Friday, August 5, 2011

Help Guide for Problems with MKV & Hardware Media Player

8/05/2011 11:33:00 AM |

Please note that mkvtoolnix version 4.1 & higher (4.1.0-4.8.0) causes playback issues (crashes) with hardware media players and USB equipped TVs like LG, Samsung (mainly due to its header compression).
If the media player crashes and doesn't play any files any more, you would need to do a factory reset to get it working again.

For example Scorp uses mkvtoolnix version 4.0 so no problem, but that is not the same for all encoders.

Update: Note to re-encoders (2011-05-27)
MKVtoolnix 4.8.0: File-->Options: Disable header removal compression will make this option permanent for future usage.

I use WD TV HD and watch MKV on large screen TV + Home Theatre, instead of small computer screen.

You can read about this and other issues here (user comments):

I have downgraded my mkvtoolnix to v 4.0

It is not a big deal and I unpack & repack (extract/merge) mkv films made with versions 4.1 or higher with version 4.0 and they play fine.

Get the excellent OpenSource utility MediaInfo to check the version of audio/video files. It is also part of K-Lite Mega Codec Pack


- Download mkvtoolnix version 4.0.0
- Launch mkvmerge GUI (I keep its shortcut in my Quick Launch as I use it often)
- Open the mkv file or simply drag and drop the file onto it
- Click "Start muxing"
It will then repacks the same file (no conversion is done, just repacking the container) and saves it to the same location and adds a (1) to the file name
- Watch and enjoy

Update: (2011-05-28)
I read about a tool called mkclean.exe & mkWDclean.exe
mkWDclean is supposed to remove the header compression. I am going to test it.
Update: I tested it and it was NOT fixing the problem with WD TV HD. It crashed it so badly that I could not operate it and had to unplug it to get it working again

MKVcleaver is great utility if you need to extract tracks. IMO it is a lot better than mkvextract & MKVextract GUI. v5.0 was OK but v5.0.1 & 5.0.2 had problems. I tested v5.0.3 and it is OK too.

Problems with 5.1 Audio tracks
I often have to do this since my hardware media player requires 5.1 processor (external amp) to play it which I dont have at the moment.
Extract the audio and convert the audio only. Then merge it back to the mkv.
You can keep both audio tracks if you wish in the mkv.

It is worth mentioning that not all audio converters handle 6 channel 5.1 properly.
I found that "AVS Audio Converter6" does it nicely.
As of now, FormatFactory, AXara Audio Converter, Xilisoft Audio Converter can't handle the 5.1 audio.

Quick Note on repacking other Containers into MKV: (2011-06-11)
I am adding this note since the question has come up.
You can use mkvmerge GUI to repack other container formats ie avi, mpeg etc with or without additional elements ie subs
You simply open them with mkvmerge GUI, add other elements if needed, and Click "Start muxing". It is the same process as explained above. There is no conversation done so the quality remains exactly the same.

Muxing External Subtitles into MKV
- Open or Drop the MKV movie into MKVmerge GUI
- Open or Drop the subtitle track into MKVmerge GUI
- Select/Deselect elements according to your requirement
- Click "Start muxing"

Muxing External Audio track into MKV
Same as above but with Audio track instead of subtitle.

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