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NVidia Shield CANNOT be recommended for large collections. Device crashes, missing files, etc...

ADvorskyADvorsky Posts: 126Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

Hi everyone...

First of all, this is not a rant, this is a collection of facts i encountered during the last few days....

I wish someone would have written this few lines so i would have found them right away before buying the NVidia Shield TV Pro.
I would not have bought it, if have known these things.

I have a library with around 1000 Movies and around 730 Series on a Synology NAS 1813+. All around this is approx 26TB of data.
Before i tried to switch to PMS on Shield, i ran the PMS on the Synology NAS.
Of course the CPU there is not powerful enough for good transcoding results, but library management worked fine and i even could have my own scanner agent for MediaCenterMaster files which reduced download of metadata a lot.
(MediaCenterMaster prepares all metadata locally for the scanner/agent to find without additional download)
The transcoding capabilities of the shield was my initial trigger to get that thing.
My experience shows however it is far far far from usable...

Issues of the NVidia Shield:

Issues of PMS on Shield:

  • .plexignore simply does not work. the scanner scans all files in the NAS folders.
    This means the log shows the scanner checks jpg, nfo and xml files in a tv series library whereas they are to be set to ignore due to a *.jpg, etc. setting in .plexignore.

  • When .plexignore is present, the speed reduces to around 10-20% (personal opinion, not timed!) of the scan speed if the file is not present.
    Well i know that regex is cpu intense, but this is absolutely ridiculous, especially when it does not work.

  • PMS is not able to delete files from a SMB share mounted library.
    If this an Android issue or PMS issue, i don't care as a user. PMS just can't do it, but offers the option. That is an issue.

  • PMS crashes from time to time and therefore drops all the connections.
    Well thats better than if the whole device reboots, but still annoying.

  • Cannot use own scanner/agents, e.g. MediaCenterMaster to reduce Metadata download to a minimum.

So Team PLEX, i am LifeTime Member since a while now and i always was satisfied with your recommendations.
But with the NVidia Shield, you did not help yourself at all.
You are recommending this device for PMS usage which is IMHO almost a fraud when i look at all the issues...
This combination of HW and SW is not usable and cannot and SHOULD NOT be recommended until all of this is fixed.

A very disappointed LifeTime Member of PlexPass...
cheers,
Alex

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Answers

  • alexsiskalexsisk Posts: 111Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I agree with you - I think that it has too many limitations, mostly based on Android.

    • You essentially cannot copy files to the device if your storage is external, like a USB HDD. Luckily, with your NAS, hopefully you can write video directly to that storage and refresh the library.
      -That still doesn't solve the failing .plexignore issue.
      -I suppose having the Pro is nice (at a $100 premium.), but I have a 2TB external USB 3.0 Western Digital that was less than $100 for 4 times the space.
      -I agree that your own Media Scanner would be nice, since you have a reason that you prefer it.
      -With regard to transcoding, I must say - I have been very disappointed in a lot of things on my SHIELD TV, but transcoding has not been one of them. I had TWO H.265/HEVC----> H.264 transcodes running (to Plex Apple TV, Plex iOS) and simultaneously played a movie on the SHIELD. That's serious power, considering my 16GB SHIELD and my 64GB Apple TV 4th gen were both $199, and the Apple TV chokes HARD on HEVC.
      -I haven't had the random reboot issue, but I have seen files disappear permanently about 4 times on my ~182 movie library.
      -I have had PMS fail two or three times now, requiring a "Force Stop" under Settings ---> System ----> Apps in order to fix it.
      -I agree that there are a lot of failures, and I understand that you don't care whether it's Plex or Android - you just want it fixed!
      -Playing Devil's advocate (and trust me, I don't like to do that...) If you pay attention to the release notes regularly, SHIELD, PMS, and Plex do AT LEAST release frequent updates:

    Plex: https://forums.plex.tv/categories/release-announcements

    SHIELD: https://shield.nvidia.com/support/nvidia-android-tv/release-notes

    Check out the hassle I just went through:
    https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/1334327#Comment_1334327

    -Considering that SHIELD 2.2 was the final 2-series release, and we're on 3.3, there may be a big 4.0 update next - just speculating.

    -As I mentioned in my thread, Best Buy and GameStop are clearly liquidating their inventory, and with that August FCC or FTC filing by Nvidia, that tells me that gen 2 is finally in motion.

    -Your most powerful PMS setup would likely be a Windows-based HTPC Core i7 of the "Skylake" series with built in H.265 hardware support.

    And you'd also need around 16 GB RAM, a video and sound card set designed for HDMI output of 7 audio channels at minimum, and possibly 4K/HDR capabilities. Not exciting to realize that is the only way to step up, when you're talking a cool $1000 vs the $299 for a SHIELD Pro.

    Alex

  • karlmitchellkarlmitchell Posts: 45Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I've pretty much given up on it. I recently moved to Channels DVR for TV recording on a cheap ARM SOC. The client for Apple TV allows you to play MPEG-2 transport streams without transcoding, and for other systems I'm using simple bash scripts and services to transcode with HandBrake, rename and drop into Plex for DirectStream/DirectPlay.

    And this is what I'm considering doing with the Shield TV now:

    http://www.tatsch.it/linux-4-tegra-with-cuda-on-nvidia-shield-tv/

  • ADvorskyADvorsky Posts: 126Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Careful, that article is more than a year old!
    Check xda developers directly for up to date information...

  • mit3ymit3y Posts: 47Members, Plex Pass, TunerTester Plex Pass

    @ADvorsky
    Thank you for the post, and for sharing your experiences/data. Have you confirmed that these issues persist on second generation hardware? -- I was considering replacing an old Macbook Pro (which is my current PMS), with the 2nd gen Shield Pro, which should ship sometime next week. Your post has made me pump the brakes on that.

    -m

  • mavrrickmavrrick Posts: 815Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Well I have the second generation 16TB version and have been running some tests with the PMS. I can confirm that you can write via smb to the shield and external USB storage. It appears to only write to a folder called Nvidia_Shield on usb storage though. Depending on your use case that may be ok. I have also had smb mounts since day one. They have persisted between multiple restarts. I do have different numbers between my two servers but I can see a few cases where the content matching did a few things go weird on the shield. It may be as simple as a simple update and unlink. To correct though.

    So far my impression is mixed and I can see how the OP came to the conclusion he did. I have also not been really impressed with my transcoding experience. I basically have two levels of content. One set that is high bit rate mkv'S and then optimised variable bit rate MP4'S. In some cases the content over laps. The lower bit rate MP4 files transcode like a champs, but the high bit rate videos kill the shield and creates skipping. My 5 year old server with a i5 2400 can handel the high bit rate video used for the testing. My guess is it is simply a format issue causing the loss of hardware transcoding, but darn.

    I have also found the APK for the app works on my Pixel C tablet. To my surprise it appears to function as good as the shield. It would be interesting to attach some external storage with a hub and see how well that really works.

    I am will to test some things if you knowant hat scenerio you would like to check.

  • minbominbo Posts: 15Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I have run the Plex server on Drobo NAS boxes, a dev chromebox running Ubuntu via crouton, and an ancient iMac. I currently run the Plex server on an Nvidia Shield (16gb with a 256gb SSD adopted as internal storage), an ancient Mac Pro with the beta DVR and a Plex Cloud beta. I've tried with my media stored on local disk, SMB shares via NAS, Firewire 800 drives, USB 2.0 and 3.0 drives, in the Amazon cloud and Google drive. For whatever my opinion may be worth, I think that Plex server running on a Macbook Pro that has enough CPU grunt to transcode a full HD stream from any codec/container to any codec/container offers a superior client experience than the Nvidia Shield TV right now.

    The likelihood that you will need to transcode for some client increases tremendously as you add diverse clients. While the Shield can transcode most common media accelerated in hardware, there are several situations where it has to transcode entirely via software on the CPU, and the CPU just is not up to the task for full HD transcoding. If you get a 16gb Shield TV, then in a lot of situations the storage subsystem is also not up to the task of running a Plex server regardless of how you expand it. The Shield server has it's uses, but even an old Macbook Pro better fulfills the the dream that you need only one copy of your media that the Plex server can universally share to all clients regardless of media type and client limitations.

    FWIW, SPMC with the Plex for Kodi plugin on the Shield is one of the best Plex clients, if not the best client, that I have used, if you like the Plex UI. PleXBMC is also great if you prefer a Kodi UI. The Nvidia Shield as a client box that can play SBMC, Plex, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu/Ultra Violet, and all of those apps are fully supported apps (no side-loading APKs you download from who knows where, no need for constant tweaks and no lingering inoperability issues from shoehorning the software in) is as close to universal as you can get for a client today for all the silo-ed video library.

  • mavrrickmavrrick Posts: 815Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Actually this is really about what the user has or doesn't have already. If the user either doesn't already have hardware for the server or has no content that pushes him/her in a certain video codec/container they could easily use the Shield as a server. My point is a new user could get into the shield cheaply for hardware transcoding and get great performance as long as they keep their content h.264 and mp4.

    I do think when you get to large libraries things get tricky, but so far the 16GB shield I have is holding up fine. My library isn't huge, but I don't think it is really tiny either. There comes a point when nothing will beat a good bare metal highend server. I think expecting the shield to do so isn't appropriate.

  • minbominbo Posts: 15Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited January 26

    mi3y has a thread where he lists what he has and what his goals are for possibly getting a Shield TV at:
    https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/254601/considering-a-pms-upgrade-shield-pro-2010-macbook-pro#latest

    If you look at his setup, list of clients and his main goal for upgrading, I would get the Nvidia ShieldTV Pro for a new client and use SPMC with the Plex for Kodi plugin and keep the Macbook Pro as the main server. If the Shield TV software shakes out a little, mainly the underlying Android TV os and it's components (I don't have a problem with the Plex Server software) than migration off of the Pro might work well.

  • vegrightvegright Posts: 10Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Agreed, large collections do not work with Plex on NVIDIA Shield Pro (500GB). I heard transcode was pretty good on the Shield. So I did an initial test to see if Plex was viable on NVIDIA Shield. I could transcode 2 simultaneous 1080P streams or 3 720P/I streams with Plex Server on the Shield, but I only did this was a smaller set of movies loaded. Initial tests appeared good, so I started making the transition. I modified the the firewall for the port masquerade, then added in all of my movies (separated by genre), and TV shows. I've got about 900+ Movies and 100+ TV shows. Half way through scrapping the TV shows (Movies appeared to complete fine), Plex Server started crashing and getting slow and basically becoming unstable. So I reset Plex through Android app settings since Plex was unusable at this point (even with reboot). So I started over again, even uninstalled the Plex update, and re-applied the update to start fresh. This round I added Movies, but instead of TV shows I decided to add in music. Things appeared good for 2000+ songs. But it soon started to bog down, even to the point of not being able to use the Shield for anything else (netflix/crunchyroll/games). Music never did finish, even though I let it run for 2 days. It got the point of processing 3-5 songs every 10 minutes, so I reset Plex server again, and have not looked back. As I recall, there was a crash or 2 in there somewhere where I had to reboot the Shield.

    Network storage is also problematic. The SMB mounts would disappear, or quit working. Unmount would fail as well. You can enable multiple mount points from different sources (i.e. multiple Samba servers/NAS, I have 2 Synology's one for photos/ music/processed videos/backups and the other for RAW rips), but I found that the Shield would forget about additional mounts except for the first mount, even then the first mount would be unstable. Trying to add the missing mounts after the mounts are forgotten cannot be added back in any more (even through a reboot). So now that I have stopped using Plex Server on the Shield, I still have a mount that will not disconnect.

    So back to using PMS on my Mac mini.

  • wfewfe Posts: 27Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I found that larger collections benefit by splitting them up in folders, eg MOVIES/Movies A-N, MOVIES/Movies M-R, MOVIES/ Movies S-T, MOVIES/Movies U-Z. - - the same for Series, then u make a library EG MOVIES and add these subfolders individually.

  • caspersecasperse Posts: 108Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited March 1

    I like the transcode on Shield using PLex! - and using KODI with NFS works 100%.
    So if anyone have found a way to hack the android box and add NFS then it would be perfect.
    Using Kodi on shield and NFS have showed that performance on large collection is not a problem.
    So NVIDIA & Plex should be able to fix this with an update...still waiting

    SMB looses connection, missing movies and TV shows, reboots is common, not something I would expect from a 2nd geneartion model!

  • rucknrunrucknrun Posts: 120Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    The server for me is almost always unavailable. It is terribly slow too. I was hoping it could replace my desktop.

  • Olivier.75Olivier.75 Posts: 61Members ✭✭

    Don't forget to mention that the 16GB version runs out of space relatively fast when using plex.
    The Plex devs are promoting as the ultimate pms machine, but this limitation is making it useless for many users (including myself ) and Im kinda angry about it... I wish they'd mention this.

  • 61374515766137451576 Posts: 14Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    For everyone in this thread posting about missing files - is the external drive (whether USB or SMB Mount) formatted in NTFS or ex-FAT? I had missing media problems but when I reformatted my drive from NTFS to exFAT (just a 'quick' reformat), that solved all the problems, and now the PMS on my Nvidia Shield is as good as it was on my PC.

    Can't be certain it'll fix missing movies for SMB Mounts but it 100% did for my external USB drive.

  • rucknrunrucknrun Posts: 120Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @6137451576 said:
    For everyone in this thread posting about missing files - is the external drive (whether USB or SMB Mount) formatted in NTFS or ex-FAT? I had missing media problems but when I reformatted my drive from NTFS to exFAT (just a 'quick' reformat), that solved all the problems, and now the PMS on my Nvidia Shield is as good as it was on my PC.

    Can't be certain it'll fix missing movies for SMB Mounts but it 100% did for my external USB drive.

    Thanks trying this now. Wiped the drive now copying the movies back.

  • VirtuosoVIPVirtuosoVIP Posts: 10Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @6137451576 said:
    For everyone in this thread posting about missing files - is the external drive (whether USB or SMB Mount) formatted in NTFS or ex-FAT? I had missing media problems but when I reformatted my drive from NTFS to exFAT (just a 'quick' reformat), that solved all the problems, and now the PMS on my Nvidia Shield is as good as it was on my PC.

    Can't be certain it'll fix missing movies for SMB Mounts but it 100% did for my external USB drive.

    An SMB mount should not matter what file system as the SMB server does the reading of the file, should be transparent to the client and not make a difference.

  • rucknrunrucknrun Posts: 120Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Changing the filesystem to exFAT didn't help me. It is still showing unavailable on occasion.

  • rljncrljnc Posts: 113Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Sorry not been following this post to closely, but I will say I had the dropping of NAS problems then it went away, then when shield did the upgrade and defaulting network setting to IPv6 it came back, after disabling that I have had no more problems.

  • TorJHTorJH Posts: 1Members

    I am sorry to say that I have similar problems and the frustration level is getting too high!

    I have the Plex server on a Shield first gen with HD and updated with all recent sw.
    4 Synology NASes are smb connected with hundreds of movies and TV shows.
    The majority is h264 in mkv with pgs subtitles ripped by me from Blu-ray using Makemkv.

    Observations

    • Some movies just won't work, says hw is not powerful enough to transcode
    • Pgs subtitles usually give the error message above, srt works fine
    • I try, and try, AND TRY, to get Plex server to list the correct amount of movies and TV shows with no success. I have split into a lot of folders and limited the amount of movies and TV shows, still problems
    • Tried again today and the problem started with 36 MOVIES IN ONE FOLDER, the 37th is not listed. THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS, sorry for shouting...

    Plex is a great centralized server. I have access from other locations and the user interface is great.
    However, the problems and frustrations in getting this to work is killing my patience.

    I sincerely hope that Plex will solve this very soon or I will have to look into other ways of doing this.

  • ghostwichghostwich Posts: 7Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I'll add my vote for another frustrated user.

    The Shield transcodes much faster than my NAS but with the latest update it seems to have broken sync (unable to analyze media and things that somehow do sync are missing metadata).

    Add the Shield issues (missing files over SMB, unreliable sleep/power, and adoptive storage is handled poorly) and I'm finding less and less to like.

    As a simple client, I think the Shield is fine, but perhaps trying to make it a server is a bit overreaching.

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