What can I do with apple TV?

Discussion in 'Video Streaming Boxes & Services' started by Bazmondo1, Dec 29, 2011.

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  1. Bazmondo1

    Bazmondo1
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    Hi

    I just got an apple tv to replace my wdtv player. I know the atv only plays 720p which is fine for me as my tv is only 37" so 720p looks fine. I have a few questions that i have tried to get to the bottom of but so far no joy:

    1. My ipad2 is jailbroken on 4.3. Do i have to update it to ios5 to get the
    mirroring to work? And is it worth upadating and losing the jailbreak.
    2. Most of my films on the wdtv are mkv 720p AC3. What is the best way to
    get these into itunes? Do i need to convert them to what format to retain
    the best quality?
    3. I read i just need to remux them (whatever that is?) and/or put them in a
    different container (whatever that is?)
    4. If i install xmbc will i lose the ability to stream from itunes?
    5. Does xmbc override the atv gui which i kind of like.

    Please can anyone help as very confused at the moment ;)

    Many thanks

    Baz
     
  2. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    1. I think so, but I don't have an iPad so not 100% sure

    2. As standard, ATV plays 720p video files, with h.264 video and AC3 (dolby digital) audio codecs, in an mp4 (m4v) container. So if you wanted to use the files you have, that conform to these standards, then yes, all you need to do is repackage them to mp4/m4v for them to be compatible with iTunes and the ATV in standard form. iTunes won't read the ac3 surround audio tracks, but the ATV will

    3. You don't say what OS you are using (windows or mac) but there are tools to remux/repackage mkv files that have h264 and ac3 audio into m4v files. On Mac, MKVtools does a great job of this - just select the MP4 tab, set both the video stream and audio stream to passthrough (it will tell you if either stream is not compatible by highlighting them in red - if so you just select a different codec to transcode to) and away it goes. If both streams are compatible, the process is done in only a few mins, leaving you with a .m4v file to use in iTunes. Other options, for files with incompatible video and audio codecs, include Handbrake which does an excellent job of converting, and compressing should you wish, using the Preset options.

    4. No - The ATV remains as-was with XBMC being an addition

    5. No - The ATV remains as-was with XBMC showing as a menu option to select and run. You can exit XBMC at any time and return to the stock ATV interface without rebooting. It's just an app.
     
  3. Bazmondo1

    Bazmondo1
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    Thanks Matt for coming back so quickly with great answers ;)

    By the way I am using windows 7 so can i still use mktools?

    think i will install xmbc so assume i will have to jailbreak the atv?

    cheers again

    Baz
     
  4. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    I think MKVTools is Mac/Linux only, but there are others available for Windows, someone else will be able to advise on

    Yes, you'll need to jailbreak to install XBMC. The benefits of XBMC is firstly that it's a media player front end; library view etc. Secondly it plays a lot more file types (containers) and codecs as standard than the far more restrictive ATV stock iOS, and thirdly, it's allows you to stream movies and music from a NAS without the need for having a computer on and running iTunes.

    But, you need to bear in mind that the ATV2 can only handle 720p MKV/MP4 files with the x264 video codec, as there is only hardware acceleration for x264. 720p xvid/divx (usually AVI containers) will struggle badly, and will need to be very low bitrate (which more or less defeats the purpose of them being 720p res)

    The first generation ATV (larger silver one with internal HDD) got round this by removing the wifi card (meaning it's LAN only) and replacing with a Broadcom CrystalHD video card - which is what I did to mine and it was night and day difference - I've had it playing 1080p, 10-12Mbps video files without even flinching, so it blasts through AVC/x264 ac3/DTS 720p video files like it's not even trying.
     
  5. Bazmondo1

    Bazmondo1
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    Thanks again Matt.

    Can anyone recomend a good windows program for converting mkv to mp4 (m4v) ?

    I think most of my movies are h.264 is that the same as x264?

    Geeez why does it have to be so complicated and fiddly ;)!!

    right will have a go at jailbreaking the atv and installing xmbc. which will hopefully run my mkv files straight away.

    dont know how to create a nas but assume if my pc is on which it always is, then xmbc will find my films in a specified folder?

    cheers
    Baz
     
  6. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    h.264 is the name of the codec - x264 is a free software library for encoding video streams into the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format. It is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License. It's basically the same thing ;)

    If most of your movies have the right video and audio codecs for ATV (h264/AVC video and AAC/AC3 audio) then all they need is repackaging into MP4 (m4V containers) - and I *think* mkvtoolnix and mkv2vob can do this
     
  7. Bazmondo1

    Bazmondo1
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    Ooohh i mite be lucky andnnot have to convert just Repack ;)

    Will check out mkvtoolnix and mkv2vob and see whats what

    Cheers for your help Matt much appreciated.
     
  8. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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  9. instigator

    instigator
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    Sometimes just changing the file name ending is all it takes...

    Handbrake is the easiest way to convert mkv files to iTunes and appletv format...

    There is even an appletv 2 setting that does ac3 5.1 surround passthrough....

    And you can cue up a bunch of files to encode overnight... It rocks...

    FYI appletv 2 will play 1080p files if you want to rip them at that resolution... It just down converts them on appletv to output 720p... I ripped my blu rays at 1080p in the early days as I thought it would save time ripping them again when appletv 3 came out but I tested the 720p files on a giant screen and on my small 32" screen and couldn't tell a difference between files... But what made a huge difference was bumping up the quality in handbrake from 20 to 19 or 18...
     
  10. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    Manually changing the file extension isn't really advised. Different containers (.mkv, .mp4, .avi, etc) use different structures within, so just because the extension has been changed, doesn't mean the player will be able to read it. For example, a .mkv file might contain a h264 video track and an ac3 audio track - both of which Apple TV can work with. But apple TV cannot work with the container structure of mkv. Changing that to .mp4 or .m4v makes sense logically; the file type is right, the video and audio codecs both right, resolution, bit rate, etc etc, but when it comes to play it, the Apple TV won't be able to read the non standard mp4/m4v container structure. Hence the need for repack/remux apps.

    Now, XBMC rarely, if ever, has this problem. It's much akin to VLC like that; it reads a lot of structure, codecs, file extensions, etc, so it rarely has a problem "decoding" them to play. Apple stuff is a lot more tightly locked down. I've had plenty of video files that have played fine on my MacBook, in both iTunes and in VLC, or QuickTime, and have worked no problem in XBMC on my ATV, but they won't sync and/or won't play on the ATV in standard form. Often a repack works fine, but even then I've have ones that simply won't work until they've been completely recoded in Handbrake...
     
  11. instigator

    instigator
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    There are some instances where simply changing the extension will work... I can't recall the types but I know there are some files that it does work... Here is one example but there are others more specific to original posters query...

    http://www.fileinfo.com/extension/m4v

    I think for other file types one just needs to process the audio file which takes less time... But for me, as I'm ripping my collection from disc I just use handbrake to do everything...

    If you feel like hassling with the details of this stuff it could save you time but I'd just leave it for the computer and handbrake to do it...
     
  12. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    I didn't say in all cases it doesn't work, I said generally. M4V is just apple's "tag" for MP4 files, so 99% of these will work. But generally, MKV to MP4/M4V, or AVI to MOV, or AVI to MKV, and so one, won't.
     
  13. bpsmith

    bpsmith
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    I have just been converting some TV stuff for ATV and iThing compatibility. Everything works fine using m4v, as expected, but tried adding some to my USB drive to use in another room from the drive connected direct to a Sammy LED TV and it doesn't even see the files being in each folder.

    The answer was to manually change from m4v to mp4 on the drive itself and suddenly all plays fine without any problems!

    Definite cross compatibility between those extensions. Shame mkv wasn't quite so easy!
     
  14. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    Yes, as said, m4v is mp4, but with apples own file extension on it. So the container structure is going to be the same. But MKV, mov, avi, etc etc aren't.

    Same as m4r is AAC in an MP4 file format - but Apple gave it the m4r extension to identify it as a ringtone for iDevices. You can take any AAC audio file and change the extension to m4r so that iTunes and iDevices treat it as a ringtone, but it's still an AAC file. What you can't do is take an AAC file and change the extension to MP3 and expect it to still work universally
     
  15. Bazmondo

    Bazmondo
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    For anyone with the same problem....


    I tried various programs such as handbrake, quick time, subler, and a good few others and the ones above but could not get them to work (obviuosly me)

    One program that done the business for me was mediacoder, easy no need to adjust anything and wholla now converting all my mkv's to apple playable m4v's

    I have jailbroken the aplle tv with seasonpass now just got to work out how to install xmbc!!!

    any ideas welcome?

    cheers
    Baz
     
  16. Bazmondo

    Bazmondo
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    mmmmm....getting nowhere fast with trying to install xmbc.

    all the guides just say open 'terminal' and ssh your apple tv!!!

    what the heck is that, is it a mac thing??

    I have installed 'putty' but not sure/afraid to start messing with it.

    I watched a vid on youtube and some guy had jailbroken with greenpoison and had cydia on the atv which was just installing everything automatically.

    Can i get cydia on my seasonpass jailboken atv?

    cheers
    Baz

    ps... getting there ;)
     
  17. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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