How to Play MKV Files on Apple TV - Three Effective Ways

Patricia Rapatalo .
Apple TV does not support MKV files directly. If you want to play your favorite MKV videos on an Apple TV with its original quality and codec, you must alter its format or use another option. With that, you can convert MKV videos to Apple TV-friendly format, mirror videos with AirPlay, or use a compatible media player. Luckily, that’s all you can learn in this post! We’ve written a straightforward walkthrough that you can follow to play MKV on Apple TV.
play mkv on apple tv
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As we know, Apple TV has been developed from the first generation to the fifth generation, but the same problem still needs to be solved. Apple TV’s built-in media player does not support the MKV format until its latest Apple TV 4K model. If you try to play the MKV video, the result would be “unrecognizable” or, sometimes, “unable to play.” No matter what Apple TV model you buy, you cannot play MKV because it only supports MP4, MOV, and M4V. Since you are on this page, you don’t have to worry about this issue. You can still stream MKV videos on Apple TV with the solutions in the next part.

Convert MKV to Apple TV Compatible Format

For a smooth playback of MKV on Apple TV, convert it to a format supported by the device. You can convert MKV files to MP4 or MOV, the most recommended format by the Apple Support Center for Apple TV. To do this, you need a video converter like Video Master. This software allows you to convert MKV files to Apple TV-supported format, such as MP4. In addition, you can also choose the video codec from H.264 and HEVC to ensure that the converted file can be played on Apple TV. Besides, you can import many MKV files and convert them in one click to save time. The tool also has excellent editing features, like merge, rotate, filters, effects, and more. See the steps beneath to convert MKV videos with Video Master and watch MKV on Apple TV.

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Step 1Launch the MKV Converter

The installer of Video Master is available above. Click the left installer if you are using a Windows computer. On the contrary, hit the right installer if you use a Mac computer. Stick to the instructions on the installation prompt to save the software. Afterward, launch the MKV converter and move to the following steps.

video master main interface

Step 2Add the MKV File

The next step you have to do is to hit the huge “+” icon in the middle part of the tool to add your MKV videos. Alternatively, click the “Add Files” dropdown icon to select if you want to add files or folders from your file menu. Once the video has been imported, it will appear on the software’s interface.

hit plus icon or add files button to add mkv video

Step 3Select Format and Begin Converting

Afterward, move to the right part of the video’s detail and tick the “dropdown” icon of the “Convert All to” option. Select the “Video” tab and choose “MP4” since it is the most supported format of Apple TV. Also, select the codec and quality that Apple TV supports, like HEVC. Following that, hit the “Convert All” button to convert MKV to MP4 format.

hit convert all to and video tab, select mp4 and codec, click convert all

Step 4Play the New Converted File

When the conversion process is complete, the file will be transferred to the “Converted” tab of the tool. Click that tab to see the converted video in MP4 format. Hit the “Folder” icon to locate the folder where the video is saved on your computer. You can also click the “Play” icon to watch and check the video. After all the processes, you can now connect your computer to Apple TV to play the video on the big screen.

 click converted tab, check format, hit folder and play icon, watch video

Play MKV on Apple TV with VLC Media Player

Another option is to use a third-party media player that supports all video formats, including MKV. You can use VLC Media Player for this method. VLC Media Player can be downloaded on Apple TV as it is an open-source program available on many devices, such as Smart TVs, computers, smartphones, and more. This process allows you to play MKV files on VLC without converting them to Apple TV-compatible formats. You only need to remember that VLC is compatible with the 4th generation of Apple TV and above. Also, it requires tvOS 11.0 or later, and previous Apple TV models are not supported. Read the guide below to play MKV videos with the Apple TV MKV player.

User guide:

  • Hit the menu bar of your TV and move to the categories. Select the “App Store” and type VLC Media Player on the search bar. Then, install VLC Media Player on your Apple TV and open it.
  • You can use a flash drive to save an MKV file and connect it to the Apple TV. Once VLC is launched, add the MKV video to the casting list. Let VLC read the MKV file for a few minutes.
  • Lastly, double-press your Apple TV’s remote control trackpad on the MKV video. This will launch the MKV video that you can enjoy effortlessly. So that’s how you play MKV files to Apple TV with VLC Media Player.

 vlc media player on apple tv

Stream MKV to Apple TV on Mac with AirPlay Mirroring

If your MKV files are saved on a Mac computer, and you want them to play on Apple TV, that might be an advantage to you. Most iOS devices, like Mac computers and iPhones, have an “AirPlay” that allows users to screen mirror files on Smart TVs, like Apple TV. You can download a third-party video player that supports MKV on your Mac device and mirrors it to your Apple TV. Moreover, the Mac computer sends the MKV video, while the Apple TV is the receiver. However, the main drawback of AirPlay mirroring is reduced video quality and smoothness of MKV files. Nevertheless, the listed steps are shown below to help you play MKV files on Apple TV with AirPlay.

User guide:

  • Connect your MacBook or Mac computer to your Apple TV with the same WiFi connection. After that, locate the “AirPlay” icon on the upper menu of your device and click it.
  • Next, your computer will start to search for available Smart TVs. Select “Apple TV” from the options to link your device to the Apple TV. Once connected, open the MKV video on your preferred third-party media player.
  • Then, the AirPlay will begin mirroring the MKV videos from your MacBook or Mac computer to your Apple TV. Finally, you can enjoy watching MKV on Apple TV altogether.

airplay on macbook


All three solutions mentioned above can achieve the purpose of playing MKV videos on Apple TV, but they have different approaches. If you want to play MKV on Apple TV without converting the file, you can select the compatible VLC Media Player. Meanwhile, you can use the AirPlay feature if you want to directly watch MKV video from your MacBook or Mac computer to Apple TV without many demands. Furthermore, suppose you want to stream the MKV video multiple times. In that case, the best choice is to convert them to Apple TV-compatible format with Video Master. You can stream MKV videos with Apple TV effortlessly, whatever option you choose.

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