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Pi Zero/ZeroW experience as a plex client with rasplex?

jayt80jayt80 Members, Plex Pass Posts: 76 Plex Pass

Hi there,

Just wanted anyone's feedback who is using a Pi Zero or Zero W with Rasplex?

How are you finding it? Any issues with playback or menu options?

Thanks,

JT.

Answers

  • benjaminwolfbenjaminwolf Members, Plex Pass Posts: 978 Plex Pass

    Built in WiFi is underpowered for HD content. It's a little slow, but other than that it works fine.

  • jayt80jayt80 Members, Plex Pass Posts: 76 Plex Pass

    @benjaminwolf said:
    Built in WiFi is underpowered for HD content. It's a little slow, but other than that it works fine.

    Thanks @benjaminwolf - Could you be more specific? Does it skip frames, buffer etc? Say with a 10gig MKV file what sort of result should I expect. Is this the same experience with using the original zero with a dongle?

  • sam3sam3 Members Posts: 96 ✭✭
    edited April 29

    I've had a play with libreElec and rasplex on the pi zero w. It seems to play back high bit-rate files fine on its built in wifi (1080p 11+mbps video 16GB file); though i was testing it in the room above my router.
    The menu's are a little slow but acceptable. Dts and ac3 passthrough work fine - my only issue is when passthrough is not enabled. When the pi zero has to transcode dts (to stereo etc) it can max out the cpu usage causing the odd stuttering.
    It seems to do this too when dts passthrough is enabled and you try playing back a file with dtshd (so thr rpi has to extract the dts core from the dtshd file).

    I'm hoping there's an option somewhere in rasplex where you can force PMS to handle all audio transcoding :(

  • jayt80jayt80 Members, Plex Pass Posts: 76 Plex Pass

    @sam3 said:
    I've had a play with libreElec and rasplex on the pi zero w. It seems to play back high bit-rate files fine on its built in wifi (1080p 11+mbps video 16GB file); though i was testing it in the room above my router.
    The menu's are a little slow but acceptable. Dts and ac3 passthrough work fine - my only issue is when passthrough is not enabled. When the pi zero has to transcode dts (to stereo etc) it can max out the cpu usage causing the odd stuttering.
    It seems to do this too when dts passthrough is enabled and you try playing back a file with dtshd (so thr rpi has to extract the dts core from the dtshd file).

    I'm hoping there's an option somewhere in rasplex where you can force PMS to handle all audio transcoding :(

    Thanks @sam3 - did you have a play around with rasplex with the audio settings?

  • PLEX6FCPLEX6FC Members Posts: 69 ✭✭

    Has anyone else had any more experience of using a Pi Zero W? Just trying to learn about more user experiences.

    I'm looking at adding a Plex client to my parents TV. They have no Ethernet connection at the TV location, so I was thinking of buying them a Pi3, but then wondered if a cheaper ZeroW would be adequate?

    I experimented a couple of days ago with a Pi3 at their house, and the wifi signal from their router was adequate, Plex streamed beautifully, menus were fine etc, but couldn't get CEC controls from their oddball TV to work.

    I'd like to see if it's possible with a Zero, but at the same time don't want to frustrate my non-tech-savvy folks, I would like to give them an easy / simple user experience. Their Linsar "smart" TV is a nightmare to navigate, really horrible menus - giving them a Plex client would be a massive improvement!

    Regarding the Wifi comments above, does the Zero has a poorer reception to a Pi3?

    Also, with The Zero having a more basic processor (single core, not quad) and 1/4 the RAM, I assume this would make the menus slower as mentioned above?

    Ie: if you were going to give your folks a Plex client, would you give them a Zero?

    Thanks, Scott.

  • sam3sam3 Members Posts: 96 ✭✭

    @jayt80 said:
    Thanks @sam3 - did you have a play around with rasplex with the audio settings?

    Yeah - unfortunately there was no option that made PMS handle audio transcoding. There was a "force transcode" option in rasplex but that made PMS transcode the video and audio.
    During media playback of a couple of files (5 mbps 1080p file and a 14mbps 1080p file) the cpu usage fluctuated between 40-90%; so there is really not much performance leeway for the pi to handle audio transcoding too :(

    @PLEX6FC I haven't got a pi 3 so can't compare wireless performance, but I didn't run into any wireless issues (buffering etc) when streaming to the pi zero (though I have only watched two titles so far).
    Both of my TV's don't support CEC so I ended up buying a couple of IR recievers that you can connect to the pi GPIO port. They were pretty cheap (£0.30 - £0.55 each) and they seem to have a better range than the built in IR reciever in my TV and DVD player. I'm using them with some old MCE remotes I had - though they can probably be programmed to work with most remotes. Here's a few guides:
    https://github.com/RasPlex/RasPlex/wiki/GPIO-IR
    https://www.modmypi.com/blog/raspberry-pis-remotes-ir-receivers
    http://uk.rs-online.com/web/c/displays-optoelectronics/ir-emitters-receivers/ir-receivers/#esid=4294382601

    As for recommending it as a plex client - I would say no at the moment. Its close but its just lacking a little extra power needed in certain circumstances :(

  • PLEX6FCPLEX6FC Members Posts: 69 ✭✭
    edited May 4

    Hi @sam3 ,

    I use the LIRC GPIO IR receiver on a Zero I use in the car for long journeys, I use it with an MCE remote just the same as you've done.. it works really well.

    So, I bit the bullet and bought my parents a Pi3 just to avoid tech-support phone calls.... but I also bought a ZeroW at the same time! I have a Pi3 already running my TV, so I will be able to do some direct comparisons with the Zero W.

    I hope to make a battery powered music player with the ZeroW for when I'm in the garden, or doing diy jobs around the house, as I usually play music from my phone using the PLEX android app, which not only sounds terrible but also eats the battery up.

  • jayt80jayt80 Members, Plex Pass Posts: 76 Plex Pass

    @PLEX6FC said:
    Hi @sam3 ,

    I use the LIRC GPIO IR receiver on a Zero I use in the car for long journeys, I use it with an MCE remote just the same as you've done.. it works really well.

    So, I bit the bullet and bought my parents a Pi3 just to avoid tech-support phone calls.... but I also bought a ZeroW at the same time! I have a Pi3 already running my TV, so I will be able to do some direct comparisons with the Zero W.

    I hope to make a battery powered music player with the ZeroW for when I'm in the garden, or doing diy jobs around the house, as I usually play music from my phone using the PLEX android app, which not only sounds terrible but also eats the battery up.

    Thanks mate. Looking forward to your comparisons when you get the chance. And thanks to everyone else for chiming in with their experiences.

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