Any options on AppleTV 4 to be able to watch Plex DVR recordings without transcoding?



We have an AppleTV4 and an iMac (Mid 2010 IntelCore i3 12 GB Ram). My network is full gigabit, Cat 6, wired through a DLink Gigabit switch that the AppleTV4 and the iMac are on. Watching video from a PC on the network or an iMac through the Plex Media Player work great with no need to transcode. To the AppleTV, it forces a transcode stream. Are there any settings for the Plex DVR to avoid transcoding? Unfortunately transcoding results in periodic stuttering of the playback (stalls, etc.). Plex Transcoder impacts CPU anywhere from 90 - 252% (above 100%, LOL). This is based on content originating from an HD Home Run Connect, which I already know is MPEG2 streams to begin with. Watching TV in the Channels app of course is no issue. I anticipate that the only way to avoid transcoding is to get a format for the files that the AppleTV likes in a native fashion. I'm willing to 'dumb down' the DVR recording settings just to get stable and non-transcoding options.


Yep - I don't want to buy a new iMac at this time.


I think the short answer is no, there are no AppleTV settings that will help; I'm not sure what the DVR software options are however so you might want to check there first. Keep in mind that the Plex ATV client is using the native (Apple's) video player so it is limited to ATV natively-supported formats -- everything else, the client has to request transcoding from the server.

Alternatively, you could transcode things (more or less) manually with Handbrake so that you have a copy that will work without transcoding on the AppleTV.


If our iMac was a bit newer, it would have an updated wireless chipset that supports Airplay. In that case I could stream directly to the AppleTV over Airplay and just use the native Plex Player on the iMac to avoid transcoding. Unfortunately without finding some creative hacks, Airplay does not appear to run over ethernet.


Have you looked at automatically converting your video's?

Oh, and BTW, you can get percentages above 100% if you have a multicore/multithreaded CPU (eg. My i7 has four cores and eight threads so theoretically my CPU could get up to 800%).


ATV4 cannot play back MKV containers natively. Use a post processing script to move the content into a compatible MP4 and it will direct play. I use "Highest Quality" to get h.264 video and select the option to "Process video while recording" to have it saved to an MKV file. Then in the post processing script:

On Linux:
ffmpeg -i "$1" -codec copy "${1/.mkv/.mp4}"
rm "$1"

On Windows:
r:\ffmpeg -i %1 -codec copy "%~d1%~p1%~n1.mp4"
del %1



Could you please explain a little more where to put that script that you mentioned? Do I also need to install ffmpeg outside of Plex?

Unfortunately I have zero skills on Linux so if you could please give us a detailed step by step it would be hugely appreciated!


I do have a solution; however it's quite hacked together.