Is there a way for Plex to move decoding from NAS to Apple TV 4?

ios

#1

Hi,

When using Plex with Apple TV 4 with NAS I found out that this is the NAS which decodes the movie and ATV4 just streams it. NAS CPU loads up to 98% and then the movie playback halts (I use Qnap TS-569 Pro).

But at the same time if I use Plex via web in a browser with the same NAS- it seems like decoding is done on the laptop, NAS CPU load is only about 30-40% and playback continue smoothly.

Question: is there a way to fix the Plex for iOS in such a way that the decoding is done at ATV4? I understand that technically there should not be any issues as the VLC for ATV4 is decoding on the Apple TV 4 itself.

Is it possible to fix Plex for Apple TV 4?

Regards,
Yury


#2

I don't think that the ATV will transcode your video however you can playback video on an ATV without having the server transcode this is called direct play. This will only work if the original format is something that the ATV can play natively.

If the format is not ATV native you have 2 options

  1. Change the original file into a format the ATV can play natively. Handbrake works nicely here.
  2. Using Plex create an optimised version for the ATV.

#3

The MrMC app on the AppleTV4 has native support for connecting to Plex, and will do all ATV4-side decoding, no transcoding. But the interface is very different to the Plex app UI.


#4

@droff said:
When using Plex with Apple TV 4 with NAS I found out that this is the NAS which decodes the movie and ATV4 just streams it. NAS CPU loads up to 98% and then the movie playback halts (I use Qnap TS-569 Pro).

This is half correct. The Plex Media Server (which runs on the NAS) asks the Apple TV if the format is supported natively, if it is the server just streams it as is to the ATV (direct play) or repackaged (direct stream). If it is not supported, the server has to decode it from the file format, encode it in a format the ATV likes, then streams to the ATV that decodes the known format. This decode + encode is what "transcoding" is all about, and is a heavy task, and is a task the server has to do.

But at the same time if I use Plex via web in a browser with the same NAS- it seems like decoding is done on the laptop, NAS CPU load is only about 30-40% and playback continue smoothly.

In this case probably the web client is able to direct play the content, so no transcoding happens, the file is direct streamed to the laptop that decodes it.

Question: is there a way to fix the Plex for iOS in such a way that the decoding is done at ATV4?

There's nothing to "fix" because this is the way Plex works, but as someone told you you can chose another player on the Apple TV that supports more file formats and has a good interface with Plex.

I understand that technically there should not be any issues as the VLC for ATV4 is decoding on the Apple TV 4 itself.

VLC is using its own player, while the Plex app uses the Apple TV native player, therefore it supports different formats. For example you can use VLC to reproduce plex movies via DLNA and you won't need transcoding because VLC supports many more formats than the native ATV player.


#5

Thanks a lot for your answers!

I just wonder why Plex can't embed it's own / third party (like VLC) MKV player in it to make the use of ATV with the most (!) Qnaps and Synologies hassle free?..

deepseth: great advise! It looks like Kodi, but no "useful" add-ons can be installed unfortunately =) Also one is stuck to the particular ATV with MrMC for viewing, while with Plex one can watch his movies from anywhere with Plex app or online, which is a BIG differentiator. That's why I really can't get it why Plex can't bundle the MKV player in Plex ATV app


#6

@droff said:
I just wonder why Plex can't embed it's own / third party (like VLC) MKV player in it to make the use of ATV with the most (!) Qnaps and Synologies hassle free?..

This is the Plex approach: they don't develop a player for each platform, unless the platform player has too many restrictions (like the Roku). Maintaining a different player for each platform (and Plex is really widespread) would be too complicated, and relying on a multiplatform third party player like VLC would be complex too. Transcoding is part of Plex strength, therefore if an issue is solved by transcoding it is not really a major issue


#7

@droff said:
deepseth: great advise! It looks like Kodi, but no "useful" add-ons can be installed unfortunately =) Also one is stuck to the particular ATV with MrMC for viewing, while with Plex one can watch his movies from anywhere with Plex app or online, which is a BIG differentiator. That's why I really can't get it why Plex can't bundle the MKV player in Plex ATV app

MrMC has a Plex client built in, that communicates with your Plex server, brings over all the metadata, watched status, and updates watched status as you watch. It's a fully featured Plex client on ATV4 that has the capability to bring video and audio decoding local to the device regardless of format.