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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This should be simple as hell, but the internet appears to be brain-dead on this topic. Every search result returns options that are slow and do too much and don't provide the SIMPLEST conversion (no changes to the original other than making a copy compatible with MP4. Doesn't have to be special LG video format or anything, just a normal MP4 file that has the same audio format as the original.

I have MKV files that play properly except on an LG TV that only wants to see MP4. There are 2 kinds of MKV files: 1080p video in 24, 30, or 60 fps with h264 AND 2160p video in h265 with 24, 30, or 60 fps. These are all normal "consumer video" recorded to network hard disks. Black levels are at 16/64 and white level at 235/940. I don't want to change the frame rate or grayscale steps when the files are converted. I don't want to upconvert or downconvert anything during the conversion.

The audio of the MKV files can be PCM stereo, Dolby Stereo, and any common consumer home theater audio format from 2.0 to 11.2 so some are Atmos/TrueHD or DTS-HD/DTS:X, others are normal 5.1 or 7.1 soundtracks. I don't want to change the audio during conversion either.

Every search turns up enthusiastic "instructions" that NEVER produce the "no changes" results I'm looking for. The instructions for using VLC to do this come closest to working, but the file sizes change drastically. Original file size could be 5 GB but the converted file is ALWAYS much smaller... like 2 GB or 2.5 GB. I know enough about file sizes, compression, bits, dynamic range, black and white levels (for HD and UHD) to know I can't get the same quality from a 5 GB MKV into a 2.5 GB MP4. I know this process can be done in 5 or so seconds per file, but every set of steps I find with searches produces files that are much smaller or sometimes even much larger than the originals so the conversion is NOT the "no changes" conversion I want. My understanding is that the MKV file only needs some minor tweaking to convert it to MP4 but every option for doing "simple" conversions seems to be incapable of doing the "no changes" sort of conversion. I don't want 24p video converted to 30p or 60p, I don't want video resolution up or down converted, and I don't want the audio format changed. Surely there has to be a simple way to do that. I know it takes a LITTLE more than just changing the file extension to MP4, but not much more than that!
 

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In all these searches, Handbrake never showed up?

If there is an app to simplify video conversions, it's Handbrake. Very powerful, and quite simple to use, with presets or your own set of rules. Give it a shot. It is my go-to app for this kind of job... and its free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, Handbrake... not one I've tried. It was never mentioned in searches that claim to explain how to do conversions simply without changing the video and audio. I'm going to try Handbrake today. Thanks. Other conversion tools haven't supported 24p or they process the entire 2 GB to 60 GB video files into smaller file sizes (often ~half the size of the original). (tried OBS Studio, VC MiniTool Video Converter, Movavi, VLC, and more).
 

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You have control over everything in Handbrake. Just click on "Original" for bitrate, window size, etc...

About the file size, remember that the compression is different for different format, h264, h265,
Of course, 60Gb down to 2Gb is a bit extreme, but the newer format support better compression, being careful that your TV can play the newer format.

All the old ones are also in HandBrake, so, just test a bunch of parameters, and make a preset of the one that works for you.
 

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Handbrake is a good tool if you want to re-encode your videos. You want a container change.
Use ffmpeg from the command line. Something along the lines of this

ffmpeg -i infile.name -acodec copy -vcodec copy outfile.mp4
 

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Do a search for “Mkvtoolnix”and get the most recent package.

It will give you a gui to run command line style changes and allow you to mess with your containers and change, replace, or extract subtitles, audio, video etc. and merge them into new containers or put a piece into an old container. Pretty easy to grasp UI, shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to set up.
 

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This should be simple as hell, but the internet appears to be brain-dead on this topic. Every search result returns options that are slow and do too much and don't provide the SIMPLEST conversion (no changes to the original other than making a copy compatible with MP4. Doesn't have to be special LG video format or anything, just a normal MP4 file that has the same audio format as the original.

I have MKV files that play properly except on an LG TV that only wants to see MP4. There are 2 kinds of MKV files: 1080p video in 24, 30, or 60 fps with h264 AND 2160p video in h265 with 24, 30, or 60 fps. These are all normal "consumer video" recorded to network hard disks. Black levels are at 16/64 and white level at 235/940. I don't want to change the frame rate or grayscale steps when the files are converted. I don't want to upconvert or downconvert anything during the conversion.

The audio of the MKV files can be PCM stereo, Dolby Stereo, and any common consumer home theater audio format from 2.0 to 11.2 so some are Atmos/TrueHD or DTS-HD/DTS:X, others are normal 5.1 or 7.1 soundtracks. I don't want to change the audio during conversion either.

Every search turns up enthusiastic "instructions" that NEVER produce the "no changes" results I'm looking for. The instructions for using VLC to do this come closest to working, but the file sizes change drastically. Original file size could be 5 GB but the converted file is ALWAYS much smaller... like 2 GB or 2.5 GB. I know enough about file sizes, compression, bits, dynamic range, black and white levels (for HD and UHD) to know I can't get the same quality from a 5 GB MKV into a 2.5 GB MP4. I know this process can be done in 5 or so seconds per file, but every set of steps I find with searches produces files that are much smaller or sometimes even much larger than the originals so the conversion is NOT the "no changes" conversion I want. My understanding is that the MKV file only needs some minor tweaking to convert it to MP4 but every option for doing "simple" conversions seems to be incapable of doing the "no changes" sort of conversion. I don't want 24p video converted to 30p or 60p, I don't want video resolution up or down converted, and I don't want the audio format changed. Surely there has to be a simple way to do that. I know it takes a LITTLE more than just changing the file extension to MP4, but not much more than that!
I've been working with video files for a few years now and the easiest way I've found is to put VIC media player on your computer and nothing needs converted that way. Hopefully this answers your question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I've been working with video files for a few years now and the easiest way I've found is to put VIC media player on your computer and nothing needs converted that way. Hopefully this answers your question.
I've had VLC for quite a while. I've probably spent 3 days (not all at one time!) trying to get it to change file formats without changing anything else. In all that time, I got it to work correctly ONE time. Every other time I've tried messing with it, it is ALWAYS making the MP4 file MUCH SMALLER... like 1/3 to 1/4 the size of the original video file. When it changes the size of the file, it grinds on it for a surprisingly long time for a 16 GB/i7/Win10/SSD desktop computer. The file sizes are mostly 8GB to 50GB and larger files can only move around the network so fast even with Gigabit Ethernet. I have not been able to make VLC do it "right" (i.e. quickly with little or no change to file size) again after getting it to happen properly ONE time. I don't know what was different about that ONE run that it worked correctly. First try with Handbrake? Same problem... the MP4 comes out MUCH smaller than the original and I changed NO SETTINGs in Handbrake. I poked around Handbrake for a while trying to find something that was causing it to reduce the file size with no luck. In most cases, the content is UHD/HDR/10bits or SD/HDR/10bits both with x265 encoding (not 264 encoding) and sometimes SD/SDR/8bits with x264 encoding. I wouldn't even mess with this, but there are some things my sister in law wants to watch and she has an LG TV that FORCES you to change everything to MP4 or it doesn't play back (this LG is maybe 3 years old). LG doesn't offer Kodi as one of their installable apps so I can't even use that on the LG to avoid having to convert formats. There must be 6 media apps I've tried that ALL claim to be able to do the conversions I want to do. But none of the apps ever make it clear about what settings are needed to get these programs to change the extension without changing the quality of the audio or video. I make sure the input and output bits match so there's no 10bit to 8bit converting going on, I check for settings that affect the processing of the audio during conversions. Check for things that would change the video... and when you think you have EVERYTHING, the app still grinds away and chops the file size way down from the original. None of these apps have buttons for "file type change without video or audio changes" button or single option that overrides any other settings. So I'm left to guess at how many settings I have to change or not change in order to get the end result of MP4 with the same video and audio quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Use Avidemux

see here for simple instructions:

So I installed the Avidemux software. Set Video to Copy and Audio to Copy. I changed Preferences to save the output file to the same directory as the source file, saved that as default, pointed to the file I wanted to convert. A window opened with a progress bar. The job completed as far as the software was concerned. No error messages. Also no output file written. By accident I looked at the File Explorer icon for the device (USB 3.1 Memory Stick) holding the input file and noticed it was RED. I checked and there wasn't enough space on the memory stick to write the export file--and no error from the software remember. No indication at all from Avidemux that there was a failure. So I deleted half the contents of the Memory Stick and tried again. Same thing... progress window opened up, went through a couple of steps. No output file. I did a search on my NAS drives and on the computer's hard disk for *.MP4... no new file written anywhere and ZERO notification from Avidemux of any issue. I had video set to "Copy" and audio set to "Copy" initially when I got no actual written output file that I could find. Because the instructions said to set Audio to AAC in case the audio format of the file was not compatible with MP4. So I did the conversion again with Video set to Copy and Audio set to AAC. Same thing happened... window with progress bar opened. And after 25 seconds or so, the screen redrew itself, no errors indicated, and still no MP4 file written in the memory stick directory, or on the computer hard disk or on my NAS drives. I have NO IDEA if it actually wrote an output file and this app has no means of FINDING the output file (like "open directory containing converted file at the end of the conversion"). I'm GUESSING no file is written based on nothing found during searches for *.MP4 on the computer and on memory sticks connected to my USB Hub. This app also doesn't (or appears to not) to allow you to set a specific output directory... all you get for an output options is a checkbox for several options--that's where the option exists to send the output file to the same directory as the input file.

Every one of the conversion software apps I've tried has SOME fatal flaw SOMEWHERE that makes it impossible to figure out why these SIMPLE conversions are failing. I can't even remember all of them I've tried... Handbrake, OBS Studio, VLC, and at least 3 others that had some kind of issue or another and have since been deleted. Handbrake, VLC and Avidemux are all still installed. Not sure what to try next. I also have JRiver Media Center that's a few years old now... I haven't looked closely at that software for this job yet, so maybe that's the next thing to look into.
 

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Hello,
Looks like you have been pretty frustrated...
You have gotten quite a bit of very good advice. That said, I think you should look at these descriptions of the KMV "files" are not really files in the traditional sense
&

Place to get your files, without all the junk!
and of course...
Free DivX Video Software - Play, convert and cast video. Play DivX files. <click on video converter - evidently this is a separate program!

Good luck with your "project"
 

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To convert MKV to MP4, a simple way is to get a tool like Handbrake or DumboFab VideoConverter. Personally, I prefer a more professional converter. This software is very nice and easily to use, have many settings that we can''t find at another software, i like the effects in this software as it has many types....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
To convert MKV to MP4, a simple way is to get a tool like Handbrake or DumboFab VideoConverter. Personally, I prefer a more professional converter. This software is very nice and easily to use, have many settings that we can''t find at another software, i like the effects in this software as it has many types....
I said in the original post that what I am TRYING to do SHOULD be exceptionally easy. I know that. The problem is, that every piece of software recommended by someone that SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THIS in SECONDS even if the file is 80 GB. But when you actually TRY TO DO IT, every software does something unexpected. One of the recommended software programs appeared to do exactly the right thing... took 7 seconds or so looking over the file, then went through a "progress bar" scenario where the changes were made to the file needed to make it an mkv file. But when I went to the directory where the converted file was supposed to be saved, there was no file... nothing was written at all. I searched the local and network drives, even the USB sticks and it had not been written anywhere in my system. Handbrake--SHOULD BE SIMPLE, but every combination of settings I try results in slowly grinding out a new version of the file... it has an mkv extension, but the file size is much smaller. I don't want that. When the MP4 to MKV conversion happens properly, it takes less than 10 seconds and the difference in file size is miniscule. If the original was 72.34 GB, the mkv version it will still be 72 GB but the .34 might change a little. All of these utilities seem focused on CHANGING the video or audio or both. And getting that to STOP is where these programs are failing this. I found some old notes from the day I did get VLC to convert ONE of these files correctly... I will try that method again to see if I have luck with it.

My guess is that these programs MAY be able to convert MP4 to MKV without changing anything, but none of them tells you explicitly what settings have to be used in order for that to happen without changing the audio or video. And none of them have a button that sets the program in "convert without altering audio or video" mode. You have to find every setting in multiple menus... for example in VLC you have to set video to not being changed AND audio into not being changed separately. But even that has some other setting needed to NOT alter anything but the container type for the file or VLC would do the conversion correctly every time... I have not been able to achieve that. Only one time has VLC done a conversion without altering video and audio and I don't know why that one worked and other attempts don't work.
 

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I think the best advice you've been given in this thread is from srhofmann, who recommended FFMPEG. This type of conversion is exactly the kind of thing that FFMPEG is great at. Because FFMPEG is a command line tool it can take some getting used to, so I recorded a quick video showing you how to do it:

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
?!?!?!? Yowza! Thanks! I will look into this at my first opportunity. All the apps recommended are so focused on CHANGING EVERYTHING/ANYTHING, they seemed to forget the simple stuff! I sense potential promise here!
 
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