Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have an .avi and an .srt for a Mandarin movie. I used HandBrakeCLI to generate a M4V file that I could import into iTunes. In iTunes there is an option to turn the subtitles on and off, which works beautifully.

But when I move over to my AppleTV and select the movie from my computer's library, the subtitles do not show when played. I don't see any option in the AppleTV UI to turn subtitles on/off during movie playback.

All I could find was a setting in the Settings menu to set subtitles to "English" - would this be a global setting? Regardless it had no effect on my movie.

How can I view the subtitles when I watch on my AppleTV?

FYI here is the HandBrakeCLI command I used:

HandBrakeCLI -i /Volumes/Drobo/Movies/Ip\ Man\ The\ Legend\ is\ Born.avi -o /Users/emh/Desktop/movie.m4v --preset="AppleTV" --srt-file /Volumes/Drobo/Movies/Ip\ Man\ The\ Legend\ is\ --srt-lang English --srt-default

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'm not sure if this will work in your case, but someone on this forum seems to have had some success in a similar situation by simply changing the file extention from .mp4 to .m4v.

They were also using handbrake.

share|improve this answer
my file already has a m4v extension. thanks for the link though -- gives me hope. – emh Nov 12 '10 at 2:05
i tried again with the gui version of HandBrake and it worked... – emh Nov 12 '10 at 6:25

Use Subler.

Open file, click plus sign at top right to add srt file, and then save.

This process is both very fast and easy.

share|improve this answer
Great program, thanks for the suggestion. – René Feb 20 '13 at 9:59

I'm not sure whether you have a problem with the subtitle track for that specific rip you made however, generally, using the AppleTV 2nd Gen, when the movie is playing, you can hold down the 'Select' button on the remote for a few seconds and it will show you a menu where you can choose whether to display any subtitles for this movie and also which audio track to use (useful if you have two language tracks or have also ripped the commentary track to your file).

share|improve this answer

Hold down the select button during playback.

Doing so will pause video playback and present menus for subtitle track, audio track, and speaker selection.

This may be an old question, but Apple's unintuitive UI clearly hasn't changed.

share|improve this answer
You guys are geniae (plural of genius).. the hold down select button worked perfectly! Cheers.. – user44695 Mar 9 '13 at 5:36

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.