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AppleTV 4K / HEVC playback

Lien&DaveLien&Dave Posts: 12Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

Plex is turning into a nightmare. I've been an avid user for years, but playing new H265 / HEVC content is getting on my nerves now for over a year and I am really not sure what I should do.

So I have a powerful machine for storing my library, but, I did not insert a very heavy image processing engine as it is a virtual ESXi machine that runs quite a couple of machines. H.264 content always plays fine, but even one(!) player playing low res H.265 content will put the servers CPU at 100% as it's transcoding.

So I bought AppleTV 4K. It supports HEVC right? Should just pick up the file and direct play through the Plex app right?

Wrong. Although the AppleTV is paired to the TV at 4K / 10 bit etc etc. Plex still thinks a 720p HEVC file with AAC encoding is too much to ask for the AppleTV so keeps transcoding the thing on the server. Even worse....when I put a 4K movie in the library.... it refuses to play at all because the processor is not nearly capable of transcoding 10bit 2160p on the fly.

What is wrong? We're asking for this for ages now....and the funny thing is, I installed infuse and it played straight away! No fiddling, no trouble...nothing. What's up Plex?

Even better.....Infuse has the subtiltle shift/sync option as well. Something simple that has been requested for years now on the AppleTV app. Infuse included it straight away.

I really would like to sell myself staying with Plex, but all these frustrating issues that never seem to get solved.... why?

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Answers

  • BassebuuusBassebuuus Posts: 55Members ✭✭
    edited May 12

    Yeah, I have the exact same question.
    Every damn month we get some newsletter going ”bla bla bla”
    ”we made some updates for your photo album in plex” or ”check this new feature out”.

    Bah.

    Whats up with x265/HEVC direct play/stream support on apple tv?
    As OP says, it’s a nightmare. A full lottery if the file will play, based on 1 million different encoding options a ”normal user” reasonably cannot take the time to understand.

    It’s one ONE thing I want from Plex right now. Direct play/stream support for 4K/HEVC/x265 files on Apple TV.
    Without this, Plex + ATV 4k will soon be obsolete.

    So... why isnt there any progress here?

    EDIT:
    Lol. Actually LOL.
    Since OP mentioned Infuse I tried it. It can play ALL HEVC/X265 files I have, which of none works on plex without transcode.
    And that's WITHOUT a server-side.
    Obviously it -can- be done. Plex WTF?

  • Jecht SinJecht Sin Posts: 117Members ✭✭

    Infuse can play all of them because it has its own video/media player. Indeed the Pro version can play HiRes audio as well (not supported by tvOS). Plex, AFAIK, uses the the standard tvOS video player. Which supports HEVC but only in MP4 containers. What he server tries to do, for example in the case of HEVC videos in MKV containers, is to convert only the container to MP4. But this may fail in many points. For example I have a collection of demo HEVC 4K HDR videos at 60fps, the container gets converted but then I am stuck with the spinning gear. That's because tvOS doesn't support 4K at 60fps, I suppose.

    But I have checked a couple of HEVC 4K movies now (one SDR the other HDR) and they are playing. Ah, be sure to have enabled "Direct Play" in the client settings.

  • Lien&DaveLien&Dave Posts: 12Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Yeah I really don't care if Infuse has it's own player or not. The situation is that Plex does not work at all for HEVC content, and Infuse does. Infuse even plays correctly from a Plex server/library....so there isn't even need for building your lib again.

    We've asked for this for ages, and Plex just doesn't listen. This Plex app on AppleTV is way below par, and there is no evidence of any intention to fix this. They don't even read their own forum or don't care to react.

    With the current state of things, I find myself finding HEVC content more and more...and my disks like it too. I am not going to transcode all my content back to x264 as that defeats the purpose and takes a lot of processing time.

    Why do I even pay for a Plex pass? So far Infuse is proving reliable, and although I am still testing the system it looks way better than the Plex offering. If this doesn't improve I see myself ditching Plex within a month.

  • BassebuuusBassebuuus Posts: 55Members ✭✭
    edited May 14

    @Jecht Sin said:
    Infuse can play all of them because it has its own video/media player. Indeed the Pro version can play HiRes audio as well (not supported by tvOS). Plex, AFAIK, uses the the standard tvOS video player. Which supports HEVC but only in MP4 containers.

    Yeah, the point beeing? What blocks Plex for doing the same? If Infuse can do it, so should Plex.

    I just think it's sad that actually beeing up-to-date with playing media files no longer seem to be a major concern for Plex.
    But I guess it's more money in developing code that collects information about it's users and signing deals with content providers...

  • Lien&DaveLien&Dave Posts: 12Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Maybe Plex would take the time to finally answer this simple question?
    How do I make plex play all HEVC content on the HEVC capable AppleTV 4K without transcoding?

  • Jecht SinJecht Sin Posts: 117Members ✭✭

    @Bassebuuus said:

    @Jecht Sin said:
    Infuse can play all of them because it has its own video/media player. Indeed the Pro version can play HiRes audio as well (not supported by tvOS). Plex, AFAIK, uses the the standard tvOS video player. Which supports HEVC but only in MP4 containers.

    Yeah, the point beeing?

    I was simply explaining why Infuse can do it...

    What blocks Plex for doing the same? If Infuse can do it, so should Plex.

    You're preaching to the choir here. Obviously it's a matter of money/resources. It seems to me at Plex they get all they can from the Open Source. Like the Exoplayer in Android TV. Apparently there are not free media players for Apple TV they can use...

  • BassebuuusBassebuuus Posts: 55Members ✭✭

    @Jecht Sin said:

    @Bassebuuus said:

    @Jecht Sin said:
    Infuse can play all of them because it has its own video/media player. Indeed the Pro version can play HiRes audio as well (not supported by tvOS). Plex, AFAIK, uses the the standard tvOS video player. Which supports HEVC but only in MP4 containers.

    Yeah, the point beeing?

    I was simply explaining why Infuse can do it...

    What blocks Plex for doing the same? If Infuse can do it, so should Plex.

    You're preaching to the choir here. Obviously it's a matter of money/resources. It seems to me at Plex they get all they can from the Open Source. Like the Exoplayer in Android TV. Apparently there are not free media players for Apple TV they can use...

    Ok. But still. PLAYING MEDIA is the fcking central thing about PLEX.
    They have money/resouces to implement DVR (which is more or less useless outside the US).
    They have time to build photo/image viewer, who gives a f
    ck?
    The have time to implement a NEWS-reading section. Ok?

    But the ability to play 4K/HEVC, sorry, no time/resources.

    Does this sound like a good plan to you?

  • Jecht SinJecht Sin Posts: 117Members ✭✭
    edited May 19

    @Bassebuuus I know what you're saying. I have been asking in these forums about HEVC/HDR for Android TV first and Apple TV 4K later for more than a year, now. I have got simply sick of watching that gear spinning eventually getting a "Transcoder error" (I still do).

    I think that in business terms the major issue is that the player is for free in many platforms (for sure in the ATV 4K), while they get money from a Pass that I honesty don't know what I would use it for. Infuse instead asks for a hefty subscription, 10€/year, 50€ for the lifetime option. They say its mostly to play DTS (and I suppose Dolby TrueHD?) royalties, although I am not sure how Kodi plays the same audio streams for free.

    Still in my tests HEVC mostly works now, after the various updates. As long as the video format is supported by the Apple TV. Again HEVC 4K at 60 fps won't work for example. Nor any HEVC 4K demo video (even at 24fps) I downloaded from around the internet.Maybe apart from few exceptions. But with HEVC 4K movies I can even use the SRT subtitles without having the server transcoding now, which is a new thing for me (those subtitles triggering the transcoding have been driving me mad for longer than HEVC).

    Still it's too much unreliable for me to abandon Infuse. For a fair price I wouldn't mind to move back to Plex if all my video (and audio!) formats were fully supported by a new media player in Direct Play. Well, if it would also include a much better subtitles management as well because the current one, especially in the ATV, is awful.

  • BassebuuusBassebuuus Posts: 55Members ✭✭
    edited May 18

    Okay fine. Sorry.
    I still actually paid for the iOS app, but that was $5 years ago, so yeah, small price, long time ago.

    Problem is, it works if it has support in iOS, but 9 out of 10 files I have, wont play.
    All require transcode.
    So I guess we have a different experience there. (Yeah I have fixed my profiles XML and so on).

    Check this following link out for example, I'm no video guy, but it seems like the "rules" for what plays are EXTENSIVE!
    https://www.reddit.com/r/appletv/comments/76qkv3/hevc_h265_and_the_apple_tv_4/
    One problem seem to be this "profile", lots of videos I have that doesn't play seem to have a "profile" number thats too high.

    I would have switched to Infuse in a heartbeat, if it wasn't for the $50 lifetime, too much.
    But, €10 a year stacks up to the lifetime after 5 years so.. well.. hard choice.
    I already paid around €15 for the Infuse 4, and they f*ked me over when they switched to 5 and my purchase was no longer valid.
    Sure, lifetime now says lifetime, but I'm still irritated and don't want to give them any more $$$.
    Problem is, it's only I that suffer. Impossible choice: stay with Plex without HEVC support, or pay up for infuse and then hope that their "lifetime" will be "lifetime", that the app will continue to be developed, and that future updates to the video formats will be supported...

    Edit: For some reason, on my iPad where I also have Infuse 4 installed, I get a "special" price of €30 for lifetime, actually thinking about taking that deal now...

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

    @Bassebuuus said:

    @Jecht Sin said:
    Infuse can play all of them because it has its own video/media player. Indeed the Pro version can play HiRes audio as well (not supported by tvOS). Plex, AFAIK, uses the the standard tvOS video player. Which supports HEVC but only in MP4 containers.

    Yeah, the point beeing? What blocks Plex for doing the same? If Infuse can do it, so should Plex.

    I just think it's sad that actually beeing up-to-date with playing media files no longer seem to be a major concern for Plex.
    But I guess it's more money in developing code that collects information about it's users and signing deals with content providers...

    For Infuse the Apple TV Player is what they do. It’s their only revenue stream & they charge $50 for it. The crazy business model of Plex where they give away the Crown Jewels for free prevents them charging a realistic price for software & support.

    Basically the server is complete & adding fringe stuff like DVR, VR or News etc isn’t adding any functionality of value.

    Plex are spread too thin & support too many clients. If Plex don’t provide perfect clients I’m prepared to pay Infuse or MrMC to give me what Plex cannot as it allows me to use the Plex library that is the main USP of Plex.

  • Jecht SinJecht Sin Posts: 117Members ✭✭
    edited May 19

    @Bassebuuus said:
    Problem is, it works if it has support in iOS, but 9 out of 10 files I have, wont play.
    All require transcode.
    So I guess we have a different experience there. (Yeah I have fixed my profiles XML and so on).

    Have you double checked removing all custom profiles? I had never managed to make it fully working with custom profiles anyway, and the fix came from Plex with me having a clean installation. Also try without the subtitles if you have any, they might still mess up things.

    Then yes, there is also an issue with the HEVC profiles supported by tvOS. One way to know if a video is supported is to have it in (or convert it to) MP4, add it to iTunes and see if it gets played by iTunes/Movies/whatever is called in the ATK4K (At Home in iTunes must be enabled) . Most HDR demos I have are in MP4 and they do not even get added to the library. Others are in the library but then iTunes in the ATV4K says "Format not supported".

    So basically I believe this is what happens with Plex. First it converts the container and then it gives the MP4 stream to the tvOS media player. And if tvOS doesn't like it the Plex client goes banana. It seems to be unable to establish beforehand that a video isn't supported.

    Edit: For some reason, on my iPad where I also have Infuse 4 installed, I get a "special" price of €30 for lifetime, actually thinking about taking that deal now...

    Well, the upgrade option has been there since when I checked Infuse before buying my ATV4K in December. :smile:

    Basically I bought the ATV4K because of Infuse. I wanted my AVR playing HiRes audio, my subs working not wasting hours selecting a movie, restarting after a crash, and so on as I did with that stupid Android TV on my Bravia. The cost of the subscription is less than the cost of painkiller to fix the headaches I was getting!! :smiley:

  • HitsVilleHitsVille Posts: 918Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @Jecht Sin said:

    @Bassebuuus said:
    Problem is, it works if it has support in iOS, but 9 out of 10 files I have, wont play.
    All require transcode.
    So I guess we have a different experience there. (Yeah I have fixed my profiles XML and so on).

    Have you double checked removing all custom profiles? I had never managed to make it fully working with custom profiles anyway, and the fix came from Plex with me having a clean installation. Also try without the subtitles if you have any, they might still mess up things.

    Then yes, there is also an issue with the HEVC profiles supported by tvOS. One way to know if a video is supported is to have it in (or convert it to) MP4, add it to iTunes and see if it gets played by iTunes/Movies/whatever is called in the ATK4K (At Home in iTunes must be enabled) . Most HDR demos I have are in MP4 and they do not even get added to the library. Others are in the library but then iTunes in the ATV4K says "Format not supported".

    So basically I believe this is what happens with Plex. First it converts the container and then it gives the MP4 stream to the tvOS media player. And if tvOS doesn't like it the Plex client goes banana. It seems to be unable to establish beforehand that a video isn't supported.

    Edit: For some reason, on my iPad where I also have Infuse 4 installed, I get a "special" price of €30 for lifetime, actually thinking about taking that deal now...

    Well, the upgrade option has been there since when I checked Infuse before buying my ATV4K in December. :smile:

    So in both your cases you see lifetime Infuse for €30.
    But only on your iPads/iPhones?

    HitsVille

    ON EMBY!__ >:)

  • Jecht SinJecht Sin Posts: 117Members ✭✭

    @HitsVille said:
    So in both your cases you see lifetime Infuse for €30.
    But only on your iPads/iPhones?

    I think it's "cross paying". I bought the Pro annual subscription (I know.. Stupid mistake. Actually my idea was to wait for Infuse 6 and then stick with it) from my ATV 4K and now that I bought an iPad Infuse Pro is fully licensed as well. I have never read of number of platforms restrictions either.

    Not having Infuse 4 I don't really know how the upgrade works from the ATV, though. Still, you may ask in the Firecore forum.

  • KillRoy1972KillRoy1972 Posts: 5Members ✭✭

    The mp4 files (or mv4 files, all other file formats are not supported by the AppleTV) need to have a specific fourCC tag that the appleTV can use.

    -If you have the mp4, download a free program called: https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/51450/media-info
    -Dump your mp4 file in there and look up the fourCC tag
    -Look if it is hvc1

    Any other tag will result in plex transcoding the mp4 to the AppleTV

    If you have an other tag, you can change it using various programs.

    Subler will change the mp4 to a compatible format without transcoding the video and make the audio Apple friendly, although i have some mixed results with it.

    I use iFlicks for my library, the stable version does not support full HEVC, but can transcode it to x264. you can use rules to handle the files.

    The beta version https://support.iflicksapp.com/hc/en-us/articles/201165876-iFlicks-2-0-beta, which is free, supports hevc very well i must say! you can use it to change the file to a iMac compatible format, which will change the tags that will work on the appleTV because the program is in beta it is free, but it will update regularly so you have to download it again because the outdated version stops working if there is a new update..

    Try these and see if it works for you.

    Also, if you use subtitles, HEVC is still having some issues. As of a few weeks plex supports extended srt files with HEVC files. Also the AppleTV will play them in sync, which was not the case a few weeks ago.

    Also, the playback of the HEVC is not as smooth as i want it to be. it is watchable but once in a while it gives a little 'chop' here and there. When i play it on the Xbox One though, it plays perfect. So it is a AppleTV issue i guess..

    Hope this helps moving your problems..

  • BassebuuusBassebuuus Posts: 55Members ✭✭

    @KillRoy1972 thanks for your feedback!

    I guess that settles it for me, 30 euros for Infuse is a small price to pay in order to avoid halving to fix the files before playing them, and still have the choppiness now and then.

  • HitsVilleHitsVille Posts: 918Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @Jecht Sin said:

    @HitsVille said:
    So in both your cases you see lifetime Infuse for €30.
    But only on your iPads/iPhones?

    I think it's "cross paying". I bought the Pro annual subscription (I know.. Stupid mistake. Actually my idea was to wait for Infuse 6 and then stick with it) from my ATV 4K and now that I bought an iPad Infuse Pro is fully licensed as well. I have never read of number of platforms restrictions either.

    Not having Infuse 4 I don't really know how the upgrade works from the ATV, though. Still, you may ask in the Firecore forum.

    Doh. Yeah I totally missed the word "upgrade."
    Anyway I will keep weighing up the pro's and cons of infuse & MrMC. :)

    HitsVille

    ON EMBY!__ >:)

  • MacRae HomeMacRae Home Posts: 393Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited May 21

    Infuse 5 Pro connected to a Plex server (so you have watched/non-watched status etc.) works very well indeed....so for any where you have plenty of bandwidth use Infuse 5 Pro (as in the LAN or if you're lucky to have plenty of upload bandwidth and watch from a location you're not worried about the data you're racking up).

    Got bandwidth issues then use the Plex Client as you'll need to transcode.

    Windows PLEX Server : Intel Core i7-3820 CPU @ 3.60Ghz, 8GB Ram, Intel SSD 120GB boot drive, RAID5 4TB media store
    Desktop Clients : 2 x Windows 7 (64-bit) Zotac Nano AD11 XS's (nearly as small as aTV's) and 1 x Windows 7 (64-bit) Intel NUC's (4inch x 4inch, small) 1 x Windows 7 (32-bit) ATOM ION2, 1 x 15.4 Retina MBP, 1 x 11" MBA
    Mobile Clients : 2 x iPhone 5's, 1 x iPad 2, 2 x iPadMini's, 2 x aTV2, 2 x aTV3, 1 x ROKU2 XS
  • K_DavionK_Davion Posts: 51Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited June 8

    I just pick up my plex server recently and have 2 4K movies in hevc + trueHD + mkv. The atv 4K app sucks so much... And when changing to free trial of infuse pro, the 4K HEVC mkv plays smoothly and a tag "direct play" on the plex server. WTH! Without hesitation I bought the lifetime for $45. and enjoys the movies.

    Team Plex, I am your early sponsor, I bought lifetime Plex pass for $75, and iOS app, and I thought I could enjoy my movies without any worries any more. but after 6 years, you give me this piece of not working software ??

  • HitsVilleHitsVille Posts: 918Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @K_Davion said:
    I just pick up my plex server recently and have 2 4K movies in hevc + trueHD + mkv. The atv 4K app sucks so much... And when changing to free trial of infuse pro, the 4K HEVC mkv plays smoothly and a tag "direct play" on the plex server. WTH! Without hesitation I bought the lifetime for $45. and enjoys the movies.

    Team Plex, I am your early sponsor, I bought lifetime Plex pass for $75, and iOS app, and I thought I could enjoy my movies without any worries any more. but after 6 years, you give me this piece of not working software ??

    To be fair I love the look of the native app. It's a thing of beauty. But yeah for 4K viewing infuse or MrMC are definitely needed.

    HitsVille

    ON EMBY!__ >:)

  • Lien&DaveLien&Dave Posts: 12Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Typical Plex. They don't listen to any of their customers. You can ask for features all you want, the only thing they do is remove features or just simply wait until Plex is outdated. (HEVC content)
    I've been using Infuse now for over a month, and that player app is so much better than Plex. Even better than when Plex was just new and fresh on the market. Goes to show how good products and ideas go down the drain eventually when they become too big. They lose sight of what is really important and build expensive features that no-one really cares about.

    I am thoroughly fed up with Plex. They'll never change back to what they once where is what I've concluded in the past 2 years spent waiting for simple features that anyone else but Plex can apparently build.

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