Simple Ways to Play AVI on Apple TV

authorBy Cory Thompson, January 31, 2016

A common question I see asked online is "Can the Apple TV play AVI files?". Thankfully with the help from some cool software, the answer is yes.

This article will guide you through the best ways to play AVI file directly to your Apple TV.

  1. The simple and quick way - Play AVI instantly using PopCast
  2. The free but slow way - Convert AVI to MP4 file format using HandBrake and iTunes

1. The simple and quick way - Play AVI instantly using PopCast

PopCast is a simple-to-use media streamer for Windows and Mac that can play majority video formats (much like VLC media player) but can also stream the video directly to the Apple TV and Chromecast without file conversion.

There are a few advantages of using PopCast to stream AVI rather than converting your files to Apple TV (MP4) format:

  • You can begin watching your videos instantly
  • You don't need to deal with complicated file conversion settings. PopCast just works!
  • Your hard drive won't fill up with multiple different file formats of the same video.
  • ITunes is clunky. PopCast works just like a simple media player.

Step 1 - Install PopCast

a. Let's begin, Start by clicking the download link below.

Download PopCast

b. Wait for the download to finish, double click PopCastSetup.exe on Windows, or open PopCastSetup.dmg on Mac and drag the icon to your Applications folder.

Step 2 - Open PopCast and immediately start playing your videos

a. Now that PopCast is installed, you can open it from the Start Menu on Windows, or the Applications folder on Mac. The PopCast main screen will be displayed.

b. Simple drag and drop your AVI files onto the PopCast screen. The first of these files will instantly start playing on your computer screen.

c. Finally, select your Apple TV from the popup devices menu at the bottom left of the PopCast screen. The video will start playing immediately on your Apple TV.

2. The free but slow way - Convert AVI to MP4 file format using HandBrake and iTunes

If you don't mind waiting before streaming each file and fiddling with multiple pieces of software, you may prefer the free option. The free option is to convert your files to the MP4 file format (which Apple TV can play) then streaming that file directly to the Apple TV using iTunes.

Step 1 - Install HandBrake

a. Let's start, choose the download link relevent to your operating system.

Download Handbrake

b. Once the download has completed, open HandBrake-x.xx.x-x86_64-Win_GUI.exe on Windows, or open HandBrake-x.xx.x-MacOSX.x_GUI_x86_64.dmg on Mac and drag the icon to your Applications folder.

Step 2 - Convert your files using HandBreak

a. Once HandBreak has been installed, you can run it from the Start Menu on Windows, or the Applications folder on Mac. The HandBrake screen will appear.

b. You will need to select the preset "AppleTV" from the "Presets" panel on the right of the HandBrake screen.

c. Click the Source button. When you do, a panel will appear below it. Select the option to "Open a single video file", Select the AVI file you wish to stream.

d. Now you'll need to tell the HandBrake Application where to save the new converted file. To do this, we will click the Browse button on the right of the Destination box. A new screen will appear allowing you to select the location and new name of the file. Choose the folder (e.g. your Desktop or external hard drive) and then name the file to match the file that you are converting. Click "OK"

e. Next, click the Start button. Now comes the waiting for the video to convert. This can take some time (around an hour on a fast machine), or even more, depending on the length and size of the video.

Step 3 - Run iTunes and play your MP4 file on your Apple TV

a. If you don't already have iTunes installed, you can download it from Apple's website (click here to visit the iTunes download page: http://apple.com/itunes/download )

b. Once you have iTunes installed, you can open it from the Start Menu on Windows, or the Applications folder on Mac. The iTunes window will appear.

c. Click on the "Movies" icon at the top left of the iTunes window

d. Open your File Explorer window (on Windows) or Finder window (on Mac) and locate the MP4 file you created in Step 2 above.

e. Drag and drop this file onto any blank space below the words "Home Videos"

f. Click on the "Home Videos" option

g. Double click the file and it will start playing on your computer screen

h. Finally, click the button next to the volume control and select your Apple TV from the popup menu. Your video will start playing on your Apple TV.

Today we've covered two of the best ways to play AVI files to your Apple TV. This technique can also be used to play MKV , MOV, WMV, MPEG or most other video formats.