler, it lists all the components that might be inside the package (video, audio, subtitles, chapter track), and their codecs (h264 or h265, AAC or AC3 or DTS…).

    I definitely recommend experimenting with Subler to see if that helps before going through the long and maybe unnecessary converting process through something like Handbrake. The only time I ever use Handbrake in the past couple years is when converting avi or DVD files.
  10. priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Jan 13, 2011
    To get a picture of what streams are inside any media file, I use this tool:
    And indeed, as the previous poster mentioned, Subler can do many tasks as well.
    It has one additional feature others mentioned so far don't - it can OCR the bitmapped subtitles that come from DVD or BluRay into text-subs iTunes needs.
    Technically, BluRay standard also supports text-based subs, but by far most are still bitmapped.

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