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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We bought my father in law a Roku last year, and he uses it to watch Netflix and some other stuff now. This year I'd like to get him set up to do some local streaming. He has a lot of DVDs of older TV shows and such that he never watches due to disc laziness.
I know the Roku is no Boxee or WDTV, but can it stream local content effectively? Ideally I would just put a bunch of stuff on a thumb drive or something for him, nothing too extreme. Can Plex be used to do that, or does it require a PC to stream the media?
 

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You should be able to playback via USB thumb drive without issue. I believe you have to add the USB channel to the device, and you should then be good to go.
 

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@Irish

Consider it from the standpoint of minimizing the amount of work on your part. The easiest and fastest way for you to handle DVD's of TV shows is to simply rip the whole disk as a DVD.iso -- I have >600 ripped that way. You can get a portable USB-powered 1TB HDD for $60 or so and load 150 DVD.iso on it and gradually build him a library. If the Roku can play DVD.iso with full menu support then you are all set. If not, just buy him a WD Live-SMP for $80 from NewEgg, plug in the drive and away he goes.
 

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^The ROKU cannot play DVD ISO. You would need to RIP videos to MKV if you want to use the USB method. You may want to check if ROKU can handle NTFS disk format. Some files may be too big for FAT32.


In the end, the most functional way to have local content on the ROKU is via a PLEX channel, with Plex installed on a local PC or server. In that case, I believe ISO files will work just fine.
 

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The Roku can play local video files from a USB drive, as long as your model has a USB port and you add the USB media player channel app. It's a bit limited though compared to some other media players that have more local file player capability. The only format it really supports properly is MP4 with H.264 video and AAc audio, but it shouldn't be a problem to produce that format with a DVD ripper if you're just starting out. The Roku app also isn't big on organization or presentation though, so it might be a bit awkward to handle a large movie collection.


Plex Media Server running on a PC/Mac/Linux system and streaming to the Plex client on the Roku is a great combination. It has a much richer interface with metadata, organization and searching, and it can transcode a variety of video formats for the Roku on-the-fly. But it requires your server platform to be running at the same time as the Roku. It also doesn't stream iso rips, but that's probably not a concern for your purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I actually have my own collection ripped to ISOs, but I figured the Roku was likely limited in what it could play locally. I planned all along to use a more compressed format for his videos. After all, we're talking about things like Benny Hill and the Andy Griffith Show. A little compression won't hurt. It sounds like Handbrake is a good idea for the kind of rip I need. I plan to just get a 32GB thumb drive and throw as much on it as I can. Should be able to get quite a bit with what I'm ripping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So I found out a little late that he actually has the Roku 2 HD, which does NOT have a USB port. (At least I didn't see one!) It does have a slot for a Micro SD I think it was, can you use a 32GB or 64GB micro SD to playback movies on it easily?
 

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No, the microSD slot is only for expanded app memory. You'll have to consider a streaming solution like Plex instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by amesdp  /t/1506065/simple-local-streaming-with-a-roku-2#post_24115686


No, the microSD slot is only for expanded app memory. You'll have to consider a streaming solution like Plex instead.

Good to know, but it kills the idea. They aren't the types that leave any computers running at all times to act as a Plex server. I can't imagine trying to say "all you have to do is make sure you turn on your computer first..."


I do have a WD SMP or an older Seagate that I'm not using, but I think maybe we'll just have to rethink it entirely. Thanks all.
 

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I use a Raspberry PI with an external NAS attached to it to feed movies to my Roku. The Raspberry Pi using next to nothing in terms of power so they can leave it on 7x24. You can use My Media to do provide the streams to the Roku.
 

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Mezzmo can stream DVD ISOs but only in a limited way...no selectable subs or languages. Haven't tried stuff like Media Browser:

http://www.mediabrowser3.com/download/


Plex can do a lot but for the best performance, you have to pay for a premium subscription. I notice a lot of Roku channels have gone from free to pay solutions as has Roku as a company with its Dishnetwork affiliation. So if you aren't in the USA, the box becomes worthless. Good thing I picked up a couple of XS units for $24 each to experiment with rather than a full price ($109) Roku 3.


I'm hoping the recent system hack will allow for XBMC and other projects to come to the player but it's too early to tell yet.
 
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