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post #1 of 18 Old 05-24-2019, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Ditch Roku Ultra for a HTPC?

I have been struggling with multiple issues with my Roku devices. I have ran HTPCs + Roku + Smart TVs side by side for many many years. Older Rokus are usually slow so I just got a Roku Ultra, hoping that will resolve most issues but no :-( Roku just gives me too much trouble when it comes to playing video files downloaded from the internet or ripped DVDs/BDs. HTPCs really shine there. Ditto for photos etc.


Makes me think that Roku is probably best as a device for online streaming only...Netflix, Amazon etc



I wonder how others deal with these problems?


Playing downloaded video files from my own server on the same network
I have tried Plex, Playon etc. Transcoding never works properly and/or kills my server, picture quality sucks, I never get 5.1 or 7.1 audio, no subtitles for most files. The only way I get it to run properly is to use Handbrake and uses its Roku profile and burn in subtitles....then put it on a USB stick and insert it in the Roku Ultra's USB port. That, obviously is VERY painful and time consuming.

Showing photos from my server
Almost all my files are RAW files which cannot be read by Roku.

Showing 4K home videos from my server
4K videos are from a Sony camera, at 100mbps bitrate. Need a good HTPC, Roku doesn't cut it.

Subtitles
Most of the time subs are a mess. Many times, I have to download a sub file (text file) which a HTPC can use just fine. Roku does not.

Surround sound
Again, most of the time, 5.1 or 7.1 does not work, Roku simply outputs stereo even when the file really has 5.1. HTPC decodes just fine. Of course, True HD and Atmos is not even supported on a Roku......although I am not sure if I can output those formats from a HTPC, my HTPCs are older.

Physical disk playback
Well, this is of course asking for too much from a Roku ;-) I do keep a Blu_ray player for the odd once a week BD rental from RedBox. Again, I feel I could ditch both the BD player and Roku and a single device - HTPC will do it all (not sure about True HD/Atmos, though)



What do you recommend? Am I asking for too much from a Roku device?
Go back to a HTPC and call it a day?

-Raj
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post #2 of 18 Old 05-24-2019, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
I have been struggling with multiple issues with my Roku devices. I have ran HTPCs + Roku + Smart TVs side by side for many many years. Older Rokus are usually slow so I just got a Roku Ultra, hoping that will resolve most issues but no :-( Roku just gives me too much trouble when it comes to playing video files downloaded from the internet or ripped DVDs/BDs. HTPCs really shine there. Ditto for photos etc.


Makes me think that Roku is probably best as a device for online streaming only...Netflix, Amazon etc



I wonder how others deal with these problems?


Playing downloaded video files from my own server on the same network
I have tried Plex, Playon etc. Transcoding never works properly and/or kills my server, picture quality sucks, I never get 5.1 or 7.1 audio, no subtitles for most files. The only way I get it to run properly is to use Handbrake and uses its Roku profile and burn in subtitles....then put it on a USB stick and insert it in the Roku Ultra's USB port. That, obviously is VERY painful and time consuming.

Showing photos from my server
Almost all my files are RAW files which cannot be read by Roku.

Showing 4K home videos from my server
4K videos are from a Sony camera, at 100mbps bitrate. Need a good HTPC, Roku doesn't cut it.

Subtitles
Most of the time subs are a mess. Many times, I have to download a sub file (text file) which a HTPC can use just fine. Roku does not.

Surround sound
Again, most of the time, 5.1 or 7.1 does not work, Roku simply outputs stereo even when the file really has 5.1. HTPC decodes just fine. Of course, True HD and Atmos is not even supported on a Roku......although I am not sure if I can output those formats from a HTPC, my HTPCs are older.

Physical disk playback
Well, this is of course asking for too much from a Roku ;-) I do keep a Blu_ray player for the odd once a week BD rental from RedBox. Again, I feel I could ditch both the BD player and Roku and a single device - HTPC will do it all (not sure about True HD/Atmos, though)



What do you recommend? Am I asking for too much from a Roku device?
Go back to a HTPC and call it a day?

I did "HTPC" for 4-5 years (2012-2016ish), back in the days of Win7 WMC. It is/was a fun hobby, at least for a while, but reliabilty never was what I wanted/needed it to be, in terms of *as many* multiple simultaneous "client" devices as I wanted to be able to accomodate. Things might be different now, but that 10-foot experience never really worked as well (back then) as I wanted, if I left my LiveTV+DVR+Movie Rips+Music Rips media (which worked pretty well, either in Windows Media Center or Emby back when it was MediaBrowser, which had some decent integration with one another) to go access some streaming (like Netflix), streaming services like that didn't like letting PCs run in 5.1 surround sound, so I ended up using my expensive/elaborate PC as a "HTPC" in my basement 2.1 setup and relying on a WMC Extender and other streaming boxes for 5.1 (and changing inputs) up in my living room... It just wasn't ideal, IMO.


So for my second time around? I built myself a desktop from scratch back in 2016, with the intention of this thing pretty much exclusively acting only as a Server, with little to no front-end "client" usage. I probably went overkill on the hardware for my needs, but I put a pretty strong (at the time) CPU (quad-core i7-6700), a decent GPU (6 GB version of a GTX 1060), 16 gigs or ram, etc etc etc, and I installed Win10 on a 250 gig solid state rather than relying on a spinning disk for OS and EXE files... because I built it myself (it was actually a fun little father-son project with my dad... I even let my (very small) little boy climb up and kinda watch/help), I was able to use pretty decent parts and only pay $1100ish or so. That desktop runs:
HDHomeRun DVR server (for live TV and DVR)
Plex Media Server (for MKV movies and commercially edited and long-term-stored TV shows)
Roon (for music)
Steam (for gaming)
NVidia Gamestream (for gaming)
MakeMKV (for adding movies)
Exact Audio Copy (for adding CDs)
VideoReDo (for adding commercially-edited TV shows)




On all of the various TVs in the house, I run Streamers. NVidia Shields are my preferred-weapon-of-choice (x5), but I also have an ATV4K, an OPPO UDP-203, and a Google Nexus Player.


We primarily use Shields because they:
- Work great with my whole-home-DVR-of-choice
- Play back my MKV rips, including 4k HDR rips, with lossless 5.1/7.1 surround sound audio
- can be "cast to" from our Android phones and tablets; including Google Photos.
- And the big thing that SMP's generically (shield-included-but-not-exclusive) do, that HTPC at least didn't back when I was really trying to use it more for Front-End-y duties, is put ALL of my content (Cable TV, DVR, MKVs, FLACs, and Streaming Subscriptions to Netflix, Youtube, HBO Now, etc etc) all in the same 10-foot UI, with wide 5.1/7.1 support.



I don't know about your Sony camera, but my Shields play back my 4K HDR MKV rips and my 4K Video that I take off my Pixel 2 without any hitches... FWIW. I don't really do physical disc playback much (I rip 'em first), but I do have an OPPO 203 in my main living for if/when I need it (and I also like it for accessing the Plex Server and as a Roon endpoint).


I've found that the combination of:
- a "modern" operating system (Win10 vs. Win7) and a "modern" (2016 vs. 2012) CPU server-side
- "modern" streaming devices (mostly Shields) rather than Ceton Echos + WDTV Live SMPs + 1st Gen Chromecasts
... has made a world of difference for me... everything works MUCH better and is MUCH more reliable, post-2016, than it was on my 2012 gear.



Obviously, all of this was not cheap... and as such I did not acquire it all at one time... I first started ripping Blu Rays and CDs losslessly and looking into DIY CableCard around 2010ish, so I've been at this for almost 10ish years now, and all of this has been a learn-and-grow process where I've "applied lessons-learned".... it's still a fun hobby, IMO, it's just changed as I've gone. I get good results and I have lots of "toys" to play with.


Hope this helps and TIFWIW.
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post #3 of 18 Old 05-24-2019, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Cool

Thanks for the very informative reply! I have also thought about the Shield, and have read that people are using it with better experience than a Roku.
I have few questions:


How do you process video files (downloaded from the internet) to be able to played successfully on the Shield?


I typically download *cough* ..rents and put them on a DLNA server. I have tried Plex on two machines – one on my server, which is a low powered machine and the other on a powerful workstation – Quad core i7, 16 GB RAM, GTX1050 Ti, 2x SSDs in RAID0, basically the whole nine yards…but Plex chokes on transcoding on BOTH machines. Now, granted I do not have a paid Plex license…not sure if that makes much difference in transcoding capabilities (I hear only GPU transcode gets added by the license).


Through your Sheild:


Does Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MasterAudio and Atmos work?
I know you mentioned 5.1 but that could be simply DD+ in the background, unless you actually have a receiver hooked up which lights up the corresponding lossless indicator.


Do Subtitles work properly?
How do you add them to the downloaded files? SRT?
Can you turn them off/on or only burnt in subtitles work?


How do you rip BDs?

What software do you use and what format? I know you said mkv, but do you modify bitrate and/or transcode (that take hours)


Can the Shield show RAW photos?

(I could google this one)


Thanks again!

-Raj
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post #4 of 18 Old 05-24-2019, 10:39 AM
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The Shield will play 1:1 rips of DVD,Blu Ray, and UHD content.

With the exception of Dolby Vision and HDR10+, the Shield will play all audio formats, plus HDR10.

Apps such as Plex, Kodi, and MrMC will allow for this to happen.

Kodi and MrMC will allow for Resolution, Refresh Rate, and Colorspace Switching.

Plex does change the refresh rate of your content, but not the Resolution. With the new Colorimetry setting, Colorspace may change in Plex (correct me if I'm wrong).

I don't have much experience with Subtitles, and only use what was ripped from the disc for some Anime titles.

You can use a DLNA server or connect to a NAS or computer via SMB or NFS shares.



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post #5 of 18 Old 05-24-2019, 11:16 AM
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These days the only thing I recommend HTPCs for is MadVR. A Shield will do 99% of this. Not positive about viewing photos in RAW format though. That's a pretty inconvenient format to store photos in. Also I do not recommend using an HTPC for blu-rays at all. It's typically a very clunky experience compared to using a dedicated player.
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post #6 of 18 Old 05-24-2019, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
How do you process video files (downloaded from the internet) to be able to played successfully on the Shield?

So what I do (and don't do) may not apply to you, but:
For Blu Ray discs - I use a program called MakeMKV to rip my Blu Rays to a .mkv file. I do not apply any compression (full-sized feature films; I don't include any of the menus or extras; inside a program like Plex it becomes very point-and-click like Netflix with cover-art and then a feature film that starts right up). I always select to take the Lossless (TrueHD or DTS-HD-MA) file because my Shield(s) do support lossless audio (one of my fav features about them) track and just let me Plex Media Server chop it down to DD 2.0 for all of my other (non-living room) "client" devices. And I select to rip the "forced subtitles" track to bring forced subs along. There's a thread here on AVS with a Forced Subs track database that is very useful, but I'm not at home and don't have access to my Favorites folder where I store that in, but I can look that up for you later if you're interested. *Most of the time,* as long as you pick the RIGHT forced subtitles track (either via that database or trial-and-error or HOPEFULLY the studio only makes one option in English), your subtitles are right. On rare occassion (Argo, I believe, is my favorite example) you have to try to do some crazy-ninja-stuff to piece them in, but that happens to infrequently to me that I don't even worry about it.



For DVR'd Recordings - using my HDHome Prime (CableCard) and HDHR DVR ($35 annual subscription + monthly cable subscription to Comcast for the channels), I DVR something which I think comes in natively as a .ts file. As long as it's not a "premium" channel (HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc), which Comcast flags as "Copy Once" for copy protection and disables my ability to copy-paste with, I move the file over to a "working" folder and run it through a program called VideoRedo which scans it for commercial breaks and then can "chop out" the commercials and piece back together the video into one continuous file. I usually have it output the new file as an H.264 MKV, as most (all?) of comcast's broadcasts natively come in in H.264 these days (I've been doing this long enough that when I started, H.264 required a hefty-recode because natively Comcast had brought it into my house as MPEG2).


I'm not sure I can help you with anything else, as that's the extent of "what I do" at least for the last 5 or so years.... but I feel fairly confident that "where there's a will there's a way"....



Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
Does Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MasterAudio and Atmos work?



Yes. I don't have an Atmos setup, but lots of others on here do and can confirm that Shield supports it.


My AVR lights up with TrueHD and HD-MA signals, and the info button on my Denon will also show on-screen that the AVR is receiving and decoding lossless TrueHD or HD-MA.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
How do you rip BDs?


See above. I use MakeMKV.




Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
Can the Shield show RAW photos?

Apologies, I'm not familiar with this...
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Others have pretty much added everything I would contribute, but I'll echo that I wouldn't go back to HTPC for anything after having a Shield for several years. Acting as a Plex server, it transcodes most everything I need to for my other lower-powered 1080p clients (Nexus Players, Roku Expresses) and direct-plays everything natively as well including TrueHD/DTS-MA and Atmos/DTSX. Prior to going 4K, I was fine using an i3-based laptop as Plex server, but using the Shield handles 4K transcoding for those other client devices admirably well. You'll still need to use your PC for ripping discs and you BluRay player for physical disc playback. Otherwise, Dolby Vision and Netflix Atmos are pretty much the only things the Shield can't do. I can't comment on RAW image display... it may be worth just shooting in RAW+JPEG or just viewing your final processed JPEGs.

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Don't forget that you can stream Netflix Titles with Dolby Atmos through the Netflix add-on for Kodi.

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post #9 of 18 Old 05-25-2019, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by groove93 View Post
The Shield will play 1:1 rips of DVD,Blu Ray, and UHD content.. .....Apps such as Plex, Kodi, and MrMC will allow for this to happen.

OK so I guess we have to install one of these apps to play BD rips. Makes sense, thanks



Quote:
Originally Posted by groove93 View Post
You can use a DLNA server or connect to a NAS or computer via SMB or NFS shares.
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So this is very interesting, and a HUGE advantage to me. Just confirming........are you saying that Shield does NOT need a DLNA server software to be installed on my Windows server? Just SMB will work?

-Raj
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post #10 of 18 Old 05-25-2019, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
OK so I guess we have to install one of these apps to play BD rips. Makes sense, thanks






So this is very interesting, and a HUGE advantage to me. Just confirming........are you saying that Shield does NOT need a DLNA server software to be installed on my Windows server? Just SMB will work?

I have installed Kodi on my Shield and am able to watch movies off my NAS with just the share information (\\NasServerIP\Sharename).
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post #11 of 18 Old 05-25-2019, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post
These days the only thing I recommend HTPCs for is MadVR. A Shield will do 99% of this. Not positive about viewing photos in RAW format though. That's a pretty inconvenient format to store photos in. Also I do not recommend using an HTPC for blu-rays at all. It's typically a very clunky experience compared to using a dedicated player.

RAW photos
well, it works fine for me. I shoot raw and use Adobe Lightroom to view/edit photos on my powerful workstation which is hooked up to a 43" monitor/TV. A very small portion of time, my family wants to view some of those photos, in the living room or bedroom. That time viewing them on a TV is handy rather than corralling them into my office :-)


RAW files (.dng) have jpeg previews embedded inside them. I updated those previews (using LR) after I have modified/edited the pics. Software on windows machines is able to show that preview just fine. (eg Irfanview)



Blu ray in an HTPC environment:
When I used to use HTPCs, my workflow was this:
Use AnyDVD to rip BD into ISO, straight to my server

Use HTPC (as a client) to mount that ISO over SMB network share on my server
Use any BD player software (powerDVD or winDVD) to play the BD, complete with menus, extrac etc
AnyDVD running on the HTPC would take care of restrictions like unable to skip FBI warnings, forced trailers, etc



Worked absolutely fine for years. Yeah, most people wont believe me, ha ha



In fact, I had a script/software/settings which would mount and fire up a BD player software from INSIDE windows media center running media browser. All without picking up a keyboard, and inside the 10 ft interface of media center! Worked flawlessly until both Windows media center and media browser got deprecated. Also AnyDVD went down, taking down my decade old lifetime license with it.

-Raj
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post #12 of 18 Old 05-25-2019, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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First, thanks a TON for sharing the details of your workflow. Makes perfect sense to me.



Looks like I need to square out the subtitles thingy before I plonk down $200 on a Shield.


Question:
Is there a way to NOT burn in the subtitles and still be able to have subtitles with the Shield?


The thing is, my wife likes subs, I hate them. So many times, if the audio is clear and understandable, or if she is not watching with me.... I like to turn off the subs.



With an HTPC, this is easily do-able. Many times, the internet downloads have a .srt file in the same folder (or, I can download the .srt file separately). VLC picks up the .srt file just fine and gives you an option to show/hit subs. Roku ignores the .srt file (I tried) . What about Shield?



Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
So what I do (and don't do) may not apply to you, but:
For Blu Ray discs - I use a program called MakeMKV to rip my Blu Rays to a .mkv file. I do not apply any compression (full-sized feature films; I don't include any of the menus or extras; inside a program like Plex it becomes very point-and-click like Netflix with cover-art and then a feature film that starts right up). I always select to take the Lossless (TrueHD or DTS-HD-MA) file because my Shield(s) do support lossless audio (one of my fav features about them) track and just let me Plex Media Server chop it down to DD 2.0 for all of my other (non-living room) "client" devices. And I select to rip the "forced subtitles" track to bring forced subs along. There's a thread here on AVS with a Forced Subs track database that is very useful, but I'm not at home and don't have access to my Favorites folder where I store that in, but I can look that up for you later if you're interested. *Most of the time,* as long as you pick the RIGHT forced subtitles track (either via that database or trial-and-error or HOPEFULLY the studio only makes one option in English), your subtitles are right. On rare occassion (Argo, I believe, is my favorite example) you have to try to do some crazy-ninja-stuff to piece them in, but that happens to infrequently to me that I don't even worry about it.



For DVR'd Recordings - using my HDHome Prime (CableCard) and HDHR DVR ($35 annual subscription + monthly cable subscription to Comcast for the channels), I DVR something which I think comes in natively as a .ts file. As long as it's not a "premium" channel (HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc), which Comcast flags as "Copy Once" for copy protection and disables my ability to copy-paste with, I move the file over to a "working" folder and run it through a program called VideoRedo which scans it for commercial breaks and then can "chop out" the commercials and piece back together the video into one continuous file. I usually have it output the new file as an H.264 MKV, as most (all?) of comcast's broadcasts natively come in in H.264 these days (I've been doing this long enough that when I started, H.264 required a hefty-recode because natively Comcast had brought it into my house as MPEG2).


I'm not sure I can help you with anything else, as that's the extent of "what I do" at least for the last 5 or so years.... but I feel fairly confident that "where there's a will there's a way"....







Yes. I don't have an Atmos setup, but lots of others on here do and can confirm that Shield supports it.


My AVR lights up with TrueHD and HD-MA signals, and the info button on my Denon will also show on-screen that the AVR is receiving and decoding lossless TrueHD or HD-MA.





See above. I use MakeMKV.







Apologies, I'm not familiar with this...

-Raj
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post #13 of 18 Old 05-25-2019, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Lightbulb

ok now THIS IS AMAZING!


Ability to use Shield to transcode for other players? How does that work? Do you have to tell Plex or any other DLNA software running on your server to use the transcoding capabilities of a remote device?
I bet Plex needs a plex pass / license for this functionality, correct?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post
Others have pretty much added everything I would contribute, but I'll echo that I wouldn't go back to HTPC for anything after having a Shield for several years. Acting as a Plex server, it transcodes most everything I need to for my other lower-powered 1080p clients (Nexus Players, Roku Expresses) and direct-plays everything natively as well including TrueHD/DTS-MA and Atmos/DTSX. Prior to going 4K, I was fine using an i3-based laptop as Plex server, but using the Shield handles 4K transcoding for those other client devices admirably well. You'll still need to use your PC for ripping discs and you BluRay player for physical disc playback. Otherwise, Dolby Vision and Netflix Atmos are pretty much the only things the Shield can't do. I can't comment on RAW image display... it may be worth just shooting in RAW+JPEG or just viewing your final processed JPEGs.

-Raj
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post #14 of 18 Old 05-26-2019, 12:33 AM
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There's not a ton of detailed setup involved with Plex Server, especially on the Shield. Plex Pass is definitely NOT required for transcoding, that's a pretty core feature of Plex. I think there may be one toggle setting required to enable hardware transcoding, and that's through the Plex web UI, not on the Shield itself.

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post #15 of 18 Old 05-26-2019, 03:28 AM
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I haven't owned the shield and they sound very fun.

I did have a HTPC and it was decked out (a few years ago) with fancy stuff including upgraded power supply, i7 CPU, SSD hard drive and other stuff. I retired my HTPC and use it as a Plex server and I have to assume it works better than a shield would in that regard. (Assumption based on better hardware and maybe even better OS ... though as I say I haven't owned a shield.)

I replaced my HTPC with an ATV4K. Having the ATV4K has kept me from wanting to experiment with the Shield. ATV4K gets regular updates and adds great features. And because it gets regular updates you can also send in requests for new features.

-Brian

Last edited by Brian Hampton; 05-26-2019 at 03:36 AM.
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post #16 of 18 Old 05-26-2019, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
I have been struggling with multiple issues with my Roku devices. I have ran HTPCs + Roku + Smart TVs side by side for many many years. Older Rokus are usually slow so I just got a Roku Ultra, hoping that will resolve most issues but no :-( Roku just gives me too much trouble when it comes to playing video files downloaded from the internet or ripped DVDs/BDs. HTPCs really shine there. Ditto for photos etc.


Makes me think that Roku is probably best as a device for online streaming only...Netflix, Amazon etc



I wonder how others deal with these problems?


Playing downloaded video files from my own server on the same network
I have tried Plex, Playon etc. Transcoding never works properly and/or kills my server, picture quality sucks, I never get 5.1 or 7.1 audio, no subtitles for most files. The only way I get it to run properly is to use Handbrake and uses its Roku profile and burn in subtitles....then put it on a USB stick and insert it in the Roku Ultra's USB port. That, obviously is VERY painful and time consuming.

Showing photos from my server
Almost all my files are RAW files which cannot be read by Roku.

Showing 4K home videos from my server
4K videos are from a Sony camera, at 100mbps bitrate. Need a good HTPC, Roku doesn't cut it.

Subtitles
Most of the time subs are a mess. Many times, I have to download a sub file (text file) which a HTPC can use just fine. Roku does not.

Surround sound
Again, most of the time, 5.1 or 7.1 does not work, Roku simply outputs stereo even when the file really has 5.1. HTPC decodes just fine. Of course, True HD and Atmos is not even supported on a Roku......although I am not sure if I can output those formats from a HTPC, my HTPCs are older.

Physical disk playback
Well, this is of course asking for too much from a Roku ;-) I do keep a Blu_ray player for the odd once a week BD rental from RedBox. Again, I feel I could ditch both the BD player and Roku and a single device - HTPC will do it all (not sure about True HD/Atmos, though)



What do you recommend? Am I asking for too much from a Roku device?
Go back to a HTPC and call it a day?
The roku ultra plex client can basically direct play almost any content type from your server with no transcode. But this depends on a few things. First is your display / receiver. If your receiver cannot accept and decode the audio type, then the server will be transcoding the audio. If your server is a PoS then it won't be keeping up with transcodes. Roku can direct play 4K and bitstream the audio if it's properly setup.

However, there is nothing that will look as good as an HTPC running madVR. The HTPC will be much harder to setup, but once setup is extremely easy to use and produces the best picture possible. This may sound like an offensive comment but it's not intended to be one. If you're having so much trouble getting your server + roku to properly playback via roku plex, you probably don't have the technical ability to get an HTPC + madVR setup without becoming overly frustrated.

Of course, how much benefit you get on this depends on your display. If you have a projector on a large screen, you will benefit massively from madVR's tone mapping plus 4K upscaling. If you have a small 65" type tv, then you probably won't notice the benefits of the upscaling plus you probably have enough light from the TV not to benefit that much from the tone mapping.

Video: JVC RS4500 135" screen in pure black room no light, htpc nvidia 1080ti.
Audio: Anthem mrx720 running 7.1.4, McIntosh MC-303, MC-152, B&W 802d3 LR, B&W HTM1D3 center, B&W 805d3 surround, B&W 702S2 rear, B&W 706s2 x 4 shelf mounted for atmos, 2 sub arrays both infinite baffle: 4x15 fi audio running on behringer ep4000 + 4x12 fi audio running on 2nd ep4000.
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post #17 of 18 Old 05-26-2019, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
Question:
Is there a way to NOT burn in the subtitles and still be able to have subtitles with the Shield?


The thing is, my wife likes subs, I hate them. So many times, if the audio is clear and understandable, or if she is not watching with me.... I like to turn off the subs.



With an HTPC, this is easily do-able. Many times, the internet downloads have a .srt file in the same folder (or, I can download the .srt file separately). VLC picks up the .srt file just fine and gives you an option to show/hit subs. Roku ignores the .srt file (I tried) . What about Shield?
I'm unfamiliar with .srt files.

But with MakeMKV, you can rip:
"Forced subs" - subtitles that show when you're in the actual movie theater (a character, often a villain in American movies, speaks a phrase in his or her native language, for example; the translation appears at the bottom, even when you're in the theater).
Regular Subtitles - subtitles that would not be seen if you were at the theater (every word every character says, regardless of language, or "bonus" narration content from someone, etc.

I generally rip the Forced Subs and don't the regular ones... I can always pop the disk in if I want all those extras.

If you do rip one or more subtitles files with MakeMKV, a lot of players (including but not limited to Plex) will let you toggle through all of them (including none at all), allowing you to tun them on and off as you please...
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post #18 of 18 Old 05-26-2019, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I will be VERY happy if Plex server would behave in my setup!

Lets see...
My receiver can decode everything other than the latest Atmos.
Yes, server is old so I do not expect Plex to transcode comfortably there.
However, for testing, I setup plex server on a high powered workstation, still Plex wants to transcode everything....and the workstation's CPU goes to 100% and stays there....rendering the workstation not of any other use while Plex server is serving out something.

Yes, Roku is "supposed" to play even 4K without problems, but check this...

Using MakeMKV, I ripped out a BD "without" any bitrate change. Got a 30 GB or so .mp4. I put it on the server. Plex was not able to play it from the server, transcoding issues. Then I put it on a USB thumb drive. Stuck it into the Roku Ultra. Roku tries to play the file, but after a minute of two, says the file is corrupt! Of course the file is not corrupt, it works fine on my workstation and a laptop also. I tried both H.264 and H.265. Same results.

Next, I use MakeMKV to transcode the same ripped mp4 file to another mp4 using the Roku profile (basically, it makes the bitrate lower). I wound up with a smaller file, I think it was 2 or 3 GB.

When I stuck it into Roku's USB, it played fine.

So, that makes me think that Roku was not able to play the high bitrate file.
Now how is Roku able to play 4K files....I think Roku will play only pretty low bitrate 4K.




As for "properly" setting up Plex...well, I sure may have missed something. That is why I am here at AVSf.
Would you like to share what your setup is which allows your Plex server and plex client to work properly?

As for HTPCs, I have three HTPCs in my house right now, all in boxes. They were in use for over a decade, hardware was upgraded every 3-4 years. They worked just fine. In the last year or so, I have been trying Roku because of smaller size, and the HTPCs were getting old, not able to play 4K etc, and I was too cheap to upgrade their hardware...when people said just go with a streamer which can do better! Ha ha!.

PS: I have not played with MadVR since my screen is only 1080p 55" :-( Planning to get a 4K TV in the next month or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
The roku ultra plex client can basically direct play almost any content type from your server with no transcode. But this depends on a few things. First is your display / receiver. If your receiver cannot accept and decode the audio type, then the server will be transcoding the audio. If your server is a PoS then it won't be keeping up with transcodes. Roku can direct play 4K and bitstream the audio if it's properly setup.

However, there is nothing that will look as good as an HTPC running madVR. The HTPC will be much harder to setup, but once setup is extremely easy to use and produces the best picture possible. This may sound like an offensive comment but it's not intended to be one. If you're having so much trouble getting your server + roku to properly playback via roku plex, you probably don't have the technical ability to get an HTPC + madVR setup without becoming overly frustrated.

Of course, how much benefit you get on this depends on your display. If you have a projector on a large screen, you will benefit massively from madVR's tone mapping plus 4K upscaling. If you have a small 65" type tv, then you probably won't notice the benefits of the upscaling plus you probably have enough light from the TV not to benefit that much from the tone mapping.

-Raj

Last edited by rajdude; 05-26-2019 at 02:39 PM. Reason: corrected facts
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