I have an issue with Raspbmc video and audio playback with MKV files on a fresh install of Raspbmc.

Basically the video plays but there is no audio or images displayed so I essentially get a black screen. This doesn't happen with every MKV file, so I would guess that it has something to do with how the video was encoded?

Any pointers on sorting this issue out? I'm using the HDMI connection.

If you need more info let me know what and how to get it and I'll added it here when I get the chance.

Edit 1

ffmpeg -i on the file

Edit 2

Ran the command ffmpeg -i ./20.mkv -vcodec copy -an -map 0.0 20.mp4 and the mp4 also plays but without video or audio.

The original file runs fine on windows and ubuntu gonna try the mp4 and see how that runs now.

Seems stream 0 codec frame rate differs from container frame rate: 59.94 (15712911/262144) -> 23.98 (24000/1001)
Input #0, matroska,webm, from '20.mkv':
    title           : [KAA] Chobits - 20
  Duration: 00:24:31.27, start: 0.000000, bitrate: N/A
    Chapter #0.0: start 0.000000, end 101.300000
      title           : Chapter 16
    Chapter #0.1: start 101.300000, end 680.700000
      title           : Chapter 17
    Chapter #0.2: start 680.700000, end 1339.600000
      title           : Chapter 18
    Chapter #0.3: start 1339.600000, end 1429.433000
      title           : Chapter 19
    Chapter #0.4: start 1429.433000, end 1471.274000
      title           : Chapter 20
    Stream #0.0: Video: h264 (High), yuv420p, 704x480, PAR 229:189 DAR 5038:2835, 23.98 fps, 23.98 tbr, 1k tbn, 59.94 tbc (default)
      title           : [KAA] Chobits - 20
    Stream #0.1(jpn): Audio: aac, 48000 Hz, stereo, s16 (default)
      title           : Japanese Audio (2ch AAC)
    Stream #0.2: Subtitle: ass (default)
      title           : English Subs (ASS)
    Stream #0.3: Attachment: [0][0][0][0] / 0x0000
      filename        : festus!.ttf
      mimetype        : application/x-truetype-font
    Stream #0.4: Attachment: [0][0][0][0] / 0x0000
      filename        : LearningCurve.ttf
      mimetype        : application/x-truetype-font
    Stream #0.5: Attachment: [0][0][0][0] / 0x0000
      filename        : SADNESS_.TTF
      mimetype        : application/x-truetype-font
    Stream #0.6: Attachment: [0][0][0][0] / 0x0000
      filename        : SHERBERI.TTF
      mimetype        : application/x-truetype-font
    Stream #0.7: Attachment: [0][0][0][0] / 0x0000
      filename        : tt0843m_.TTF
      mimetype        : application/x-truetype-font
  • 1
    The Raspberry Pi only has hardware support for a few codecs (such as h264.) I would guess the ones that work are h264 and the ones that don't are some other encoding.
    – berry120
    Sep 17, 2012 at 10:53
  • 1
    I think if you run ffmpeg -i <filename> it will give you details about the files in question. Sep 17, 2012 at 13:55
  • Are you using omxplayer?
    – Jivings
    Sep 17, 2012 at 18:29
  • Don't know if that is being used.. I'm using what ever is the default Raspbmc player. Will check the details of ffmpeg now and add to the question.
    – Nalum
    Sep 18, 2012 at 18:05
  • 2
    One thing that should be noted is that MKV is a container format. The actual video and audio codecs used to encode the data streams is not dictated by the container. Thus, it has little relevance in regards to the ability to play the video. If you can play any MKV file, your problem is not with the MKV format, it is with the codecs used to encode the contained streams. MP4 and AVI are other container formats. Repackaging the streams into another container should have little effect on your ability to play them. Sep 19, 2012 at 14:21

1 Answer 1


I have had the same issues in Arch. Some mkv files work perfectly, others not at all.

I'm not entirely sure if this applies to you, but it's really important and fixed my issues. Sometimes when I upgrade my firmware my media player stops working and I have to re-install it to get it to work.

Some of the libraries that interact with the GPU for video decoding are part of the firmware package, and I believe that the issues arise when these change. The applications that depend on them then need to be upgraded too, or possibly linked to the libraries again.

I'm far from an expert at this topic, but perhaps someone else with more knowledge can elaborate on my guesswork, or perhaps tell me I'm completely wrong.


You update the firmware by running:

sudo wget http://goo.gl/1BOfJ -O /usr/bin/rpi-update && sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/rpi-update

and then:

sudo rpi-update
  • This sounds reasonable, as does the encoding formats theory. Have you confirmed it isn't the encoding foemat? Sep 17, 2012 at 18:55
  • 1
    @AlexChamberlain Yes, an unsupported encoding format causes the video not to play, or to play really badly.
    – Jivings
    Sep 17, 2012 at 18:58
  • I would try this but don't know where to begin.
    – Nalum
    Sep 19, 2012 at 15:02
  • @Nalum: I added how to update the firmware, it's quite simple.
    – Jivings
    Sep 19, 2012 at 16:36
  • @Jivings Thanks, will give this a shot tonight when I get home.
    – Nalum
    Sep 20, 2012 at 8:14

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