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Switched to DD-WRT firmware on router and suddenly can't initiate Chromecast play from Android app

Before I go into the details, the problem is actually as specific as the title suggests. I suspect the issue is with DD-WRT, but I'm not sure what it is.

So I got a new router (Asus RT-AC68U) and flashed it with DD-WRT. I have both the new and old version of the chromecast, and an old version connected via wired and wireless adapters. My Plex server is running on a Netgear ReadyNAS app.

I can:

  • Play Plex shows on my android phone app screen via LAN
  • Play Plex shows on my desktop via the web browser (chrome)
  • Play Plex shows on my chromecasts via casting from the desktop in chrome browser
  • Play Netflix on my chromecasts via my android phone
  • Pause, play, and change volume of an already playing Plex show on my chromecasts (initiated on the browser) via the android app

I cannot:

  • Initiate play of Plex shows on my chromecasts via casting via the android phone app (the error is a small popup that says "Failed to play on "

I have tried:

  • Resetting the Plex app data and cache
  • Rebooting the router
  • Enabling UPnP on the router (haven't rebooted yet, but plan to)
  • Assigning static IPs to the various devices invovled

To be clear, none of these problems happened on my old router, but I did not test the new router's stock firmware before flashing. I have no reason to suspect there's a problem with the chromecast or NAS server. The problem appears to be specifically limited to the android app and chromecast with DD-WRT firmware as an intermediary.

Would love some suggestions on stuff to try!

Best Answers

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Answers

  • ErTnEcErTnEc Posts: 7 Plex Pass

    Do other services (YouTube, Netflix, etc) all still work fine? Is it just Plex which fails?

  • Ach!llesAch!lles Posts: 1,585 Plex Ninja

    For my DMZ guest network I use that same router but I use Tomato by Shibby. Maybe give that a try instead of DD-WRT and see if you still have the issue.

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    @ErTnEc said:
    Do other services (YouTube, Netflix, etc) all still work fine? Is it just Plex which fails?

    All other casting apps that I've tested (Netflix and Youtube) work fine through-and-through. It's only initiating play from Plex for android.

    @lqvnguyen said:
    For my DMZ guest network I use that same router but I use Tomato by Shibby. Maybe give that a try instead of DD-WRT and see if you still have the issue.

    I'm not currently using a guest network. Although I plan to set one up, I'm not sure I want my chromecast running on it. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding...

  • Ach!llesAch!lles Posts: 1,585 Plex Ninja

    @kevroy314 said:

    @ErTnEc said:
    Do other services (YouTube, Netflix, etc) all still work fine? Is it just Plex which fails?

    All other casting apps that I've tested (Netflix and Youtube) work fine through-and-through. It's only initiating play from Plex for android.

    @lqvnguyen said:
    For my DMZ guest network I use that same router but I use Tomato by Shibby. Maybe give that a try instead of DD-WRT and see if you still have the issue.

    I'm not currently using a guest network. Although I plan to set one up, I'm not sure I want my chromecast running on it. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding...

    I'm suggesting you load Tomato instead of DD-WRT.

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    @lqvnguyen said:

    @kevroy314 said:

    @ErTnEc said:
    Do other services (YouTube, Netflix, etc) all still work fine? Is it just Plex which fails?

    All other casting apps that I've tested (Netflix and Youtube) work fine through-and-through. It's only initiating play from Plex for android.

    @lqvnguyen said:
    For my DMZ guest network I use that same router but I use Tomato by Shibby. Maybe give that a try instead of DD-WRT and see if you still have the issue.

    I'm not currently using a guest network. Although I plan to set one up, I'm not sure I want my chromecast running on it. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding...

    I'm suggesting you load Tomato instead of DD-WRT.

    I may have to switch firmware eventually if I can't get this issue resolved, but there must be some explanation for it. I wish someone who understood how play is initiated between the Plex for Android app and chromecast could comment. I'm happy to play with settings, but I'm at a loss for what settings might be helpful.

  • kegobeer-plexkegobeer-plex Posts: 4,436 Plex Pass
    edited January 2016

    If you close the Plex server, then restart it and wait a couple of minutes, then initiate a cast for at least 30 seconds, then close the cast and shut down the server, perhaps the Plex server logs will help you figure out what's going on.

    If Plex is like any other casting device, the client sends the relevant information about the multimedia streaming to the Chromecast, and then the Chromecast contacts the host directly for the media stream. I have a Chromecast device (original, not a 2015 version) at home and if I have time I'll try to set up a cast using a couple of my Android devices and then look at my logs to see exactly how it works.

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    @kegobeer-plex said:
    If you close the Plex server, then restart it and wait a couple of minutes, then initiate a cast for at least 30 seconds, then close the cast and shut down the server, perhaps the Plex server logs will help you figure out what's going on.

    If Plex is like any other casting device, the client sends the relevant information about the multimedia streaming to the Chromecast, and then the Chromecast contacts the host directly for the media stream. I have a Chromecast device (original, not a 2015 version) at home and if I have time I'll try to set up a cast using a couple of my Android devices and then look at my logs to see exactly how it works.

    I'll give that a shot! I hadn't thought about Plex storing logs. Does the app also store logs that I could find?

    Also, to clarify the procedure you're suggesting, I should be initiating a successful cast from my computer? Or an unsuccessful one from the android app? Or both?

    The strangest thing about all of this is that the Plex android app can absolutely control an existing playback - it just can't start one its self. I really wonder what the Plex app does differently than the Netflix or YouTube apps...

    I'll let you know once I've hunted down some log files! Thanks for your reply!

  • Ach!llesAch!lles Posts: 1,585 Plex Ninja

    Casting is done via mDNS. You need to check the logs on the router running DD-WRT to see if there are issues with the link-local address and mDNS being used by the Android phone.

  • Ach!llesAch!lles Posts: 1,585 Plex Ninja

    @lqvnguyen said:
    Casting is done via mDNS. You need to check the logs on the router running DD-WRT to see if there are issues with the link-local address and mDNS being used by the Android phone.

    FYI, I find Tomato to work just fine with Chromecast casting without additional scripts.

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    I'm not sure why disabling access to Google's DNS server would help chromecast function. All this does is make it so I can't use those DNS servers (which have usually been my default - even when this system was working with a prior router config).

    @lqvnguyen said:
    Casting is done via mDNS. You need to check the logs on the router running DD-WRT to see if there are issues with the link-local address and mDNS being used by the Android phone.

    One point of clarification which I'm not sure I have said explicitly. When the chromecast is on the home screen (with a downloaded background) and I click the cast button on the Plex app, it DOES open the plex app on chromecast. If a video is already playing via plex (started on my browser), I can connect and manipulate playback. It's only when I hit the play button on a show while connected.

    I took your advice and Telnet into my router, enabled logging, and am looking at them now. I'm not sure how to identify any issues. I do see stuff coming from my IP/MAC for my phone. A couple of the requests are going to the NAS ip (where the plex server lives), a couple only to the router, one to a google owned IP (74.125.69.188), one to an amazon IP (184.72.61.129), one to a 192.168.0.108 address which isn't in any subnet I use (I have a DMZ from my AT&T router on the 192.168.1.x subnet while my main network is 192.168.2.x - which has always worked in the past), one to 192.168.2.255 (dummy address on my subnet?), and another to what appears to be an external amazon web server.

    The fact that the phone creates a connection to the NAS address seems to imply nothing is impeding that connection. I'm assuming the amazon stuff is what plex is hosted through. The google one is probably them collecting data or something. The suspicious ones are the 192.168.0.108 and 192.168.2.255 connections. I can't explain those with what I know.

    None of those say "error" or anything of the sort though (they're just connection listings) so I'm not sure how to interpret the issue. I'm googling around for your suggestion about mDNS issues to try to learn more about how that works.

    Thanks for the reply!

  • Ach!llesAch!lles Posts: 1,585 Plex Ninja
    edited January 2016

    @kevroy314 said:

    I'm not sure why disabling access to Google's DNS server would help chromecast function. All this does is make it so I can't use those DNS servers (which have usually been my default - even when this system was working with a prior router config).

    I don't know why they suggest that either but its on their doco page. Doesn't make sense to me.

    @lqvnguyen said:
    Casting is done via mDNS. You need to check the logs on the router running DD-WRT to see if there are issues with the link-local address and mDNS being used by the Android phone.

    One point of clarification which I'm not sure I have said explicitly. When the chromecast is on the home screen (with a downloaded background) and I click the cast button on the Plex app, it DOES open the plex app on chromecast. If a video is already playing via plex (started on my browser), I can connect and manipulate playback. It's only when I hit the play button on a show while connected.

    I took your advice and Telnet into my router, enabled logging, and am looking at them now. I'm not sure how to identify any issues. I do see stuff coming from my IP/MAC for my phone. A couple of the requests are going to the NAS ip (where the plex server lives), a couple only to the router, one to a google owned IP (74.125.69.188), one to an amazon IP (184.72.61.129), one to a 192.168.0.108 address which isn't in any subnet I use (I have a DMZ from my AT&T router on the 192.168.1.x subnet while my main network is 192.168.2.x - which has always worked in the past), one to 192.168.2.255 (dummy address on my subnet?), and another to what appears to be an external amazon web server.

    The fact that the phone creates a connection to the NAS address seems to imply nothing is impeding that connection. I'm assuming the amazon stuff is what plex is hosted through. The google one is probably them collecting data or something. The suspicious ones are the 192.168.0.108 and 192.168.2.255 connections. I can't explain those with what I know.

    None of those say "error" or anything of the sort though (they're just connection listings) so I'm not sure how to interpret the issue. I'm googling around for your suggestion about mDNS issues to try to learn more about how that works.

    Apple Airplay uses Bonjour which is reliant on mDNS. Chromecast uses DIAL and mDNS. Sorry, I wish I had more time to really work this out with you. This is in the realm of my day job but I have a newborn to care for so my time is limited.

    Thanks for the reply!

    Your welcome.

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    For anyone else checking this: I've noticed 2 other things that might be of interest.

    1. This seems to be an issue on both android phones in the house so it may be isolated to Plex for Android or the android OS. I don't have any other phones to test unfortunately.
    2. When I hit play and get the failure message on the phone, and then I go to the Chromecast android app, it shows the correct episode as "playing". Of course plex disagrees, but the info is hitting the chromecast somehow.
  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    So I found the plex logs and isolated the section of log which is created when I hit the "Play from beginning" button on an episode of a show. It's pretty clear the server is receiving the connection from the phone. I'm not sure why it doesn't go on to play. You can find the logs at this pastebin link:

    http://pastebin.com/mqmFumvj

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    One more thing. I just ran a successful cast from my browser and took out the log. It's much much longer, but it clearly has similar parts. Most notably, the first chromecast request after authentication is complete (similar to lines 34 and 35 in the pastbin above) is a [Chromecast] Load: {...} JSON request which clearly contains all of the relevant content to start playback. This request is not present in the Plex for Android log (it seems to just never be sent).

    I tried again to uninstall and reinstall the app and no change in behavior occurred.

  • Ach!llesAch!lles Posts: 1,585 Plex Ninja
    edited January 2016

    Well what do we know:
    1. It all worked with your old router
    2. It stopped working with just the Android phones with the introduction of the DD-WRT Asus router
    3. It works from the web app
    4. DD-WRT is known to have issues with Chromecasting reliably from my experience.

    Did you actually reboot the router after enabling UPnP? Its not just for auto port forwarding. It also handles auto discovery for LAN. Maybe try Tomato? I gave up on DD-WRT on home based network gear long ago. I use Tomato only for home and SOHO, else its all enterprise networking gear for me like Cisco, Juniper, Arista and Palo Alto Network equipment.

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    @lqvnguyen said:
    Well what do we know:
    1. It all worked the you used your old router
    2. It stopped working with just the Android phones with the introduction of the DD-WRT Asus router
    3. It works from the web app
    4. DD-WRT is known to have issues with Chromecasting reliably from my experience.

    Did you actually reboot the router after enabling UPnP? Its not just for auto port forwarding. It also handles auto discovery for LAN. Maybe try Tomato? I gave up on DD-WRT on home based network gear long ago. I use Tomato only for home and SOHO, else its all enterprise networking gear for me like Cisco, Juniper, Arista and Palo Alto Network equipment.

    Yeah I've done a few reboots at this point. Spent a good part of this evening messing with the DNS settings to see if I could sus anything out.

    Remember that the discovery portion is working fine (all the chromecasts populate and connect - the Plex chromecast app opens). And it can make a connection to the chromecast in other apps and even via the plex app. It simply doesn't send that Post command for some reason.

    I'm not opposed to using Tomato, but I bought this router specifically for its DD-WRT support (and wireless AC) because I wanted to dig deep into customization. This model (ASUS RT-AC68U) isn't on the supported list for Tomato (although maybe I have the wrong list). I'll definitely be looking at other firmware eventually, but this problem probably won't be the straw that breaks my opinion of DD-WRT.

    A side note: I've also noticed some new issues cropping up with my plex server. The episodes are no longer indexing titles appropriately (they've reverted to the filename titles instead of parsed titles). I'm considering doing a full reset of the plex server to see if that helps next.

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    BREAKTHROUGH

    The device is now working. The change I made was switching the Settings->Network->Secure Connections setting to "Preferred" on the Plex Server settings page.

    I have no idea why this fixed it. It seems to imply to me that the plex app wasn't successfully authenticating with the server or DD-WRT was somehow not delivering the authentication stuff. It's not a perfect solution in my mind, but it's better than nothing!

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    Side note: the previous setting was "Required" and had been working fine before.

  • kevroy314kevroy314 Posts: 17 ✭✭

    https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/173477/secure-connections-and-chromecast

    This seems to be a related thread. I agree with @iSh0w that setting it to "Preferred" is not a workaround. I do, however, really wonder how/why this change happened when it did for me.

    Could anyone out there with a ReadyNAS Plex server (or perhaps any server) and Plex for Android and a Chromecast give it a try?

    Change the Settings->Network->Secure Connections setting to "Required" and try casting to your chromecast. Does it work?

    It's possible an update to one of the system components (android app, plex server, OSs, etc) cooccured with my router upgrade making it a red herring...

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