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Video, no sound - solved but why?


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#1 pwright2

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 02:57 AM

I'm new to Plex on Roku. Seemed to set up easily enough. Recognized my videos and photos right away. Played a couple of videos and they seemed fine. Then my granddaughter wanted to see Bolt. Great video, no sound. Tried several others, same. Then I tried Wall=E. Sound was fine. (Not what she wanted to watch, though.) All of these were MP4s. All play sound on the computer directly. Gspot says the encodings are the same.

So I came here. I read the troubleshooting FAQs. I tried switching from Automatic to Direct/Transcode. Direct was still silent but Transcode had sound. Seems to fix the others also.

OK, I have a solution/workaround. But why? What makes the difference?

And, by the way, what is the difference between Streaming Transcoding and Transcoding?

-----Paul-----

#2 schuyler

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 03:15 AM

Usually if you get video but not sound it means your Roku isn't configured correctly. Specifically, in the Roku Player Settings (not the Plex channel, the main settings), there's a section for audio. If your Roku isn't connected to a surround sound system, then you need to make sure that setting is set to Stereo instead of Surround/5.1. Otherwise sometimes when you do a Direct Play the Roku sees that there's a 5.1 track in the file and passes it along assuming that there's a stereo on the other end of the cable that can play the audio. If you configure the Roku to use Stereo though, then it'll correctly play the stereo audio track. Let me know if that doesn't sound like the problem and we can go from there.

As for the different playback options, ideally you'd leave it at Automatic and everything would just work. That's definitely the goal, we don't relish users actually understanding the differences. But here they are:

Direct Play - The file is literally passed from your computer to the Roku as-is. This only works if the file is in a format that the Roku understands.
Direct Streaming - In the world of media encoding, there are "containers" (MP4, MKV, ASF, AVI, ...), and there are codecs inside those containers (MP3, AAC, H.264, ...). Direct Streaming is used when the container is something the Roku doesn't understand, but the actual audio/video streams inside the container are supported codecs. So the server converts the video to a container that the Roku understands, but copies the underlying audio/video streams as-is. If you're familiar with the term, Direct Streaming simply means remuxing.
Transcode - Plex Media Servers converts the video on the fly to a container and codecs that the Roku supports.

#3 wallix

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 12:51 PM

Usually if you get video but not sound it means your Roku isn't configured correctly. Specifically, in the Roku Player Settings (not the Plex channel, the main settings), there's a section for audio. If your Roku isn't connected to a surround sound system, then you need to make sure that setting is set to Stereo instead of Surround/5.1. Otherwise sometimes when you do a Direct Play the Roku sees that there's a 5.1 track in the file and passes it along assuming that there's a stereo on the other end of the cable that can play the audio. If you configure the Roku to use Stereo though, then it'll correctly play the stereo audio track. Let me know if that doesn't sound like the problem and we can go from there.

As for the different playback options, ideally you'd leave it at Automatic and everything would just work. That's definitely the goal, we don't relish users actually understanding the differences. But here they are:

Direct Play - The file is literally passed from your computer to the Roku as-is. This only works if the file is in a format that the Roku understands.
Direct Streaming - In the world of media encoding, there are "containers" (MP4, MKV, ASF, AVI, ...), and there are codecs inside those containers (MP3, AAC, H.264, ...). Direct Streaming is used when the container is something the Roku doesn't understand, but the actual audio/video streams inside the container are supported codecs. So the server converts the video to a container that the Roku understands, but copies the underlying audio/video streams as-is. If you're familiar with the term, Direct Streaming simply means remuxing.
Transcode - Plex Media Servers converts the video on the fly to a container and codecs that the Roku supports.


What changed exactly? I have some movies that have 2 5.1 tracks with/without commentary. Plex used to play these files fine in Automatic. But as others have said, I have to tell it every time to Transcode (which makes the fans in my Mac kick off in the other room and can be quite loud for people watching TV in that room).

I'm wondering if it's because I switched from HDMI to just a mini plug and RCA...will check.

Edited by wallix, 22 July 2012 - 12:53 PM.


#4 schuyler

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:02 PM

What changed exactly? I have some movies that have 2 5.1 tracks with/without commentary. Plex used to play these files fine in Automatic. But as others have said, I have to tell it every time to Transcode (which makes the fans in my Mac kick off in the other room and can be quite loud for people watching TV in that room).

I'm wondering if it's because I switched from HDMI to just a mini plug and RCA...will check.


I'm not sure I follow. You have videos that used to play fine set to Automatic, but now they fail to play? Or now they play but without audio? If they play but without audio, see my reply. Usually that means your Roku is configured in surround/5.1 mode but not actually connected to a 5.1 system. If that's not the issue, feel free to describe what you're seeing and grab some logs as described at http://forums.plexap...layback-issues/

#5 drew.winther

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:10 AM

I've just set up Plex with my gen 1 Roku-XD and I have a similar experience with DVDs ripped to mp4 using the ROKoding guide. For me, direct play has no sound, but direct stream/transcode does. I configured Handbrake to passthru the AC3 5.1 track in the first audio track, mixdown AAC Pro Logic II in the second, and passthru AC3 stereo in the third. The last one is a commentary track. My goal was to be able to direct play the main audio, but have the option to select the commentary. I have the Roku connected from HDMI to my TV, which passes audio back to my receiver. The TV is incapable of passing through 5.1, instead it converts any audio coming in from HDMI to Pro Logic II before passing it to the digital audio out. My Roku audio is set up in 5.1 mode and this has been working fine with Netflix and other Roku channels for the entire time I've had it. I can't get logs at the moment but I'll be able to tomorrow night. I haven't yet done a file with just one audio track but I can try that also. I suppose I should also see if any audio can be played through the TV itself. Anyway, I'm using Plex 2.4 for Roku and Plex Media Server .9.6.3 on Windows.

#6 schuyler

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:22 AM

I have the Roku connected from HDMI to my TV, which passes audio back to my receiver. The TV is incapable of passing through 5.1, instead it converts any audio coming in from HDMI to Pro Logic II before passing it to the digital audio out. My Roku audio is set up in 5.1 mode


Sorry, I'm confused. If the TV isn't actually going to pass the 5.1 audio to the receiver, then why would you want the Roku configured in 5.1 mode? At best, it's an extra conversion of the audio signal. At worst...

So unless I'm just misunderstanding, I'd suggest configuring the Roku in stereo mode and see if that fixes things.

#7 hozedhead

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:50 PM

The TV is incapable of passing through 5.1, instead it converts any audio coming in from HDMI to Pro Logic II before passing it to the digital audio out.


What make and model tv is it?

PMS 0.9.6.9 Windows XP SP3
Roku N1000 Software v3.1 Build 1167


#8 drew.winther

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:07 PM

What make and model tv is it?

Samsung HLR4667 and believe me, I was quite disappointed to discover this limitation. It passes 5.1 received over the antenna unmodified, but converts audio from its HDMI port to stereo/Pro Logic. The Roku does not have a separate digital audio output, so I have it set up this way since it has worked so far and I was able to avoid hooking up another pair of audio cables. My receiver is also rather old and does not do HDMI switching. I'll try playing around with it tonight. Having to direct stream won't be a problem by any means, I'm just trying to fine tune my Handbrake presets and if Plex can be improved to handle my weird edge case, so much the better.

#9 drew.winther

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 04:01 AM

Ok, I've got mediainfo with Plex logs for Direct Play vs. Direct Stream Scenarios. I also switched the Roku to stereo mode and was able to Direct Play with sound.
Here's what looks like the relevant parts of the logs:
X-Plex-Client-Identifier: J0A09M024733
X-Plex-Platform: Roku
X-Plex-Device: Roku XD
X-Plex-Platform-Version: 3.1 build 1017
X-Plex-Provides: player
X-Plex-Product: Plex for Roku
Capabilities: protocols=http-live-streaming,http-mp4-streaming,http-mp4-video,http-mp4-video-720p,http-streaming-video,http-streaming-video-720p;videoDecoders=mpeg4,h264{profile:high&resolution:1080&level:40};audioDecoders=aac;videoPlayer={playsAnamorphic:no}
Fetching content from server at query URL: http://192.168.128.6...y/metadata/1851
Media item optimized for streaming: 0
Media item container: mp4
Media item video codec: h264
Media item audio codec: ac3
Media item subtitles: invalid
Media item stereo codec: aac
Media item 5.1 codec: ac3
Secondary audio stream selected: false
Media item aspect ratio: 2.35
videoCanDirectPlay: anamorphic videos not supported
Picking best media item with score 35
About to fetch meta-data for Content Type: movie
Media = roAssociativeArray
Can direct play = false
Saving image for screensaver: http://192.168.128.6...=300&height=300
Button command: play
Playing video with Direct Play options set to: Direct Play
MediaPlayer::playVideo: Displaying video: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Partially Watched)
Temporarily overwriting direct play preference to: 1
Disallowing direct streaming in capabilities string
Capabilities: protocols=http-live-streaming,http-mp4-streaming,http-mp4-video,http-mp4-video-720p,http-streaming-video,http-streaming-video-720p;audioDecoders=aac;videoPlayer={playsAnamorphic:no}
Setting stream quality: HD
Will try to direct play http://192.168.128.6...s/1852/file.mp4
---- AA ----
indirecthttpheaders: (list of 0)...
streamformat: mp4
framerate: 24
streamurls: (list of 1)...
List(0)= http://192.168.128.6...s/1852/file.mp4
streamqualities: (list of 1)...
List(0)= HD
streambitrates: (list of 1)...
List(0)= 0
title: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Partially Watched)
playstart: 0
istranscoded: false
------------

When I switched to Direct Stream, everything is the same up through the button command:
Button command: play
Playing video with Direct Play options set to: Direct Stream/Transcode
MediaPlayer::playVideo: Displaying video: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Partially Watched)
Setting stream quality: HD
---- AA ----
fullhd: false
streamqualities: (list of 1)...
List(0)= HD
title: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Partially Watched)
playstart: 0
istranscoded: true
------------

Audio detail from Mediainfo:
Audio #1
ID : 2
Format : AC-3
Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
Mode extension : CM (complete main)
Format settings, Endianness : Big
Codec ID : ac-3
Duration : 1h 53mn
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 448 Kbps
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Bit depth : 16 bits
Compression mode : Lossy
Delay relative to video : -67ms
Stream size : 363 MiB (29%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2012-07-25 02:36:35
Tagged date : UTC 2012-07-25 03:15:31

Audio #2
ID : 3
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format profile : LC
Codec ID : 40
Duration : 1h 53mn
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 160 Kbps
Maximum bit rate : 266 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Compression mode : Lossy
Delay relative to video : -67ms
Stream size : 130 MiB (10%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2012-07-25 02:36:35
Tagged date : UTC 2012-07-25 03:15:31

When I switched the Roku to Stereo + Direct Play, the log looks identical to the 5.1 + Direct Play, however I get sound. What jumps at me is the audioDecoders=aac; in the Capabilities header, which stays fixed regardless of the Roku setting. I'm going to give things one more go by setting Handbrake to put the AAC stereo track first, it will probably take about a half hour. Since I can't get real 5.1 until I upgrade my TV and/or receiver, I mainly want to get something I can direct play, and hopefully by the time I upgrade Roku's handling of multiple streams will improve or you Plex guys will figure out how to make it work anyway (of course, it already works, you just have to sacrifice a little CPU power). If you're interested in any other log portions, I'll be happy to oblige.

#10 schuyler

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 04:21 AM

I'm still confused. Everything sounds to me like it's working. Your TV can't handle 5.1 from the Roku, so you should configure your Roku in stereo mode. Once you do that, everything works great. Right?

#11 scyber

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 04:33 AM

When I switched the Roku to Stereo + Direct Play, the log looks identical to the 5.1 + Direct Play, however I get sound. What jumps at me is the audioDecoders=aac; in the Capabilities header, which stays fixed regardless of the Roku setting.


To address this one point. The capabilities string is not relevant when Direct Playing content. It is only relevant when transcoding/direct streaming content. The Roku1 does not support ac3 via HLS (the format used for transcoding/direct streaming) so the Plex change will always pass "audioDecoders=aac".

#12 drew.winther

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 04:35 AM

Well it looks like there may be a definitive answer. I found http://forums.roku.c...9c70547b81c8e7c which says first-gen Rokus can't handle AC3 over HLS. Unless there's evidence this has changed (and I certainly haven't found any), I'll cease my horsing around and merely suggest that this limitation be noted in http://forums.plexap...sked-questions/

Edit: I started composing this before I refreshed and saw your posts. Thanks for responding, and if nothing else, I've learned a tiny bit about the internal workings of Plex and Roku. Now I'm confused again, is HLS not used by Direct Play mode? My desire to figure this out is fighting with my desire to go to sleep...

#13 schuyler

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 05:03 AM

Well it looks like there may be a definitive answer. I found http://forums.roku.c...9c70547b81c8e7c which says first-gen Rokus can't handle AC3 over HLS. Unless there's evidence this has changed (and I certainly haven't found any), I'll cease my horsing around and merely suggest that this limitation be noted in http://forums.plexap...sked-questions/

Edit: I started composing this before I refreshed and saw your posts. Thanks for responding, and if nothing else, I've learned a tiny bit about the internal workings of Plex and Roku. Now I'm confused again, is HLS not used by Direct Play mode? My desire to figure this out is fighting with my desire to go to sleep...


Sorry, that's my fault for being terse. The most recent reply was on my phone on a crowded bus. Now I'm home. :]

Direct Play means that the server sends the original file to the Roku as is. No transcoding or conversion of any kind. If the original file was an MP4, the Roku will get an MP4. No HLS involved. And since the Roku is getting the file as is, there's no way for us to tell it which audio stream you want. That's why it's important to have the Roku configured correctly. If the Roku is configured to do stereo, it'll choose the stereo stream; if the Roku is configured to do 5.1, it'll choose the 5.1 stream.

Direct Stream/Transcode means that the server will convert the original file to HLS and send that to the Roku. The first-gen Roku doesn't do AC3 over HLS, so it'll always get stereo AAC.

In either case, if your Roku isn't connected to a TV/Stereo in a way that can handle 5.1 sound, you should configure the Roku in stereo mode.

#14 drew.winther

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 05:10 AM

I'm still confused. Everything sounds to me like it's working. Your TV can't handle 5.1 from the Roku, so you should configure your Roku in stereo mode. Once you do that, everything works great. Right?

I don't know if the TV can handle 5.1, it doesn't tell me what format it's audio is in. I don't have any other devices that take HDMI input so I don't really know if I've ever got 5.1 out of the Roku. I've always believed the TV took 5.1 in, mixed it down to 2.0 for itself and also passed the 2.0 through its own outputs. But, I just tested that by hooking my cable box to the TV over HDMI and selected surround audio and had no sound. I guess the Roku figures this out during the handshake and selects the right audio track with other channels but the Direct Play mode makes this impossible. So I feel rather foolish! I've been half wishing the darn thing would break so I can buy some new stuff :)

#15 reilus

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:42 AM

My first-gen Roku does not have any area in the settings that would allow me to switch from 5.1 to stereo -- or any audio settings for that matter.  What should I do ?

 

I changed my Plex settings to transcode the videos and I have sound!  YAY!!!!!!!!



#16 shapetheLOLa

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:11 PM

If you still have no sound try setting the transcoder to stable instead of experimental. That solved it for me, at least



#17 simpddls25

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 03:10 PM

Experience same issue here, switched Roku Audio Options from 5.1 to Stereo and now working.  I never had this issue before so I wonder if a major Roku software update (months ago) may have automagically switched audio options to 5.1.






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