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Mkvs vs. mp4 from plex to roku


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#1 UNCMo96

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 02:25 AM

I set up plex on a Zotac ad10 system below. I also set it up on my iMac with a core 2 duo. I have noted that the zotac cannot handle mkv files. It just freezes with the retrieving bar. The iMac handles it but for a few movies it does pause every few mins to load. Both seem to do better with mp4s. I am curious if mkvstake more processing power which is why I have this issue? Not sure if it matters but I have the roku xs.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16856173027

#2 JohnRH

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 03:13 AM

This is my opinion as a user of PLEX.
I was using a variety of formats originally for my viewing. After a lot of testing with these I decided that mp4 worked best for me.
I am in the process of converting my videos to mp4 and all new ones I encode to mp4.
They seem to work best with little or no hiccups.
I have had absolutely no major and very few minor problems with PLEX since about two months ago. :D
It just works.

John

#3 jmjf

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 03:20 AM

I set up plex on a Zotac ad10 system below. I also set it up on my iMac with a core 2 duo. I have noted that the zotac cannot handle mkv files. It just freezes with the retrieving bar. The iMac handles it but for a few movies it does pause every few mins to load. Both seem to do better with mp4s. I am curious if mkvstake more processing power which is why I have this issue? Not sure if it matters but I have the roku xs.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16856173027


I'm not the expert on this, but here are a few thoughts...

I'm going to be brutally honest. Your CPU is probably severely underpowered. GPU doesn't come into play on Linux. You can look at Passmark's site for relative comparisons of CPU performance. (Your Zotac's CPU = E-350.)

If your MKVs are using video and audio codecs that Roku likes for streaming, you should be getting a simple rewrapper operation which shouldn't burn a whole lot of CPU.

If you have subtitles and they aren't a format Roku likes, you're getting some degree of transcoding to play the STs. One of the experts will have to tell you how much.

My own experience with an Athlon 64 server (CPU gets low 600s at Passmark vs. E-350's low 700s) was that it did okay with SD video (usually Xvid in AVI wrappers). 720p (H264/AAC in MKV with SSA/ASS subtitles) were less stable, but watchable. 1080p (even without transcode) was better not attempted. After upgrading to an i5 (low 6700s at Passmark) I now have no burps even with my largest (very large) 1080p files or files that require subtitle transcoding (but they're H264 and AAC, so those should just rewrapper). I also dropped a wired network connection to the Roku instead of using Wifi, so don't ignore the possibility that your network performance may be part of your issue.

As always, your mileage may vary.

Again, not "the answer," but maybe some directions to look. Hope that helps.

#4 scyber

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:16 AM

mp4 is far far better for the Roku then mkv. The Roku is able to direct play mp4 files (assuming the video is in spec) and it will require very little to no CPU power to direct play. With Mkv's, the file will (at minimum) need to be remuxed to HLS for playback. Remuxing doesn't require as much CPU power as a full transcode, but it is still more then direct playing a CPU.

And for what is is worth, I've had incredible success direct playing MP4 files on my Roku 2 XS. I can force direct play on files well above the "documented" specs for the Roku and they play perfectly.

#5 UNCMo96

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:30 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I think I will have to convert my mkv's to mp4s. I installed Plex on my vortexbox which is by design a "lightweight" system so I'd rather keep things light weight. When I use my iMac the computer slows down for other stuff.

#6 SeanArms

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 04:31 PM

I also have problems streaming MKVs. My PMS is a 3.0 GHz P4 with hyperthreading (yes I know it is quite old). It is reading MKVs off a NAS (both running @ 1GB). My clients are a Roku wireless G and two XBoxes (both hardwired at 100 MB). If I play the MKVs on any of these three clients I get VERY choppy response. If I convert them to a lower quality file I can get them to play fine. My question is where is the bottle neck? Is the PMS decoding the MKVs and sending them to the clients or does the clients decode the file?

Thank you in advance.

#7 Amily1012

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:18 AM

I think MP4 is better. It is the common video format for almost devices.

If you have some MKV files, you need convert MKV to MP4 with video converter.



#8 tequeknow

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:00 AM

I also have problems streaming MKVs. My PMS is a 3.0 GHz P4 with hyperthreading (yes I know it is quite old). It is reading MKVs off a NAS (both running @ 1GB). My clients are a Roku wireless G and two XBoxes (both hardwired at 100 MB). If I play the MKVs on any of these three clients I get VERY choppy response. If I convert them to a lower quality file I can get them to play fine. My question is where is the bottle neck? Is the PMS decoding the MKVs and sending them to the clients or does the clients decode the file?

Thank you in advance.

I have the same chip for mine, running Ubuntu 12.04 with 1gb of ram, seems to be ok, I run it headless and it seems to handle the MKV files ok but from what I am reading, sounds like mp4 is the best route.



#9 prem1er

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 11:46 AM

If you are running an updated version of the Roku firmware and Plex channel, MKV or MP4 containers should not matter. They are both supported now officially from Roku. If you are having an issue with one container over another, it is most likely the contained audio/video/subtitles causing the issue and not container related at all.


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#10 ikarius

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:16 PM

A couple of things;  the Roku XS is pretty underpowered.  The Roku 3 is a vastly superior box.  One very important feature of the Roku 3 which is not on any of the other Rokus is dual-band wireless, which SHOULD be enough to consistently stream most 720p content without buffering.  Any other Roku will likely need a wired connection if you try to watch any high bitrate content.  I'm not sure about the current firmware of the XS, but the Roku 3 supports MKV via direct-play.  I don't have any older Roku units to figure out if they have enabled direct play of mkv files via firmware update, but this is a pretty recent feature.  There is one benefit to using MKV over mp4, and that is support for DTS audio passthrough.   MP4 does not support DTS audio, so the best you can do in an MP4 file is AC3 5.1. 



#11 scyber

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:33 PM

I have the same chip for mine, running Ubuntu 12.04 with 1gb of ram, seems to be ok, I run it headless and it seems to handle the MKV files ok but from what I am reading, sounds like mp4 is the best route.

 

 

Please note that this thread is very old and in the information contained within it is no longer up to date.   Roku added native MKV streaming in its last firmware update.  That means MKV is just as good as MP4 for the newer Roku models.



#12 flibblesan

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 02:14 AM

I should point out that the Sky Now TV Box (a rebranded Roku LT) uses a customized v4 firmware which does not support native MKV streaming so if anyone uses one of these boxes like myself then you'll be better off remuxing MKV videos into an MP4 container. XMediaRecode will do this easily. 






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