problems playing 720p mkv file

I have a movie that is in 720p in mkv format.

This plays in NitroTV, but I experinence glitches such as skipping (the playback isn’t smooth as it should be). The file will play in Sapphire, but with large “macroblocks” and smudges in the picture (the sound is just fine, but the video is all messed up). Keep in mind that this is from an external 1 TB USB hard drive.

The same file plays PERFECTLY on my laptop.

Anyone know what might be the cause? Is this a universal problem with 720p files? Or mkv files?

Can anyone help me, please?

This is a generic issue with high bitrate 720p files and AppleTV, yes.

AppleTV is only powerful enough to do low bitrate 720p in standard setup. To be able to do high bitrate 720p and 1080p you need the Broadcom CrystalHD card. Please keep in mind, the CrystalHD card will replace the wireless card in AppleTV, but since you cannot stream 1080p reliable over wireless anyway, I do not see it as a loss.

The CrystalHD card comes in 2 versions. The BCM70015 does MPEG-4 ASP (XviD/DivX) where the BCM70012 does not. However both XviD and DivX are easly handled by the CPU software decode under the AppleTV. The BCM70015 is 1/2 the length of the BCM70012 and requires less power.
Support for the BCM70015 is rolling in to OSX/Linux driver/lib, see the commit log for crystalhd-for-osx at googlecode. Of course the BCM70015 will be supported by XBMC. The lib API is identical.

The ebay BCM70012 cards were old layout and ebay sellers appear to have exhausted their source for the older card. It was never clear where they obtained them as they were never sold unbundled. New layout BCM70012 cards are available from (USA only).
The BCM70015 should appear unbundled in Q2-Q3 of 2010. I think they are already being sold bundled with various netbooks.

If you intend to order, LogicSupply is offering a $10 discount for XBMC users, use “XBMC10” as the discount code when purchasing.

Thanks again for all your help.

Is there a work around other than putting in that HD card?

Would it be possible to convert the mkv file to some other format at perhaps a lower resolution and make it work without skipping/glitches?

Handbrake has a setting/template for the highest bitstream for 720p the AppleTV can handle. If you have the time, you can always re-encode using that.

If you run Ubuntu-Linux, there is a Repo here for Handbrake in the PPAs:

Just run these commands:
To add the repo:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:handbrake-ubuntu/ppa

To install with GUI:
sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk

To install with CLI only:
sudo apt-get install handbrake-cli

Software that may help you a lot on video conversions is Pavtube Video Converter for Mac, which can easily convert video files to apple TV on Mac without losing quality and support 5.1 channel well.

clicking the drop-down list of “Format” to select an Apple TV workable format.

I usually choose Apple TV h.264 AC3 1280*720

software info:

Download free trial version and have a try. There is no function or time limitation so you can make full use of it.

I don’t have a Mac :wink:

But handbrake is available for Mac, Linux and Windoze…

sorry,i found i made a mistake.It’s AAC,not AC3.

new aTVFlash user here, same issue with 720p MKV. I guess I’m not seeing the value of aTVFlash if I have to run my files through an encoding process (QT Pro, HandBrake). I mean, I can do that without aTVFlash, right? This is for files that are residing on the ATV, not files that are being streamed.

OK, did a bit (heh) of research, and no, mkv files larger than 480p, in general, will not play well on an ATV. Hoping that may change in the future, meanwhile, back to encoding via QuickTime Pro (Handbrake also works but the quality is better with QT).

…or you needa Broadcom card, see above.

Hi Odinb.


How do you get this Broadcom card to work in an Aplle TV?

I'm still having problems playing a MKV file with Media Player (XBMC also crashes but my laptop plays it without any glitch). I've encoded the file twice using Handbrake - first time using Apple TV 2 setup (m4v file); and the second time using the Universal format, which made the file almost half the size (from 450MB to 250MB).

None of these files, even after re-encoding with Handbrake worked. Every time I get the message that the Apple TV is low on memory.

The whole reason I bought the Apple TV and installed ATV Flash was to avoid using the laptop to watch videos and films. I store everything on my NAS external drive, and am finding it frustrating that this type of file doesn't work.

For information, AVI files play very well. Many thanks

I had the Same problem with apple tv1. Went to apple tv settings>audio&video> and turned off Dolby digital out. Seems to have worked. I did not have to add the BCM70015 video card.-- this was done in boxee. I also put the video settings to 1080p.

Nothing changed with these settings.  :frowning:

How about try to do converting with 3-rd party software, such as I use handbrake and ifunia video converter to convert the videos and DVDs, and make my Apple tv can play any formats, being a home media centre for my family! 

I had used handbrake to convert it and still no way for it to work…

Not to worry though, MKV file can make light work of to be played on an Apple TV. You just need to download a codec or converter that supports converting and formatting the MKV video while preserving the high definition of which. Check out How to Play MKV on Apple TV