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Roku, Plex, & other streaming solutions

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Roku, Plex, & other streaming solutions

#1

Post by xianjiro » May 14th, 2017, 8:56 am

Do you have any questions about streaming hardware and software? Would you like to set up media center computer at home and don't know where to start? Not sure why you'd even want to do this? Feel free to discuss it here.

(If a mod is willing, maybe moving posts 17-27, 32, 40-41, 43-44 from Has the FOTW outplayed its role? here makes sense.)

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#2

Post by xianjiro » August 19th, 2017, 4:31 am

two things:

1) If you stream Youtube through Roku, have you noticed that the image is cropped? While not universal, I've noticed a good chunk of space carved off the left and right margins - thus the image is smaller through Roku to my TV than what I see on Youtube through my browser. And no, it isn't cropped to fit the screen - I have black bars on the left and right. I've also gone through the settings both for the Youtube app and Roku device to no avail.

2) I've got a DVD that doesn't have English subs and I don't understand how to choose between the various offerings. For example: The Storm Riders. I don't get what the differences between the English language files are. Do you know of an FAQ or something that might help a newby to ripping and subbing? I'd prefer simple - I'm not interested in becoming a master-ripper etc. When I search online I just end up more confused.
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#3

Post by joachimt » August 19th, 2017, 7:20 am

My Plex Media Server refuses to cast to ChromeCast since a few days. :(
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#4

Post by xianjiro » August 19th, 2017, 8:30 am

huh, Plex did send me notices that their are changing their privacy policy because they are going to do more third party streaming. Hard to think that would have anything to do with it.

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#5

Post by 3eyes » August 19th, 2017, 5:23 pm

I've given up trying to watch my downloads on Plex for Samsung because the buffering is so bad. My computer is 4 years old and I wonder if it's too old to stream properly. Also .srt subs don't show up half the time. So I have to watch from an external hard drive on VLC on my laptop, which is a pain (physical).
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#6

Post by xianjiro » August 19th, 2017, 6:04 pm

yeah, one seems to need to be a bit more on the tech savvy stuff with streaming - while it's hard to say, I wouldn't expect a four year old computer to be 'too old', that's about the age mine is. I'm thinking you've probably got too much eating at the processor what with all the download and install all new updates in every program and background scans for this PitA and that. I find I have to stay very on top of what's happening on my machine for it not to seem too slow. Thing is, retailers/manufacturers like it this way because it always makes it that much easier to sell people a new computer. :(

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#7

Post by Knaldskalle » August 19th, 2017, 6:40 pm

3eyes on Aug 19 2017, 11:23:27 AM wrote:I've given up trying to watch my downloads on Plex for Samsung because the buffering is so bad. My computer is 4 years old and I wonder if it's too old to stream properly. Also .srt subs don't show up half the time. So I have to watch from an external hard drive on VLC on my laptop, which is a pain (physical).
Try this out: On the Plex Media Server (usually located at http://127.0.0.1:32400/web/index), log in and go to the movie you want to watch. On the upper right there should be a "menu item" that looks like three dots, it will say "More..." when you hover the cursor above it. Click it and select "Optimize..." from the drop down menu. A small window should pop up and present you with options. Select "Optimize for TV" from the first drop down menu, ignore the second one and click the "Optimize" button.

This will start a conversion process where Plex transcodes and copies the movie to something that's optimal for your TV, reducing the load on your processor during the streaming itself. The process will take a while, depending on the file size and what your processor can handle, between 15 minutes and 30 minutes, usually.

Then when you want to stream the movie, try to find an "options" menu on your TV inside the Plex app. (It's a little difficult to be more specific since I use a different method for my streaming). There will hopefully be a "media" submenu available somewhere that will allow you to choose the "Optimized for TV" version rather than the original (it'll most likely be an MP4 file).

It's not guaranteed but this is a workaround that has worked quite often for me.
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#8

Post by xianjiro » August 19th, 2017, 7:59 pm

thanks for sharing that suggestion, Knaldskalle! It's good information to get down here. :)

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#9

Post by 3eyes » August 19th, 2017, 10:32 pm

Yes, thanks, knalds! I'll try it when I have the energy..... not tonight....
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#10

Post by xianjiro » October 5th, 2017, 5:56 pm


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#11

Post by maxwelldeux » October 5th, 2017, 6:09 pm

xianjiro on Oct 5 2017, 11:56:50 AM wrote:Netflix is raising its prices for US subscribers
I've been on the fence about cancelling Netflix for a couple months, and this might finally tip me over. I'll have to talk to wife and parents.

While I'm here, anyone (US-based) watch Hoopla? Free through the library, and a remarkably deep bench of non-US cinema compared to most streaming services.

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#12

Post by xianjiro » October 5th, 2017, 10:15 pm

maxwelldeux on Oct 5 2017, 12:09:43 PM wrote:
xianjiro on Oct 5 2017, 11:56:50 AM wrote:Netflix is raising its prices for US subscribers
I've been on the fence about cancelling Netflix for a couple months, and this might finally tip me over. I'll have to talk to wife and parents.

While I'm here, anyone (US-based) watch Hoopla? Free through the library, and a remarkably deep bench of non-US cinema compared to most streaming services.
I haven't logged on for at least a year. At that point, I wasn't finding anything. I need to look at it again - and see if they are on Roku yet. Thanks for the reminder. I actually tried to find it on another library's website last night and gave up rather quickly.

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#13

Post by maxwelldeux » October 6th, 2017, 2:15 am

xianjiro on Oct 5 2017, 04:15:31 PM wrote:I haven't logged on for at least a year. At that point, I wasn't finding anything. I need to look at it again - and see if they are on Roku yet. Thanks for the reminder. I actually tried to find it on another library's website last night and gave up rather quickly.
Don't know about Roku, but the search function and the categories are slowly, but steadily improving. Only 10 free watches a month (at least, through my library system), but they have some cool stuff I don't otherwise have streaming access to.

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#14

Post by Knaldskalle » October 6th, 2017, 3:27 pm

Has anyone else had issues with a Plex update rendering their Roku useless? Recently two Plex updates came out (1.9.1. and 1.9.2) and after installing those I couldn't connect to the Plex Media Server from my Roku. On the Plex forums others are having the same issue. Reverting back to an older version (1.8.4) fixed the issue for me.
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#15

Post by xianjiro » October 6th, 2017, 6:56 pm

I haven't tried to stream from Plex since the second patch was applied and can't tell you exactly where I'm at (v.... etc). Will fire up that machine sometime over the weekend and see if I can still stream to Roku and let you know, okay? ;)

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#16

Post by weirdboy » October 6th, 2017, 7:22 pm

I update my plex server infrequently precisely because I have had issue in the past where a release with some fancy new feature also happened to include new bugs that rendered it unusable. I am quite interested to see if the new stuff that supposedly takes advantage of hardware for transcoding works on my existing box, but not at the cost of breaking my primary use case. So, I'll wait for a patch.


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#18

Post by xianjiro » October 7th, 2017, 6:06 am

Okay, my Plex is v.1.9.2.4285 running on Win 7 Professional (not sure about it's patches since I just fired it up after Thursday updates, but generally I keep my stuff up-to-date).

I'm currently streaming music through Plex/Roku and while I didn't do much more than start a handful of films, I tried different 'formats' (basically SD and higher defs, but nothing like 10X0 or other 'hi-def'). Had no issues though the interface seems slower, but that could also be because I just fired up the machine and it's trying to find all those lovely patches and updates I absolutely have to have.

I'm now streaming some sort of news - it's a first time experience on Plex for me so nothing to compare it to, but it seems to be working as one would expect.

Am now on to streaming something through YouTube. No issues. Netflix also working fine. So my Roku has not experienced a decrease in usefulness (yet) - toes crossed.
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#19

Post by xianjiro » October 7th, 2017, 6:07 am

bal3x on Oct 6 2017, 06:02:57 PM wrote:Image
:worship:

(to the programmers - :finger: )

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#20

Post by Knaldskalle » October 7th, 2017, 10:05 pm

bal3x on Oct 6 2017, 06:02:57 PM wrote:Image
:lol:
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#21

Post by xianjiro » October 17th, 2017, 8:54 am

fellow Roku users - notice any issues with YouTube? It's been extremely sluggish for me the last few days, but only on Roku and while videos endlessly buffered the first day, they are playing now - it's just that navigation and the ads are slower than molasses flowing in Antarctica in July. So far I've only been able to locate complaints online - no explanation let alone anything useful to do about it.

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#22

Post by Knaldskalle » October 18th, 2017, 1:17 am

Youtube hasn't worked for me in years. They updated their codec and my ancient Roku didn't get an update (it's not even officially supported any more).
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#23

Post by xianjiro » October 18th, 2017, 7:21 am

How annoying! I've filed a feedback ticket but other than that, guess it's wait and see if it gets better any time soon. Any idea how aggressive the enforced obsolescence cycle is? Sure hope it's not like Apple ...

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#24

Post by xianjiro » November 11th, 2017, 8:21 pm

BTW, I think I had an Plex update break Plex streaming for a while. After the update applied, Roku couldn't find the server though it was clearly active on the network. Didn't have much energy to spend troubleshooting that day, so just shut things down. Yesterday I applied yet another update and it worked just fine after that. (Though I didn't test it first to make certain the prior update was the cause.)

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#25

Post by Nopros » November 11th, 2017, 8:28 pm

Yeah, I sometimes have to go back to older versions of Plex after updating.

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#26

Post by albajos » November 14th, 2017, 2:39 pm

Disney is talking about starting their own streaming plattform

We also have Warner Bros playing around:
www.warnerarchive.com and
TCM VOD: http://www.tcm.com/watchtcm/movies/ (TCM is owned by Time Warner)

I there other main studios that is doing the same?

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#27

Post by xianjiro » November 14th, 2017, 9:42 pm

I was under the impression Disney was doing more than talking - going as far as to inform Netflix it will be pulling its content next year.

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#28

Post by albajos » November 14th, 2017, 9:50 pm

xianjiro on Nov 14 2017, 02:42:44 PM wrote:I was under the impression Disney was doing more than talking - going as far as to inform Netflix it will be pulling its content next year.
Well, if there isn't enough people signing up when it's still in beta it can be shortlived.

Also kind of blackmailing. "If we don't get bigger part of the cake, we pull everything out."

The typical consumer can't afford to pay several strream sites at once, so those with the most content (Amazon/Netflix) will always stay above.

Disney, Warner etc would just be a tiny market besides these.

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#29

Post by VincentPrice » November 15th, 2017, 12:00 am

I think Disney has enough of a library (Disney, PIXAR, Marvel, Star Wars) and they've made it clear the price will be significantly lower than Netflix's, I still think Netflix gets all their stuff through 2018 though?

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#30

Post by xianjiro » November 15th, 2017, 3:01 am

Yeah, that was my understanding and like so much of what carries the Disney brand, there is talk of significant child-friendly/focused content.

The other issue on price, so much of this is being done with the idea that consumers are jettisoning cable/satellite (and those $100/mo bills) and it's clear that HBO is making it work so it's likely Disney is just the biggest name to yet make an announcement.

Still, it's always interesting to see how things shake out.

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#31

Post by xianjiro » December 8th, 2017, 3:35 am

Having a bit of trouble tonight with Plex. I've been hunting around for a guide for Plex Media Player on Roku, but not finding anything.

Anyway, my question is about the icons that appear when I hit pause during playback. At the bottom of the screen, I've got from left to right Settings, ?, Rewind, Play/Pause, FForward, Stop and something with six blocks (guessing this returns me to movie selection screen, but I haven't tried it yet).

My question is what does the second button - it's an empty rectangle with a dot at the center top - do? It's some sort of toggle that goes through three options: maybe on, off, and something displays inside the rectangle. I can't figure out what's changing between the three selections.

Ideas?

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#32

Post by weirdboy » December 8th, 2017, 4:33 am

xianjiro on Dec 7 2017, 08:35:56 PM wrote:Having a bit of trouble tonight with Plex. I've been hunting around for a guide for Plex Media Player on Roku, but not finding anything.

Anyway, my question is about the icons that appear when I hit pause during playback. At the bottom of the screen, I've got from left to right Settings, ?, Rewind, Play/Pause, FForward, Stop and something with six blocks (guessing this returns me to movie selection screen, but I haven't tried it yet).

My question is what does the second button - it's an empty rectangle with a dot at the center top - do? It's some sort of toggle that goes through three options: maybe on, off, and something displays inside the rectangle. I can't figure out what's changing between the three selections.

Ideas?
I think that's the "repeat" option.

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#33

Post by xianjiro » December 8th, 2017, 5:15 am

weirdboy on Dec 7 2017, 09:33:55 PM wrote:
xianjiro on Dec 7 2017, 08:35:56 PM wrote:Having a bit of trouble tonight with Plex. I've been hunting around for a guide for Plex Media Player on Roku, but not finding anything.

Anyway, my question is about the icons that appear when I hit pause during playback. At the bottom of the screen, I've got from left to right Settings, ?, Rewind, Play/Pause, FForward, Stop and something with six blocks (guessing this returns me to movie selection screen, but I haven't tried it yet).

My question is what does the second button - it's an empty rectangle with a dot at the center top - do? It's some sort of toggle that goes through three options: maybe on, off, and something displays inside the rectangle. I can't figure out what's changing between the three selections.

Ideas?
I think that's the "repeat" option.
okay, that makes some sense :thumbsup: I'll need to find a short to experiment with

thanks! I'd never have guessed that in a million odd tries

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#34

Post by xianjiro » January 26th, 2018, 1:43 am

Has anyone marked any streaming sites as one's to stay away from? You know the kind that with one click it launches a hundred porn tabs or locks the screen on whatever ad/spam/porn/gamesite/whatever. I haven't been noting them when I come across them per se, but I know there are some sites that aren't even worth trying when I see them in a search result.

Of course I always shun uToob vids that say something like verified partner whatever - can't find an example right now, but will edit this post when I do. There are plenty of uToob booby traps these days. :(

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#35

Post by Knaldskalle » January 26th, 2018, 3:26 am

I recently splurged and replaced our ancient Roku with an Android TV box ("X96 Mini"). So far so good. It comes "fully loaded" with KD Player(*) and can do both Youtube, Netflix and so on. That also "solved" the issue I'd recently developed with Plex. Need apps? Install via Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

The only downside is that the remote control sucks. I plugged in a mouse and am considering getting an "air mouse" for it. Half the time the remote doesn't work, it's really bad, but since it can be worked around it doesn't bother me too much. Especially not since I paid $40 for the box.

(*)a renamed Kodi Player stuffed to the gills with all sorts of plugins that are probably not legal. I haven't checked them out much since that isn't why I bought it.
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#36

Post by Nopros » January 26th, 2018, 7:51 am

xianjiro on Jan 25 2018, 06:43:38 PM wrote:Has anyone marked any streaming sites as one's to stay away from?
My opinion? All of them. Bad quality, buffering for ages, almost a puzzle of what to press to actually get the film started, then all the popups.

Of course I'm not talking about sites as Youtube etc. I use them for shorts. :)

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#37

Post by maxwelldeux » January 26th, 2018, 8:02 am

Nopros on Jan 26 2018, 12:51:59 AM wrote:
xianjiro on Jan 25 2018, 06:43:38 PM wrote:Has anyone marked any streaming sites as one's to stay away from?
My opinion? All of them. Bad quality, buffering for ages, almost a puzzle of what to press to actually get the film started, then all the popups.

Of course I'm not talking about sites as Youtube etc. I use them for shorts. :)
heh. And I'm the opposite. :)

We may be going to different sites, but I've had not terrible luck with nearly all of them, though you have to temper expectations. Even the bad pirate-y ones can work OK. With a good browser with a pop-upblocker, ad-block installed, and HTML5 autoplay disabled, even those can be palatable.

But none of the legal ones have given me too much trouble, at least that I've tried. I have preferences based on ad frequency, but that's it.

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#38

Post by 3eyes » January 26th, 2018, 3:34 pm

have given up on FilmStruck - no way to watch it on my smart TV and they don't seem to care, so phooey on them.
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#39

Post by blueboybob » January 26th, 2018, 3:56 pm

Torrents --> Plex --> Roku/Phone/Tablet/Work

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#40

Post by weirdboy » January 26th, 2018, 4:28 pm

3eyes on Jan 26 2018, 08:34:47 AM wrote:have given up on FilmStruck - no way to watch it on my smart TV and they don't seem to care, so phooey on them.
Yes agreed. FilmStruck may have a wonderful movie selection but they still haven't got their act together in enabling people to watch them.

Especially after I found that I am able to watch Criterion and other films for free via Kanopy, which has better support all around for smart TVs, phones, etc.

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