MKV files ?

ykno

New Member
Just to add my findings on playing mkv files in case it helps anyone. I appreciate some of this has been said already. I should point out I have just the basic HD-Fox box not the HDR model but I don't think that matters.

I think the box has problems with the headers of some mkv files. If you open the files with mkvinfo, which comes with mkvtoolnix, you can see the information in the headers in more detail. All the files I have that won't play are like this:
abWeW.png


Files missing this extra data work fine:
G0Ium.png


I'm not sure if the problem is this data itself, or just that files with this data present have some other issue that stops the box playing them. Originally I was sorting this by remuxing the problem files with an older version of mkvmerge (v2.6.0). mkclean mentioned above works fine (thanks Rich_A) and is a bit faster. Of course if you're remuxing you could just make .ts or .mp4 files as has also been mentioned.

I think having header compression in the files is also a problem, remuxing or mkclean should fix this. If you're using mkvmerge with some versions you can/should set the header compression to "none" for each track in the file.

The audio format in the files matters as well, out of the ones I've tried:
AC3 always works fine (including 5.1)
AAC works at least some of the time
DTS will not play (you get an error message and no sound)

If you have files with the wrong audio format you can convert to AC3 with this program and retain 5.1 sound if you want to, as well. For files with multiple audio tracks (e.g. an extra commentary track) the box just seems to pick one randomly. You can remove tracks with mkvmerge.

Internal mkv subtitles are ignored. srt subtitles in the same folder with the same name do work OK though they were a bit distorted when I tried (think this is due to the aspect ratio problem below).

The box seems to completely ignore the aspect ratio of the video and just fills the screen. For cinema-style widescreen that should be letterboxed, you can get around this by changing TV type to 4:3 in the options menu and choosing the letterbox mode. I read that in another thread somewhere on this forum, so many many thanks to whoever pointed this out originally.

FF/rewind does work with mkv but it's not very smooth. Skipping back/forwards with the left/right arrows works fine.
 

fattakin

Member
Anyone know any decent apps for Mac OSX that do this? I struggle with some MKV's - namely the latest Game of Thrones. Re-encoding is a pain (Handbrakes) I would rather re-mux.
 

ykno

New Member
As long as the sound is in a supported format I think mkwdclean should fix it? There is a mac version on the same site: http://www.matroska.org/downloads/mkclean.html

You need to rename the included mkclean program to mkWDclean so that it runs in the special mode and removes header compression. You have to run it from the terminal.

Otherwise there are mac versions of mkvmerge as well, you could try those. I think only the older (try v2.x.x) versions will work.
 

fenlander

Active Member
All old scene posts of US TV shows work (Usenet). These are normally 1.09GB mkv files (1.24GB as posted with pars). Some months ago the scene contributors changed their encoding rules, since when pretty much nothing they post works on a Humax. You need to go back a couple of seasons - try Castle S02 or CSI S06 in alt.binaries.teevee for examples.
 

fattakin

Member
ykno
As long as the sound is in a supported format I think mkwdclean should fix it? There is a mac version on the same site: http://www.matroska.org/downloads/mkclean.html

You need to rename the included mkclean program to mkWDclean so that it runs in the special mode and removes header compression. You have to run it from the terminal.

Otherwise there are mac versions of mkvmerge as well, you could try those. I think only the older (try v2.x.x) versions will work.

Older version 2.9 seemed to work with a sample MKV but havent tried with full file yet as i hadnt quiet grasped the cmd line / terminal stuff.

I also got it working with this mac app which has a better GUI for noobs http://www.rovelightly.org/2011/06/16/mkv2vob-mac-port/
(wndows: http://www.mkv2vob.com/)

Transcoded Game Of Thrones 1.3gb file in 2 mins on my Mac so happy days, glad to have a solution now.

Here are the settings i used:
mkv.jpg
 

ntm1275

Member
@ykno

I concur with your finding on the EBML header info

I have run mkvinfo on all my working files, and non of them have the extra info, but every file that does have the extra info fails to play

I have tested this on over 200 files

Also agree that DTS files don't work

With mkv files that don't work, I just load them in to Avidemux using 'copy stream' for both audio and video but change the output format to MP4v2 Muxer

Takes 2 minutes to convert them

Do the same with a DTS soundtrack, but change the audio to AC3, but the conversion takes a little longer

Personally I don't care what format it's in, just as long as it plays
 

jack616

Member
Af - The link given shows up with blank sections or connects to "torrents" that dont download here.

Its very simple : If you say MKV files play (despite the manufacturer saying they dont) then post one somewhere
with a link that works. I'd love to be able to play them.

It doesn't have to be long - just a 1 minute clip say.
If you need a place to upload one I can provide you with somewhere.

Incessant waffling about file formats and headers proves nothing.
There are threads and threads full of that all over the place.
But not one single file that plays.

Post a genuine MKV file that works is all I'm asking.
 

af123

Administrator
Staff member
In this thread alone, 8 people (fenlander, Rich_A, Peter Galbavy, Mike Somers, ykno, fattakin, ntm1275, af123) have posted to say they have been able to play at least one MKV file. Saying that 'MKV files do not play.... - period [sic]' is neither true nor helpful!

I have no MKV files under 500MiB but I will try and find a smaller one later if that's the only way that you will be convinced.

Nobody is saying that all MKV files play, or that it is possible to stream them to the Humax, but certainly some do play when placed on the disk.
 

fenlander

Active Member
@jack616
There's some black magic going on with mkv files. I posted above some files you could download from Usenet, but if you're not into usenet I can see that that's a problem.

A while ago I transcoded the whole of Band of Brothers to mkv. I can't remember if I used Freemake or Handbrake, but all the files played perfectly on the Humax. They still play perfectly on the Humax, but if I try to take a clip from one of them - using Solveig or Freemake - the resulting files do not play. I also used to play TV shows downloaded from Usenet on a regular basis until the posters changed the stream format and rendered them unusable. I have no idea why and it was precisely this weirdness that convinced me that it wasn't worth the hassle. I have a media PC connected to the TV and with Splash Pro, whose video quality I particularly like, there is just no reason to be bothered with moving files to the Humax in order to play them.

Sorry, but the playable files I have are all >1GB and while downloads on my connection are fast, I'm not prepared to upload a file that size. I can understand your incredulity, but nobody has any reason to lie to you. MKV files are NOT impossible to play per se, it's just that most of them don't work and nobody to my knowledge has come up with a simple and comprehensible way of making unplayable files playable. Personally, I'm not prepared to consider any multi-step processes: if I have a 45-minute file, I don't expect to spend an hour recoding it before I watch, especially if I'm just going to delete it afterwards. I should make clear that I'm talking here about files that are on the Humax's drive or a USB drive, or are accessed via a network share. I'm not aware of anyone who's managed to stream a mkv file via DLNA without using a transcoding DLNA server.

I'm shortly intending to try a Sumvision Cyclone media player. These cost about £30 and if the ads are to be believed they'll munch any flavour of mkv file quite happily. I'm getting it to take on holiday, so I'm not limited to my 13" laptop screen. Moral: mkv files on a Humax are not completely impossible, but they're so much trouble it's not worth the bother. Find an alternative solution. After all, the Hummy is a PVR - nobody sold it to you as a multi-format media centre.
 

ntm1275

Member
It doesn't have to be long - just a 1 minute clip say.
If you need a place to upload one I can provide you with somewhere.

Incessant waffling about file formats and headers proves nothing.
There are threads and threads full of that all over the place.
But not one single file that plays.

Post a genuine MKV file that works is all I'm asking.

The problem about posting a working MKV is that the files size is normally well over 1GB in size and there is the issue of 'sharing copy-write material', which is illegal

If you are prepared to take the risk and use p2p/bittorrent, then I'm sure you will eventually find one that will play, but as I previously mentioned, file sharing is illegal, so that would be your choice

The other problem is that, if I use another program (I've tried several) to create a 1 minute extract of a working file, the program inserts the previous mentioned EBML Header Info, so the file no longer plays on the Hummy
I'm in the process of trying to find older versions of certain programs to see if the EBML Headers is a fairly new thing, or whether someone has a customised version that does not used those headers

Your reference to "Incessant waffling about file formats and headers", may not prove anything to you, but it gives us a good starting point to find the reason why some files work and some do not
Hopefully by working together and sharing what we have found out, we will find that 'elusive' reason why some do not play
If we do find the reason, we will be happy to share it with you

This is a long standing issue for a lot of people, not just Hummy users, MKV files are notoriously funny about working on different equipment and there does not seem to be a simple answer

The one thing I can say is that I definitely have many working MKV files that work via a network share, but none of those files work over DLNA
 

ntm1275

Member
I may have cracked it - all fingers are crossed and plenty of wood has been touched :)

I have downloaded an old Windows version of mkvtoolnix from http://www.bunkus.org/videotools/mkvtoolnix/win32/

It's the one marked mkvtoolnix-2.2.0-setup.exe
If you have another more recent version installed, you will have to completely uninstall it first

This older version does not write the problematic EBML header information in to the file

I have run several non-working mkv files through 2.2.0 and those files now play on my Hummy

This old version does not seem to like multiple audio/subtitle tracks, so I suggest only selecting the one audio stream if you have more than one

There is no need to change any configuration settings

A 2 hour movie only takes 2 minutes to do

@jack616
Try this on one of your non working mkv's and let us know how you get on

EDIT forgot to mention that they all now play through a network share, but will not play via DLNA
 

jack616

Member
Cutting a 1 minute edit is too comlicated ? Excuse follows excuse.

I said the Humax doesnt play MKV files period. I said this because the manufacturer of the device said so.
To re-iterate: It was also suggested that .MKV files MAY play if they are otherwise encoded in a format
the Humax does recognise but just have an incorrect file extension. I suggest that may be what
people are creating.

Presumablly the 2008 release creates an MCF file with MKV extension which may explain why that
particular release on the page linked is the only one (of releases before and after - about 75 of them)
has such an old file date - the rest are presumab,y post MCF (started 2010 If my understanding is correct).
There is certainly something odd about the way it stands out from every other release on the page both before and after it.

Fenlander - I will however take a look at it after the current sync bug with mmg 5.5.0 is resolved - I dont want to change
my system until then.

Unedited cut and pasete from the "What is Matroska" page - Paragraph 1:
http://www.matroska.org/technical/whatis/index.html

"Matroska aims to become THE standard of multimedia container formats. It was derived from a project called MCF, but differentiates from it significantly because it is based on EBML (Extensible Binary Meta Language), a binary derivative of XML. EBML enables the Matroska Development Team to gain significant advantages in terms of future format extensibility, without breaking file support in old parsers

If the creators of MKV are to be believed about their own product - EBML is what makes the wrapper into an MKV file (without breakong old parsers). The words "based on" are worth noting.
There is nothing "problematic" or "extra" about EBML in MKV.

You need to stop wasting peoples time claiming MKV files play on the humax. They do not. Period.
 
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