Philgin’s Blog

Windows: How to Add/Embed Soft Subtitles (srt) to mp4 (m4v) movies for Apple TV, iPhone

by on Jan.25, 2009, under Apple TV, iPhone, Soft Subtitle

Windows users, cry no more!

At last, you can now add Soft Subtitles to your Apple TV and iPhone Movies using windows. The method for windows users are here. Since there’s no Muxo for windows as of now.

Although this method involves several programs, at least it Works!

Advantages with this method:

  • Adds Soft Subtitles (can be turned on and off)

Disadvatages with this method:

  • You will loose your Chapters (at least for now since, although i have figured out a way to add a chapter after adding the subtitle, I havent found an easy way that works yet, for will conflict with Subtitles (which is also a text track).
  • Haven’t tested with files that have multiple audio tracks.
  • Haven’t tested with multiple subtitle tracks.
What you need (required):
  • mp4box – Adding the Subtitle to your movie.
  • hex editor – for modifying the text track flag so that Apple TV and iPhone can recognise it as a Subtitle track. I personally use UltraEdit with it’s speed and robustness.
  • A drive with a free space that is more than the size of your movie. I assume that it will be your drive C:\. If you will be using another drive then simply change the references of c:\ in this tutorial with your drive letter.
What you might need (extra tools):>
  • SubRip – Editing and Adjusting Subtitles if you have downloaded an out of sync sub.
  • MetaX Tagger – for adding meta tags like MPAA Ratings, Posters/Cover Art, Actors, etc.
  • mp4muxer or yamb – for removing existing Chapter tracks since this method doesn’t support movies with chapters in it.


The Step by Step Method:

  • Preparation:
    1. Back up your movie file (just in case you’ll make a mistake).
    2. Prepare your movie. If you are not sure that your movie doesn’t have any other text tracks like chapters in it, use mp4Muxer to check/remove any other tracks.
    3. Prepare your Subtitle file. Make sure that your subtitle file is in sync with your movie before proceeding. Use SubRip to edit and sync your subtitle. By the way, I use SRT subtitle in this tutorial.
  • Setting up our working drive and folder:
    1. We will use your drive c: in this tutorial but you may replace it with a drive letter if you will be using another drive.
    2. In your drive c:, create a folder called addsubs (you can name it any name you want just make sure you change any instances of it in this tutorial).
    3. Put the copy of your movie file to our conversion folder which is c:\addsubs.
    4. Also put your Subtitle file (SRT) in the same folder as your Movie file which is c:\addsubs.
    5. Rename your Subtitle file to match your movie filename. for example: if your movie’s filename is Transformers.mp4 then rename your subtitle file to
    6. Also put your downloaded mp4box.exe file in the same folder as your movie file (for easy commandline typing).
    7. Open your Command window. Click Start>Run then type cmd on the box and press enter.
    8. On the Command type: c: and press enter (Just to make sure that we are on drive c: ).
    9. Type cd\ and press enter. (To move to the root of drive c: ).
    10. Type cd addsubs and press enter(to go to the folder where we put our files). Your command prompt should now look like C:\addsubs>
    11. Type dir and press enter. If you see your movie file, subtitle file and mp4box listed then you are on the right drive and folder.
  • Adding your subtitle:
    1. Type mp4box -ttxt “<subtitle filename>” and press enter. (this will convert your SRT file to GPAC text track file thus a new text file will be created).
      for example: m -ttxt “”
    2. Type mp4box -add “<new ttxt subtitle filename>”:lang=en “<movie filename>” and press enter. this will add your text track to the movie and should take a while depending on your pc speed. Wait until the process is complete before proceeding.
      for example: mp4box -add “transformers.ttxt”:lang=en “transformers.mp4″
    3. By the way, lang=en is a language flag (en for English -> type mp4box -languages for a list of supported languages). If your subtitle is in another language then replace en with another language code.
      for example:
    4. mp4box -add "transformers.ttxt":lang=pt "transformers.mp4" if your subtitle is in portuguese.
    5. Type exit and press enter to close the Command console.
  • Editing your Movie’s Subtitle Track:
    1. Open UltraEdit. (Assuming that you have installed it already).
    2. Open the movie file with UltraEdit.
    3. Click Search>Find.
    4. In the Find What box, type text and check both Find ASCII and Match Case boxes.
    5. Click Find Next. It might take a while to find it and it should then take you to the part of the file that contains the word text
    6. Click on the letter t and start typing the word sbtl overwriting the word text.
    7. The word text should now be sbtl.
    8. Click File Save to save your work and close UltraEdit.
  • Almost Done:
    1. Change your movie file’s extension to m4v (Transformers.m4v). This is very important otherwise your Apple TV and iPhone won’t recognize it.
    2. That’s it. Enjoy!! :)
  • Extra:
    1. If you want to add Meta Tags like MPAA Ratings, Actors, etc.. that can be reconized by Apple TV and iPhone use MetaX Tagger.
    I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask questions/comments/suggestions.. :)
    P.S. If you like it, don’t forget to visit our sponsors:

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45 Comments for this entry

  • Andy

    Thanks for the great, easy to follow post. I’m trying to get subtitles embedded into .mp4 format so I can sync with my AppleTV. I completed the “Adding Your Subtitle” step and then moved on to using UltraEdit but was not able to find “: text” in the file. When searching for “text” I found one entry and changed it to “sbtl” and saved the file. Opened it up quicktime and had no subtitles. Clicked on View -> Subtitles and there was just a checkbox checked next to the word “Off”. I imported it into iTunes after renaming to .m4v file and got the same results…any ideas?

  • admin

    Your welcome.
    It’s just “text” and not “: text”. This usually happens when your movie has already a text track in it before you imported your subtitle. Are you sure that your original movie doesn’t have any other text track in it (like chapters or something)?

    Edit: Check the tutorials again. I edited some of it to make it easier.

  • LeeFH

    Fantastic tutorial, thank you! Tried it, and worked! In the meantime, i was faced to a problem, i’d be glad if you could explain me what to do against it:

    In the 2nd step, when i import the subtitles to the movie, i chose an avi file, and i got this error message:
    “Cannot open destination file : Invalid IsoMedia File.”

    That file was an .avi, and when i tried with a random .mp4 file it worked like a charm.

    Thanks again! I feel like saving up tons of hours with this method. :)

  • admin

    I’m glad to help.
    I haven’t tested it with an avi because I converted my avi files to mp4/m4v for Apple TV and iPhone (which doesn’t natively support avi files). I don’t think mp4box supports importing to an avi but I’m not sure.
    Why would you want to import it to an avi?

  • LeeFH

    Oh… to tell the truth when i found this method, i rushed to my latest avi-srt combos without even questioning the fact that avi is incompatible with the iPhone. Now i realized that trying to embed the subtitles in avi makes no sense. Sorry for this relatively dumb question i came up with.:)

    (Note to self: first convert video, then convert subtitle, then embed.:))

  • Marie

    My subtitles take all the screen (text is way too big) and the movie is slow as if it was too much to process…

  • admin

    Marie: On your Apple TV or iPhone? If you are refering to quicktime, this tutorial is not intended for quicktime playback. If you want to play your movies on your computer, i recommend using VLC on a mac (although i’m not a mac user so i’m not sure if it can display subtitles) and SMPlayer or Media Player Classic for windows as it displays the subtitles correctly.

  • fussball

    Gute Arbeit hier! Gute Inhalte.

  • lezy

    need help! so here’s my problem.
    how do you subrip an mp4 movie? I have my .srt already. but I couldn’t find files for the vob on subrip. help please.

  • Itay

    the line :
    mp4box -add “tranformers.ttxt”:lang=en “tranformers.mp4″
    is not work fot me, it tells me
    Error impotring transformers.ttxt:lang=en: Bad Parameter
    any clue?

  • Philgin

    lezy: vob files are not text files. They are binary (image) files. You can use subrip to convert it to srt although I have no luck with converting them myself as subrip sometimes refuses to open vob files.

  • Philgin

    Itay: make sure you typed the line correctly with spaces and punctuation marks.

  • philip- jan

    Helo, thx for the great tutorial.
    I finished it andit woks perfectly, down to one detail, the subtitles apear a fewseconds before the actual text is spoken. How can i change this?
    thank you

  • philip- jan

    i just figured ut that the subs only work on the wmp classic, not when i play the file on my ipod nor quicktime :S

  • schroedinger


    nice, but far to complicated.

    I recommend to use the free software “mp4te” (google for it) which allows you to add soft subs to your iphone very easily and fast.

  • printgeek

    Awesome! I’ve been looking for this… I didn’t realize it was so easy. I’ve been adding subs to my mp4′s in meGUI but they never showed on my iPhone UNTIL NOW. Thanks!

    Now, how do I add the chapters back in?

  • Philgin

    Hmm… I haven’t found a good program to add the chapters back. Let us know if you found one. :)

  • Pc Arbeit

    Hi, Danke für Deinen Beitrag “Windows: How to Add/Embed Soft Subtitles (srt) to mp4 (m4v) movies for Apple TV, iPhone – Philgin’s Blog”! Schreib weiter so…! Gefällt mir sehr gut!

  • Lomay

    Does anyone know how to add multiple subtitles, so far i tried and no luck both subtitles appear with only one option and the other ain’t soft any longer.

  • Philgin

    I just bought a Mac so I’m already using Muxo w/c adds both Chapters and Subtitles easily. I haven’t tried adding multiple subtitles though.

  • Pascal

    How about a bunch of bat files to complete the subtiteling and hexediting task ? I sure would appreciate it to only have to click to bats.

    Also thanks for this Guide.

  • Maxoo

    I think there is an easier way to do that:
    mp4box -ipod -add “” “”

    Try it ;)

  • Maxoo

    mp4box -ipod -add “”:lang=en “video.mp4?

  • Maxoo

    Never mind, does not do anything…

  • Maxoo

    Final reply :p

    It works with the latest mp4box (0.5.6 dev)
    just type : mp4box -add video.m4v
    as you see, your video extension must be .m4v
    No need of UltraEdit anymore.

  • Daniel Motlis


    I’ve followed the instructions above and things seem to be working ok. However, the subtitles appear in Quicktime on TOP rather at the bottom of the screen. How can I fix this?


  • eduo

    Two notes:

    Muxo is pretty much dead. Subler has come out to try and fill the hole and is even providing a CLI-based tool.

    I have tried this manual approach and I have yet to have it working. It’s frustrating because I’m supposed to know what I’m doing. But no matter what I do, I always end up with incorrect-looking subs (fullscreen) or they’re always on (soft, but forced).

  • Lynn LU

    Nice guide!
    ThX for sharing.
    I think for mac users,ffmpegX maybe a nice choice ,and it is free,it can add srt to avi videos on mac
    just consult this guide:
    How to add srt and sub files to avi videos on Mac ?

  • Chris Haslage

    There is even an easier way to do this and it just requires 99% GUI and a bit of time, but I’ve done it on multiple movies without an issue.

    Hope this clears a lot of the DOS problems out.


  • Chris Haslage

    Also, forgot to mention, the subtitle issue for iTunes and Quicktime is fixed with some ttxt instead of srt, but I am not 100% sure of the coding yet.

    Subler, a new Mac program, has figured out the subtitles and how they look good, it also converts SubRip SRT to TTXT (3GPP).

    I will update my post when I figure out the way to do this.

  • Joshua

    i cant find the text thingie

    It says”The string text cannot be found”

  • KrisBelucci

    Hi, cool post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for writing.

  • AndrewBoldman

    Hi, good post. I have been woondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

  • Kelly Brown

    I really like your post. Does it copyright protected?

  • JaneRadriges

    Hi, gr8 post thanks for posting. Information is useful!

  • KattyBlackyard

    The best information i have found exactly here. Keep going Thank you

  • b


    I tried on ipod nano 4g, but it doesn’t work. Any idea, what can I do? (I thought, that I try, cause there is in my ipod a subtitle on/off line)

  • crognar

    is it neccesary to change the type of the file because i want to use this for dvd’s for which i need MP4

  • crognar

    ok… i just found something out transformers.txtt didnt work at all even with spaces and everything then i changed txtt to srt and it works ! ^^

  • crognar

    O_O i have a lot of questions… sorry for that but i got text and 2 lines under that i see Text do i need to change that one too?

  • sarah

    Thankyou so much!

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