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Best way to play mkv files on Roku?

IamSpartacusIamSpartacus Posts: 558Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

I've tried doing Automatic playback, direct stream/fall back and transcode but none of them seem to play my mkv files with the kind of quality that they are when I play them on my computer.  Is there a standard playback others use for their mkv files on the Roku?

Comments

  • Junglist0682Junglist0682 Posts: 40Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    I never messed with any settings. Everything is pretty much default. Works well
  • IamSpartacusIamSpartacus Posts: 558Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    My mkv files pause to buffer every 15-20 seconds non-stop.

  • czerk89czerk89 Posts: 53Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    Not sure if its the MKV files either. I have probably 8 TB of MKV media files and 4 family members use Roku 2 XDs for streaming remotely with no issues. Streaming quality around 4-10 Mbps remotely. Locally, up to 20 Mbps sometimes.

    Internet connection maybe?
  • TrudgeTrudge Gone off to greener pastures.... Posts: 9,360Members ✭✭✭
    JimPhreak wrote on May 29 2013, 1:22 AM: »

    My mkv files pause to buffer every 15-20 seconds non-stop.

    defaults work fine, if you're on wifi, cable it.

    MKV is just a container format, does not say much about your files at all. Log files and the media .xml would be far more useful.

  • Junglist0682Junglist0682 Posts: 40Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    Is anyone doing any web surfing or downloading? While streaming the files?
  • IamSpartacusIamSpartacus Posts: 558Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    It's local content over wifi streaming at 4mbps quality since the files are only 720p anyway.  What log files would help me troubleshoot this issue?

  • ljunkieljunkie Plex Dev Team Posts: 4,353Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    Do you have any way to test the roku without wifi? I know 4 mbit stream over wifi should be fine, but you can never trust it.

  • scyberscyber Posts: 303Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    JimPhreak wrote on May 29 2013, 2:25 AM: »

    It's local content over wifi streaming at 4mbps quality since the files are only 720p anyway.  What log files would help me troubleshoot this issue?

    Is 4mbps the quality setting on the Roku?  If so, try bumping that up higher.    By setting it to 4mbps, if the files exceed 4mpbs, Plex will always transcode them.   So that might explain why you get the same behavior in all playback modes.    If you use a higher setting, Plex may be able to direct stream (aka remux) the files in automatic mode.  This should be less processor intensive.

  • mwild81@gmail.commwild81@gmail.com Posts: 81Members ✭✭
    scyber wrote on May 29 2013, 12:59 PM: »

    Is 4mbps the quality setting on the Roku?  If so, try bumping that up higher.    By setting it to 4mbps, if the files exceed 4mpbs, Plex will always transcode them.   So that might explain why you get the same behavior in all playback modes.    If you use a higher setting, Plex may be able to direct stream (aka remux) the files in automatic mode.  This should be less processor intensive.

    Interesting. So would it be better to set the Roku @ 10mbps for me if my content is below 10mpbs in bitrate? Do this to avoid transcoding if the files types are supported by the roku. I keep my setting @ 4mbps 720 because that is all my upstairs TV is. 

  • drinehartdrinehart Posts: 816Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    The resolution listed is just guidance to give a feel for the quality, not a strict guideline enforcing resolution.  I would set it at the highest bit rating it works reliably at.  If you are wired, 20mbps seems to work for most people.  If wireless, you will have to test it out to find the best setting.  It allows the content <= the setting to be sent without transcoding (based on bitrate, not format), thus better quality and less load on the server.  If you set it to 4mbps, and you have a 720p video file averaging 6mbps, the server will transcode the movie down to a 4mbps stream.

  • Options

    I had lots of problems with MKV files & Plex.  In the end I decided that since my mkv's only contained an audio track & a video track (ie, no special features like subtitles, etc) I would remux them.  I use a simple batch file & ffmpeg to do the work and it only takes a minute or two per file since there's no reencoding involved.  

    Since switching to MP4 containers everything has been great.  Not a single hiccup & skip.

    I know others have had success with MKV but this solution was painless once I set up the batch file and has been a 100% solution.

  • mwild81@gmail.commwild81@gmail.com Posts: 81Members ✭✭
    drinehart wrote on May 29 2013, 5:06 PM: »

    The resolution listed is just guidance to give a feel for the quality, not a strict guideline enforcing resolution.  I would set it at the highest bit rating it works reliably at.  If you are wired, 20mbps seems to work for most people.  If wireless, you will have to test it out to find the best setting.  It allows the content <= the setting to be sent without transcoding (based on bitrate, not format), thus better quality and less load on the server.  If you set it to 4mbps, and you have a 720p video file averaging 6mbps, the server will transcode the movie down to a 4mbps stream.

    Thank you for the information. I tried this out last night on my 720P TV and wireless Roku HD. I had a version of Spiderman 3 in MKV and DD 5.1. The combined bitrate was 9mbps. My TV is always set to 4mbps (720p)  I watched the movie with this setting and my server cpu usage was maxing out. I then moved the setting up to 12mbps and checked again. Amazingly the MKV was direct playing and the Audio was transcoding. Very little CPU usage on my server. Amazing I had know idea. Was this implemented in the new server transcoder or has this always been the case?

  • drinehartdrinehart Posts: 816Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    AFAIK it has always been the case, and definitely not a product of the new transcoder.

  • techmattrtechmattr Posts: 221Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    The Roku isn't compatible with MKV over http. So you're going to be direct streaming or transcoding. That will depend mainly on the video and audio codec. If it's x264/aac/ac3 then chances are that it will direct stream. When it direct streams it just remuxes the file to a MP4. If it's anything other than x264/aac/ac3 then it's going to transcode. If it's mpeg2 or some older versions of mpeg4 then chances are you're going to have buffering issues. The Plex Media Server doesn't handle mpeg2 transcoding well. Often times you'll see the server spiking to 100%. I always use Handbrake to re-encode my files to MP4 (x264/aac/ac3) which ensures that it will direct play every time. No buffering issues and FF/RW with no delay. I have no issues with playback of 40Mbps 1080p content over WiFi.

    Your bitrate selection for transcoding makes no difference when PMC is able to either direct play or direct stream. If the client is set to direct play / direct stream with fallback then it's always going to try direct play, direct stream then transcode in that order. 

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