MKV to iTunes.. with options?

solomanii

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 6, 2012
63
1
Hi all,

I converted my collection of anime to MKV so I could retain the various audio options and subtitles. I would like to make them available in iTunes. I can just use something like Mirro and convert them to mp4 but this doesn't give me control of what language to have and no option for subtitles. For instance out of 10 videos 3 came out in Japanese, rest in English dub and none retained subtitles.

Is it possible to retain all the information in the MKV in iTunes? - for example the option to watch it dubbed in English or the original Japanese with English subs or just Japanese etc. Is this possible?

Failing that can I convert with specific options? This way I could have a dubbed English version for my kids and an original Japanese version with subs for me/adults.
 

solomanii

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 6, 2012
63
1
Just did. This seems to do the job just fine. So the new m4v file has subtitles and multiple languages. When playing back in VLC I can easily switch languages and subtitles.

However in Itunes I can easily switch language tracks but I can not turn on subtitles. I tried setting them in preferences but still nothing comes up. So at the moment in Itunes I can either watch it in the original Japanese or dubbed English.

In VLC I can do English, Japanese or Japanese with English subtitles. Want to do that in Itunes if anyone knows how?
 

solomanii

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 6, 2012
63
1
Also, is there a way to upload/add the chapters from a file like those on ChaptersDB.org? Handbrake is a bit flakey on this and cant seem to set the time automatically.
 

jozeppy26

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2008
499
62
St. Louis
Handbrake is great if your video stream isn't H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC). But if it is (which I'm guessing it likely is) handbrake is unecessary. Use something like Subler. It's an outstanding little app that simply changes the container from .MKV to .MP4 (or .M4V) and allows you to insert numerous audio and video streams, chapter.txt files, and subtitles. Otherwise with Handbrake, you're literally taking an hour to convert an H.264 video stream to a lower quality H.264 video stream (and in many cases also increasing the file size).

A quick word of advice: iTunes won't display the subtitles unless the file extension reads ".m4v" and not ".mp4." Super dumb but that's Apple sometimes.
 
Last edited:

w0lf

macrumors 65816
Feb 16, 2013
1,233
73
USA
Handbrake is great if your video stream isn't H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC). But if it is (which I'm guessing it likely is) handbrake is unecessary. Use something like Subler. It's an outstanding little app that simply changes the container from .MKV to .MP4 (or .M4V) and allows you to insert numerous audio and video streams, chapter.txt files, and subtitles. Otherwise with Handbrake, you're literally taking an hour to convert an H.264 video stream to a lower quality H.264 video stream (and in many cases also increasing the file size).

A quick word of advice: iTunes won't display the subtitles unless the file extension reads ".m4v" and not ".mp4." Super dumb but that's Apple sometimes.
So much this. As awesome as handbreak is, a lot of the time you'll just end up wasting your time, computer resources and lower the quality of your video trying to accomplish the same thing that can be done almost instantly by just changing the container.
 

opinio

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2013
1,171
4
Hi all,

I converted my collection of anime to MKV so I could retain the various audio options and subtitles. I would like to make them available in iTunes. I can just use something like Mirro and convert them to mp4 but this doesn't give me control of what language to have and no option for subtitles. For instance out of 10 videos 3 came out in Japanese, rest in English dub and none retained subtitles.

Is it possible to retain all the information in the MKV in iTunes? - for example the option to watch it dubbed in English or the original Japanese with English subs or just Japanese etc. Is this possible?

Failing that can I convert with specific options? This way I could have a dubbed English version for my kids and an original Japanese version with subs for me/adults.
As an aside, you may want to put the mp4 video files through MetaZ (app) too to give them a real iTunes look.
 

jozeppy26

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2008
499
62
St. Louis
As an aside, you may want to put the mp4 video files through MetaZ (app) too to give them a real iTunes look.
Subler does that too (and better IMO, MetaX or MetaZ has too many annoying bugs. It's like every 5s the developer changes and the project is dropped, such a shame). With Sublet you can actually create the combined SD-HD files for iTunes.
 

opinio

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2013
1,171
4
Subler does that too (and better IMO, MetaX or MetaZ has too many annoying bugs. It's like every 5s the developer changes and the project is dropped, such a shame). With Sublet you can actually create the combined SD-HD files for iTunes.
Yeah, good option. There are many of those Apps, but all of them do make your itunes library look pretty smick, especially in Apple TV if you have it because it shows the graphic, info, actors etc.
 

solomanii

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 6, 2012
63
1
Just did. This seems to do the job just fine. So the new m4v file has subtitles and multiple languages. When playing back in VLC I can easily switch languages and subtitles.

However in Itunes I can easily switch language tracks but I can not turn on subtitles. I tried setting them in preferences but still nothing comes up. So at the moment in Itunes I can either watch it in the original Japanese or dubbed English.

In VLC I can do English, Japanese or Japanese with English subtitles. Want to do that in Itunes if anyone knows how?
Anyone? Thanks.
 

jozeppy26

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2008
499
62
St. Louis
Anyone? Thanks.
Yes in subler you add the following tracks in the following order (track import options appear when you first open a .mkv file with Subler).

1) Video
2) Audio English
3) Audio Japanese
4) English Subtitles
5) Japanese Subtitles
6) Chapter.txt

Now when you play the file you will be presented with audio options, chapter options, and subtitle options in iTunes. (see screenshots below for where to access the features). Again, for the "thought bubble" to appear on the playback controls overlay, you MUST be sure the file extension is .m4v and NOT .mp4. Subler should use .m4v automatically. (you can manually rename it to .m4v as well, however do not try to manually rename .mkv to .m4v).

Now I think this answers your question. Biggest point is DO NOT USE HANDBRAKE TO CONVERT FROM MKV. It's is unnecessary, reduces quality, and wastes disk space. Handbrake is really only good for creating .m4v or .mkv files from DVD's or .AVI files.

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 11.10.46 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 11.10.57 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 11.11.31 AM.png
 

mic j

macrumors 68030
Mar 15, 2012
2,656
148
Handbrake can only burn in VOBSUB (dvd) or PGS (BR) subs when using the mp4 format. That's an mp4 restriction not a Handbrake restriction. The other HB option is to download or create an srt file containing the subtitles and have HB attach it to the mp4 while you are transcoding.

As noted above, if your source is BR then it will most likely use the h.264 codec. If it's dvd it will be mpeg2. If it's downloaded, it could be anything. One thing to consider when just changing containers on a BR source is streaming ability. Because of the high data density, wifi streaming can be problematic.
 

jozeppy26

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2008
499
62
St. Louis
Handbrake can only burn in VOBSUB (dvd) or PGS (BR) subs when using the mp4 format. That's an mp4 restriction not a Handbrake restriction. The other HB option is to download or create an srt file containing the subtitles and have HB attach it to the mp4 while you are transcoding.

As noted above, if your source is BR then it will most likely use the h.264 codec. If it's dvd it will be mpeg2. If it's downloaded, it could be anything. One thing to consider when just changing containers on a BR source is streaming ability. Because of the high data density, wifi streaming can be problematic.
But there is absolutely no need to transcode a H.264 video stream. It's futile.

EDIT: your edited post makes great sense, I hit reply too soon
 

solomanii

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 6, 2012
63
1
Hi,

Tried this but video comes out unplayable and with no audio. Here is what I did. I dragged and dropped the mkv into subler and an import window popped up and then I get this:



I then hit save and it does its business fine and I get an m4v file. However the new file has no audio, time is shown in negatives and has no chapters. If I try and skip forward it stalls:



If I redrop that new m4v file into subler I get this:


Seems stuff is missing and I don't know why?

/mm
 

mic j

macrumors 68030
Mar 15, 2012
2,656
148
Hi,

Tried this but video comes out unplayable and with no audio. Here is what I did. I dragged and dropped the mkv into subler and an import window popped up and then I get this:

Image

I then hit save and it does its business fine and I get an m4v file. However the new file has no audio, time is shown in negatives and has no chapters. If I try and skip forward it stalls:

Image

If I redrop that new m4v file into subler I get this:
Image

Seems stuff is missing and I don't know why?

/mm
Subler does not like the audio track format (codec used). It drops any track that it cannot handle, leaving the rest.

Edit: I checked an mkv of mine and the Dolby Digital 5.1 format is AC3, 6-channel. Yours is A_AAC/MPEG4/SBR, 6-channel. I have never seen an audio track format like yours. No idea what it is or where it came from. So I can't help you there.
 
Last edited:

solomanii

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 6, 2012
63
1
OK found a way around it. Took the files generated by handbrake and ran them through subtler. Could do everything as instructed and all worked fine. Big Thumbs Up for Subler. Thanks all for the advice and lead to this great little app.
 

jozeppy26

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2008
499
62
St. Louis
Subler does not like the audio track format (codec used). It drops any track that it cannot handle, leaving the rest.

Edit: I checked an mkv of mine and the Dolby Digital 5.1 format is AC3, 6-channel. Yours is A_AAC/MPEG4/SBR, 6-channel. I have never seen an audio track format like yours. No idea what it is or where it came from. So I can't help you there.
I was curious about that too. I guess it's the first revision of HE-AAC. Weird that an audio compression system typically used for voice transmissions was used for a video file. It cannot sound all that great. Lol