Apple's specifications allow for both the MPEG4 and H.264 codecs, but H.264 is a better choice (for several reasons we're not going to get into here) so we'll just stick with that. In the video above we've used Handbrake to apply these settings and convert our videos to be AirPlay-friendly because it's 1) free and 2) cross-platform, but you can user any video encoder that can create an H.264 .mp4 file. Here are the settings you want to use:
- Video Codec: H.264 (Main Profile)
- Video Bitrate: 5442kbps (anywhere between 5000 and 6000 kbps should be fine)
- Video Resolution 1280x720 (also known as 720p)
- Frames Per Second: 30 (or less)
- Audio Codec: AAC (Low Complexity)
- Audio Bitrate: 160kbps
- Audio Samplerate: 48 or 44.1 kHz
Video Encoding Software
You'll also want to download Handbrake so you can start converting your videos. If you want something a little more simple than Handbrake and you're using a Mac, you might want to check out Evom. It's a simple and free video converter. If you use the Apple TV setting (or even the Folder setting) you can create AirPlay-compatible videos in just a few clicks. One problem, however, is that Evom will not resize the videos, meaning that if you give it a video larger than 1280x720 it'll remain in that resolution. This will cause compatibility issues so make sure your videos don't have a resolution than 1280x720 if you want to use it. As a Windows alternative, Any Video Converter is a great free option. We had no issues with it when testing. Those recommendations aside, feel free to use whatever you'd like. Just apply the settings you see above and you'll be good to go.
If you're sticking with Handbrake, you need to do three things. First, click "Picture Settings" to adjust the video resolution:
Next, set the video bitrate to 5442 (or, really, anything between 5000 and 6000 kbps):
Finally, set the audio bitrate to 160kbps, the samplerate to 48kHz or 44.1kHz, and the encoder to AAC (although these options will likely be selected for you already):
That's all there is to it. Once you've got all your videos queued up, convert them and you'll soon have an AirPlay-ready video library at your disposal.