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Seamless HTPC

Snowman09

Member
Sep 2, 2015
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I understand HTPCs require patience and work, however, my girlfriend is not one to enjoy things requiring patience. Initially, I had plex working flawlessly on my desktop (more than powerful enough to run 4 simultaneous 1080p streams) to stream to my HTPC (desktop has plenty of space whereas my HTPC has a single SSD). Unfortunately, I've run into the problem of plex not buffering movies whilst streaming. I'm wondering if there's an easier way to watch my movies on the HTPC (and larger tv) or if I have to convert it to the MP4 container and transfer it to my SSD on the HTPC.
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
Define streaming - do you mean via wifi, or ethernet network, or maybe even off-site via the internet?
 

Snowman09

Member
Sep 2, 2015
30
0
6
Define streaming - do you mean via wifi, or ethernet network, or maybe even off-site via the internet?
Hey man, thanks for the reply. I aim to stream via wifi in our place to reduce the number of cables. I know wired is always preferred but I'd like to stick to minimizing cables as much as possible. I want to be able to watch my movies on our HTPC, which are currently stored on my main rig.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
What do you mean by Plex "not buffering"? Most people see that as a good thing.
 

Snowman09

Member
Sep 2, 2015
30
0
6
What do you mean by Plex "not buffering"? Most people see that as a good thing.
Sorry I'm typing on my phone...not buffering i.e. it doesn't download any data prior to playing the movie (layman's terms: it doesn't play a movie period).
 

lsd

Golden Member
Sep 26, 2000
1,163
25
91
Have you tried reinstalling plex?
Have you tried emby?
I run plex and emby servers simultaneously and have zero problems with movies, pretty much set and forget.
 

Snowman09

Member
Sep 2, 2015
30
0
6
Have you tried reinstalling plex?
Have you tried emby?
I run plex and emby servers simultaneously and have zero problems with movies, pretty much set and forget.
I kinda looked into Emby, but I guess it's the fact that it's personal now between plex and I (well that and my girlfriend wants things as simplistic as possible). I'd like to try the UPnP with Kodi, and I'm sure I could make it easy to use, but I'm not sure if that'd be best.
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
Using Plex or Kodi via Wifi has always been less-than-perfect for my house. If nothing else changed in your setup including the server and the client computers, you might want to check the wifi setup. You could also try Emby as suggested above as something in your plex setup may have gone wonky. I always preferred Emby over the Plex interface.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Sorry I'm typing on my phone...not buffering i.e. it doesn't download any data prior to playing the movie (layman's terms: it doesn't play a movie period).
I am not familiar with Plex, specifically, but it sounds like you may have turned off transcoding. Is there an option for that in Plex?
 

Snowman09

Member
Sep 2, 2015
30
0
6
I am not familiar with Plex, specifically, but it sounds like you may have turned off transcoding. Is there an option for that in Plex?
Plex transcodes on the fly so it's automatically designed to transcode videos. I'm using my HTPC so I know the containers are supported (mkv being the one I'm using now). I'll look into Emby and see if I can get it to work. Glad I'm not the only one experiencing difficulties with plex.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Plex transcodes on the fly so it's automatically designed to transcode videos. I'm using my HTPC so I know the containers are supported (mkv being the one I'm using now). I'll look into Emby and see if I can get it to work. Glad I'm not the only one experiencing difficulties with plex.
I totally get the "it's personal between you and Plex" thing. LOL.

Transcoding on the fly is a feature if Plex but it is not the only thing it does. I use something similar to Plex that allows me to turn the transcoding on or off if desired. I can even change device profiles if I have problems. If you are trying to stream a video file that isn't formatted correctly for the device and Plex is either not transcoding it or transcoding it incorrectly then you would get what you have described. I just don't know if Plex has an "on/off" switch that may have been inadvertently flipped or how Plex handles the different device profiles.

Ran across this:
https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/200430313-Troubleshooting

Have you tried it with several different file types and gotten the same result; i.e. (.mkv, .m4v, .mp4, .mpg containers with .h264 vs. mpeg-2 video streams or .ac3 vs. .dts vs. .aac audio streams)

Are you not getting any help from the Plex forums or support?

If that doesn't solve it and you are just interested in UPnP/DLNA, you might try Mezzmo. I use that to stream media from my server to my Kodi HTPCs and it has worked nearly flawlessly for several years.
 
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Snowman09

Member
Sep 2, 2015
30
0
6
I totally get the "it's personal between you and Plex" thing. LOL.

Transcoding on the fly is a feature if Plex but it is not the only thing it does. I use something similar to Plex that allows me to turn the transcoding on or off if desired. I can even change device profiles if I have problems. If you are trying to stream a video file that isn't formatted correctly for the device and Plex is either not transcoding it or transcoding it incorrectly then you would get what you have described. I just don't know if Plex has an "on/off" switch that may have been inadvertently flipped or how Plex handles the different device profiles.

Ran across this:
https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/200430313-Troubleshooting

Have you tried it with several different file types and gotten the same result; i.e. (.mkv, .m4v, .mp4, .mpg containers with .h264 vs. mpeg-2 video streams or .ac3 vs. .dts vs. .aac audio streams)

Are you not getting any help from the Plex forums or support?

If that doesn't solve it and you are just interested in UPnP/DLNA, you might try Mezzmo. I use that to stream media from my server to my Kodi HTPCs and it has worked nearly flawlessly for several years.
Thanks for the response. That's the major feature of plex. It's all about organizing and streaming to your devices. I have not tried changing the container type cause it shouldn't really matter. Alternatively, if I could compress the file without losing too much quality, I could just transfer the movies. Nah, I prefer these forums.....people here provide a wide variety of options similar to what people want.
 
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smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Thanks for the response. That's the major feature of plex. It's all about organizing and streaming to your devices. I have not attempted to convert the media, mainly because if I do convert it to MP4, then I have no reason to use plex (I'd be able to transfer the movies to my HTPC because of the significant decrease in file sizes). I'd consider doing that provided handbrake doesn't cause too much of a quality drop...but again, container type shouldn't matter too much. Nah, I prefer these forums because people here will recommend their successes (and failures). I always find going to the main website typically reduces the number of perspectives. Plus, I'd have to create another account lol. But all opinions aside, I am interested in local streaming as a whole, so I guess I could just use miracast Hahahaha.
I think you are missing what I am saying. I wouldn't suggest converting anything.

It sounds like the transcoding part of Plex is either off or not performing correctly. I don't know how much you know about media containers, streams and codecs so if I am talking down to you, I apologize. I wish I knew more about Plex so I could point you in a specific direction....... if you haven't posed this question in their forums I would suggest it. I would bet this is a pretty simple fix.

There are a ton of different containers and each of your devices undoubtedly supports a different set of container. The same goes for the video and audio streams in each one. In theory, Plex is supposed to automatically detect whether you need transcoding or not and automatically transcode an incompatible file to a compatible file by changing the container and/or the video and audio streams. It sounds like Plex is fouling that part up. Plex uses the 3rd party, open source FFMPEG to do its transcoding so if there was a change to that or if it got uninstalled accidentally it would cause symptoms like you are describing. That's why I wondered if some files worked but others didn't or if some devices worked while others failed to play. It could all come down to the file formats and compatibility.

It sounds like you can access the files themselves so the library cataloging and DLNA/UPnP streaming seems to be working fine.
 

Snowman09

Member
Sep 2, 2015
30
0
6
I think you are missing what I am saying. I wouldn't suggest converting anything.

It sounds like the transcoding part of Plex is either off or not performing correctly. I don't know how much you know about media containers, streams and codecs so if I am talking down to you, I apologize. I wish I knew more about Plex so I could point you in a specific direction....... if you haven't posed this question in their forums I would suggest it. I would bet this is a pretty simple fix.

There are a ton of different containers and each of your devices undoubtedly supports a different set of container. The same goes for the video and audio streams in each one. In theory, Plex is supposed to automatically detect whether you need transcoding or not and automatically transcode an incompatible file to a compatible file by changing the container and/or the video and audio streams. It sounds like Plex is fouling that part up. Plex uses the 3rd party, open source FFMPEG to do its transcoding so if there was a change to that or if it got uninstalled accidentally it would cause symptoms like you are describing. That's why I wondered if some files worked but others didn't or if some devices worked while others failed to play. It could all come down to the file formats and compatibility.

It sounds like you can access the files themselves so the library cataloging and DLNA/UPnP streaming seems to be working fine.
I edited my post prior to your response. I know plenty about them so no worries there 😜 Yeah now that you mention it that way, I'd have to agree (funny how I didn't think of that before). I mean, my HTPC is clearly capable of playing mkv files so I'm not entirely sure why that would be causing a problem. Guess I'll bite the bullet and ask in their forum.
 

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