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Try the new Auto Quality feature! Now on Android & iOS

GregflixGregflix Product Manager @ PlexMembers, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 50 Plex Employee

We don't always live in a world with consistent home Wi-Fi or Internet speeds. Maybe the cellular signal varies during the bus ride into work, or your Wi-Fi slows down every time your roommate microwaves a burrito. When your connection quality changes, it's annoying for video players to pause or require you to change a quality setting. In cases like that, it's ideal to automatically adapt without interruptions.

To give you the best possible experience, Plex can now automatically adjust the quality of your video based on your connection speed. When auto quality is turned on, videos will start at the quality that you have selected in your app's quality settings, then increase or decrease quality based on your connection speed.

Where can I try auto quality?

This feature is starting as a Plex Pass preview available for our Android (mobile), iOS, and Apple TV apps. To try the preview, you'll need:

Plex apps that support the new Automatically Adjust Quality setting:

  • Plex for Android mobile (5.10 or later)
  • Plex for iOS (4.10 or later)
  • Plex for Apple TV (1.11 or later)
  • (Auto quality is coming soon to Plex apps on other TVs, streaming devices, and the web.)

In coming weeks, auto quality will become available to all non-Plex Pass users and other Plex apps. Each app needs to be tuned and tested to make sure that we provide a smooth experience with auto quality. We know that your portable devices can have inconsistent Internet connections when you're on the go, so we started with the mobile apps.

Problems?

This feature is starting as a preview to help us identify any problems early on. If you experience problems with auto quality, we want to know about it. Please post your issue report to the Plex forum for your app.

In particular, please report any issues with playback stalling or pausing, video corruption, or audio problems. It's also helpful for you to confirm that the issue only occurs when Automatically Adjust Quality is turned on.

Learn more

To learn more about the auto quality feature and how to use it, visit our new help article about Automatically Adjust Quality.

For our advanced users, the article also includes technical details such as bit rate ranges, transcoding implications, and advanced configuration.

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Comments

  • rlobbinsrlobbins Members, Plex Pass Posts: 176 Plex Pass
    edited May 25

    Thanks, I have been waiting for this as mobile playback can be rough to start and keeping playing consistently some times. I started to tinker it appears to be working. I saw the quality changes in the beta iOS app a few weeks ago and was curious what was prompting the ui changes, now we know. Thanks!

    One question though, in the future will it also affect streaming quality if there is not enough upload available for streams on the server side? IE stepping a users stream down from 8Mbps to 4Mbps if someone else started to stream and there was not enough available bandwidth to support an 2x 8Mbps streams?

  • KarlDagKarlDag Members, Plex Pass Posts: 1,545 Plex Pass
    1. OMG THANK YOU
    2. That's awesome
    3. HW transcoding can't come soon enough :)
  • KarlDagKarlDag Members, Plex Pass Posts: 1,545 Plex Pass
    edited May 25

    @Gregflix Just read your support page, and this caught my eye:
    "Auto quality is only used when the video is being converted (transcoded). If a video starts with Play Original Quality, also known as Direct Play or Direct Stream, it will not automatically change quality based on connection speed. Similarly, if a video starts with Convert Automatically, it will not automatically change to Play Original Quality."

    Is that just for now under the preview period is that the final way it will work? I don't really want to ask all my remote users to turn off direct play and direct stream ability for the odd time that their connection might vary during playback...

  • kinoCharlinokinoCharlino CaliforniaMembers, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 810 Plex Employee

    @rlobbins said:
    One question though, in the future will it also affect streaming quality if there is not enough upload available for streams on the server side? IE stepping a users stream down from 8Mbps to 4Mbps if someone else started to stream and there was not enough available bandwidth to support an 2x 8Mbps streams?

    Great idea! We'll look into it as we expand the capabilities of the feature.

  • gbooker02gbooker02 Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 545 Plex Employee

    @KarlDag said:
    Is that just for now under the preview period is that the final way it will work? I don't really want to ask all my remote users to turn off direct play and direct stream ability for the odd time that their connection might vary during playback...

    To partially answer your question but the part is definitive. Switching between direct play and transcode will not be automatic as it can never be done a seamless manner. The client playback for direct play and direct stream/transcode is very different. Switching between those nearly always requires a complete teardown of the player stack and recreation of another one.

  • KarlDagKarlDag Members, Plex Pass Posts: 1,545 Plex Pass

    @gbooker02 said:

    @KarlDag said:
    Is that just for now under the preview period is that the final way it will work? I don't really want to ask all my remote users to turn off direct play and direct stream ability for the odd time that their connection might vary during playback...

    To partially answer your question but the part is definitive. Switching between direct play and transcode will not be automatic as it can never be done a seamless manner. The client playback for direct play and direct stream/transcode is very different. Switching between those nearly always requires a complete teardown of the player stack and recreation of another one.

    Ok, thanks. What about direct stream and transcode then, if they're similar? I wouldn't mind direct streaming at all times, that's a pretty low CPU cost.

  • Cabel330Cabel330 Members Posts: 406 ✭✭✭

    @rlobbins said:
    One question though, in the future will it also affect streaming quality if there is not enough upload available for streams on >the server side? IE stepping a users stream down from 8Mbps to 4Mbps if someone else started to stream and there was >not enough available bandwidth to support an 2x 8Mbps streams?

    Great idea! We'll look into it as we expand the capabilities of the feature.

    And a "Switch" please to prevent this. Like turn on/off this Feature. That would be nice.

  • rlobbinsrlobbins Members, Plex Pass Posts: 176 Plex Pass

    @Cabel330 said:

    @rlobbins said:
    One question though, in the future will it also affect streaming quality if there is not enough upload available for streams on >the server side? IE stepping a users stream down from 8Mbps to 4Mbps if someone else started to stream and there was >not enough available bandwidth to support an 2x 8Mbps streams?

    Great idea! We'll look into it as we expand the capabilities of the feature.

    And a "Switch" please to prevent this. Like turn on/off this Feature. That would be nice.

    I am assuming this functionality would be based off expanding the streaming brain, if you have the streaming brain turned on with the upload limits and max streaming rate set it gives a set of rules to follow. From there the streaming brain will know what is still available for upload, when a new stream starts it will analyze the max bitrate needed to stream and adjust from there.

    I know most people won't use this feature, but it is an alternative to having to micromanage everyone's streaming settings. I have some users that refuse to set 4/8Mbps and opt to try to direct play everything on my server. If I had a way to just adaptively change their streams to not conflict with others I would be happy with that.

  • GregflixGregflix Product Manager @ Plex Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 50 Plex Employee

    @KarlDag said:
    Ok, thanks. What about direct stream and transcode then, if they're similar? I wouldn't mind direct streaming at all times, that's a pretty low CPU cost.

    We're definitely exploring such ways of making this even better. In the meantime, though, please try out the feature and let us know how it works for you!

  • danjames92danjames92 Members, Plex Pass Posts: 2,935 Plex Pass
    edited May 25

    "After the preview period, auto quality will be enabled by default in the apps and become available to all users."

    Just remember to be smart about this Plex. Clients using broadband probably don't need this on by default I.e. PMP. TV clients on home broadband as well seem unnecessary as speeds rarely fluctuate with fixed broadband in my experience.

  • KarlDagKarlDag Members, Plex Pass Posts: 1,545 Plex Pass

    @danjames92 said:
    "After the preview period, auto quality will be enabled by default in the apps and become available to all users."

    Just remember to be smart about this Plex. Clients using broadband probably don't need this on by default I.e. PMP. TV clients on home broadband as well seem unnecessary as speeds rarely fluctuate with fixed broadband in my experience.

    What issues do you foresee? The way I see it, if direct play/stream is available, nothing will change from what we have now... If transcoding is required, then the required cpu power will be similar as it is now... No?

  • louislaulouislau Members, Plex Pass Posts: 3 Plex Pass

    Wow, I see it also keeps a buffer now (like YouTube does). Seems to fix a lot of buffering related issues here. Any plans to bring this buffer (or the auto quality for that matter) to Plex web and media player?

    Thanks again, this is a great improvement.

  • DaveBinMDaveBinM Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 1,016 Plex Ninja

    Pretty sure it already keeps a buffer, it's just not displayed like it is in some of the other apps. :)

  • KarlDagKarlDag Members, Plex Pass Posts: 1,545 Plex Pass

    @louislau said:
    Any plans to bring this buffer (or the auto quality for that matter) to Plex web and media player?

    "(Auto quality is coming soon to Plex apps on other TVs, streaming devices, and the web.)"

  • danjames92danjames92 Members, Plex Pass Posts: 2,935 Plex Pass
    edited May 26

    @KarlDag said:

    @danjames92 said:
    "After the preview period, auto quality will be enabled by default in the apps and become available to all users."

    Just remember to be smart about this Plex. Clients using broadband probably don't need this on by default I.e. PMP. TV clients on home broadband as well seem unnecessary as speeds rarely fluctuate with fixed broadband in my experience.

    What issues do you foresee? The way I see it, if direct play/stream is available, nothing will change from what we have now... If transcoding is required, then the required cpu power will be similar as it is now... No?

    I could see a scenario where other traffic going on in the device in question could interfere with the amount Plex is reporting it can receive and force unnecessary trans-coding due to other heavy network activity.

  • KarlDagKarlDag Members, Plex Pass Posts: 1,545 Plex Pass

    @danjames92 said:

    @KarlDag said:

    @danjames92 said:
    "After the preview period, auto quality will be enabled by default in the apps and become available to all users."

    Just remember to be smart about this Plex. Clients using broadband probably don't need this on by default I.e. PMP. TV clients on home broadband as well seem unnecessary as speeds rarely fluctuate with fixed broadband in my experience.

    What issues do you foresee? The way I see it, if direct play/stream is available, nothing will change from what we have now... If transcoding is required, then the required cpu power will be similar as it is now... No?

    I could see a scenario where other traffic going on in the device in question could interfere with the amount Plex is reporting it can receive and force unnecessary trans-coding due to other heavy network activity.

    Yeah but to get this to work you need to be ALREADY in a context where transcoding is required... Doesn't work on a direct play stream... So you're basically just changing the parameters of the transcoding job. Load could increase/decrease a bit but not by extreme amounts IMO.

  • millercentralmillercentral Members, Plex Pass Posts: 69 Plex Pass

    What causes Plex to decide to start a stream as DirectPlay/DirectStream vs auto-quality transcode? In the new UI (in iOS at least) I don't see a option for these in general settings, only on per-item during playback in Playback settings. Will "Play Original" now only happen when I manually select that option during playback?

  • danjames92danjames92 Members, Plex Pass Posts: 2,935 Plex Pass

    @millercentral said:
    What causes Plex to decide to start a stream as DirectPlay/DirectStream vs auto-quality transcode? In the new UI (in iOS at least) I don't see a option for these in general settings, only on per-item during playback in Playback settings. Will "Play Original" now only happen when I manually select that option during playback?

    You have to turn it on in the Quality options of the iOS app.

  • GregflixGregflix Product Manager @ Plex Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 50 Plex Employee

    @millercentral Like transcoding today, it's only used when the bit rate of the original video is above your app's quality setting or the original video is incompatible with the device. If the original video is small enough to fit, it'll just play the original (DS/DP)

    More details are in the article:
    https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/115007570148

  • theDwiztheDwiz Members, Plex Pass Posts: 100 Plex Pass

    What about if the server has a limit set for "Limit remote stream bitrate :xx " (I have it set to 2Mbps due to several family having shares and only 5Mbps upload connection). What takes priority? Sorry if this was asked, didn't read them all but read many.

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