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How to Stream and Play MKV files via Apple TV 4/3/2

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A number of HD videos downloaded from the internet are wrapped up in MKV container and you can play them on Mac using a media player like VLC, or Quicktime with Perian plugin. However, sometimes you will find a painful exprience playing MKV files on your Apple TV. Does Apple TV support MKV videos? Is there possible solutions to fix the problem. If you're facing the similiar problems, read on for details. This tutorial will explain how you can enable Apple TV to read MKV files, so that you can stream and play MKV files on Apple TV without issues.

In general, MKV means Matroska which is a container format (like .mp4, .m4v, .avi or .mov) that can hold video, audio and subtitle streams. According to the Apple's official site, the files with the file extension .mkv are not supported by Apple TV. If you have some MKV files (for instance on your NAS, USB stick or external Hard drive), you need to find a "workaround" to watch them on your TV. Depending on your source file (and/or your hardware), there are several ways how to get your MKV video working with Apple TV:

* Remuxe the video file so that it's compatible with the Apple TV
* Transcode / Re-encode the MKV file (that means converting it)
* Play the MKV file on a Mac and use AirPlay Mirroring

Remuxing the MKV video

In most cases, the container format (.mkv) is the problem, not the video and audio stream inside. Then remuxing helps. It's means that you don't touch the video and audio streams. You just put an exact copy of them into a new container which is supported by Apple TV.

This works for all videos, that have compatible streams inside that are encoded for instance with H.264 and AAC.

For remuxing use a software like Subler. Open the .mkv file, select the streams and pass them through to a .m4v file. This doesn't too long because it's just "copying files". You should prefer remuxing to transcoding because you leave the streams untouched and avoid losing quality.

Transcoding / Re-encoding of your MKV video

If the video or audio stream in your MKV file isn't supported by Apple TV, you have to re-encode it. This means converting the streams to a different codec, bitrate or resolution and save it in a compatible container file format (like .m4v). This is time-consuming and could cause a loss in quality.

An open source software for re-encoding is Handbrake. Open the file, select an Apple TV preset and let Handbrake create an new video file.

Tip: If you are seeking for the best video output quality, fastest video conversion speed, and the most formats supported, EaseFab Video Converter Ultimate ( Mac version ) will your best choice. The program supports converting all media files including MKV, VOB, AVI, FLV, MP4, etc. as well as DVD/Blu-ray discs to Apple TV compatible formats. What's more, the program has optimized presets for Apple TV, iPad, iPhone and many more. No manual video settings are required. All Apple devices are supported, including iPad Pro, the New iPad, iPad with Retina display, iPhone 6S, iPod touch 5, etc.

AirPlay Mirroring

A nice and easy way, if you have a modern Mac, is AirPlay Mirroring. Basically, this means that you play the video with your Mac (for instance with VLC) and just mirror your display to the Apple TV.

The big advantage is that you can instantly start watching your video.

Editor's Note: Sometimes, you will still encounter problems when mirroring your MKV videos from iOS Device or Mac to your TV by using an Apple TV when using AirPlay. In this case, you can try to convert your MKV videos to Apple TV compatible video format.