I have one MP4 movie that plays just fine in QuickTime (I've run it from beginning to end without problem).

However, when I imported it into iTunes, it can load but cannot play. Clicking on the play/pause button does not work. Nevertheless, I can advance the progress bar to any point in the movie, but the screen just shows a still image of that point.

This is really strange since as far as I know, iTunes plays movies with QT.

So, what is the possible cause of this problem and how to fix it? Thanks in advance.

My environmental specs: OS X 10.8.4, iTunes 11.0.4 (4), QuickTime Player 10.2 (603.17).

4 Answers 4


I suspect that the codec is the issue. You should probably try to re-encode the movie. There are a multitude of encoding apps out there such as Handbrake.


Had a similar problem recently and solved it by using Subler, which is way faster than other alternatives (not as many features though). Just make sure you have the correct settings in Subler and Perian.

I have Audio Output on Multi-Channel in both and AC-3 Audio to AAC is checked in Subler

  • Thanks for the suggestion. As for me, I re-encoded the video with Handbreak, which is not very fast (30min lossless encoding for a 90min movie in this case) but nevertheless user-friendly and versatile (I mainly use Handbreak for ripping movies from DVDs). I have removed the problematic MP4 so I can't test your solution. But seems that you mentioned Perian, which ceased development earlier this year.
    – 4ae1e1
    Aug 19, 2013 at 14:27
  • Yeah I know they stopped developing it but the latest version works for subler, now atleast Aug 19, 2013 at 16:17

I had the same issue where an iTunes import/copy of an M4P file did not play. I exported from the QuickTime Player, using the "iPad, iPhone 4 & Apple TV" setting, and it successfully created a file that would play through Apple TV. (The estimated file size was way off however, actual export was much smaller and similar in size to the source, and the higher quality export option, "iPad2, iPhone 5 & Apple TV" was grayed out and not available.)

There's a good thread on this here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=20884010

They talk about the issue being a 5.1 surround thing that iTunes does not handle. I'm not sure what the conversion did to the audio in my case, but I assume the conversion was lossy. See below for file info, original and conversions:

Major difference is that the original and iTunes converted files were .mp4, but the QT Player output a .m4v file that played in iTunes and my AppleTV.

All files (using get info) said they were: 720 × 404; AAC, H.264; 2 audio channels and 42:44 duration. Both MP4s (original and itunes import) were exactly the same byte count so it looks like iTunes copied and did not recompress the file, however the QT Player exported M4V file was slightly smaller in size, by about 100KB (for a 425MB file).

I don't know where/how to view the deeper audio format information to find if any of the files had surround encoding.

Software: MacOS X 10.9.5, AppleTV V 3, QT V. 10.3, iTunes V.


Had the same problem. Apparently in a lot of cases it is just an issue of 5.1 Dolby audio which can't natively be handled by iTunes, but by QuickTime.

I did a container conversion/repackaging with free MKVtools v2. (Don't get the latest)

It is pretty easy and fast, open the MKV in the converter, check "Pass through video" and "Convert audio to 2ch" and then there's even an extra option for iTunes/Apple TV settings.

Conversion takes about 2 minutes for a 1.5 GB 60 min movie.

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