I am seriously considering moving from my Android TV-based player to Apple TV player, because my current solution fails completely on playing / streaming videos from from an external server through SMB or FTP protocol with external subtitles.

Some software players (i.e. VLC) can browse network shares (some can't), but all of them fails on opening external subtitles, i.e. stored in the .srt or .txt file with exactly the same filename as corresponding video file. It is only possible to display subtitles, if they are embedded into video files that supports embedded subtitles (i.e. MKV) or subtitles downloaded from OpenSubtitles.org.

This is especially weird, because happens only on SMB / FTP protocol. When using exactly the same player on local disk, everything works just like a charm.

I'd like to ask how does it work in case of Apple TV?

While searching the Internet, I managed to learn that Apple TV can play content from local network (don't know, if using SMB or FTP protocol), using VLC or some other players. But I can't find any certain, confirmed information about fetching subtitles from. srt, .txt etc. files stored in exactly the same source and using exactly the same protocol (local share using SMB or external share using FTP) as used for fetching main video file.

Can anyone shed some light on this problem? Thank you.

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is possible using third party apps such as for example the VLC media player for Apple TV.

Note that you need a fourth generation Apple TV or newer.

  • 1
    On my ATV I use Plex to stream movies from my NAS. It's free and I can turn on the subtitles without a problem. I've also used VLC but don't recall if I used subtitles with that app or not.
    – fsb
    Jan 17, 2019 at 20:14
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    Yes, Plex is another example of a third party app. I have used VLC with subtitles.
    – jksoegaard
    Jan 17, 2019 at 20:29
  • @fsb Let me double check to not shoot my own foot. Can you confirm that your Apple TV, using Plex, is able to fetch both .mp4 / .mkv and .srt / .txt file from external NAS, using SMB or FTP and play movie with external subtitles? I am asking because exactly the same combination of NAS + SMB + VLC, but on Android TV fails completely and only video is fetched (with audio but with no external subtitles).
    – trejder
    Jan 17, 2019 at 20:31
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    @trejder I'll check and update with another comment.
    – fsb
    Jan 17, 2019 at 20:54
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    @trejder I only have a few .mp4 files with .srt. I don't have any .txt files. I'm able to play .mp4 with .srt without a problem. I played .mp4 and selected 'SRT external' subtitles and it played but the timing was off a few seconds. Not a great test, and I'm not sure it helps you, but that's all I have.
    – fsb
    Jan 21, 2019 at 12:53

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