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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading a couple articles and was wondering if anyone have tried these tips.

article #1:


[HOW TO] How to stream MKV/AVI files to your Xbox One by TheBigBobby
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Hi All,

I thought I would type up this post to help some others whom may be having trouble streaming content (specifically some MKV files) to their Xbox One.

As the majority of you would know currently the Xbox cannot natively browse a collection and 'pull' items from your DLNA server, be it Windows Media Player or some other 3rd party server. We must 'push' media.

The large amount of issues come down to codecs installed on the 'server' computer.

Install the correct codecs. I personally use Shark007's codec packs. You will find the links below


Word of warning, these installs contain bloat ware. You can hit 'skip' during the install.. Just don’t blindly keep hitting next, you have been warned.

1 - Install the 32bit version first (Advanced or Standard)

After the install of the 32bit version, check the 'Shark007 SUGGESTED Settings'

2 - Install the 64bit Components addon matching the Advanced or Standard package from above. I installed the advanced suite.

After the install of the 64bit version, check the 'Shark007 SUGGESTED Settings' at this point you will get a UAC message. Click ok on that, then you will get another prompt asking "Do you use LiveTV? Xbox360? or the Play to Feature?" Click Yes on that.

3 - Reboot your PC for good measure.

This should be all that is required to get the majority of MKV files working using Windows Media Centre and use 'Play To' via that, if that is your preferred method... (provided you have got all your windows network/media sharing all setup correct - that can be a whole thread in itself). I have not come across a MKV file that it will not play yet, thou, I don't have a copy of every single possible combination of what the audio/video is encoded in and contained with the MKV container.

I am personally a lazy sod, so the idea of going to my PC every time I want to play something on my Xbox is just plain repulsive.

If you are lucky enough to own a smartphone or Tablet, you can get an app called Skifta on my Ipad/Iphone - There is a droid version of it. There are other apps that do the same thing, but this is the one I use and it works for me.

I find it is rather irritating and cumbersome to say the least adding files to your Windows Media Player Library. It is at this stage I installed a DLNA server software. I personally use Serviio. I have also tested PS3 Media Server, Plex, PlayOn and XBMC all seem to work but I prefer Serviio. Just seems cleaner, less you can mess up.. But again personal preference here.

Once you have your DLNA server setup, within the Skifta app, you simply select your DNLA server, your target (being the Xbox one) and the file and go.. Xbox Video will launch and your movie will start playing. I have found the voice commands also work for playback control.

This is a workaround for getting stuff to stream. IMO Microsoft still needs, nay, MUST put in a native DLNA browser into the OS via a dedicated app or updates to Xbox Video app.

I hope this helps some of you out.

article #2:

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) I have a hefty catalogue of ripped DVDs. Can the One reliably play these from my Windows 8 PC, and can I retire the collection of other devices I have today?

Initial investigation

I did find and enable a promising "Allow Play To streaming" option tucked away inside the Preferences menu.

So what is "Play To streaming"? Here's what Microsoft has to say about it:

"Enable this if you want to play video and music on your Xbox One from the Windows 8 and 8.1 Share charm and other Play To compatible devices."

Promising indeed! Time for a bit of background reading.

Understanding Play To

So, it turns out both Windows 7 and Windows 8 allow you right click on media files and "Play To" another device on your home network.

You wouldn't know it from their literature, but Play To actually conforms to the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standard. Any device which meets the DLNA interoperability rules should be a capable target for Play To - in this case the Xbox One.

Initial results

First, the good news. Most of the .mp4, .avi and .wmv files I threw at the Xbox One worked great. I was able to push them directly to the Xbox One without many hiccups.

Second, the bad. Unfortunately there are a few more of these:
  • Some videos were choppy, stuttered badly or didn't play at all.
  • Subtitles (if present) aren't displayed on the One and there's no way to enable them.
  • The Play To context menu item doesn't appear for some file formats, notably .mkv.

Delving into DLNA

Thousands of "DLNA Certified" devices have been produced, falling into four broad categories:
  • Digital Media Server. These store media and make it available on the home network. In our example, it's my Windows 8 PC.
  • Digital Media Players. These can play content pulled from a Digital Media Server. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Xbox One isn't, due to the aforementioned lack of a System Video Player.
  • Digital Media Controllers. These can find content on a Digital Media Server and push it to a Digital Media Renderer (see below). In our example, this role is also peformed by the PC via its Play To functionality.
  • Digital Media Renderers. These can play content pushed from a Digital Media Controller. In our case, it's the Xbox One with "Allow Play To streaming" turned on.

So what's the problem? Why doesn't everything just work?

For reasons unknown, Microsoft Windows 8, in it's capacity as a Digital Media Controller:
  • Doesn't support subtitles.
  • Supports enumeration of some file formats (.avi, .mp4, .wmv) but not others (.mkv, .vob, .divx).

None of this seems to be changeable, so we're left with a half-working solution.

Going back to the DLNA stack mentioned above:
  • We can't change the behaviour of the Digital Media Renderer. The Xbox One is a closed system. We're stuck.
  • We can't change the behaviour of the Digital Media Controller. This is baked-in Windows 7/8 functionality and can't be easily changed. We're stuck.
  • We can change the behaviour of the Digital Media Server. Up til now, we've been using Windows' built-in media sharing capability, but there's plenty of other Digital Media Server software out there: Mezzmo, Plex Media Server, PS3 Media Server, Serviio, TVersity to name just a few. Even better, some of these Media Servers support real time transcoding. If we can convince the Media Server to convert our unsupported files to supported ones on-the-fly we'll be all set!

Plex to the rescue

I probably could've chosen any of the Media Servers mentioned above, but I chose Plex for two reasons:
  • I have some familiarity with it.
  • I know it supports DLNA media profiles. These are essential for what we want to achieve.

My idea is to create two new client profiles:

One for the Windows Digital Media Controller.

We'll tell Plex that this client only supports those file formats that Windows allows Play To for (i.e. .mp4, .avi etc). This means Plex will convert any other file formats (e.g. .mkv) to supported ones on-the-fly, in theory allowing us to use Play To with almost anything.

One for the Xbox One.

Here we'll tell Plex which streaming parameters the Xbox One supports, so any files it doesn't handle will be converted ahead of time.

Plex setup

I won't go into great detail on this since it's already documented on the Plex website ( https://plexapp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/200380843-Overview ), but here's what I did to setup Plex Media Server:

Download Plex Media Server.

Install it on my PC.

Open the Plex Media Manager.

Set up a media library, pointing it to the Videos folder on my PC.

Turn on DLNA via Settings -> Plex Media Server -> DLNA -> DLNA enabled:

Accessing Plex content

After installing Plex Media Server, Windows quickly discovered it and added a new "Plex Media Server" icon to Windows Explorer:

Navigating the Plex media collection is quick and easy, but alas, I still can't use Play To with my .mkv files:

Actually, this is expected. Plex is sending a .mkv file down to our Windows 8 Digital Media Controller (see the screenshot below for proof), and we already know it doesn't support Play To for those. We need to tell Plex not to advertise .mkv, it should convert to a supported format instead.

Enabling the "Play To" button for .mkv files

After reading this guide ( https://forums.plex.tv/index.php/topic/42523-writing-profiles-for-dlna-devices/ ), I decided to take the plunge. I want to write a custom profile for my Windows 8 Digital Media Controller that:

Is only invoked when my Windows 8 PC connects to my Plex Media Server (and not for other devices).

Instructs Plex to only send file formats supported by Windows 8 Play To. Unsupported formats (e.g. .mkv) should be transcoded to supported ones.

Here's what I came up with:


After going to the System Tray and restarting the Plex Media Server, the Plex icon disappeared from Windows Explorer. Oops!

Not to worry, though. I was able to get it back quickly:

Open Windows Explorer.

Navigate to Computer -> Access Media.

Click on Connect to a media server:

Mini-panic over, I navigated back to my .mkv media.

Great news! The content is now identifying as MPEG2-TS (instead of .mkv) and Play To appears in the context menu:

Not such great news: I get an ugly "Unexpected device error" warning when attempting to Play To the Xbox One:

So why doesn't the content play? It's down to that pesky generic profile again.

Getting video to display on the Xbox One

We can't push just any video/audio stream to the Xbox One - it imposes constraints on what it will/won't play. Very similar to before, we need to create a dedicated profile for the Xbox One, instructing Plex Media Server to only push content that the One supports.

[CODE]Windows Media Player Sharing 
Microsoft Corporation 

After restarting Plex Media Server (again!), it's extremely good news - the Xbox One is correctly mapped to the new profile and can receive and display .mkv video!

Almost there! But what about subtitles?

Luckily, enabling subtitles is pretty easy. Whilst on the PC:

Open the Plex Media Manager.

Find the show you want to enable subtitles for, hit the drop-down next to "SUBTITLES" and make a language selection:

That's it! The subtitles will be rendered next time you Play To.

469 Posts
Thanks for posting the tips. It's good to know there is at least a possibility of streaming to the XB1. 5 years ago I would have jumped right into those and given it a shot to try to make this thing work. These days, I find this level of effort for simple media streaming archaic. Which is my beef with the Xbox One as a media player. It's terrible, unless you want buy all of your content from the Xbox store. That said, I've given up on .mkv. I doubt the XB1 will ever support it natively, which means transcoding on the fly or re-encoding the file from the get go.

7,475 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Originally Posted by jhoff80  /t/1523418/mkv-on-xbox-one#post_24506671

Or... if you're using Windows 8, you can just use a player app such as mobile.HD or PowerDVD Mobile. Use the devices charm, select play, and choose the Xbox, and it does it all for you.

what's been your experience with those programs?

I see the mobile.HD for $3.49 in the Windows Store. I guess I could do the trial and see if it works well. But your input could save me the hassle!

4,836 Posts
I've tried both. Hated the PowerDVD Mobile interface, but it worked okay. mobile.HD has worked well for me, though I actually only rarely use it. Doesn't support FLAC audio, or hi10p video (which I don't use anyway, I was just trying to find its limitations) but it's worked well for me.

Still, it'd be nice if VLC for Windows 8 added Play To support in a future update.
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