1080P .MKV playable?

I’m trying to play .MKV 1080P files with XBMC or the media player on my Apple TV 2 but it keeps buffering and stutters. I know it only shows 720P but I just want to select a 1080P .MKV because most of the .MKV’s I download are 1080P.

Where is the problem? Is my PC to slow? Bad WiFi connection? The hardware of the XBMC?

I play 1080p .mkv videos OK - but then I am using a wired connection rather than WiFi, so I suspect your issue is the WiFi Network being too slow.

Is there any way so I can make my WiFi faster? Don’t want an ugly cable through my room  :confused:

Numerous 3rd party tests have shown that no current home wireless router technology can effectively stream 1080p video via wireless.  Until that technology is perfected, Ethernet is where its at.


That’s not true… I’m able to stream 1080p x264 .mkv files from my ubuntu media server over gigabit ethernet to my Airport Extreme… and then over WiFi at least 60 feet to one of my AppleTV 2’s running ATV Flash. It works just fine and doesn’t even stop to buffer midstream. These files are in the 3-6GB per hour range.

Just doing basic math of how much bandwidth wireless N puts out, and how much is required to stream a 6GB/per hour video will show you that it can be done just fine.

Since you’re rebuffing my comment with your own personal experience, I’ll do the same, to demonstrate that WiFi isn’t yet as reliable as Ethernet:  I have personally tried three different best-in-class consumer N routers (Cisco E4200, Netgear 600, and D-Link 825), attempting to stream 1080p MKV and MP4 videos to my AppleTV 2 via the Media Player, within 50 feet line-of-site of the router.  All three routers demonstrated issues (stuttering, slow buffering times, slow reactions to key presses), whereas connecting via Ethernet they all were fine.  Btw, SmallNetBuilder has run numerous tests lately, to see how the latest three-stream routers with three-stream clients handle streaming of 1080p media, and you can see the various issues, summed up in the title:  http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/multimedia-voip/multimedia-voip-features/31416-three-stream-n-for-hd-streaming-close-but-no-cigar

So I still stand by my original comment: for problematic-free streaming of HD video, Ethernet is always better than WiFi.  And given my fellow network engineers at Cisco always remind me of such, I’m certainly not alone in such thinking.  :wink:

Well of course ethernt is better… I was never suggesting it wasn’t. Wired is always better than WiFi as far as bandwidth is concerned and you’d have to be a fool to suggest otherwise…

But I wanted to make sure that everyone knew that it is most certainly not impossible to work just fine. As I am to stream large 1080p videos between my Airport Extreme and AppleTV 2 without a single case of buffering mid stream. Your previous comment suggested that WiFi was inadequate to stream 1080p… and I’m merely stating that it most certainly can be done. And not only that… but it can be done with a less than outstanding quality router (Airport Extreme 4th gen in my case). Will most people still have issues? Well your evidence suggests that yes they will… but that doesn’t mean everyone will.

Now I’d like to ask you… what were these people or engineers testing with to play the media? I ask because I’ve personally experienced stuttering and buffering with XBMC on the exact same hardware that I receive perfect results with ATV Flash media player. That leads me to expect that it’s more than just hardware, and that software matters too. In the link you provided, would it be impossible to blame the Acer Aspire, Windows or Quicktime? It all depends on how this hardware/software buffers and plays media… and with the proper combination, it will work just fine.

I think your points are valid – let me be more specific on my point.  I wasn’t trying to take this thread down the path of “wired is better than wireless” (duh)… rather, if I understand your position correctly, you believe wireless is adequate for steaming 1080p (depending on the situation), whereas my main contention is that wireless isn’t consistently dependable (yet) to properly handle streaming large 1080p files (which is the same position of SmallNetBuilder and many of us at Cisco who make these products).  When I recommend a setup for my friends and family who I help out, I try to provide something that is consistently dependable, for I prefer to avoid having to debug their various setups.

For example, would your setup stream the following movie, without stuttering?  I’m willing to bet it will be problematic, given the file size.  Give it a shot, and let us know your findings… 


Well considering I’m able to stream 1080p video just fine over Wireless N… that means it is adequate. There’s no argument to be had there… if it can be done, that is the very definition of being adequate.

However, your point of it not being consistently dependable is obviously true considering so many people have issues with it. Which to that I suggest trying different hardware and software until you get it right. Like I said, XBMC on my AppleTV can not go through a whole 1080p video without having to buffer, where as the ATV Flash media player can. I’m very grateful to have found ATV Flash for that because I didn’t want to have to run an ethernet cable through the walls and ceiling in a house I’m not even going to be in for much longer.

I definitely agree with you though… if you’re recommending a setup to someone, you want to recommend something that they will have no possible issues with… because otherwise it’s you that’s going to be fixing it for them.

As far as your movie download suggestion… That’s only 7.7GB for a 106 minute movie. I already said in a previous comment that I’ve played movies that are 5-6GB per hour without an ounce of stuttering or buffering. For instance, I’ve played this file with absolutely no stuttering over WiFi - http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6664119/The.Lord.Of.The.Rings.The.Two.Towers.2002.EE.1080p.BluRay.x264-S

Let me just show you a bit of math that will show you that no one should be having issues with 1080p over WiFi (keep in mind I fully understand the people are having issues with it… but they shouldn’t).

 That copy of LOTR is 16.4GB for 222 minutes of video. That comes down to being 1.231MB per second. Your basic Wireless N should be able to give you around 5-8MB per second tops. But let’s just err on the low side and say 3MB per second. Streaming that video I just posted doesn’t even saturate half of your bandwidth!

I’m sitting over 60-70 feet and through 3 walls from my router right now and I can get up/down speeds of 5-6MB/s without breaking a sweat. And people are telling me they can’t stream a 1080p movie that isn’t even over a MB per second? Come on man… something is wrong with their setup somewhere. The math tells it all…

The biggest issue here is that people can’t just say 1080p without also providing a bitrate or file size. I mean you can find 1080p rips at 700mb on torrent sites… obviously no one’s going to be having an issue with those. But when it actually comes down to it, the only thing that matters is MB/s. How many megabytes per second are you trying to stream… and decent Wireless N network should be able to handle 2-3MB/s… which is bigger than the O’ Brother Where Art Thou movie you posted (which is about 1.21MB/s I think… surprisingly close to the LOTR file size!).

Yeah, I think it’s tough to identify the culprit all the time.  The only thing I’m sure of, is that larger file size is more likely to be problematic on wireless (which I’ve personally experienced even when serving off my new Synology box and using the latest two-stream N routers)… and the other issue that SmallNetBuilder observed in their tests, is that fast action scenes can also be a detriment to a stutter-free experience, as bandwidth requirements spike at those moments beyond the average MB / per second. 

Hardware configs, software configs, network configs, RF interference from wall construction and other RF technology, competing traffic from other IP devices, the list goes on & on… just too many variables to nail it down to one culprit. 

When I get back home from my business travel, I’ll try the O Brother movie on a 5th gen Airport Extreme with my Synology box, just for kicks.

Hmm, I always have problem on playing MKV 1080p videos, and have to convert the videos with iFunia MKV converter for me.  I think we will have to wait a while before we see a 1080p Apple TV. Official specs list AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV support at 720p and Video mirroring and video out support at up to 1080p with Apple Digital AV Adapter or Apple VGA Adapter.

headcase is right … it’s pseudo-1080P … I’m still upset that Airport Extreme still can’t push MTU over 1500 … I Would suggest looking for a large frame router to solve your buffering issue and also check all your cables and switches on your local network to make sure that you have a minimum of 1 Gigabit switches and 5 (preferably 5e or 6) cables through your whole network. Downgrading even one cable or switch on your network will downgrade the speed of your content streaming .

PanGia Solutions, LLC


Pseudo-1080p? What are you talking about here?

Also, while yes… having gigabit ethernet through out your house is wonderful… for streaming 1080p content even just 100mbit ethernet is MORE than enough. You’re not doing someone a service by getting them to upgrade infrastructure that is already capable of performing their task at hand. Downgrading from gigabit to 100mbit would absolutely NOT affect simple streaming of even the largest 1080p movie.

If someone has 10mbit, yea I’d suggest they upgrade, and while they’re at it, future-proof it with gigabit or better. But if someone has 100mbit going… they don’t need to spend the money right now.


maybe, you can help me!

I`ve got a few Blu Ray Discs I want to be stream, using ATV2. I know, ATV doesn’t support BluRay quality, so I have to convert them to 720…
I’ve found a lot of converters for my mac, but I don’t know which ones the best!

Do you have any hints?


I would suggest following this guide here http://macenstein.com/default/2011/02/how-to-rip-a-blu-ray-movie-on-the-mac/

Those applications are your best bet for quality rips.


Do you know if its possible to stream 3D Content to the ATV2 ? 

That’s an area I’ve never ventured into… however I guarantee there are people on this forum that know and/or have tried. I’d suggest searching the forum a bit for info on 3D and if you can’t find anything try making a new post. Keep in mind there are many different variants of “3D” technology. Some requiring a special 3D TV/monitor and some not.

YOu can certainly stream the type of 3D that needs coloured glases to view it correctly.   I did this recently with a copy of Avatar that was encoded like that.

thx for your quick replies!

I am using a 50" Panasonic plasma 3d TV with 3d shutter glasses… I will take a search!


With regard to the statement that no wi-fi is capable of handling 1080p files, based on personal experience, that is not correct. I believe headcase’s problem is the Apple TV 2. I have been troubled by continual buffering on Apple TV 2 (using XBMC), especially on, but not limited to, 1080p files. When I play the same files direct to my Samsung TV using Plex, they play flawlessly. I think many of the ATV2s exhibit some kind of defect that caps, and/or gradually slows down, the wireless speeds. In any case, even though 1080p files play fine wirelessly from hard drive to Samsung TV, I’m going to upgrade to a hard-wired nettop box. Overall, I think it is a more reliable way of delivering content to the tube.