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Live TV buffering a lot

ryanlefevreryanlefevre Posts: 8Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

I know this sounds like a super generic problem, but I'm finding that live TV streams are buffering significantly more with the Roku than with other devices. Actually, they don't buffer at all with other devices. This is a Roku Express, so maybe that's the issue?

I can watch the exact same channel at the same time with zero buffering on my iPhone while the Roku stream buffers every 5-10 seconds, which I would imagine eliminates issues regarding network quality or buffering due to a slow server (it's a 32 thread dual Xeon). According to my UniFi access point, the Roku has 98% signal quality (as it should, considering the AP is about 5 feet away).

Any ideas? Let me know if you need any logs or other info.

Best Answer

Answers

  • shopgirl284shopgirl284 Posts: 2,700Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja, Forum Moderator Plex Ninja

    I assume that you are referring to a channel plugin that offers live streams.

    For some live streams where the server providing the stream is not as dependable (like an IPTV source), I have seen that the iPad/iPhone is able to maintain the connection better than the Plex app for Roku, though I cannot really explain why.

    But if you want to determine whether the issue is with your Roku Express or if it is in fact due to the quality of server providing the streams, a good dependable source for live streams would the RT America channel plugin. It is available in the Channel Directory and you do not have to be in the US to play the live streams it offers.

    I can say that I do not see any issues or buffering when playing the live streams on the RT America channel on my Roku 3. So you can at least determine if the issue is the stream source by trying those.

    Many issues and questions can be resolved by reviewing the Plex Support Documentation
    Providing details about your issue, Plex setup, and including log files are important when when asking for help on the forums.
    See Log Files
    Before posting channel plugin questions or issues, please review the pinned threads at the top of the Channel Plugin forum:
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  • ryanlefevreryanlefevre Posts: 8Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    No it's not a channel plugin, Plex released built-in support for Live TV streaming for Plex Pass users today. I'm using a HDHomeRun with Plex.

  • vertig0730vertig0730 Posts: 2Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I have the same issue with my Firestick v2. All of my iOS and Android devices play live TV without issue. I can also say that watching DVR or local media from my server never buffers on my Firestick.

    I have a feeling, these devices might just be under powered for this process.

  • ryanlefevreryanlefevre Posts: 8Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @vertig0730 said:
    I have a feeling, these devices might just be under powered for this process.

    Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of, although it seems strange to me that they can play other shows from Plex without issue, but not live TV. If the Plex Server is doing the transcoding, then what's the difference?

  • drinehartdrinehart Posts: 1,152Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Why would you guys think Roku could play a 1080p video file but cannot play a 720p/1080i/1080p video file? To the roku, it is just a stream (mostly). The server (or potentially the HDHR device) is doing the transcoding to the same type of streaming format as it does for other streams so the Roku can play it. The roku or whatever other device, really shouldn't see the stream any differently.

    I would put my money on a server-side software problem.

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,437Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 13

    @drinehart said:
    I would put my money on a server-side software problem.

    As in - server not strong enough to transcode the broadcast MPEG-2 (other) stream fast enough to keep up - or
    Quality setting in the Plex app not set to maximum so that transcoding is happening needlessly - or
    something else in that area.

    The phone's quality is likely set so low the transcoder is blowing through that low quality encode in fine style, but has trouble when trying to transcode at higher qualities - total speculation on my part at this point - provide more info and we can provide more accurate speculation... lol

    For many decades - and more than one recently with Plex in the mix - I've been recording broadcast TV. Broadcast TV comes in from the tuner in many shapes and forms - most unable to be Direct Played on my Roku or other device. That's why I employ MCEBuddy to grab new recordings, rename and restructure them, rip out the advertisements, convert them to formats that WILL Direct Play across my devices and run them into my libraries afterwards - automatically - in a completely hands off operation.

    Basically - if you want LIVE-TV (LIVE ADVERTISEMENTS - for some ungodly and absolutely unknown reason), you'd better have a giant server with a great big, powerful CPU in it so Plex can churn out a video stream that your Roku will like.

    Tony

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    Plex Clients: AFTVs, Androids, PMP, Rokus (running RARflix: http://mkvxstream.blogspot.com/2014/09/roku-plex-setup-guide.html ) Link May Work - May Not

  • ryanlefevreryanlefevre Posts: 8Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited October 13

    I have a dual Xeon E5-2680 with 64GB of RAM. There's no way it's the server.

    I've done 5 simultaneous transcoding streams (2 of which were live TV) through the web player with no issue. Yet it stutters on the Roku, but not the Apple TV. Plex also transcodes to the same format for the Roku as it does for iOS/tvOS devices. MPEG2 -> H264 and AC3 -> AAC.

  • Eurisko69Eurisko69 Posts: 79Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I'm having the same issue. I can stream the largest of files on my local network, yet Live TV buffers constantly on a wired local connection on all 6 of my Roku 3's.

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,437Members ✭✭✭✭✭

    Alrighty...

    Here's where we hope that lead developer checks in to restore smooth playback for those very important messages from our sponsor you're missing...

    :)

    Tony

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    Plex Friendly Handbrake Guide - DVDs/BluRays: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/1335697/#Comment_1335697

    Plex Clients: AFTVs, Androids, PMP, Rokus (running RARflix: http://mkvxstream.blogspot.com/2014/09/roku-plex-setup-guide.html ) Link May Work - May Not

  • ryanlefevreryanlefevre Posts: 8Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @JuiceWSA said:
    Alrighty...

    Here's where we hope that lead developer checks in to restore smooth playback for those very important messages from our sponsor you're missing...

    :)

    I watch live sports. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 6,437Members ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ryanlefevre said:

    @JuiceWSA said:
    Alrighty...

    Here's where we hope that lead developer checks in to restore smooth playback for those very important messages from our sponsor you're missing...

    :)

    I watch live sports. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    No, you watch Advertising briefly interrupted by the game.

    lol

    Let's summon the leader of this group of misfits: @ljunkie - if you please...

    Tony

    FileBot For Easy Plex File Naming: http://www.filebot.net/

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    Plex Friendly Handbrake Guide - DVDs/BluRays: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/1335697/#Comment_1335697

    Plex Clients: AFTVs, Androids, PMP, Rokus (running RARflix: http://mkvxstream.blogspot.com/2014/09/roku-plex-setup-guide.html ) Link May Work - May Not

  • drinehartdrinehart Posts: 1,152Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @JuiceWSA said:

    @drinehart said:
    I would put my money on a server-side software problem.

    As in - server not strong enough to transcode the broadcast MPEG-2 (other) stream fast enough to keep up - or
    Quality setting in the Plex app not set to maximum so that transcoding is happening needlessly - or
    something else in that area.

    Not server processor capability. I am saying there is likely some bug in the server software or transcoder that is processing the live video feed differently than it is for local files. From the transcoder to the client, it really should not be any different than any other stream. It should be transcoded to a format (h264) that the Roku understands, same as transcoding an avi/xvid, ts file, whatever. I suspect a bug somewhere between the source and the transcoder, thus a server-side software issue. NOTE - I never said server-side hardware issue...for those defending their huge hardware. :)

  • rcurtiswarfieldrcurtiswarfield Posts: 8Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I was initially so excited for Live TV support for the Roku. I even tried Emby because they had Roku support before Plex. However I don't think that Emby or Plex is quite not 100% ready for prime time. Emby and Plex on my Apple TV and Emby on my Roku would intermittently stop live streaming either because of buffering or the application would just stop and I'd have to restart the emby and/or plex service on my server. My wife was so sick of the constant issues, she was ready to throw all the stuff out the door and go back to cable. The problem was definitely transcoding on either app. I have all of my devices on Ethernet (no wi-fi). Running Linux with 32 GB of ram and Quad core. Like everyone says, For local media, PLEX is AWESOME. I love it !!! But for whatever reason, the raw MPEG 2 from an HD over the air signal, doesn't play nice. Then I discovered an app for my Apple TV called Channels. It "feeds" my Apple TV, the MPEG 2 stream raw/directly WITHOUT transcoding and OMG. Live TV is PERFECT NOW. No buffering, no issues whatsoever. I'm no expert but I'd have to think that the issue is the amount of live transcoding that has to take place requires ALOT more computing power than you think. It's the only thing that makes sense. Why else would the Apple TV choke on Live TV from BOTH Emby AND Plex but play flawless when NO transcoding is needed via the Channels App? But as a side note, I'd like to thank the great developers at Plex because I just started using the Plex Preview of Live TV on my Roku and so far it DOES seem to be working without buffering but I haven't used it long enough to see if it will remain stable compared to my previous experience with it buffering on the Apple TV as I stated.

  • vertig0730vertig0730 Posts: 2Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @ryanlefevre said:

    @JuiceWSA said:
    Alrighty...

    Here's where we hope that lead developer checks in to restore smooth playback for those very important messages from our sponsor you're missing...

    :)

    I watch live sports. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Ryan,

    I went out and got the 2016 Streaming Stick, installed the preview channel for Plex and have minor issues. I will randomly buffer, but it can go a few hours between.

    I have to think its a client side hardware issue at this point. Maybe software can be optimized to process more on the server, but as it stands, I would say its your Roku.

  • azguy99azguy99 Posts: 1Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I'm in same boat. I have HDHR Connect and when I use it's app to stream live TV, it works like a champ. If stream it through Plex (either on my wired desktop or my wireless Roku), I get buffering, but only on the 1080p channels.

    Some bakground on my system. My Plex server is on Ubuntu with 8GB of RAM (it's only using 30% of the RAM) and 6 cores of the 8 total cores assigned to it. The processing never really exceeds 60% (at least not for a consistent amount of time). I have run two streams with both using my highest bitrate movie being transcoded and didn't notice any buffering.

    I'm struggling to come to grips with the fact that it's a hardware issue. I'm hoping that there is a setting that we can adjust someplace.

  • wandoredwandored Posts: 4Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I am getting the same issues with the roku premiere and the TCL Roku tv. They both seemed to work fine for a few days then one day not. If i restart the server i can get it to play the first show i select. But nothing after that.

  • ryanlefevreryanlefevre Posts: 8Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @jzolezzi thank you! I only had to reduce the quality from 12Mbps 1080p to 10Mbps 1080p and it’s playing flawlessly now.

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