Why does Roku stream files over USB easily but Plex has problems?

Anonymous February 26, 2014
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I have tried to get this answered without success, so I’ll try here.

I have a Roku 3 and PLEX media server connected via CAT5. Playing 480p MKV movies is very difficult because of interruptions (transcoding) I think. Now the MKV files are direct play with the ROKU 3 as far as I know, and the LAN is wired 100mbps. I can copy the 5gb file over the LAN in about 8 min (reasonable) however, the ROKU pauses about every 8 minutes of viewing.

Whats going on? ROKU can play the file via USB without a hitch. The PLEX server is minimal with a Dell laptop Pentium 4 2Ghz, w/ 2Gb RAM.

  1. Jan F
    February 26, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Maybe the following article is of any help.
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-prep-your-videos-for-playback-on-the-roku-3/

    Anyway, the short version is:
    In order for Direct Play/Stream to happen the MKV file needs to be in a format the Roku can handle. Otherwise transcoding will happen on the Plex server. And for a 5GB file I can imagine that an old P4 with 2GB RAM may struggle to keep up.

    Another issue could be a real-time antivirus running on your P4. This will almost always slow down any transfer and could cause the issue.