List of file formats working on Apple TV

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Revision as of 12:10, 26 July 2007 by Wishbone (talk | contribs) (Video Conversion Software)
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This is just a list of various file formats tested playing natively on the Apple TV (i.e. through Frontrow). The codec sources are noted, if needed. Drop the .component bundle in /Library/QuickTime on the Apple TV.

Note: this page says codecs go into the '/Library/Quicktime' directory, while the Codec Sources page says they go into the '/System/Library/Quicktime' directory

See also: Codec Sources

If you can add to these tables, please do!

Video Codecs

Name Extension Works? Codec Notes
DivX .avi, .divx Yes Perian, OS X Codec Pack Free
720p DivX .avi ?? Perian, OS X Codec Pack For one user, video stutters every 10-15 seconds, audio never skips. Can I get confirmation either way on this? please link to a file as mine plays everything except 1080p
Flash Video .flv Yes Perian Free, video file must load completely before playback
H.264 .mp4, .m4v Yes Included Supports Main Profile with some exceptions: "QuickTime WILL NOT support 8x8 dct and intra prediction, b-pyramids, lossless encoding, etc. As well as anything from the High Profile."
H.264 .mp4, .m4v Yes Perian Supports High Profile. Note: Apple's H.264 decoder (QuickTimeH264.component) must be removed from /System/Library/QuickTime before Perian can take over for H.264. Not as fast with decode speed as Apple's, but supports more features.
MPEG-2 .mpg, .mp2, .vob, .m2v Yes QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback $19.99, does not play transport streams, reports of choppy video
Windows Media .wmv Yes Flip4Mac Free, Unable to play 720p content encoded using VC1 HD profile
XviD .avi Yes Perian, OS X Codec Pack Free

Audio Codecs

Name Extension Works? Codec Notes
AAC .m4a Yes Included Should play right out of the box
MPEG Layer-3 .mp3 Yes Included Should play right out of the box
Dolby AC3 .ac3 Yes A52codec Free, read the readme for install instructions (also included with OS X Codec Pack)
DTS .wav Yes Included Should play right out of the box


Name Extension Works? Codec Notes
Matroska .mkv, .mka Yes MatroskaQT, Perian Reportedly not very usable
Ogg Vorbis, Theora .ogg, .ogm Yes XiphQT Reportedly working

Request: Could someone please post a link to a compiled copy of the SVN of Perian. I tried grabbing the source, and compiling it but am getting a bunch of errors (this is on a PowerPC OS X 10.4.9 box)

NOTE This build is not supported by the Perian project in any way. If it causes your apple tv to explode, they will not replace your apple tv.

Perian built from trunk has been uploaded here. It has been tested on an Intel MacMini but not on an AppleTV. Two tiny hacks had to be done to compile, but I was able to watch two MKV files with no trouble.

NOTE Perian from trunk (as of 2007-04-20) does not work entirely on the AppleTV. It plays audio and subtitles (if available), but no video on any of a dozen test cases. Very likely that /something else/ needs to be added / modified before Perian will work with Matroska files on the AppleTV.

UPDATE VLC can play Matroska files on the AppleTV, *but* it is evident that the hardware cannot handle high bitrate files. It plays 480p decently (some skips), but 720p is unwatchable and 1080p will never get past the first frame. The VLC console will simply spit out a bunch of warnings:

[00000347] ffmpeg decoder error: more than 5 seconds of late video -> dropping frame (computer too slow ?)

Video Conversion Software

Software that is known to work with converting divx, avi, and other formats to m4v or mp4 which can be used natively out of the box.

Program Vendor Supported Source Formats Cost Platform Link Notes
Video To AppleTV Converter Wondershare AVI, DivX, FLV, ASF, MOV, MPEG, RM, WMV $24.95 Windows WonderShare works well, you can test it but will need to purchase for it to be regularly useable
Handbrake DVD Video Free (GPL) Mac OS X, Windows, Linux HandBrake For best results, follow a guide like this
VisualHUB Techspansion Just about anything $23.32 OS X Trial Very easy, can use trial to convert a sample and use ffmpeg command from log for free
TubeSock Stinkbot YouTube, DailyMotion, Porkolt videos $15 OS X TubeSock Simple to use. Automatically adds videos to iTunes for syncing. Free trial can convert videos up to 30 seconds in length.
QuickTime Pro Apple Anything QT can open $29.99 OS X or Windows Easy, but slow and not many options.
Elgato Turbo.264 Elgato Anything QT can open $99.95 OS X Turbo.264 Easy and really fast. Review

Tutorials for several Encoding-GUIs and recommended encoder settings which work with Apple TV: Load DVD on AppleTV