Originally Posted by archer75
I think the 20mbps limitation is a plex thing and not a roku thing. In that case a new device isn't that answer. I think it comes down to re-encoding your movies or a more powerful chip. But i'm not positive on this.
Thanks for this and the other responses. You're right about it being a Plex issue.
I've done some additional research, and it appears that Plex does have a 20 mbps limitation for direct streaming. I'm not sure if the Roku 3 has any such limitation (it's not listed in any spec sheet I can find). Here is what I've read about the Plex limitation:
When Plex direct stream is turned on, Plex will direct stream (no transcoding) to the client unless the bitstream rate of the file you are trying to play is greater than the streaming quality setting you selected for Plex (the current version of Plex has a max streaming quality of 20 mbps). Thus if your setting is the max (20 mbps) and you try to direct stream a file with a bitstream rate of 30 mbps, then Plex starts transcoding--you are no longer direct streaming, regardless if transcoding is truly needed or not. It's unknown why Plex has this 20 mbps max, but it's hoped that the max will either be eliminated or increased in future plex updates.
I conducted a test which confirmed the Plex 20 mbps limitation is my problem. I played a 30 mbps file on my laptop (powerful, with i7) through Plex, and I got that very slight stutter. Then I went around Plex by accessing the same 30 mbps movie directly from my nas using vlc on my same laptop, and the stuttering was gone.
Thus I have to conclude that that my slight stutter is caused by:
1) Plex refusing to direct stream my 30 mbps file due to Plex's 20 mbps cap, and
2) The poor transcoding power of my little-engine-that-almost-could chip (Pentium G3220).
I liked this chip because it was cheap, low power consumption, and thought to be sufficient. And if I read the benchmarks correctly, I thought that it would be sufficient to transcode one stream. I didn't think I needed a lot of power since I was going to have all of my files in mkv or mp4 (meaning the roku 3 could receive via direct stream with no transcoding). I guess that's what I get for shopping at Walmart when I should have shopped at Macy's (but not Nordstrom). lol
I plan to contact the Plex folks to see if and when that 20 mbps limitation will be raised. Or I'll pony up the money for a better nas chip. As I understand it, Plex Server is not open source, and that prevents somebody who knows what they are doing to raise the 20 mbps himself.
I have to believe that I'm not the only person who has been running into the Plex 20 mbps cap.