Matroska, oh hail Matroska!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by supercooled, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. supercooled macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2007
    Hey, I bought an AppleTV 2 weeks ago and really only had time to play with it this weekend. I have heard on and off about MKV files and downloaded some movies lately and was amazed at the quality of the compression. I can't really tell the difference between MKV 720P vs Blu-Ray on my 720P television but after running it through VisualHub, there is a slight degradation. The sound suffered a lot and there is a softer look to MP4.

    Is it worth it to hack the ATV to handle MKV or are you guys for the most part content with MP4?
  2. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Personally, I find that although MKV has the potential for many things it's actual support in the real world is severely lacking. VLC can play it, but it is prone to blow up if you want to seek to specific parts of a movie. Perian does pretty well, but I consider it a stopgap.

    MKV is just a container, so it has no compression advantages. Apple has added AC3 support to the Apple TV/mov so I am hoping that becomes a standard of sorts. The output of Handbrake with it's H.264/AAC/AC3 combination has become my format of choice for all new media.

    I am in the process of converting my old movies with VisualHub. I've started with the DivX/XviD/MP3, as those require little effort (just time). The AVI/AC3 represent different challenges and MKV with AC3 require the most handholding to convert without reencoding everything so those will wait till last.

  3. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    MKV itself doesn't do anything to the picture quality, it's the compression the MKV file uses which determines quality in the end.

    MP4 can be just as high quality, even higher. It all depends on how they're compressed...
  4. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Exactly. MKV is a wrapper just like MP4. Both contain a video track as well as an audio track.

    Both are capable of using an h.264 video track. It is the h.264 video track that determines what kind of video quality you see. Like in HandBrake h.264 is done with the x264 encoder. So, both mkv and mp4 files in handbrake using h.264 will be identical quality wise and file size wise provided they are both encoded with the same x264 settings. The wrapper makes no difference whatsoever.
  5. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    There is no advantage in playing back MKV wrapped content over MP4 wrapped content. If you can hack your TV to accept MKV then you'll probably save yourself some time as you won't need to remux your content to MP4.
  6. northernmunky macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2007
    London, Taipei
    I've just finished downloading a 4.5Gb 720p MKV file that is converting as we speak... the audio is 6 channel so I set VisualHub to AppleTV 5.1... I actually have no idea whether it will have actually recognised the 6 channel audio track until its finished?

    Anyone done this before got any tips?
  7. matneh macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2008
  8. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    FYI, puts it in a .mov wrapper.

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