Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Plex Server on Rasp Pi

  1. Top | #1
    Elder Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Located 100 miles east of A in America
    Posts
    29,036
    Archived
    42,473
    Total Posts
    71,509
    Rep Power
    100

    Question Plex Server on Rasp Pi

    So, I've been struggling to get a stable setup for a media server. I put Plex on a laptop, but it is a Windows 7 box, and the stability was there sometimes. I looked online and sites were pretty happy about the possibility of a Plex Server on Raspberry Pi. And I have since learned you need to read every website, or look for troubles before making the leap.

    Not much money spent, Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (I was reading the 4's run hot with all the "power" they have, and I didn't want to risk that) and it works great on SD, 480i/p media... but 1080p, it just fumbles.

    From what I've learned in hindsight, Plex Server is fine at running stuff through, but the moment it needs to adjust anything, Raspberry Pi is useless. I have noticed that different devices work differently. The Fire Stick isn't great, the older Roku 2 (2016 or 2017?) was able to go from incapable of playing 1080p to playing it for a few minutes, then buffering. I managed that by rejecting Direct Stream (which is the exact opposite of what websites say), as with only Direct Stream... it wasn't playing more than a few seconds before buffering.

    So my confusion falls around confirming that the device being used to play is the issue. Some sites say the newest Rokus can handle this stuff. Some say Firestick sucks for this.

    My files are generally straight MKV from MakeMKV. Am I right with the presumption that the device streaming from the server is the weak link and if the right device is used, it can anything, at least in the Blu-Ray range of 1080p? Or is the Raspberry Pi incapable of managing the streaming of such far files (30 to 35 Mbps)?

  2. Top | #2
    Super Moderator Atheos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Heart of the Bible Belt
    Posts
    2,807
    Archived
    5,807
    Total Posts
    8,614
    Rep Power
    65
    My experience with Plex has been that the real trouble comes when it starts transcoding. I guess that's what you're referring to when you say "needs to adjust anything." If it's running on equipment with a strong enough GPU the transcoding happens so quickly it doesn't cause problems. The PI 4 runs circles around the 3 when it comes to graphics performance but I have no idea if that's going to be enough horsepower to deal with transcoding.

    Personally I use a Windows 10 Mini desktop with a decent half-height NVidia graphics card for my Plex server. It doubles as a DVR for OTA broadcast with MediaPortal and also serves up my copious movie and TV libraries, so there's a lot more going on there than just being a Plex server.

  3. Top | #3
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    29,358
    Archived
    96,752
    Total Posts
    126,110
    Rep Power
    100
    Realtime transcoding requires decent CPU power. Plex is bound to fall over if it doesn't have a beefy enough CPU.

  4. Top | #4
    Elder Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Located 100 miles east of A in America
    Posts
    29,036
    Archived
    42,473
    Total Posts
    71,509
    Rep Power
    100
    I wanted a smaller solution, the Pi is cheaper, for obvious reasons, and I believe more secure as well. It handles SD just fine, but I didn't rip 1080 MKVs to rerip into 480p. Though, as noted, I think it might be the Audio Codec which is causing issues, because for whatever reason I ripped Guardians of the Galaxy in 2 channel stereo, and I think they played fine.

    The question I have is does a newer Roku fix this problem as the device can handle the codecs in DirectPlay?

  5. Top | #5
    Super Moderator Atheos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Heart of the Bible Belt
    Posts
    2,807
    Archived
    5,807
    Total Posts
    8,614
    Rep Power
    65
    Curiosity got the best of me so I did a little digging and can vouch that if there is any need for transcoding the RPI will hold up like a jack stand made of Reynolds Wrap. Using a Roku will provide for better local play but the real bang behind a Plex server is not so much the ability to play its content on the local TV or monitor, it's the ability to access it from anywhere you have Internet access. I don't think you can do that with a Roku but maybe I'm wrong.

    Although Loren Pechtel is right about the CPU being Plex's main victim when it comes to transcoding, I read that newer Plex software (on specific systems) can take advantage of GPU capabilities to offload transcoding duties. Doesn't sound like the beefier graphics hardware in an RPI4 lets you cash in on any of that though.

    I never use my Plex server when I'm at my house, I just open the file directly with whatever equipment I want to play the file on. I only use Plex when I want to watch some of my content and I'm away from home (using my tablet or even my phone).

  6. Top | #6
    Elder Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Located 100 miles east of A in America
    Posts
    29,036
    Archived
    42,473
    Total Posts
    71,509
    Rep Power
    100
    Quote Originally Posted by Atheos View Post
    Curiosity got the best of me so I did a little digging and can vouch that if there is any need for transcoding the RPI will hold up like a jack stand made of Reynolds Wrap. Using a Roku will provide for better local play but the real bang behind a Plex server is not so much the ability to play its content on the local TV or monitor, it's the ability to access it from anywhere you have Internet access. I don't think you can do that with a Roku but maybe I'm wrong.
    There is a setting for how to send out to exterior sites. If that is set to directplay (if available), then it can work (in theory), but you need to a good Internet connection to do that. Otherwise, it puts a limit on the file streaming, which means transcoding the file.

    My real goal is to be able to use it at home. I've done the Kodi thing, but it requires a couple extra steps. I was impressed with how well Plex generally accepted most of the media.

  7. Top | #7
    Elder Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Located 100 miles east of A in America
    Posts
    29,036
    Archived
    42,473
    Total Posts
    71,509
    Rep Power
    100
    I have hooked the Roku Premiere 4k device and it appears it can handle the H.264. Just about all of my ripped 1080i/p stuff can play. Half Blood Prince isn’t though, it isn’t H.264. Need to set it as original for the stream.

    Sucks the Firestick can’t handle it, but the Pi pops up on my Vizio, so I probably can just go directly through it.

  8. Top | #8
    Elder Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Located 100 miles east of A in America
    Posts
    29,036
    Archived
    42,473
    Total Posts
    71,509
    Rep Power
    100
    My experience is odd. Was playing Firefly on the Firestick in HD, and I'm not certain why that was working, as other 1080p was requiring transcoding. I need to double check the codec. The Roku Premiere plays everything quite nicely except the first Harry Potter films which are the VC1 Codec.

    Took a couple tries to fully load the Metadata, but it worked.

    So, as long as you have newer Roku equipment to stream from, RaspPi 3+ works very well as a media server, at least locally. My interest in out of home streaming is limited. Now I need to fix episodes for a few shows that aren't labeled in the correct order. First world problems.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •