ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

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ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby SwitchbladeHD » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:15 pm

I have read in many other forums, Plex for noe, that the Roku 2 cannot play mkv files at 1080p very well. Most report that the playback is jerky at best.

What is being done to resolve this (firmware updates or what)?

I wanted to purchase one but I mainly watch mkv files and always at 1080p, so this is a must for me.
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby Gilgamesh » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:29 pm

While a Roku "can" play local content that is NOT what it is designed to do and it does it only moderately well.

If your need is to be able to "mainly watch mkv files" then there are other devices that do that MUCH better.
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby SwitchbladeHD » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:33 pm

Gilgamesh wrote:While a Roku "can" play local content that is NOT what it is designed to do and it does it only moderately well.

If your need is to be able to "mainly watch mkv files" then there are other devices that do that MUCH better.



Like what? I've been looking for a media player for a while. There is very little to choose from that works out of the box and supported. Almost everything out there is a hack job, and even then most do not have Plex, which is my prefered gui. I have a pch a-300 that plays them just fine, just no Plex. A mac mini will do everything, if you don't mind parting with $500.

I was hoping this ruko thing would do the job because it supports Plex out of the box. Too bad.

The search continues....
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby DerekHelps » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:39 pm

If your Plex Server is on a very beefy computer, you may have success with the 1080 transcode to the Roku player. We dont have any issues with 720p, but we dont bother with anything more than that (Server is on a 6gb i3 laptop.)

My suggestion, try it, check to see if it does what you want, if not, utilize the 30 day money back guarantee.
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby Gilgamesh » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:17 pm

SwitchbladeHD wrote:Like what? I've been looking for a media player for a while. There is very little to choose from that works out of the box and supported. Almost everything out there is a hack job, and even then most do not have Plex, which is my prefered gui. I have a pch a-300 that plays them just fine, just no Plex. A mac mini will do everything, if you don't mind parting with $500.

I was hoping this ruko thing would do the job because it supports Plex out of the box. Too bad.

The search continues....


The WD Live and related WD devices stream local files in many, if not most, formats including MKV.

There are other devices as well, Popcorn hour and Boxie come to mind, but the WD devices are the ones I have experience with and I know they work well.

BTW: I use my Roku with either Roksbox or Chaneru to play all my local files but I have all of them in mp4 format and that means I do not have to deal with transcoding issues. Neither of those put any real load on the serving computer (Roksbox uses Apache as well as others) Of course there is the issue of conversion but Handbrake has a rather nice batch ability as does Freemake so conversion just becomes a "Set it and forget it" process.

Roku does not natively handle most formats but it does work if there is a server providing files in the proper format. It is just not the best solution if all you watch is local content.
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby martytoo » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:54 pm

Sorry to move this topic in a slightly different direction. Do any of the ROKU apps work well in playing local hard drive stored FLAC files? I know that this is a video thread and thus apologize for the drift.
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby cwniles » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:00 am

martytoo wrote:Sorry to move this topic in a slightly different direction. Do any of the ROKU apps work well in playing local hard drive stored FLAC files? I know that this is a video thread and thus apologize for the drift.


As far as I know, the roku only supports AAC and MP3 audio. If there is an channel/app that allows playback of FLAC files, I am unaware of it. When you say "local hard drive" I am assuming this means one connected via USB.


this thread is somewhat relevant viewtopic.php?f=34&t=51406
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby scyber » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:26 am

martytoo wrote:Sorry to move this topic in a slightly different direction. Do any of the ROKU apps work well in playing local hard drive stored FLAC files? I know that this is a video thread and thus apologize for the drift.



Plex will transcode FLAC and stream it to the Roku. But that requires the harddrive to be connected to a computer with Plex installed. I"m not sure if you meant connected to the computer or connected to the Roku by "local harddrive".
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby scyber » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:45 am

SwitchbladeHD wrote:I have read in many other forums, Plex for noe, that the Roku 2 cannot play mkv files at 1080p very well. Most report that the playback is jerky at best.

What is being done to resolve this (firmware updates or what)?

I wanted to purchase one but I mainly watch mkv files and always at 1080p, so this is a must for me.


Plex plays 1080p mkv's very well for me (see Notes below however). The smoothness of the playback depends on the power of your computer and the exact specifications of the video in the mkv file itself.

Basically Plex has 3 ways to play video files:
  1. Direct Play: If the file is in a format that the Roku natively supports and the video/audio codecs are within specs, Plex will stream the file as is. This is the simplest method of streaming and uses the least CPU power. Unfortunately the Roku only supports MP4 files currently with this method. MKV's are supported via USB only and result in flakey (at best) behavior when streaming via HTTP.
  2. Direct Streaming: If the file is in a format the Roku does not support, but the video/audio codecs are supported by the Roku, Plex will simply "remux" the file into a HLS stream. This doesn't require that much cpu power, but it is a bit more then Direct Play.
  3. Transcoding: If the file is a format the Roku does not support and the video/audio codecs are not supported by Roku, Plex will transcode the audio/video and package it into an HLS stream. This is the most cpu intensive and depending on your exact setup may require a very powerful machine.

#2 & #3 are not mutually exclusive. Plex will transcode the video but not the audio if the Roku natively supports the audio. Or vice versa.

NOTES: There are a few issues with Roku/Plex for high quality movies:
  1. The Roku2 outputs 1080p60. Which means 1080p24 movies may seem slightly juddery. I personally don't notice it, but some videophiles complain about it. This is a current limitation of the Roku2, not specifically a Plex issue though.
  2. There is a bug with 5.1 sound over HLS. It was working fine, but at some point an update was pushed (not sure if it was on the Roku or Plex side) that caused 5.1 over HLS to cause issues for many users. The Current workaround is to configure Plex to stereo. The Plex guys are working with Roku to try and resolve the issue.
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby SwitchbladeHD » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:08 am

scyber wrote:Plex plays 1080p mkv's very well for me (see Notes below however). The smoothness of the playback depends on the power of your computer and the exact specifications of the video in the mkv file itself.

Basically Plex has 3 ways to play video files:
  1. Direct Play: If the file is in a format that the Roku natively supports and the video/audio codecs are within specs, Plex will stream the file as is. This is the simplest method of streaming and uses the least CPU power. Unfortunately the Roku only supports MP4 files currently with this method. MKV's are supported via USB only and result in flakey (at best) behavior when streaming via HTTP.
  2. Direct Streaming: If the file is in a format the Roku does not support, but the video/audio codecs are supported by the Roku, Plex will simply "remux" the file into a HLS stream. This doesn't require that much cpu power, but it is a bit more then Direct Play.
  3. Transcoding: If the file is a format the Roku does not support and the video/audio codecs are not supported by Roku, Plex will transcode the audio/video and package it into an HLS stream. This is the most cpu intensive and depending on your exact setup may require a very powerful machine.

#2 & #3 are not mutually exclusive. Plex will transcode the video but not the audio if the Roku natively supports the audio. Or vice versa.

NOTES: There are a few issues with Roku/Plex for high quality movies:
  1. The Roku2 outputs 1080p60. Which means 1080p24 movies may seem slightly juddery. I personally don't notice it, but some videophiles complain about it. This is a current limitation of the Roku2, not specifically a Plex issue though.
  2. There is a bug with 5.1 sound over HLS. It was working fine, but at some point an update was pushed (not sure if it was on the Roku or Plex side) that caused 5.1 over HLS to cause issues for many users. The Current workaround is to configure Plex to stereo. The Plex guys are working with Roku to try and resolve the issue.


Thanks, nice post! Direct Play is what I'm looking for. I have a solid Unraid server running PMS with no issues. I can stream / play MKV files over my LAN at 1080p all day with no issues, to several clients. Plex is what I'm trying to move to so I need a client that can accept Direct Play (your number 1), so it would be so great if Roku would update their unit to support more than just MP4. I think the main issue is your number 2 and 3 don't really work that well with the Roku, thus the issue.

I'm also aware of the Plex 5.1 issue, that even has impacted the Windows client version of Plex. The Plex guys really screwed that up IMO, so I don't think that is a Roku issue.

I may have to just give up on Plex and go with xbmc with a Linux OS, on a Intel NUC or zbox. While that is a custom build and a pain to dial in, they do work and play everything.
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Re: ruko 2 xs - plays mkv files at 1080p with sucess?

Postby philsoft » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:32 am

SwitchbladeHD wrote:[Plex is what I'm trying to move to so I need a client that can accept Direct Play (your number 1), so it would be so great if Roku would update their unit to support more than just MP4.


MP4 and MKV are not encoding types, they are just the wrapper. The video encoding type for Roku is h.264 which can be wrapped in MP4 or MKV. As long as the data is being served up fast enough, the Roku will play either just fine in my experience.
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