alfuraiji alfuraiji
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Weird transcoding situation with Plex

Posted July 15th, 2017    1080   1   transcoding plex appletv

Hi

I have been using the Gremlin Box since 4 days now everything is setup and working good but with one weird problem:

I use Apple TV 4th gen to watch all my Plex media library with 200 Mbps connection.

All TV shows are 1080p ( ~13mbps bitrate ) or 720 ( - 4mbps bitrate )

All my movies are 1080p Blurays (between 20-30 Mbps and some around 15-18 Mbps )

The whole library in MKVs & h.264

I had issues with streaming anything from the library at the beginning everything stops a lot ( client on original quality ), too much buffering! I changed the Plex server Transcoder quality from ( Prefer higher speed encoding ) to ( automatic ) it fixed it a little :/ then I thought maybe because I have Sonarr searching and adding, ruTorrent is working to downloading some files ( you know building a new server library )
I thought because of that the server is slow and yeah after all apps finished their tasks the streaming was perfect and fast !

but one weird problem remains which is streaming the movies the same thing ( with subtitles & without ) it stops a lot sometimes stuttering with 3fps :/ then I decided to change the remote streaming setting on the Apple Tv from Original to 20mbps 1080p and it worked! ( I didn't watch the movie/s I was just testing )

Today I decided to watch one of the movies ( no other tasks on the server no other streams just me ) The original file is 1 hr 57 min 1080p MKV 34 Mbps + subtitles. Watched it with the 20mbps settings everything was great and fast until I reached the minute 40 ! the streaming stopped then went back after ~15 sec with a lot of buffering and stopping I tried to change the settings to 12mbps instead of 20 and it didn't work :( then tried to change the server settings back to ( Prefer higher speed encoding ) and wait for 2 min then played the movie again at 20mbps and worked perfectly until the end !!

So what the hell happened ?! this ruined my watching experience and now I am afraid to watch long files again!

Do have a time limitation for the transcoding process?
Do you have weak servers? I don't think so because it worked for full 40mins!

I really wish that I can watch the original 20 & 30 Mbps files but I can't because the Apple Tv limitation I don't have a direct play enabled devices also I tried to optimize the files via Plex server it self for my Apple Tv but it's bad in terms of quality, speed and efficiency

So can you help with that?

3 Replies

tony
tony
Staff

From your description, to me it seems, that your bottleneck is your internet connection. Your ISP might advertise to you that you have 100 or 300Mbps of speed, but the truth is, that what matters in streaming, is the international peering quality of your ISP, between your location and our datacenter. It is not a matter of transcoding power, because as you say, once you lowered the streaming bitrate to 20mbps, it was fixed (so this is aproximately the speed your ISP can pull from our servers, which is not bad by the way)

As for your issue that your movie stopped for a while, and then resumed, i am not sure why this happened. It is rare, but some times we reboot our servers occasionally (normally once per 3 weeks) and that will take the server down for few minutes. Or possibly there was a network malfunction (either from your ISP or somewhere along the route towards us) that was resolved quickly. Networks are very fluid, and depend on other networks between your ISP and us, and so in rare occasions, speed might fluctuate.

I would not worry about that, unless it happens quite often. Consider that you are streaming through the internet, which is a very unreliable medium. It offers you huge flexibility, but it is not reliable. Even multi billion streaming companies like Netflix, can have issues like this from time to time.

alfuraiji

Well for the 20mbps you are right my max is 25mbps because I have 200mbps

But for the stopping issue it's still weird

My gremlin is Netherlands as you may know ( the closest to my country Saudi Arabia )
I tested my connection with a server in Rotterdam and here is the results ( http://beta.speedtest.net/result/6459147625 )

Anyway I will try to watch another movie later this week and check if the problem still exists or not

But final question can you tell me how much power that your servers give to each user ?
Can I reach 30mbps with Plex on a more powerful connection ? Can I do 4k above 30mbps too ?

Thanks

tony
tony
Staff

As i explained on my first reply, network speed has nothing to do with transcoding power. Network speed that you will get, depends on peering quality (which may vary between the hours of the day)

For a correct network speedtest, you need to select from speedtest.net, the location "Interactive 3D in Rotterdam", which is our datacenter. You might get completely different results between other locations in Rotterdam. Alternatively, you can try to download this test file and see what speed you can get: http://mirror.i3d.net/1000mb.bin

Transcoding 4k movies, that is a different story. There you need cpu power. And a Gremlin Box, is barely capable to provide. Although our servers are quite powerful, your plex server is limited to a predefined amount of cpu power, depending on your plan. Obviously as bigger then plan, the bigger the cpu allotment. A Gremlin Box has 5 cpu cores locked. You would probably need something like a Zombie Box (12 cpu cores). But to be honest, you will not be able to stream in 4k, as it requires minimum of 20mbps and usually 30mbps of network speed. So if your network speed is not enough to stream in that quality, there is no point in downloading 4k movies, and transcode them to lower bitrate. Just download them in the lower bitrate to begin with, so that the plex server can play them directly without any transcoding at all.