How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

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How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby norkle » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:55 pm

I'm experimenting with dumping my Blu-ray library to disc, and I'm having trouble with playback of MKV using PMS to my PS3. I'm preferring MKV over MP4 because I can include subtitles without having to burn them into the video. I've been testing with MKVs vs MP4's produced by Handbrake 0.9.9 with AVC video (L4.0), AAC audio (5.1), PGS sub/text streams.

PMS plays back the MP4 fine with AVC/AAC passed through to the PS3 for playback (with Transcoding Settings / Common Transcoding Settings / Skip transcoding for extensions: MP4), but with MKV it seems to want to force transcoding (using the skip setting results in the PS3 giving 'data corrupt' errors). Searching the FAQ and forums seems to suggest using #Transcode# to use tsMuxeR, but this still transcodes for me and that's what I'm trying to avoid. The FAQ suggests using a MEncoder Video setting to switch to tsMuxeR when h.264 video is PS3 compatible, but I don't have this option.

Using the PS3's Info reports:
MEncoder transcodes to DD/AC3 5.1 640kbps + MPEG-2
tsMuxeR tries to produce DD/AC3 5.1 640kbps with AVC, but on my box stutters and freezes after a few seconds.

Is there a way I can have PMS read the MKV but remux rather than transcode?

Using PMS 1.90.1 on Win 7 Pro, Java 7 Update 40. Haven't modified the .conf's (do I need to post the log?). Have I provided all the info I need to?
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Re: How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby mazey » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:46 am

you can use ffmpeg to remux to the ps3 it works if you move ffmpeg to the top of the list ahead of mencoder, you can move it by selecting ffmpeg and press the up arrow to move it up then in ffmpeg options tick remux when possible, now save settings and restart pms then try the files on ure ps3.
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Re: How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby norkle » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:32 am

Hmm, if I try to use FFmpeg from the #Transcode# menu it also performs DD/AC3 transcoding, even though I have the FFmpeg setting to mux when it can.

Is using FFmpeg from the #Transcode# menu different to if I pushed FFMpeg to the top of the video codec list?

I'm using the FFmpeg that was included with PMS. Should I try a newer version?
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Re: How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby mazey » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:35 am

im not exactly sure but i would try it. if it still transcodes it, im guessing handbrake is not making it a 100% compatible for remux type file. have you also tried some non handbrake encoded avc's to see if they remux.

the ffmpeg in pms was updated last month, it is fine. no issues with it.
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Re: How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby d3m0n1q_733rz » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:48 am

I'll toss an MKV onto a USB drive and see if it's even recognized. If so, I'll give you the necessary modifications to stream matroska without transcoding.
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Re: How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby norkle » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:22 am

That would be awesome. With MKV being better suited to Blu-ray subs I'm guessing I'm not the only one preferring this format, and one of the benefits of PMS is being able to use MKV. So I'm hoping the answer would benefit others too.
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Re: How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby d3m0n1q_733rz » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:50 am

Well Norkle, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that the PS3 does not support the MKV container format in any way, shape or form. However, the good news is that it's just a container format! You can demux your MKV and remux it to AVI or MP4 and it will be recognized. This does add a little bit of size to the file with AVI, but nothing too bad. You do need to ensure that the data within the AVI container is compatible with the PS3 before remuxing (H.264, DIVX, XVid made to look like DIVX, and not FLAC or OGG audio) if you want to play it without transcoding. Otherwise, it will need to be transcoded either before you remux it all together or when serving it to the PS3.
Thank you for giving me a reason to get off my behind and finally run my MKV test that I've been wanting to do for days now.
Look-up MKVRemux to make things easier.
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Re: How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby mazey » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:27 am

d3m0n1q_733rz wrote:Well Norkle, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that the PS3 does not support the MKV container format in any way, shape or form. However, the good news is that it's just a container format! You can demux your MKV and remux it to AVI or MP4 and it will be recognized. This does add a little bit of size to the file with AVI, but nothing too bad. You do need to ensure that the data within the AVI container is compatible with the PS3 before remuxing (H.264, DIVX, XVid made to look like DIVX, and not FLAC or OGG audio) if you want to play it without transcoding. Otherwise, it will need to be transcoded either before you remux it all together or when serving it to the PS3.
Thank you for giving me a reason to get off my behind and finally run my MKV test that I've been wanting to do for days now.
Look-up MKVRemux to make things easier.


yawn, do you even know what ure talking about, he wants mkv remuxed to avc which is supported by pms and ps3.. avi was so 10 years ago.

dont hijack a thread just for the sake of it. especially if you dont know what your talking about.

as i said im guessing the problem is with handbrake not doing the video to proper compatible avc. just convert to .mp4 using handbrake which is still h264.
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Re: How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby norkle » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:40 am

Hi Mazey - point taken about Handbrake - hadn't thought about that. However the reason I am perservering is the advantage of using MKV to store Blu-ray subtitles as a text stream. If I use MP4 I have to burn the subs onto the video. But you've given me something else to check, so will source some alternative MKV's to try.

So are you saying you have MKV's streaming through PMS with only mux'ing, for AAC+H.264?
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Re: How to play MKV AAC/AVC without transcoding

Postby mazey » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:54 am

norkle wrote:Hi Mazey - point taken about Handbrake - hadn't thought about that. However the reason I am perservering is the advantage of using MKV to store Blu-ray subtitles as a text stream. If I use MP4 I have to burn the subs onto the video. But you've given me something else to check, so will source some alternative MKV's to try.

So are you saying you have MKV's streaming through PMS with only mux'ing, for AAC+H.264?


i do but they are not done with handbrake they all have mkvmerge as the encoder. you can try running them through mkvmerge. do a remux using it, it should make it compatible, but i am only guessing there.
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