Originally Posted by rajdude
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.
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.
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.