MKV / AVI - Convert to view on iPad

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Manchester, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Manchester macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2010
    Just wondering what you recommend for converting videos in either MKV / Avi format, so that it's viewable on an iPad? I'd be using a Mac to convert the videos.

    I want to convert a few films, so that I can watch them on the plane when going on holiday. And thought that there must be an easy way of doing this, and a programme which keeps file sizes to a minimum whilst still being clear.

    And what's the best format and settings to convert to?

    Any recommendations appreciated.
  2. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    1, the free Subler is one of the best tools. Check out the ATV forum here at . I've posted several Subler / MP4Tools-specific articles there.

    Should it not support some stuff, a cheap alternative is MP4Tools.

    Basically, I only use these two apps for MKV creation.

    2, BTW, are you sure you DO want to remux your stuff? The current version of nPlayer and AVPlayerHD both play MKV's excellently, as long as they don't have a DTS audio track. (Please see my reviews & post here at the iPad Apps forum at - I've posted tons of dedicated articles there.)
  3. Linubook macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2013

    This explanation applies for AVi, MKV and Video_TS video sources.

    To convert your video you should first use Handbrake (a free software) to convert your file into .mp4 format. In Handbrake you want to use the presets to match your output device (to avoid large size files on small-screen devices).

    To convert your file to use it on iTunes you have to pay attention to a few details:

    1. If several audio tracks are available, make sure they are all activated in Handbrake (or at least the ones you want). Make also sure that the codec is AAC for the audio tracks and mixdown is set to Stereo (it happened to work best on Apple devices).

    2. If one or several subtitles tracks are available (in MKV file or Video_TS folder or «*dvd folder*»), you want to add them on the subtitles tab. If you have .srt files, you want to add them now too.
    MAKE SURE the «*Burned In*» option remains unchecked.

    3. Start the conversion. You will have to wait, the time depends on the quality of the video and your configuration. At the end of the conversion you should have a .MP4 file.

    To make the file fully compatible with iTunes, you still have to modify it a little. To do so, you will need Subler (another free software).
    1. Open a new Subler window.

    2. Drop your video on the window. A panel should pop-up, make sure all tracks are enabled (boxes checked). Make sure all tracks are set on «*passthru*» beside subtitles tracks which have to be set to «*3GPP Text*». Then click «*add*».

    3. Click on the search button on the top-right corner of your window. Enter the title of your movie to add meta-datas and the cover of the movie. Click confirm.

    4. Save your file on a new location or with a new name (you don’t want to overwrite your file, you would lose all its content).

    Finally, add your file to iTunes.

    Attention: even if you have only one subtitle track you should use the previous steps ton add your subtitles to your movie. Vobsub subtitles basically work like a picture displayed over your movie. If you burn them on your movie they will always have the same size compared to the image, which means they will look bigger on a large screen.
    This method for encoding movies works with 1080p movies. If you burn subtitles on that kind of movie your subtitles will be really small on your iOS device.

    I hope i have been clear and that i helped you.
  4. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    Note that, for most (H.264) MKV's, HandBrake is, in most cases, an overkill: it reencodes the entire video track, unlike intelligent remuxers like Subler or MP4Tools.
  5. Linubook, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013

    Linubook macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2013
    Weaknesses of Subler

    FOR SURE! discard the following if you have h264.

    Handbrake is slower than a remuxer, for sure, but your mkv file can have a video track in another format than H264 which will prevent your file to play in iTunes.
    On the same time, your audio track may be a 5.1 channels track, which happened to not work on iTunes and iPad (with my specific configuration). For this reason i prefer ton reencode the audio track as well into AAC format, with stereo channel only.
    At last, the video track may be, if created with MakeMKV for exemple, a copy of your dvd video track with no compression. That track can therefore be very big (4-5 Gb in some of my tests) in a format not readable by Apple devices.

    MKV files with VLC are a real pleasure, they are easy to manage, quick to create, and available with tracks in almost any format. Subler works just fine if all your tracks are compatible with iTunes, which, unfortunately, is pretty rare.

    Nevertheless, Subler remains essential for converting subtitles tracks and adding metadatas.
  6. Manchester thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2010
    To be honest, it's more about the output size, as the original file is say 8GB, so surely it should be 1GB or lower to be decent quality on an iPad 2.

    Thanks for all the posts guys, will look at them all.
  7. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    OIC. If you have storage shortage problems and you have

    - jailbroken your iPad and
    - the CCK,

    you can just use symlinks (tutorial: ) to access / play any even MKV videos off storage cards. Of course, the CCK will protrude out but this is certainly a good solution if the protrusion isn't a problem.
  8. yoyosuki, Sep 24, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013

    yoyosuki macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2013
  9. FireWire2 macrumors 6502


    Oct 12, 2008
    If u want to reduce the size of video, so you can load it in iPAD efficently, then use Handbrake or VLC - please refer run it at night :)

    Otherwise use TSMuxer or VLC to remux to MP4 container
  10. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    have you considered using the VLC app on the ipad and the companion server app? You can browse the files on your mac on the ipad and either stream or pull files to the ipad (being transcoded on the fly by the app on the mac).

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