Soft subtitles issues using Handbrake

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by amro, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. amro macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2008
    I'm trying to add subtitle tracks to my MP4's when converting from an MKV, using Handbrake. Every time I do this, the subtitles are permanent. I want to be able to chose the subtitle during playback (except for the foreign audio scan).

    In Handbrake, I've tried the following:
    1. Foreign Audio Scan: Check Forced Only and Burn In
    2. English [PGS]: Have tried nothing checked and Default checked. No difference.

    I have tried playing this with iTunes, VLC and Windows media. In all cases the subtitle track is permanent and I can't turn it off.

    What am I doing wrong?

    p.s. The MKV was created using MakeMKV from my Blu-ray
  2. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Are you trying to add only forced subtitles or all foreign language tracks and choose between languages?
  3. Rigby, Aug 13, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017

    Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    The MP4 container format only supports text-based subtitles (and EIA 608 closed captions). Blu-rays and DVDs use graphical subtitles (PGS for Blu-ray), which Handbrake can only "burn" into the video. In order to add switchable subtitles, you need text subtitles in SRT format. You can either use an OCR tool to convert the PGS subtitles to SRT (which is laborious, since there are usually many OCR errors that need to be fixed manually), or you can try to find an appropriate SRT file for the Blu-ray release you used on sites like Once you have an SRT file, you can import it in the subtitle section in Handbrake.
  4. amro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2008
    mic j, trying to add all foreign language tracks.

    Rigby, thanks for the explanation. That helps a lot.
  5. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Rigby is right on the mark. The only thing I could add is that I download the srt's (as he suggests) and mux them into the mp4 using Subler, which also allows me to add metadata to the file. Good luck!

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