mkv files on new unibody mbp

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by vinnyemmery, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. vinnyemmery macrumors member

    May 5, 2008
    hi was playing a 1080p mkv file in qt using perian plug in and looked great but every now and then it wouid stutter on frame rate so i tried vlc and was the same was wondering if its because i was logged in using the 9400 and not logging out and using the 9600gt im currently in the middle of downloading so cant try it at the mo but gonna try it later any one else tried this
  2. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
  3. 7even macrumors 6502a

    Jan 11, 2008
    +1. VLC kept dropping frames, Perian was laggy as hell, but Plex was as smooth as can be. The interface is super slick as well.
  4. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    QT's mkv support does lack sometimes, I personally have better luck with VLC, and use it though I do hate it. For example, Casino Royale in 1080 will balk at audio in QT but its smooth as ice in VLC. For me, its absolutely case by case.

    Do make sure that you have Perian installed. I don't particularly like Plex and XBMC but they are both well thought out software ventures should you desire a fullscreen media browser and find frontrow lacking.
  5. peterja macrumors regular


    Jan 21, 2008
  6. Evolesque macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008

    I have some input on this topic since it frustrated me a long time ago with my core duo macbook pro. 1080p .mkv files especially those "blu-ray" ones will generally play through a software codec only first of all. The second thing is after testing these files on a lot of different setups, the processors needs to be at least 2.4ghz speed minimum to play them acceptably. This is because its rendered in software only so its processor speed dependent, your 3D card doesn't matter but for battery life I'd go 9400. I do not have a technical explanation, but I can guess its because nobody has written optimized codecs for the x264 inside the mkv incap(this includes vlc and mplayer). Interestingly it doesn't matter if its a core 2 duo or hell a amd processor(I've done this on a lot of osx setups). 2.4ghz minimum. The 2.4ghz number comes from playing them on comp's with that speed or overclocking them to that speed) now the unibody even at 2.53 will only barely be fast enough. Yeah I know it sounds silly but were not talking apple h.264 here so its different. I assume the stuttering happens during high action or fast scenes with a lot of detail only, and in vlc when it stutters it may come up with a message saying its too slow or missing frames. Again this is the processor trying to keep up.

    (what you can do)

    re-encode with visual hub or something to apple h.264 this will solve your problem with a slight degrade in quality and it'll probably be hardware accelerated then... or so the rumor has it with the unibodies =).

    when I checked 2 years ago the people that made the coreavc codec where talking about making one for osx. If this has happened you need this, since this codec is alot more efficient then the ones in vlc, mplayer, perian,etc.
    This will likely be the only way for you to play 1080p .mkv unconverted stutter free. When I used this in windows it made some of the files playable or more playable.

    3) As the others have said xbmc, I tried the first public release and it did make them slightly better, but probably not perfectly playable however.(that was for me 1 year ago so ymmv. )

    4)Play them in windows. Get coreavc and the community codec pack and change the x264 codec to coreavc in ccp options .Then play the 1080p files in windows only.

    I suggest just converting them, I hate going over to windows.
    (oh yeah keep in mind this information is kinda old I haven't looked into it since then. I just play them on my macpro.)
  7. aforty macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Great thread!

    Plex solved all my woes! Thanks!
  8. acerox macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2009
    Yes, with plex it works fine but still takes 100% of my processor ( new MB 2.0).

    Do you think it's worth it to go for the 2.4? it's 300€ more....but I rather to spend more money than not be able to play mkv 1080.

    Still .avi consumes around 30% of the CPU, is this ok? I was expecting better performance.

    Any comment will be appreciated! Thanks!
  9. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    I don't think Plex counts dual core cpu usage correctly as mine has gone above 100%..
  10. acerox macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2009
    Yes also mine, can we expect that this is going to be solved with a new release or something....? I don't want to install Windows.... :'(
  11. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Even with my 2.53ghz unibody mbp, 1080p mkv movies sometimes drops frames even with the nvidia 9600m gt.
  12. dutchrazor macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2009
    First of all, it's not the 1080p. I can download a movie from appletrailers fine and it will play smooth.

    Personally I just use VLC for mkv files, instead of Perian. If I pause Front row before the movie plays and have that loading bar fill up, it will also play.

    Only thing is , that takes ages, so once again, VLC plays em smooth :)
  13. MVApple macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2008
    You should also try Boxee. If you need an invite you can PM me or you can also ask at the Boxee invite thread.

    I've used both Boxee and Plex and they are pretty similar with different pro's and con's but I have to say that I do prefer Boxee.

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