How to convert MKV to M4V for easy XBOX 360 streaming from Mac OSX

May 24, 2021

OK, I am going to write a simple howto on how I personally convert my HD 720p BT MKV into something that the XBOX 360 can playback.

I know, I should use an Apple TV instead… but frankly I can’t. I am using Microsoft MCE in my house to run my TV and I employ 2 x XBOX 360 as extenders. One in the basement and one in the master bedroom.

So when I want to watch an HD episode of Battlestar Galactica in my bed I need to stream it to an XBOX 360 compatible format. Note that this solution could also be used to convert the file to an Apple TV compatible format too (likely the same darn file that will play on the 360).

What ingredients will you need:

1. An HD MKV file (obviously)
2. Perian QuickTime codec
3. A QuickTime Pro License
4. Nullriver Connect 360

Step 1:

The 1st thing you need to do it to download Perian from Please watch the Screencast below to learn how to do that. Note that you can watch the HD version of this video in all it’s glory by following the link in the player:

How To install perian on OSX from Bernard Maltais on Vimeo.

Step 2:

You need to encapsulate the h.264 video stream within the MKV file into an mpeg4 container. The audio (most likely some form of AC3 or MP3) will also need to be converted to AAC audio. Please watch the Screencast below to learn how to do that. Note that you can watch the HD version of this video in all it’s glory by following the link in the player:

How to convert mkv to m4v video format from Bernard Maltais on Vimeo.

Step 3:

Put the converted file in a folder that Connect 360 can share to the XBOX 360.

Go on your XBOX 360 and enjoy the episode!

Update: XBOX 360 to support h.264 and mpeg-4 part 2

April 9, 2021

Microsoft is officially announcing the following information regarding changes of video format support:

  • Added H.264 video support: Up to 10 Mbps peak, Baseline, Main, and High profiles with 2 channel AAC LC.
  • Added MPEG-4 Part 2 video support: Up to 5 Mbps peak, Simple Profile with 2 channel AAC LC.
  • Show folder hierarchy for video content played from all devices.
  • Bookmarks are stored for each video that the user plays remembering the users last location in the file as well as the aspect ratio that the user choose for that file.
  • Video trick modes (fast forward, rewind, chapter skip) can now be used while downloading Video Marketplace content.
  • Skip forward and backward functionality has been improved to skip to the next or previous chapter. Each video is divided into 10 “chapters” allowing you to quickly skip around video content.
  • The information bar that is turned on via the On Screen Display (OSD) now shows you exactly where you are in the playback of the video file. In addition it will also show for Video Marketplace content how much of the file has been downloaded and where the “chapters” exist in the file.

It appear as if h.264 and mpeg-4 part 2 audio will be limited to AAC LC audio format. This might seriously restrict playback of xvid/divx files containing mp3 or AC3 audio formats. Let hope that Microsoft just omitted to list MP3 and AC3 support.

Another hurtle for xvid/divx playback will be the statement that the XBOX 360 will only support MPEG-4 Part 2 SP… and not ASP.  Without ASP there is no B frames, Qpel and GMC to name a few.

It is also unclear what container will be supported for mpeg-4 part 2 and h.264. MPEG4 file format (.mp4) is a likely candidate but the venerable AVI format deprecated years ago by Microsoft will most certainly not be supported.

XBOX 360 to support h.264 and mpeg4

April 9, 2021

Finally!  Microsoft will provide h.264 and mpeg4 video playback support on the xbox 360 through the spring 2007 update:

Color us tickled, but we totally missed some of the finest points of all in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 spring Dashboard update: they’re totally tricking out the video (finally!). No longer will we be confined to our very least favorite video codec, WMV — the new update will enable Windows Media Connect or Media Center streaming MPEG-4 up to 8Mbps, H.264 up to 15Mbps, and PlaysForSure WMV videos (and, as we understand it, PlaysForSure audio as well). Wow, finally we can actually use the 360 to play video that wasn’t recorded off our Media Center or converted by our Zune software (cough, hack). See, was that so hard, Microsoft? Now just hold on to your asses until the week of May 7th, Xbox fans, that’s all you’ve gotta do.