Newbie converting mkv to mp4

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Doug2507, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Doug2507 macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2012
    Hi Guys,

    1st post on the forum so hello to all!

    I've decided to get an apple tv 3 for watching movies so i can stop using the laptop with hd cable. All movies are stored on a NAS which is hard wired to my router. Plan is to hard wire the tav into the router and all should be good. I'm a heavy downloader though so not sure if this will have an affect on replay whilst downloading?

    Anyway, on topic, i've got the best part of 3TB of mkv's. The majority are x.264 with either dts/ac3, dts/dd5.1, dd5.1, dts hd, dts es6.1. Obviously a fair few of these will have subs as well whether thats hard coded or switchable.

    So, i've got a lot of converting to be done. Preferably batch converting doing a handful at a time. I don't want any drop in video quality and would like to keep the dts audio if possible for future use through a dts hd/dd hd capable receiver in my audio system.

    All will be done on my 2011 mbp which dual boots with windows 7 so which os its done on doesn't make a difference.

    I've read through a few threads but there seems to be loads of suggestions with a lot of them involving a few processes to get to the end product.

    Could someone post a definitive step by step walk through for doing this in the simplest way possible?
  2. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Everybody is experimenting at the moment, do a forum search on Handbrake and you will find plenty of different settings for the new iPad, ATV etc. no definite answer to your question yet...I'm still playing...Swap between file size and quality...:)
  3. Doug2507 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2012
    After a bit more research am i right in thinking i can't retain the DTS audio in a mp4 container?
  4. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    Use iVI or iFlicks, whichever one you find more interesting. I prefer iVI.
  5. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    You can retain it with Handbrake, but iTunes nor the ATV will play it. It is an extension of the standard that most players do not support.
  6. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    May 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    mkv2mp4 will repackage into an mp4 container with no drop in video quality but you will lose the DTS audio.
    It will automatically be converted to AAC.

    - Convert mkv/avi files encoded with h264 to mp4 files without re-encode video stream.
    - Subtitle will be embed as soft subtitle.Only srt is supported for now, srt files need to be put in the same folder with mkv, and use the same name, ex: for aaa.mkv.
    - Support audio format : dts/ac3/mp3, it will be convert to AAC.
    - Convert speed is fast and don't need fast CPU as it only convert audio, video stream will be copy directly.
    - Works on ipad. Subtitle can display properly in Ipad as well.
    - mp4box, mkvextract, beSweet,eac3to,mediainfo are used.
  7. AtomicEdge macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2009
    Following advice from one of the Handbreak Dev's on this forum I have been using a program called subler for getting MKV files to m4v to play on my apple TV.

    It only works if a video file is already uses a h264 codec, which most do. It just changes the container, and it even also downloads the meta data from IMDB or The TV DB.

    I did an hour long 720p video last night and it took about 2 minutes to put it into a m4v that worked on apple TV and my iPad just fine.
  8. Dhelsdon macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2010
    Canadian Eh!
    With hafr's recommendation I've been using iFlicks, they give you a 14 Day trial and when converting it automatically fills out metadata and artwork for you. So far so good!

    I just hope 14 days will be enough!
  9. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I tried this method for a 1080p blu ray mkv. It resulted in a 31GB file. I took forever to load over wifi (n, 5GHz, dual band TC in adjacent room). As a matter of fact, after a couple hours loading, I stopped it because it never got to the point that aTV would start to play. I assumed that that file size was just too much to be streaming wirelessly and would only be feasible with ethernet. Am I wrong in that conclusion? I have transcoded to mp4 with Handbrake and everything streams fine. Handbrake does have a Web Optimized setting which enhances streaming speed.
  10. atandon macrumors member

    Mar 7, 2012
    I like subler which essentially re-wraps your mkv with a mp4 or m4v container

    And if u need to re-encode the video stream (could be to transcode source from say VC-1 to H.264 or maybe re-compress an existsing H.264 stream) then handbrake is your friend.
    Both are pretty reliable
  11. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    I think the only ones who would ever recommend Handbrake or Subler to the OP, claiming he's a newbie that's looking for a painless way of converting a whole bunch of movies into an iTunes friendly format are people who have never tried anything else.

    Handbrake isn't even a viable option for him. iFlicks' two week trial should be enough for him to get the job done, and requires hell of a lot less user interaction than Subler.

    Drag the files into the GUI, double check the meta tags, hit start. Muxed, converted if necessary, meta data added, importation in iTunes, deletion of original files... All automatic. Nothing could be easier.
  12. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    In some ways I agree with you. I tried them both. They are good apps. I just had to ask myself, do you want to pay for a UI for freeware? And do you know that the highest quality settings are currently the best that there are, i.e. Do the app developers incorporate the latest HB improvements (presets)? HB/Subler just aren't that hard to learn. But...if I just wanted to get a big job done, would be satisfied with whatever quality the app spits out, I would probably use iFlicks and the 14 day trial to get it done too. JMHO.
  13. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    lol. Handbrake "isn't a viable option for him ..." . I gotta remember that one.

    To the point, for hb for atv 3 I'd use the hi profile preset. anamorphic strict. A preset will come out soon for it but that will be pretty close ... as in very close. Also turn off detelecine if you want, its not needed in general with the new decomb in hb 0.9.6.
  14. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    Why anamorphic strict?

    BTW, I agree with mic j on the other thread that the recent versions of HB are doing a fantastic job on BD material with the High profile. I too was not so impressed with the results a few years ago, but the results from 0.9.6 are excellent.

    Great job guys
  15. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Well, it is a little harder to use. You suggest basically what I do, the high profile preset. Can I ask why you use anamorphic strict? I haven't been doing that. For a newbie...the detelecine could be ignored as it only kicks in if needed right? Do you modify the audio/subtitle selections? Those settings do add some complexity for a "newbie".
  16. bluewooster macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Hey sorry to interrupt. I am also a newbie having a heck of a time converting my mkvs. If anyone could offer some insight on any of these programs, I'd be really thankful!

    Xmedia recode - produces files that I can stream but no amount of playing around will produce useable subtitles. This is a dealbreaker for me.

    Fastmkv2mp4 - I've downloaded all the accompanying files but it keeps telling me I'm missing a file here or there. Will keep chipping away at it.

    Subler - always quits unexpectedly giving me a file with audio only.

    Iflicks - very slow, I'm using the iTunes option so it shouldn't be recoding but it typically takes an hour per file. This would be ok but it never seems to create a useable file. It remuxes everything then the 40 minute "optimization" then it sats the file "already exists" and doesnt save anything!

    The mkvs are all rips of DVDs and blurays using makemkv. I realize the common denominator here is probably my incompetence but if someone could set me straight on one of these programs, I could at least start making some progress. I don't want to have to go back to the wilderness of xbmc! (my wife hates it there)
  17. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    As far as I know, HB doesn't do video pass thru. This means something that other programs does in a matter of minutes by remuxing the tracks into a new container, HB needs hours to do since it's converting the video - a step that is unnecessary in OP's situation.

    OP is asking for a way to make a ton of .mkv's with ATV friendly video tracks playable in iTunes, he's also saying he doesn't want any drop in video quality.

    HandBrake, if I'm not mistaken, can not pass thru video tracks, but converts them. No matter what settings you use, you WILL have a drop in video quality since it's compressing the video. Also, this step, which is not at all what the OP wants, takes hell of a lot longer than just remuxing the tracks. Not to mention the fact that in order to add files into the queue, you need to manually add each and every file to the queue - no way of adding ten or so files at a time. Bringing existing subtitles isn't really HB's strong suit either.

    Since there are software out there that takes the video tracks as they are and puts them in a new container, a very quick and painless procedure, and adding files to the queue isn't more than just dragging and dropping the files into the GUI, I stick with my earlier statement.

    Or do you have a good argument to why you think a software that compresses the video, which the OP doesn't want, and takes a lot longer than the alternatives that doesn't compress the video, which is what the OP wants, is in fact a viable option?

    The only thing iFlicks does during the optimization part is writing the tracks to a new file, it shouldn't take longer than copying the same file. Am I right in thinking your films are on a NAS? Or at least not locally on the computer you're using iFlicks on?
  18. mudman2 macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Why convert ?

    Use air video server (free) and air video on iPad to play on the fly, then airplay to apple tv, works like a charm from any video format
  19. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    May 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Looks like that program hasn't been updated in over a year.
    You might want to try the one I linked in post #6 above or maybe this one (different program -- same name) here:
  20. jlasoon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    MP4Tools <------------painless easy remixing of MKVs into MP4.
  21. OptyCT macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2008
    After picking up the ATV3 recently, I have converted several .mkv's to .mp4 (1080p). If the .mkv video file is H.264, I remux it using Subler. On my i7 iMac, it takes about 15 minutes. If the video isn't H.264, I convert it using HandBrake. It converts in real-time, that is, a 2-hour movie takes about 2 hours to convert. I use a setting similar to "High Profile" and the converted .mp4 file is about half the size of the .mkv file. Personally, I don't notice a drop in quality. Streams perfectly, too (loads in under 10 seconds, no dropped frames, hiccups, etc.). While I understand that the OP is a "newbie", he would be best served learning to use a program like HandBrake and/or Subler.
  22. Blaquespell macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2012
    The latest iVideo Importer Pro has support for Apple TV 3 and iPad 3rd Generation and it works quite well. It's capable of passing through the video and doing metadata lookups all in one shot. It can also scan a directory for files to convert and load them all up. It's $9.95 and does a super job. There is a trial, but it's limited to 10 conversions I believe.
  23. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    You are correct, HB does not do video pass thru. aTV requires the h264 codec. If the source material uses the h264 codec then you can just change containers (no transcode). If the source material is VC-1, mpeg4, etc it needs to be transcoded to h264. What I have run in to is that most dvd's are mpeg4 and most, but not all, blu rays are h264 (the other chunk usually being VC-1). Please correct me if I am incorrect on that as I would love to just change containers on all my stuff instead of transcode.

    For a few of the blu rays I have that are h264, I have done a container change to mp4. Because of the large file size and lack of header optimization, streaming to the aTV over wifi has been problematic. If you're using ethernet, that problem would be solved.


    +1 (except for my conversion time, but that is really computer dependent)

    Have you had any problem wifi streaming large file blu rays that you did not transcode?
  24. OptyCT macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2008
    No problems, although I have my ATV3 wired via ethernet.
  25. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Correct HB is not a remuxer. As long as the op knows that the video track is h.264 in the source and compatible ... yes, remuxing is faster of course. Now that said .. I have choked my atv 3 sending it raw unencrypted blue ray remuxed via Subler .. so with remuxing ymmv. Also of course wants to put up with a growing library of raw bluray files sizes . But yes, it is correct that HB cannot just remux.
    um, well it does take 3 clicks.
    1. Scan a folder full of source video (choose the parent folder containing them) They will all be scanned into the Title menu in the hb gui.

    2. Go to File > Add All Titles To Queue ...

    3. Hit start.

    Also you can use "Send to Subler" or whatever your tagger is i preferences which means it will automatically go to your tagger after it rolls off the queue. Eliminates a few other steps.

    I am not saying HB is THE answer for the op. However saying HB "isn't a viable option for him ..." seems a bit strong. At any rate its no "skin off my nose" what the op uses. As you guys have already outlined there are many options.

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