As we all know, Apple TV has been developed from 1st generation to 4th generation, even launched 5th generation Apple TV 4K in 2017, while it remains the same problem unsolved. That is, Apple TV’s default media player does not support the MKV format, which causes these files to be “unrecognizable” or “unable to play”. It just like you give a can of beer to a teenager who is not allowed to drink, of course, he would refuse it. So does the reason why MKV files cannot be played on Apple TV. So, how to stream MKV files to Apple TV? What is the most efficient one? In this article, I will show you three solutions to this problem as follow:

According to the following detailed analysis, I hope you can find a comfortable way to solve it whether you are a technical talent or a network rookie. (If you just want to know the conclusion, you can skip to the end of this article right now.)

1. Play MKV on Apple TV with a Compatible Media Player

Using a media player that is compatible with Apple TV is an effective solution to play MKV on Apple TV without converting.

For example, VLC media player is a quite common choice, which can satisfy your playback demands most of the time while sometimes goes wrong. It cannot handle the RealVideo video compression format. Therefore, you need to download something else like RealPlayer to work it out. Also, VLC for Apple TV does not support the devices before the 4th generation as it requires tvOS 9.0 or later.

The biggest advantage of this method is that MKV files can be decoded and played back easily without conversion. However, it might waste you a bunch of time if you select the wrong software.

Step 1: Download and install a media player (such as VLC) on Apple TV.

Step 2: Launch the VLC media player.

Step 3: Add the MKV file to the casting list.

Step 4: Double click the video and play it.

2. Streaming MKV to Apple TV using Airplay Mirroring

As long as you have a Mac and Apple TV, it is simple for you to play MKV files via Airplay mirroring. The Mac is for sending the MKV flies while the Apple TV is for receiving, and then you can watch the videos on Apple TV directly without conversion or downloading any plug-ins. However, you have to tolerate the lower image quality and fluency of videos. What’s more, it has an inevitable problem that this function will be interfered with by many factors, such as the bit rate of the video, the performance of the router.

Step 1: Connect your Mac and Apple TV to the same network.

Step 2: Click the Airplay icon in the menu bar.

Step 3: Choose Apple TV under“Use Airplay Display To”.

Step 4: Play the MKV file on the Mac (with screencast software).

3. Convert the MKV file before Play on Apple TV

If you fail or get a bad performance via the two methods above, or you want to solve this problem at once, then the most direct and helpful way is to convert the format of the MKV file. Apple TV supports the formats of MOV, M4V and MP4 encoded in H.264, so a suitable decoder such as Video Converter Ultimate becomes an indispensable tool, as it can decode and recode various digital media.

According to its official introduction, Video Converter Ultimate enables you to convert all the popular and unusual media formats and support a wide range of output formats including some VR devices and 4K video formats like MP4, MOV, MKV. In the meantime, new formats are constantly added, which means it also works if you encounter other converting problems in the future. The specific steps are as follows.

Step 1: Download the MKV converter on your computer.

Click the button below to get the free version of the converter.

Step 2: Add MKV files to Video Converter Ultimate

After running the program on your computer, simply click the “Add Files” button to add the MKV files or drag and drop it directly to the interface.

Step 3: Select Apple TV as output format

Click the image icon on the right side of the interface and then click Device, Apple, and Apple TV to choose an output format. A bunch of solid presets for Apple TV is designed for the person who does not know how to tweak the profile settings.

Step 4: Start MKV to Apple TV Conversion

Click the Convert button to begin the conversion at 30X faster speed without quality loss.

Step 5: Transfer the converted media file to Apple TV

You can find the converted file in the folder from the output address bar on the bottom.

Then you can watch it on Apple TV by following the steps below:

  • Import the video to the Apple TV app library on your Mac or iTunes on your Windows PC.  Make sure you have selected Turn on Home Sharing.
  • Connect both your computer and Apple TV to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Go to the Home Screen on the Apple TV > choose Computers then select a shared library from the Apple TV app on your computer.

There. You can now access your computer’s media library and play the converted video on Apple TV by using Home Sharing.

You can enjoy your video when the task is finished!


All of the above three methods can achieve the purpose of streaming MKV files to Apple TV and playing it, but they have different priorities. If you want to stream MKV files without converting, you can choose to use a compatible media player like VLC. If you are eager to know the content of videos without any demands, such as fluency or high quality, AirPlay mirroring might be your choice. If you want to watch videos over and over again or solve such problems once and for all, the most efficient way is using a high-performance converter, such as Video Converter Ultimate. Have a nice video trip on Apple TV from now on!