3 Solutions on MKV Not Playing on Apple TV 4/3/2/1

No matter whether you download your favorite videos from the Internet or you get a copy from your buddy, there are chances that the videos you get are in MKV format. MKV can be played on TV, VLC, Kodi, Plex, Chromecast, 8K Player for Mac, etc. but if you wish to enjoy your MKV movies and videos through Apple TV (the latest Apple TV 4 included), you'll be disappointed since MKV is not one of Apple TV supported formats. No worry, this article will show you 3 possible solutions to solve MKV playback issues on Apple TV 4/3/2/1 depending on your source file (and/or your hardware).

Play MKV on Apple TV (4)

Solution 1. Transcode / Re-encode MKV file to Apple TV supported format

Solution 2. Play MKV on a Mac and mirror to Apple TV using AirPlay Mirroring

Solution 3. Remuxe MKV video to be compatible with Apple TV

Solution 1. Transcode / Re-encode MKV file to Apple TV supported format

There is nothing eye catching as enjoying a high definition video via Apple TV on big screen TV with family and friends in the comfort of your home. Here the an easy workaround to get your MKV video working with Apple TV effortlessly is to change the format from MKV to Apple TV friendly format, like MP4, MOV or M4V. There are a long list of converter programs available and one of the best names in this category is Dimo Video Converter Ultimate for Mac. This professional software does everything that you may need to enjoy your favorite videos on different devices. The converter is capable of converting videos to virtually any possible format without any loss of quality. The conversion takes place at high speed and includes all latest and high-end formats including 4K and VR videos.

In addition to specific formats, this Mac video converter is also capable of converting videos that are compatible with specific devices like iPhone, Samsung, Apple TV, HTC, LG, and others. Thus using this amazing converter, you can easily convert MKV file format that is compatible with Apple TV and flawlessly enjoy your favorite videos via Mac (OS Sierra included). If you're using a Windows PC, simply turn to Dimo Video Converter Ultimate, which allows you to encode MKV to Apple TV in Windows (including Windows 8/8.1/10). Now download the right version and follow the tips below to encode SD/HD/4K MKV to Apple TV (4) for playback on Mac or Windows step-by-step. 

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Part One: Step by Step instructions to convert MKV to Samsung TV compatible format

Apple TV supported format

Step 1. Import MKV videos

Install and launch the MKV Converter for ATV, and click "Add File > Add multi-files" or "Add File > Add Folder" button to load your MKV files. Then the uploaded files will appear as thumbnails on the software interface. The software supports batch conversion so that you can add several MKV files to convert at one time. You can also download and add Internet torrents movies to Apple TV (4). 

Step 2. Select Apple TV compatible format

Click on the dropdown menu of "Select Format" to open drop down menu. Click "Device > Apple". The Apple TV 4/3/2/1 output format is optimized to contain best settings and ATV MKV codec for playback process. Then you can set the output folder by clicking "..." icon as you need.

Apple TV format settings

Step 3: Adjust audio and video parameters 

Click the "Settings" icon and you will go into a new interface named "Profile Settings". You can adjust codec, aspect ratio, bit rate, frame rate, sample rate and audio channel in the interface according to your needs and optimize the output file quality.

You can take the following adjustment as your reference:

  • Video-codec: H.264, Resolution: 1920*1080, Frame Rate: 24 fps, Bit rate: higher value
  • Audio-codec: AAC, Channel: 2 Channels stereo, Sample Rate: 44100Hz, Bit Rate: higher value

To get AC3 5.1 auido files, you can set audio codec to AC3 and change audio channels to 5.1 Channels.

Step 4. Start converting MKV to Apple TV (4)

Next click the "Start" button at the bottom right corner to initiate the MKV to Apple TV conversion. After conversion, get converted video files for transferring to ATV 4 from Mac/Windows. In this way, you can get MKV files playable on Apple TV (4) without problems.

Part Two: How to play converted MKV on Apple TV (4) smoothly

Method 1 – AirPlay Video from Mac to Apple TV with iTunes

1. Upgrade iTunes to the latest version since AirPlay requires iTunes version 10.2 or later. Usually a update message will pop up when you open the iTunes, just click "Download iTunes" icon. Or you can click Help -> Check for upates under the iTunes menu. 

2. Connect Apple TV to big screen and check the update, and turn on airplay in setting. 

3. Make sure Apple TV and Mac under the same network. 

4. Open iTunes, locate and click AirPlay icon. Select the device you want to stream based on different multimedia. If you want to stream photos or videos, choose Apple TV. While if you want to stream music, you may need AirPort Express to control those speakers or receivers. What's the best is your speakers and receivers are AirPlay-enabled. 

5. Then the contents in iTunes will show on TV directly. And iTunes will become the control panel. 

Method 2 – AirPlay Mirroring Video from Mac to Apple TV 

Cause airplay supports only several main media formats, to mirror everything in Mac to big screen directly via Apple TV, just turn to AirPlay mirroring. 


AirPlay mirroring is only available when you upgrade the devices to latest version: Apple TV should be 2nd generation or later with software update v5.0 or later and Mac OS should update to OS X Mountain Lion or later 

AirPlay mirroring button will show on Mac menu bar automatically if your Mac supports this function and under the same network. Click it to choose the device you want to mirror. 

It supports to optimize image quality by using resolution matching model. 2 options for you: match desktop size to Apple TV or this Mac depends on your requirements. 

Solution 2. Play MKV on a Mac and mirror to Apple TV using AirPlay Mirroring

To successfully enable ATV 4 to read MKV files, there is a nice and easy way if you have a modern Mac, that 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. 

Solution 3. Remuxe MKV video to be compatible with Apple TV

Considering the above Apple TV not playing MKV playback issue, another solution is to remux MKV file format to Apple TV compatible ones. 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 for Apple TV

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, Dimo Video Converter Ultimate for Mac will your top alternative tool to Handbrake. 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, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2, iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPod touch 5, etc. 

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 or remuxing MKV to ATV with Handbrake. In this case, this first solution maybe your ultimate choice. Hope this article will bring some new multimedia life to your Apple TV (4).


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