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Shuffle NOT Random

frankydankfrankydank Posts: 3Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
edited August 2015 in macOS/OS X (Mac)

Perhaps someone can help me understand. This is both a roku and chromecast issue for me. So, for the past two months or so I have been using playlists. I made one large playlist of sitcoms that my fiancé and I both like, that we put on when we're cooking dinner, etc. Depending on what we are doing we will watch anywhere from 3-8 episodes a night. I always start the playlist by shuffling. Here's the issue: About 1-3 times per night we will have to skip an episode that we have seen in the previous few days. It ALWAYS happens. At first, I thought maybe this is just a small sample size as it had just been a couple of weeks. But now, we are dealing with two months worth. I could also understand if this were a small playlist, but it totals 1100 episodes. A random number generator might give you the same results on back to back days occasionally, but not over such a large sample. Can anyone explain how Plex shuffles? I'm baffled. Thanks.




  • sa2000sa2000 Posts: 30,875Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja, Plex Team Member Plex Team Member

    It is plex media server that does the shuffle - the players just set a flag to say it is to be shuffled .

    Suggest you edit the title of this topic to change the category to the forum for your server platform

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  • frankydankfrankydank Posts: 3Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Thank You. Topic changed.

  • langsbrlangsbr Posts: 14Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I have this issue as well, and have seen multiple threads on it over multiple years. However, there has not been an acknowledgement from Plex that it occurs, or if there is a fix for it. I love Plex, but this is quite a nuisance. Not sure why the algorithm isn't completely random.

  • OoptyOopOoptyOop Posts: 4Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited January 2016

    +1 here.

    How is the random number being seeded? It is crazy, to me, that I consistently get the same episodes from a 1500+ item playlist.

    Can we get some sort of confirmation from someone on Plex's side that this is, indeed, a problem?

    EDIT: I should note that I see this on PMS for Windows using the Plex Android app. It doesn't seem to be a problem specific to Mac/Windows/etc... but I didn't want to create another thread under "Windows" as that just seems like clutter. Cheers!

  • MRSharffMRSharff Posts: 1Members, Plex Pass

    Has this even been acknowledged yet? I've been having to skip more and more episodes of American Dad every time I put it on shuffle because they are always the same episodes as the last time. That's probably less likely than winning the lottery, considering how many episodes there are.

  • sa2000sa2000 Posts: 30,875Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja, Plex Team Member Plex Team Member

    Could you provide some examples - how big is the playlist that is being shuffled and what is it that you see that does not change between shuffles?

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  • sa2000sa2000 Posts: 30,875Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja, Plex Team Member Plex Team Member

    If you actually supply some logs with Debug Logging at time of the Playlist being used - then we can work out the requests that you can fire at the server to get the xml back listing the media items and get evidence of it not being shuffled differently on subsequent shuffles


    The relevant log file would be Plex Media Server.log
    For it we will see the Playlist identifier

    For now you can get the list by putting request in browser for
    on the server http://localhost:32400/playlists/all

    PS: Another topic raised on this turned out to be finger trouble not realizing that one has to click on the ... on the Playlist and then select Shuffle

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  • J-MediaJ-Media Posts: 4Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited March 2016

    I have had this issue too since the initial release of the shuffle feature to plexpass users lonnng time ago. You've no idea how many times I've seen the same episodes of Star Trek Voyager, and The Office, over and over and over again.

    My issue being that while I love those episodes, I also love more than just the same handful.

    It's almost like it generates a "shuffle playlist" when you hit the shuffle button, and then saves that to reference next time someone hits the shuffle button. Each time starting off where it left off in the list, while respecting the resume points had the episode only been partially watched, yet regardless on if it had been watched using shuffle or partially viewed normally. I hope that made sense.

    I should note that I am a lifetime plexpass user, running the latest version of the server software on Win 7 64, does not matter what the player is, also I haven't rebuilt my plex library from scratch in over three years, nor have I rebuilt the machine running it in about that long, and everything is still working fantastic as far as the library is concerned. So props on that guys!

  • prophead67prophead67 Posts: 4Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited August 2016

    I have also been befuddled by this behavior with a 1600+ episode playlist. I use it quite often between PHT, OpenPHT, PMP, and Android/Chromecast and find that the same "batch" of episodes keeps repeating. I often have to skip forward 10+ episodes before something new will be played. This behavior has been observed since I created the playlist nearly a year ago. While I understand completely that "random" is relative with computer algorithms, it should be better than it is.

    And no, it's not a "finger" problem; I open the playlist and click the shuffle icon. I'd be happy to supply logs if requested.

    I am also a PlexPass subscriber.

  • BiggusBiggus Posts: 14Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    +1 This is VERY annoying because it is a simple piece of code.

    If it did it on a single platform, I could understand (different support for clocks). But it seems to do it everywhere! I know the Roku has a clock, so setting a Java random seed (based on the system clock) shouldn't be an issue.

    Its crazy - different Rokus / PC's in the house pick from the same batch of random episodes.

    Please fix this.


    Is it Friday yet?


    Intel i7-6700 CPU @ 4.00GHz / 32GB RAM

    64-bit Windows 10

    Asus 2GB GEForce GTX 750ti video card (which Plex doesn't use - hint hint)

    20 TB and counting...


  • Aaron-WAaron-W Posts: 33Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited September 2016

    Same issue here as well. It's been 4 years of this for me. (no playlist involved)
    Backstory: I shuffle big bang theory every night as I fall asleep, just as I was trying to do tonight when I finally got fed up enough to google it and found this thread.
    When I hit shuffle, it's not just a group of the same episodes that play, it's the same episodes in the same order for the first 5 titles played on average.
    Strangely enough, it seems to occur for a few days at a time, then after a few days, I have to deal with a different set of 'shuffled' episodes.
    Even more strangely, this doesn't happen when the media server installation is fresh, but after it's been installed and shuffling for a few weeks.
    (This is definitely a long existing server issue as it happens regardless of client used (Windows/Mac/Android) or whether or not you have a PlexPass)
    I don't know what shuffle algorithm they have implemented, but seems to me an easy fix to obtain a true shuffle, would be to either have the algorithm adjust its grab pattern based on something simple like the date or time it's activated. Or even easier if it happens to be a set pattern, would be to have a few different patterns for the server to choose from, and it can't use the same pattern twice in a row.
    (sorry guys for the Energizer Bunny post (just keeps going, and going), I'm tired and didn't realise how much I had typed hehe)

  • AstralRadishAstralRadish Posts: 9Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    There's the same issue with music. Shuffling all my music tracks (>4800 tracks, >360 albums) it consistently picks songs out of the first 15 most recently added albums in the list that it shows.

  • mozeartmozeart Posts: 1Members


    can confirm issue exists for music shuffle. My collection is over 5k unique tracks but shuffle function always replays same tracks.

  • cebalawcebalaw Posts: 30Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass


    TV and movie playlists some with 1000+ videos. Repeats many with only a handful of new ones in the queue; which on a side note no longer allows navigation on the new Amazon FireTV OS.

  • rentasrey15rentasrey15 Posts: 1Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I can confirm I have the same issue. And it is on all releases, You would figured so many updates weekly to your server they would have fixed this issue.

  • langsbrlangsbr Posts: 14Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Did anyone ever submit logs? I've finally gotten tired enough of the issue to be willing to gather the logs if needed.

  • chrisdemchrisdem Posts: 3Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Not sure why they would need logs when it can be reproduced at will. Just throw 10 shows into the same library, do a shuffle, and it always plays them in the same order.

  • ChEeSyBoOfSChEeSyBoOfS Posts: 6Members ✭✭

    Yep same here for me - Every Saturday Night I select shuffle from a folder of ~500 music videos and the same videos seem to come up time and time again while others I never see! It just doesn't seem random enough. I suppose if the same algorithm is run in the same way it will yield similar results? Unless it were to re-shuffles after every song / video?

  • tylersheridantylersheridan Posts: 21Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    For anyone else looking, this is definitely a preference in the algorithm to prefer content that is on-deck.

    I refuse to gather logs for their support department as this should be a known issue with Plex Devs ("feature"). I have 5 years of use with playlists on shuffle to confirm the behavior.

    The only way around it is to mark the content watched. In order to force it, I created a smart playlist of the TV shows that are unwatched. I personally watched a smart playlist of over 2500 episodes over the past year and each time I started up the shuffle, only the partially viewed content showed up first before the true randomness kicked in. I kept track by marking as watched so that the episode would be removed from the smart playlist.

    This "feature" should be able to be truned off.

  • minddealingminddealing Posts: 2Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I have the same issue that I've been feeling with for months, if not years. I just decided to look up to see if there was a fix. Apparently there's nothing? I am a Plex pass user as well.

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