How Can I/Do You Playback Your MKV Files?

MKV playback, recompression, remuxing, codec packs, players, howtos, etc.
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2022 7:48 pm

How Can I/Do You Playback Your MKV Files?

Post by bonafidenovice »

Hello all,

I’ve been ripping compressed DVD files and watching them via iTunes since 2007.
I have varying degrees of success with both video quality and file size, due to my extreme lack of technical knowledge, not the fault of the software.

I was thinking of backing them up again (if I do, some will be for the fifth time!), this time in the MKV format, but I have two questions before I do.

The first and most important one is I am looking for an app that does mostly everything that iTunes can do regarding playback only…the ability to make playlists (Smart or regular Static ones), and has the ability to store, apply and recall metadata…ratings-playcounts-last played date etc, kind of everything iTunes can do, and, but also be also able to play the MKVs.

I don't have the need to stream, just watch them from the laptop itself or via the TV's HDMI input, so that probably rules out Plex.
I also want the app to be able to edit start/stop times of each video, and play each file seamlessly, one after the other with no pauses in between, just like iTunes.

Is there such a beast, or is there some app (free or not) that I could add to my Mac to allow iTunes to play MKVs?

Secondly, I have a 4TB SSD Mac that has 3TB of backed-up compressed DVD files on it, but I have another hundred or so DVDs to backup.
If I can find a solution to my first question, I’m guessing I’ll have to put all the newly backed-up MKV files on an external device(s), and play them from there, via the app that I was requesting earlier in the post, if in fact that app exists at all.

I’d like to store them all on one external SSD, but 100TB external SSDs are over $10,000 , yet regular external drives are too slow, and don’t last as long.
Do any of you watch fifty+ hours worth of large video files per week from an external HD?
I'd probably have no problem with that, if that was my only option.

Is there a viable solution to my dilemma, or should I continue on as before, ripping compressed files and watching them through iTunes, and only using MKV for a hundred or so Movie and TV episodes that I must have uncompressed files of, and watching those via VLC or another free/paid app?

Sorry for the lengthy post, and thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Posts: 1275
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:25 pm

Re: How Can I/Do You Playback Your MKV Files?

Post by dcoke22 »

I used to import things into iTunes, back when it was still called iTunes, and watch things that way. I grew frustrated by iTunes's limitations and eventually moved on to a Plex server. I know you're not necessarily interested in a Plex server, but they do have an app that makes it easy to watch on a Mac or iOS device. Infuse is another major player. It can connect to a Plex server or just point to a big directory of files.

As for storing files, I find the cost per terabyte of space for an SSD to be too high to use for something like movies. 18TB spinning hard drives are reasonably priced, reliable enough, and plenty fast enough for storing movies. If you don't want to build or buy a NAS to store and host this stuff from a basement or closet, you can buy an enclosure and connect it to your Mac and stuff it full of hard drives. OWC makes a bunch of great external enclosures for everything from 3.5" spinning hard drives to M.2 SSDs. I have used several over the years. I also use SoftRAID on my Mac to get RAID 5 redundancy in my current external enclosure.

I generally compress my rips before they go onto my Plex server, but I also keep my original rips. In my view, the hard part of having and maintaining a digital collection of media files is getting the bits off the plastic disc. By keeping my original rips, I generally only have to rip a disc once. I can compress it into different containers and using different compression schemes without having to re-rip. My original compression was into h.264 files in a .m4v container so they could go into iTunes easily. When I left iTunes behind, I took a brief trip into .mp4 files before I abandoned that and ended up with 10-bit h.265 files in a .mkv container. I've been able to go back to my original rips to produce new compressed outputs without having to re-rip. In some circles, I know folks don't even bother with compressing DVD source material any more. Since hard drives have gotten so big, they just put DVD movies on their Plex servers as an original rip. At around 5GB in size, they're about as big a compressed 1080p blu-ray movie anyway.
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