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Question: AppleTV won't play HEVC/H265

Hi all,


Mac Mini (mid-2011)

AppleTV (4th Gen - NOT 4K - running tvOS 11.1

MacOS High Sierra (10.13.1)


After using Subler to convert some H265/HVEC video, I can finally watch that content on iTunes. Quite the welcome development after upgrading to High Sierra. Naturally, I thought playback on iTunes meant that AppleTV 4 would understand and play back the file, too.


Nope. One step forward and two steps back, it would seem.


Whenever I try to play those particular files, I get this error message: "This content cannot be played because its format is not compatible with AppleTV."


Reading around, I'm finding that support for HEVC on AppleTV is spotty. Others tell me it's possible -- but that I need Handbrake. So, right now, I'm wondering if I should just bite the bullet and encode in Handbrake to H264 which will take days and small parts of my sanity and cut the life of my Mac short or should I just get Plex or a Roku at this point since, after being an Apple user my entire life (and this being 2017), proprietary video is a ridiculous idea.


I don't know what the truth is. I would just like to play these files on AppleTV. Am I missing something?


Any help would be appreciated.


Thanks!

Mac mini, macOS High Sierra (10.13.1), AppleTV (4th Gen), tvOS 11.1

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Nov 17, 2017 4:59 AM in response to TabascoMan In response to TabascoMan

Hi. The specs for Apple TV 4 haven't changed just because iOS 11/HS introduced a new video format. As you know HEVC is only supported on the latest iPhones and iPads. Apple TV 4 has the A8 processor (similar to iPad Mini 4 and iPad Air 2). HEVC decoding is only supported on A9 and A10. So Apple TV 4 does not support HEVC.

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Question marked as Helpful

Nov 17, 2017 4:59 AM in response to TabascoMan In response to TabascoMan

Hi. The specs for Apple TV 4 haven't changed just because iOS 11/HS introduced a new video format. As you know HEVC is only supported on the latest iPhones and iPads. Apple TV 4 has the A8 processor (similar to iPad Mini 4 and iPad Air 2). HEVC decoding is only supported on A9 and A10. So Apple TV 4 does not support HEVC.

Nov 17, 2017 4:59 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 7:15 AM in response to Diana.McCall In response to Diana.McCall

Just a little afterthought here. You might check if any 3rd-party Apple TV apps, like VLC or Plex, can handle HEVC. They might take it on when Apple doesn't.

Nov 17, 2017 7:15 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 11:01 AM in response to Diana.McCall In response to Diana.McCall

VLC plays it perfectly. If that’s what I wanted, though, I wouldn’t be here. :) I use AppleTV as a front end for my media. Switching to Plex is a major pain because I’d have to jump through hoops to get it to take certain files and renaming them and the whole shebang.


I will just have to convert to H264 in Handbrake and then run them through Subler one more time.

Nov 17, 2017 11:01 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 11:17 PM in response to Diana.McCall In response to Diana.McCall

VLC for ATV is a bit wonky and the simple act of it picking up the server folder is a chore. I will stick with ATV and then go to Roku or Plex for Mac if I get really desperate. I miss the old days when Front Row was a thing.

Nov 17, 2017 11:17 PM

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Dec 17, 2017 12:32 AM in response to TabascoMan In response to TabascoMan

My AppleTV 4G plays H265 video just fine. When streaming from iTunes, video quality is great. When streaming from my home server via Synology DS video app, mileage varies. Anyway, I encoded the files strictly to Apple’s specs—which means: Use codec type hvc1, not hvec, main profile 8-bit.

(I found out that all current h265 profiles work just fine, except 4:4:4.)

Dec 17, 2017 12:32 AM

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Dec 18, 2017 7:07 AM in response to Skyggen In response to Skyggen

Yeah, that's basically my solution right now. Encoding hour-long video from x265 to x264, though, is insanely time-consuming. I did manage to get x264 source files of nearly everything I was going to convert but there are some stubborn x265 hold-outs that don't have an x264 source. Even still, I can live with encoding a tiny handful of those, so it isn't a huge problem. I will have to pick up a 4K AppleTV sometime soon since x265 is the next big thing. Glad that High Sierra and Subler now process the files correctly.

Dec 18, 2017 7:07 AM

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Jan 3, 2018 6:35 AM in response to Diana.McCall In response to Diana.McCall

Thanks, just found it. Is there any way to convert HEVC video into regular H.264 format in Photos or some other way without jumping through hoops in iMovie? I took a bunch of videos over the holidays and would like to avoid having to import everything into iMovie, export them out to H.264 and re-import them into Photos...

Jan 3, 2018 6:35 AM

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Question: AppleTV won't play HEVC/H265