11 Replies Latest reply: May 21, 2014 5:44 PM by chropro Branched to a new discussion.
Ryan JW Level 1 (0 points)
Hi. I have an m4v file type that will not play in iTunes. I have opened with iTunes (default) but it just don't play. I have tried manually importing, yet nothing happens. Someone please help me. Thanks.

20" iMac 2GB DDR3 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • varjak paw Level 10 (169,815 points)
    From where did this video come? There are a number of encoders that use the .m4v file extension but that are not standard MPEG-4 files, so if you got this video from someone or somewhere else, perhaps you have one of those incompatible formats.

  • Ryan JW Level 1 (0 points)
    I got the file sent to me from someone. So what do I do with this "incompatible format" file? Quicktime don't play it either. Please tell me how I can play this. Thank you.
  • varjak paw Level 10 (169,815 points)
    You'll need to convert it to format iTunes can handle, such as a true MPEG-4 file. Without knowing the exact codecs used I can't be sure, but MPEG Streamclip might be able to convert that file.

  • RonsMac Level 1 (15 points)
    VLC will most likely play it. If so, use the info thing to use VLC with all m4v files.
  • ScuseMe Level 2 (215 points)
    Do you have Perian installed? Adds codecs to QT. It may allow you play that m4v.

  • macbosvet Level 1 (0 points)
    I encountered the same problem after trying to rename 2 of my m4v-films in iTunes. iTunes crashed on the attempt to renaming, the film can not be displayed anymore and the preview of the film disappeared. After export of damaged file to desktop and trying to open with Quick time player there is a error: film cannot be opened; contains a wrong public atom (or so …). Different videoconverters and perian : no solution !
    Somebody knows how to repair those files ?
  • philiporeilly Level 1 (0 points)
    Quicktime / iTunes / Apple TV throw up a lot of errors with M4V / MP4 files that other media players do not.

    I recommend downloading VLC as it is a much better media player than quicktime. If your file plays in that it is more than likely something simple with the Meta Data or chapters that is causing the error.

    To fix the M4V file without having to transcode, I recommend downloading Metadata Hootenanny (FREE) from http://www.applesolutions.com/bantha/MH.html

    Using that, add a movie chapter (VIEW > CHAPTERS) and save the file. It should save the file within a .mov container fairly quickly with the same quality video. You only need to save one chapter (more if you want) as iTunes stalls if it cant find chapter references in the M4V files. That .MOV file can be imported into iTunes and played on an Apple TV.

    More errors with MP4 files that cannot be imported into iTunes can be fixed by simply remaning the file extension from .mp4 to .m4v

    MP4 file that give the error " invalid public atom " when opened with iTunes can be fixed using VLC. Open the video with VLC and FILE > STREAMING/EXPORT WIZZARD

    Select Transcode / Save to file, then select video from existing playlist item. Ensure the video / audio transcode options are UNTICKED as you only want to quickly change the container to .mov

    Save the file and iTunes will be able to play / import.
  • e_mott09 Level 1 (0 points)
    Is Metadata Hootenanny Mac only? I posted this same problem on the windows side to no avail. I need this exact solution for PC. Can anyone help?
  • chrisn79 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had the same problem with a MOV file from a digicam. It did not play neither in QuickTime nor in VLC or Mplayer.

    After a deep google search I found the VRT Tool (www.grauonline.de), which does a rather good job in video repair.

    It's worth a try with corrupted video files.

  • billypilgrim88 Level 1 (0 points)

    The PC version of the tag editor is called MetaX.  It's $9.95 and well worth it.  Once you add the tags, it will play in iTunes.

  • chropro Level 1 (0 points)

    ok here is a legitimate solution that is in fact ironic.


    C F Mcblob wrote M4V is an apple file that they use for purchases. They use this as a way to protect their MP4 files.


    1. The irony here is that the m4v and mp4 file containers are identical in nature. 99.99% of m4v files can simple be changed to mp4 by clicking on the file name and changing the file extension to mp4 and then importing it to itunes. In fact, i just took an mkv,
    2. put it through handbrake.
    3. handbrake exports to m4v (but as you'll notice, hnadbrake actually calls it an mp4 when you are selecting the export file type.)
    4. Then i click the file name, changed the extension from m4v to mp4 and clicked enter.
    5. When prompted, click that you accept mp4 as the new extension.
    6. This will be capable of adding to itunes and playing on apple tv.


    Ps: you can also use VLC to 'convert' the container