Need some guidance in streaming 4k movies

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs & Equipment' started by Ayoralyn, May 4, 2019.

  1. Ayoralyn

    Ayoralyn Limp Gawd

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    First off, I'm not sure this is in the forum, or if it belongs in "General Software", please feel free to move it if so, and apologies in advance.

    I recently bought a couple of harddrives for my NAS, after a very long time not really having any space to store movies or other files on. Thinking that I finally had a lot of space, I thought it a great idea to download 4k movies. Not knowing anything about formats, requirements and what have you, this turned out to be a dumbass move on my part. So I'm now looking for some guidance from some of you clever folk, to maybe solve at least some of it, or at least finally realise it might be absolutely impossible for me.

    I have several problems. My movies are stuttering, and I can barely watch a couple of seconds without them buffering. I'm using PLEX, and I honestly find the whole settings interface difficult to navigate, probably due to having absolutely no knowledge about this. I have en LG TV, and both with and without the PLEX app on the TV, it buffers. I realise there's most likely some transcoding issues going on, but I really have no idea how to figure out exactly if that's the (only) issue. I know for a fact my NAS is NOT able to transcode 4k movies though. And before you say I just answered me own question, I would amongst other things like to know if there's a way to limit the transcoding needed, and lessening the strain on the NAS. My TV is unfortunately only able to be connected through WiFi, but my NAS is wired to the router.

    My second issue is that since I downloaded all these awesome higher quality movies, all the subtitles are in PGS format. I need advice to some, preferably, freeware programs that can either change them to SRT in the MKV file, or something that can at least reliably extract and convert, and then I can remux it into the MKV file myself.

    I realise I can probably Google a lot of this stuff myself, and believe me I've tried. But it seems to be an overwhelming amount of knowledge I need to Google to be able to grasp what the hell is going on. That being said though, if there are any amazing guides to all this out there, something a dummy like me can understand, by all means, throw them my way.
     
  2. owcraftsman

    owcraftsman Gawd

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    What NAS do you have? and is Plex server installed on it?
    What file format are the movies you are trying to stream over your local network?
    TV wifi is notoriously bad do you have a streaming box/stick like Roku, ATV Firestick Chromecast or Shield? if so which one?
    Best trouble free format for Plex Media Player over wifi is MP4 it's native format.
    Depending on the compression level of your download movies conversion may or may not be possible.
    The NAS does the transcoding through the Plex Server software and your average NAS is not suitable for the task.
    I'm no expert so others may need to chime in but hopefully we can get you through this.
    Answering the questions above will be helpful to that end.
     
  3. Ayoralyn

    Ayoralyn Limp Gawd

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    Thanks for your reply!

    I have a QNAP TS-451A, and the PLEX server app is installed and running on it. I found a list somewhere at some point when I was Googling all this, and it stated quite clearly that this NAS can't transcode 4k movies. Again, due to lacking knowledge I wondered if, as you said, I could find the "best trouble free format", to lessen the burden on the NAS. But I just don't know if that's how it works. My understanding is that transcoding happens when the NAS/PLEX server for instance needs to change the format due to whatever device wants to view something in another format then what is being played.

    I do not have a streaming box. I had wondered if something like that existed, and if that might help solve the problem. Your question of course leads me to believe it does. Question is still if that might make a difference for me?

    I don't really know anything about compression levels either. I originally downloaded RAW blue ray files, and ran them through MakeMKV, and then through MKVToolNix. I later switched to just downloading the remux version of the movies though, as the RAW files were really just an unnecessary time consuming step for me to make it into MKV which I could just download instead. So I have no idea if I can convert these files in MP4. Is there an easy way to check?

    Thanks again for your reply, any help is appreciated :)
     
  4. owcraftsman

    owcraftsman Gawd

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    I may stand corrected but no format is uncompressed/totally lossless so transcoding always take place to some degree but it all takes place on the server. The plex app is jusy a media player.
    My point is that dedicated streaming device generally do wifi better than a TV's wifi.
    I agree it's all a bit complicated and you get tons of opinions mostly conflicting with one another.
    My conclusion was to settle for simplicity, ease of use and most versatile so I went with Nvidia shield running Plex server with attached storage.
    There almost nothing you can through at it that it can't handle plus a lot of side benefits too.
    You'd be hard pressed to find an as capable NAS in the same price range.
    Plus I highly recommend getting an Ethernet cable run to your main viewing area and use a switch to supply all your media devices. I did and it was worth every penny for griefs sake alone.
    Be carefull though many streaming devices still only have 10/100 ports and some are better than others even still its better than wifi for the average user.
     
  5. westrock2000

    westrock2000 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You can stream 4K over 100mb ethernet. The AppleTV 4K only has 100mb ethernet. But the key is being able to encode/decode H265. If you are planning on using H264 for 4K, then your bitrate is going to be much higher. Do your player support H265?
     
  6. Krispy Kritter

    Krispy Kritter Gawd

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    At least for testing, connect the TV via ethernet.

    I could stream Netflix, Hulu, etc. (in HD and 4k) perfectly fine over wifi. As soon as I started streaming movies from Plex, I would getting buffering. Connected via ethernet and the issue went away.
     
  7. thebufenator

    thebufenator [H]ard|Gawd

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    You can likely only direct play H264 encoded movies. 4K tends to be encoded in H265, which fewer devices can direct play. Also, audio encoding matters.

    Plex will try to transcode on the fly if any client cannot play the video in its native format.

    You need to identify what encoding levels work for 1080P movies, and then see what is different about your 4K videos.
     
  8. Ayoralyn

    Ayoralyn Limp Gawd

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    I'm a big fan of simplicity myself. I work with computer repairs, but I'm by no means a tech guy when it comes to networks, bitrate, formats and what have you. I will look into the Nvidia shield thing if everything else fails. Not knowing what it is, is it something like the Steamlink I have already? It basically just connects Steam to my TV with Steam's own interface. And when you say "attached storage", do you mean a NAS or something connected directly to the Shield, like a USB thing for instance? I'd prefer still being able to use my NAS for what I bought it for, storage. Especially since I also just bought 2x6TB drives for it.

    Also, you mentioned running a switch to my viewing/media area, which is definitely not a bad idea. But do you suggest it for no other reason then to be able to connect several devices "locally", or is there another reason? I assume it would have the same result just running the devices I need through my router.

    I wasn't really "planning" on anything so specific as H264 or H265, due to lacking knowledge. But Googling a bit around, I got the sense that my TV supports H263, H264 and H265.

    Thanks for the suggestion. As I was Googling specifications for my own TV, I learned it had a LAN port. I must have remembered wrong, since I remembered connecting it through WiFi because it didn't have a LAN port. But my router is using all 4 LAN ports at the moment, so I guess that's why I chose WiFi for the TV. I'll definitely try it out when I get home from work, thanks for the suggestion!

    My TV supposedly supports H265, does that mean I can direct play it, or does it not have anything to do with my TV? While testing with different movies I did find at least 1 movie that actually didn't have any audio, and I don't really know why.
     
  9. Ayoralyn

    Ayoralyn Limp Gawd

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    Okay, so I tried plugging in the ethernet cable directly to the TV. For some reason, PLEX still buffers, although much much less then before. It's still unwatchable, but it's better. I tried watching 10-20 minutes of a movie directly from the NAS, I saw it buffering for a few seconds once during that time. I'll have to do some more testing before I can truly say if it was just a fluke, or it's still not entirely eliminated. Is there a better alternative to PLEX?

    I also learned that some of my movies only have audio track in something called "True Atmos HD" or something like that, and that my TV can't play this format. Only DTS and AC3. So at least I know how to identify that part of the problem.

    My last issue, if the buffering has been fixed, is to find something that could rip the PGS subtitles and/or convert them directly to SRT.

    Edit: Okay, I just tried watching another movie, and the buffering is definitely not gone. It just kept getting worse and worse. At this point I can only assume that my NAS is the problem.

    My next question would be if NVIDIA Shield or something similar would fix the issue? Can I play movies from my NAS through such a device?
    I should mention I already have a Steamlink, and the movies stutter if I play it through that just directly on my PC. The Steamlink I think I paid something like 5 euro for or something like that, so I'm guessing a similar device like the NVIDIA Shield, being more expensive, would have more powerful hardware.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  10. coynatha

    coynatha Limp Gawd

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    I stream from my desktop via ethernet to my Oppo 203 4k Blu-ray player. 4K movies always were stuttering - until I moved them to my SSD drive, and off of spinners. I know my spinners are older, but I didn't think they were THAT slow. 2 cents.
     
  11. Ayoralyn

    Ayoralyn Limp Gawd

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    Thanks for the input!

    Unfortunately, I only have standard harddrives in my NAS. I have 2x6TB drives plus 1x3TB. I'd have to sell my soul to be able to afford that kind of space as SSD's.
     
  12. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The Apple TV 4K with the new Plex experimental player is what I've been using to play 4K movies, I use it with 802.11ac and not wired, it does have a gigabit ethernet port though. I don't believe it can handle PGS subs though.
     
  13. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    Given that a player can stream a 4K from a optical drive, I doubt that spinners are the issue unless they are fragmented beyond all usefulness.

    I think it's more likely that your PLEX server is trying to transcode. Need to find a native format on your PLEX client, and to convert your source to that format. Handbrake is pretty easy to use to transcode between formats.

    If you can get the file into the correct format, your server won't be doing anything other than serving up a file - your QNAP is fine for that. You get the wrong format, and it's trying to fix that on the fly for you, and a QNAP (or many other things, for that matter) won't have the horsepower to transcode that on the fly at 4k.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  14. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    Pretty much this.

    I run dedicated hardware on my Plex server. 4k transcoding is no joke. You will need to optimize your media for your player such that you're able to direct play.

    Spinners are not a problem. They'll saturate a gigabit network, no sweat.
     
  15. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    That is not true.

    https://www.apple.com/apple-tv-4k/specs/
     
  16. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    Why transcode it at all. Buy a firetv for 40 bucks and just play it off a file share. What does plex really do for you?
     
  17. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    Gives you a nice organized interface with metadata?
     
  18. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    I have about 7ish users accounting for zero, one, or multiple streams each - and with different viewing gear. Plex is not without problems, but easily the best product in the space.
     
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  19. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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  20. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    so does kodi, from a file share
     
  21. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Keeping track of what I've watched as well as what other members of the family have watched is one of the many advantages of functionality built into Plex. Picking up where I left off on another device seamlessly is also something I do daily. Syncing movies and tv shows to the kids iPads is also extremely useful for trips where they may have limited internet access, like flights.

    If Kodi and a file share work for what you need it to do, that's great. Some of us like and use the features Plex offers on top of being able to play things off of a file share. Use what works best for your use case. (y)
     
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  22. westrock2000

    westrock2000 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Appreciate it.

    Although the fact remains, the AppleTV 4K still streams 4K easily using less than 100mbit. Since Apple won't let you store iTunes 4K content locally and it must be streamed from iTunes servers...which for many users is going to be less than 100mbit Internet connection.
     
  23. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    I store 4k content on my NAS and stream it to my apple tv 4k, in HDR.

    Some movies bitrates peak over 100mbit, so i wouldn't recommend that, they will stutter. Figuring in tcp overhead, probably over 75mbit.
     
  24. Krispy Kritter

    Krispy Kritter Gawd

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    Likely not an apples to apples comparison (unless you are storing captured 4k streams).

    I would guess you are storing your own 4k rips. Where as the 4k streams from Apple are very likely not the same quality. The same would apply to the 4k streams from Netflix or other services. None of them are the same as having the actual 4k disc (or disc image on your NAS).
     
  25. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    I agree, 100m is perfectly fine for apple/amazon/netflix streaming, but OP is not really talking about those:

    "I recently bought a couple of harddrives for my NAS, after a very long time not really having any space to store movies or other files on. Thinking that I finally had a lot of space, I thought it a great idea to download 4k movies."
     
  26. sharknice

    sharknice [H]ard|Gawd

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    Does your LG tv have the photos and videos app? I have a 2018 LG OLED and I use that in conjunction with LG SmartShare installed on my windows PC. I have 4k hdr rips of movies on my pc, typical size is around 40 GB. They stream great using that combination, subtitles also work great. You can choose from multiple audio tracks and subtitle languages. I'm pretty sure the tv does all the decoding itself.


    The app is nothing fancy, it's basically just a file share that allows you to play video files over the network.
     
  27. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    Has anyone said conclusively the best format to put media in? H.265 mp4?
     
  28. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    The best format is that which your client(s) can direct play.
     
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  29. westrock2000

    westrock2000 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    264 has the widest market penetration. 265 is good, it's just very new.
     
  30. Ayoralyn

    Ayoralyn Limp Gawd

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    Thanks all for your replies. I've been out of commision for a couple of weeks so I haven't really been able to keep up with a lot of things.

    Yeah, I came to the same conclussion about transcoding being the problem. Which is why I've been looking into getting some sort of streaming box. With my current Steamlink I've been able to watch movies through that from my PC, but 4k movies stutter. I'm assuming that that hardware in the link is just not powerful enough for it.

    I've decided to give the NVIDIA Shield a try, so I'll be looking for a good deal on that. From what I've read and seen on YouTube, it should do the trick for me quite nicely.

    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll give it a whirl.
     
  31. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    I didn’t think the Steamlink supported any more than 1080
     
  32. NWRMidnight

    NWRMidnight Limp Gawd

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    I just saw this topic, so I may be a little late to the party.

    I went thru the same problems a the OP, and learned that 4k HD direct steams can hit as much as 600Mbps over your local lan using Plex, with most averaging 350Mbps to 450 Mbps direct streaming/direct play. I have 2 4k samsung tv's, that have 100Mps ethernet, they would buffer like crazy, in fact, wifi worked better because it would connect at 190Mps.. I tried my Tivo Bolt as it has a 1Gbps ethernet, and it would still buffer. But that is a Tivo problem and their poor support with the Plex app as well as not utilizing the connection built into the Tivo. Netflix as well as most 4k content you steam off the internet is extremely compressed and only uses about 25Mbps.

    What I ended up doing, is getting a Nvidia Shield. Problem solved, and it supports 7.1 Atomos /DTX passthru to my AVR. It has a 1Gbps Ethernet, and it properly uses it, unlike the Tivo.

    If you want to see if you are suffering from the same thing, log into your computer browser to your plex server, click, on status, and look at the bandwidth being used while trying to stream your 4k movie to your tv or which ever device you are using, as well as checking to see if it is transcoding or direct streaming..

    As for using H.264 or H.265, that has nothing to do with streaming it to your device other than it being able to decode it, and compressing it to take up less space on your hard drive. But it's bitrate it is encoded at, or compressed at using H.264/H.265 or it's original bitrate on the DVD has zero to do with streaming bitrate. (I use to believe it shouldn't stream any higher than what the video was encoded at, but I learned thru a lot of reading and education, that they are not the same, hence why it can hit 600Mbps and averages around 350Mbps to 450Mbps when streaming from your Plex box) All my 4k Movies are direct 1:1 rips, no compression used.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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  33. NWRMidnight

    NWRMidnight Limp Gawd

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    The Nvidia shield will be the best route to go.. (see my comment above)
     
  34. Orddie

    Orddie 2[H]4U

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    Apple hater

    https://www.apple.com/apple-tv-4k/specs/

    Has g-bit network
     
  35. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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  36. Ayoralyn

    Ayoralyn Limp Gawd

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    Never too late to the party. I appreciate your comment. I'm glad to know there's a real chance the Shield will solve my issues. I'll definitely check out the thing with PLEX beforehand though, thanks for the suggestion.
     
  37. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    265 is a necessity for 4k, unless you want 200gb movie rips.
     
  38. Orddie

    Orddie 2[H]4U

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    sure. i can walk ya though it.

    Original post saying apple 4k TV does not have gbit networking
    My response to that the claim

    giving confirmation the device does have gbit networking. hopefully i did not miss anything.
     
  39. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Except I never said that, in fact if you click the hyperlink in the post you said is mine, it takes you to my actual post:

    In my post, I specifically state that it does have an gigabit ethernet port.
     
  40. sKiDmArK

    sKiDmArK 2[H]4U

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    I think it's already been confirmed and the OP ordered a shield, but last time I checked, that was the best choice for UHD Blu-ray rips.

    Using Plex, I direct play UHD BD .mkv's from NAS -> Shield. The only caveat with the shield or any android device is that if you do not have a Dolby Atmos receiver to bitstream HD audio in this codec, you'll need to use the AC3 track for direct play. Otherwise it will transcode the audio. This isn't specific to UHD/4k rips, it's the same with normal 1080p blu ray rips as well. Before the shield I used NUCs & PMP which could decode Atmos when not bitstreaming.

    Other than that, the shield is great. The Android UI was super dated for Plex, but they have a PlexPass update that makes it a bit more modern, which is in line with their other client interfaces.
     
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