Transcoding When Didn't Before And Some Files Struggle to Play

android-tv
fire-tv

#1

So I've had these issues since moving to ExoPlayer. I thought I'd give this latest version a go but looks like I'll have to roll back again to 6.12. But I wanted to give the devs any info they may need to troubleshoot and hopefully fix the issues I'm having.

Running the latest version on 7.0.3.5502 on an Amazon Fire TV Stick 1st gen.

Tried playing 2 different television standard def episodes that with 6.12 and below had no issues direct playing.

Attempt #1: This first file when played transcodes. Looking at the overlay, it shows;

Video: Direct
Audio: Direct
Size: 720 X 478
Transcode Reason: Direct Play was attempted but failed, fallen back to transcoding.

~~I've attached the Plex Media Server log as Attempt 1.txt~~ NM for some reason I get "File failed to upload" when trying to attach the file. Anyone know why this is happening? Feel like I've seen others have this issue lately. Log is too big to post here.

Attempt #2: The second file direct plays for a bit but then gets a" Your connection is not fast enough" error and then freezes for about 10 seconds before it plays another 5 seconds and continues to do this over and over. Overlay shows:

Size: 640 X 480
Direct Play

As above I can't attach the log.

I know without the logs this isn't much to go on but if someone can tell me why I can't attach a file, I'll update with logs. Thanks in advance for any assistance!


#2

https://support.plex.tv/articles/200250417-plex-media-server-log-files/
drag zip file to message window and drop it.

Note:
When ever you strip out one log file (out of the dozens) - you invariably post up the wrong one - or at least not the one they guy that can answer your question needs...

While you work on those logs...

General Info (that you have already done, obviously):
Enable 'Display Information' in the Plex App Settings (Video). Now when you hit OK, or whatever, during playback detailed info about the stream in progress will be shown (which is, without a doubt, this App's ONLY redeeming feature) - Direct Play, Transcoding and if so, the reason, and THAT can be very useful when troubleshooting misbehaving streams. Unfortunately, this time, that useful information isn't very useful... so we're back at those logs.

That's the good news... the bad news is that the Plex App on FireTV blows (ugly, nasty, smelly) goats, but if you haven't angered the Gods... maybe there's a quick fix or work-around.

If I had to guess, it would be image based subs requiring a 'burn in', or those horrific Japanese Anime sites (run by 4 year olds) encoding cartoons at level 5.2, when your device can only handle 4.0 out of the box - or, of course, the standard Exo-Player 2 malfunction that seems to be #1 on the hit parade these days. <--- ain't no fix for that... or you have disabled transcoding (can we even do that?) when transcoding is required for some reason.

Frankly, I gave up trying to use my AFTV with this Disastrous Plex App some time ago, so I may not be up to speed on all the required user work-arounds of late.


#3

@JuiceWSA Thanks for that! I was indeed trying to upload the individual logs as text files. Uploading the entire ZIP worked just fine, so here they are.

The files I played are episodes I've ripped from my personal DVD collection so hopefully they aren't wonky as they direct played just fine before v6.13.

I'm sure it's an ExoPlayer 2 problem as well but thought I'd share in the hopes that the devs are able to extract anything useful for future releases. Hoping one day I can actually upgrade and things work as before...or invest in a Roku or something, whichever comes first.


#4

Well, I can get Direct Play for a while, before the app locks up, so perhaps if you can share a MediaInfo report we can look at the streams for unusual contents an app setting could help.

If you ever had to make any setting changes, you should know Plex is notorious for reverting user adjusted settings back to their defaults when new versions arrive. Worth mentioning anyway.


#5

@JuiceWSA here is the media info for the Attempt #1 video:
Media
Duration 25:21
Audio Profile lc
Video Frame Rate 24p
Container MP4
Aspect Ratio 1.66
Height 478
Width 720
Bitrate 1330 kbps
Video Resolution 480p

Part
Size 241.24 MB
Duration 25:21
Audio Profile lc
Container MP4
File google:0ByJRbzrQ3UB0ZG5HY2YwQVpYVjA
Height 478
Width 720
Bitrate 1164 kbps
Stream Identifier 1
Ref Frames 1
Level 1.2
Frame Rate 23.976 fps
Codec H264
Pixel Aspect Ratio 8:9
Anamorphic 1
Language English
Bitrate 166 kbps
Stream Identifier 2
Profile lc
Codec AAC
Sampling Rate 48000 Hz
Channels Stereo

And here is the media info for the Attempt #2 video:
Media
Duration 25:16
Video Profile main
Audio Profile lc
Video Frame Rate 24p
Container MP4
Aspect Ratio 1.33
Height 480
Width 640
Bitrate 1340 kbps
Video Resolution 480p

Part
Size 242.28 MB
Duration 25:16
Video Profile main
Audio Profile lc
Container MP4
Has Thumbnail 1
Height 480
Width 640
Bitrate 1200 kbps
Stream Identifier 1
Ref Frames 2
Profile main
Level 3.0
Frame Rate 23.976 fps
Color Space smpte170m
Chroma Subsampling 4:2:0
Bit Depth 8
Codec H264
Language English
Bitrate 137 kbps
Stream Identifier 2
Profile lc
Codec AAC
Sampling Rate 48000 Hz
Channels Stereo

I went through settings after the install to set them all to what I had for 6.12 (I'm using Plex Cloud instead of PMS).
VIDEO QUALITY
Adjust Automatically: Off
Home streaming: Maximum
Internet streaming: Maximum
Play smaller videos at original quality: On
AUDIO QUALITY
Internet streaming: Original
ADVANCED
Passthrough: Disabled
Refresh Rate Switching: Off
H264 Maximum level: 4.0 (recommended)


#6

That mediainfo for the first one is really weird, what's the source? Did you rip it yourself? Looks like some sort of strange web stream.


#7

It's an episode of Gomer Pyle that I ripped myself with DVDShrink/Handbrake.


#8

Yea, that looks bogus to me...

No. 2 has a bit rate of 137Kbps?
Yea... bogus...

You need to use Handbrake and follow my guide (in my signature), dump DVDShrink (I have no idea what that is, nor would I EVER use anything that wanted to Automatically do ANYTHING).

Gomer needs about the bit rate he got. 480p DVD rip for a B+W TV Show at 4:3 needs 1-2Mbps (1000-2000Kbps), at least. You should encode everything you have at H264, 3/4 Reference Frames, Level 4.0 or 4.1 (for consistency), no embedded images or metadata of ANY KIND. Handbrake, annoyingly, copies the Title Field, if present, and that's the way it is, unfortunately. MKVToolNix will clean up that mess for MKV files and Windows Explorer will allow you to strip out that Title Field quickly for MP4 Files ONLY in the Details Pane - highlight/delete/save... easy.

Sub tracks should be made UTF-8 formatting (Text Based - NOT Image based) and ONLY be included in MKV files.
Side Car SRT sub files should also be UTF-8 (Text Based - NOT Image based) and should be used exclusively for MP4 files - but you can also run Side Car Subs for MKVs if that's what you have.
Xmedia Recode makes quick work of Converting Image Based Subs (ASS/PGS/Other) to Text Based UTF-8 (called 'Subrip' in Xmedia Recode). XR also makes quick work of Audio track fiddling, repositioning, converting, level normalizing, etc:
https://www.xmedia-recode.de/en/download.html

Handbrake should do the bulk, but be aware that Handbrake WILL turn a sub track into an ASS sub track in a heartbeat and that's where XR comes in to fix that nonsense, later. Only takes a moment.

You can set an 'Average Bit Rate' in Handbrake with the targeted rates described above and if you have a hefty machine, turn on 2 pass with Turbo (I have found that advantageous - and yes, the guide needs a bit of an upgrade). Alternately you can use a CQ setting of 18 to 20 (as described in the roll-over tip), but do make a preview. IF CQ is jacking the bit rate up to 5Mbps, that's absolutely placebo... if it's jacking up the copy bigger than the original - that's madness.

Pick a baseline bit rate for various materials that produces material you're having trouble distinguishing from the original - and try to stick with it.

As illustrated, the complete 'Plex Pre-Vetting Conveyor Belt' does have various players, each good at what it goes best. Learn to use them. Seems complicated now, but after you get your chops down, it's easy.


#9

@jhowse1018, for future reference, that info you posted is really hard to read in that format, so maybe use the mediainfo program instead next time:

https://mediaarea.net/en/MediaInfo

Make sure the View is set to Text and then you can just post it in the thread in code format or put it in a pastebin or something. Just FYI :)


#10

@rwoffice thanks for the tip. Yeah I pulled that from the "Media Info" tab in the Plex Web app. Went ahead and downloaded MediaInfo as recommended. From that, I already see something I wasn't expecting to see. The Batman episode (Attempt #2) I had ripped with DVD Fab and not Handbrake.

@JuiceWSA I've used DVDShrink over the years to compress the size down to something more manageable. I'm not a videophile so as long as it plays decently, I'm not picky about highest quality, etc. Never had any issues playing these with Plex and they all direct played with no issues until this exoPlayer v2 release so maybe it's just more picky about what/how it plays than it used to be. I'll have to give your method a shot. I admit I don't understand a lot of the terms you use but recognize the Handbrake settings I've seen. But if it's some app setting changes that give better picture quality and Plex can play it again, that's great!

just FYI in case it reports anything different than before, using MediaInfo here is Attempt #1:
General
Complete name : \Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C\Season 03\Gomer Pyle USMC - S03E10 - Marry Me, Marry Me.mp4
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media / Version 2
Codec ID : mp42 (isom/iso2/avc1/mp41)
File size : 241 MiB
Duration : 25 min 21 s
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 1 330 kb/s
Movie name : Marry Me, Marry Me
Encoded date : UTC 2017-03-23 22:17:56
Tagged date : UTC 2017-03-23 22:17:56
Writing application : HandBrake 1.0.1 2016122900

Video
ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Main@L4
Format settings : CABAC / 4 Ref Frames
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, RefFrames : 4 frames
Codec ID : avc1
Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
Duration : 25 min 20 s
Bit rate : 1 164 kb/s
Width : 720 pixels
Height : 478 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 4:3
Frame rate mode : Variable
Frame rate : 23.976 FPS
Minimum frame rate : 23.968 FPS
Maximum frame rate : 29.970 FPS
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.141
Stream size : 211 MiB (87%)
Writing library : x264 core 148 r2708 86b7198
Encoding settings : cabac=1 / ref=1 / deblock=1:0:0 / analyse=0x1:0x111 / me=hex / subme=2 / psy=1 / psy_rd=1.00:0.00 / mixed_ref=0 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=0 / 8x8dct=0 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / fast_pskip=1 / chroma_qp_offset=0 / threads=6 / lookahead_threads=2 / sliced_threads=0 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / interlaced=0 / bluray_compat=0 / constrained_intra=0 / bframes=3 / b_pyramid=2 / b_adapt=1 / b_bias=0 / direct=1 / weightb=1 / open_gop=0 / weightp=1 / keyint=240 / keyint_min=24 / scenecut=40 / intra_refresh=0 / rc_lookahead=10 / rc=crf / mbtree=1 / crf=20.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=0 / qpmax=69 / qpstep=4 / vbv_maxrate=20000 / vbv_bufsize=25000 / crf_max=0.0 / nal_hrd=none / filler=0 / ip_ratio=1.40 / aq=1:1.00
Encoded date : UTC 2017-03-23 22:17:56
Tagged date : UTC 2017-03-23 22:17:56
Color range : Limited
Color primaries : BT.601 NTSC
Transfer characteristics : BT.709
Matrix coefficients : BT.601
Menus : 3

Audio
ID : 2
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format profile : LC
Codec ID : mp4a-40-2
Duration : 25 min 21 s
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 160 kb/s
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 kHz
Frame rate : 46.875 FPS (1024 SPF)
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 29.0 MiB (12%)
Title : Stereo / Stereo
Language : English
Default : Yes
Alternate group : 1
Encoded date : UTC 2017-03-23 22:17:56
Tagged date : UTC 2017-03-23 22:17:56
Menus : 3

Menu
ID : 3
Codec ID : text
Duration : 25 min 20 s
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2017-03-23 22:17:56
Tagged date : UTC 2017-03-23 22:17:56
Bit rate mode : CBR
Menu For : 1,2
00:00:00.000 : Chapter 1
00:00:29.571 : Chapter 2
00:14:42.423 : Chapter 3
00:23:13.434 : Chapter 4
00:24:23.504 : Chapter 5

And here is Attempt #2:
General
Complete name : \Batman (1966)\Season 02\Batman - S02E21 - The Impractical Joker.mp4
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media / Version 2
Codec ID : mp42 (mp42/isom/avc1)
File size : 242 MiB
Duration : 25 min 16 s
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 1 340 kb/s
Movie name : The Impractical Joker
Album : BATMAN_1967_TV_SERIES_DISC_8
Encoded date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:16:48
Tagged date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:19:32
Writing application : DVDFab 9.3.1.6
covr : Unknown kind of value!

Video
ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Main@L3
Format settings : CABAC / 2 Ref Frames
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, RefFrames : 2 frames
Format settings, GOP : M=1, N=24
Codec ID : avc1
Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
Duration : 25 min 16 s
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 1 200 kb/s
Maximum bit rate : 1 821 kb/s
Width : 640 pixels
Height : 480 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 4:3
Frame rate mode : Constant
Frame rate : 23.976 (24000/1001) FPS
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.163
Stream size : 217 MiB (90%)
Encoded date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:16:48
Tagged date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:19:32
Color primaries : BT.601 NTSC
Transfer characteristics : BT.709
Matrix coefficients : BT.601
Menus : 4

Audio
ID : 2
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format profile : LC
Codec ID : mp4a-40-2
Duration : 25 min 16 s
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 128 kb/s
Maximum bit rate : 131 kb/s
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 kHz
Frame rate : 46.875 FPS (1024 SPF)
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 23.1 MiB (10%)
Title : English (aac 2.0)
Language : English
Default : Yes
Alternate group : 1
Encoded date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:16:48
Tagged date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:19:32

Text
ID : 3
Format : VobSub
Codec ID : mp4s-E0
Codec ID/Info : The same subtitle format used on DVDs
Duration : 25 min 13 s
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 3 312 b/s
Maximum bit rate : 4 237 Mb/s
Stream size : 612 KiB (0%)
Language : English
Default : Yes
Forced : No
Alternate group : 2
Encoded date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:16:48
Tagged date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:19:29

Menu
ID : 4
Codec ID : text
Duration : 25 min 16 s
Encoded date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:16:48
Tagged date : UTC 2016-09-29 03:19:32
Bit rate mode : CBR
Menu For : 1
00:00:00.000 : Chapter 1
00:03:55.860 : Chapter 2
00:12:06.684 : Chapter 3
00:20:33.690 : Chapter 4
00:24:26.506 : Chapter 5
00:25:14.512 : Chapter 6