4K Streaming Solution - Samsung TV, Shield, Options

Dec 25, 2018
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Hi All.

I have a new TV; the Samsung NU8000, and it does not support DTS audio, among other things. I'm pretty new to all of this to be honest!

I would like to be able to display 4k content on this TV from my PC. This 4k content is often in HEVC format, with DTS audio only. I'm currently running a plex media server on my TV, but my PC is not powerful enough to transcode 4k over plex, so I often end up with buffering issues.

My current idea is:
PC Plex Media Server -> Plex Client Nvidia Shield -> AV Receiver -> Samsung TV and separate speakers

I'm assuming with this set up that the Nvidia shield would be able to direct play any content my PC provided, whilst the AV receiver would be able to handle the audio formats whilst passing the video to the TV.

I have a few questions here:
1) Would my idea work in the first place?

2) Is there a way I can do this without the AV Receiver, as this adds a lot to the overall cost.

3) What would be the best all-encompassing solution, allowing me to play the largest amount of content on my TV?

Thanks for any help folks!
 

eszed556

Estimable
Jan 28, 2016
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Looks like both files are identical when it comes to audio streams.

Buffering is usually caused by server hardware limitation (when transcoding) or network congestion.

1. What are your server specs?

2. What are the CPU and RAM utilization when playing the buffering file?

3. Have you switched between 2.4GHz and 5GHz and tested?

4. Is the audio clipping when the same file is played on the PC?

5. Forgive me for assuming, but are you playing the correct file? (the one you converted). Place it in a different folder and add it as a new library so that Plex reads the new version.

6. No harm in converting it again.
 

Dedicated HTPC. If transcoding I guess you just need a beefier box.

For audio, AVR, your control center for all audio from any source.
 

eszed556

Estimable
Jan 28, 2016
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I bought the same TV a month ago and ran into the same issue.

My Plex server runs on a Ryzen 2700, 16GB RAM and SSDs. However each time I played 4K content (around 50Mbps bitrate), the playback would buffer. The server would attempt to transcode it and you don't want to transcode 4K content - it just isn't the same thing.

Optimizing via Plex would lower the bitrate and overall quality, so that option was out.

I was going to spend CAD 190 on the NVIDIA Shield however, I opted for for the software route.

I removed all the extra audio streams via mkvtoolnix and created a new MKV. Took about 12 minutes. Samsung doesn't play well with multiple audio streams either. You need to remove the TrueHD audio stream along with the extra stuff - like commentary etc. You'll retain 5.1.

Now Plex does not transcode the content and direct plays 4K flawlessly without buffering.

Plex has recognized this issue. Samsung is unable to support the audio codecs. There may be a solution by Plex in the near future.
 
Dec 25, 2018
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Thanks for the replies, I hadn't considered the software approach. That's definitely a cheaper option, but it adds a fair bit more fiddling to the process.
 

eszed556

Estimable
Jan 28, 2016
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Its quite simple, its a matter of loading the MKV and selecting the tracks you want to remove.

However, I agree - its yet another step before you can kick back and enjoy the movie. Depending on the hardware it can take your PC 15 - 40 mins to prepare a new MKV. But it beats Plex's optimization tool.

Have you tried changing the audio tracks from the Plex UI on the TV while also disabling subtitles? Sometimes that will work depending on the file.

 
Dec 25, 2018
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I have two 4k files I'm using to test with at the moment. One of these direct plays quite happily when I change the audio track on the tv.

However, the other only has a DTS audio track, so I'm not able to change to a supported format. As you suggested, I took the software route and manually converted the DTS track into a supported audio format, which does lead to plex Direct Playing the file. However for some reason there is still a buffering issue with this file.

Also, if I enable subtitles on any content (which is required on some films) that triggers plex to transcode everything.

I've heard the nvidia shield can essentially direct play anything that is thrown at it, so I'm wondering if that would be a solution (albeit a more expensive one than the software only approach). Do you know if I am likely to experience any improvements taking this route? I.e. PC Plex Server -> Shield Plex Client -HDMI-> TV
 

eszed556

Estimable
Jan 28, 2016
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4,570
2
Subtitles are also tricky with Plex and can engage the CPU which can cause buffering. PGS subtitles cause issues. What worked for me w/o buffering is downloading and external SRT file and placing it in the same folder as the movie file (of course, after following a consistent naming scheme)

This page from Plex Support may shed some light https://support.plex.tv/articles/202822288-why-don-t-my-pgs-vobsub-subtitles-appear-for-transcoded-content/

Have you tried converting the audio to AC3? That works for me.

Yes, NVIDIA Shield is the convenient but costly solution. I haven't used it but heard and read countless positive experiences. I'm fairly certain it will solve all your problems.
 
Dec 25, 2018
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Thanks for the possible solution regarding subtitles - I'll give that a go at some point.

Yes, I converted the audio on my 4k file to AC3, removed all the subtitles and unused audio streams. It direct plays now, but as I said, for some reason it still seems to buffer every now and again.

 

eszed556

Estimable
Jan 28, 2016
10
0
4,570
2
1. Is the Plex transcoder kicking in when you play the 4K file? (Check Task Manager assuming you're on Windows)
2. Is the TV connected via Ethernet or wireless?
3. Does it still buffer when you're playing 1080p files?
4. Is there any particular 4K file that does not buffer or are they all buffering?
 
Dec 25, 2018
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1. No it doesn't look like it. The plex server activity window always displays "Direct Play" and there's nothing mentioning "transcoder" in the task manager.
2. Wireless, as other 4k files seem to work (see answer to 4) I don't think this is the issue...
3. No
4. It seems to be just a single file that buffers. (Although I only have two 4k files to test this with, so not a great sample size).

This one direct plays without any buffering issues (as long as I select the AC3 audio source): https://gyazo.com/8c5632fbfd9b43aec505be748e968733

This one has the buffering issues, and is the one I manually converted the DTS audio to AC3:
https://gyazo.com/3d6a6a3e53302b42655f258ddf3f5c16
 

eszed556

Estimable
Jan 28, 2016
10
0
4,570
2
Looks like both files are identical when it comes to audio streams.

Buffering is usually caused by server hardware limitation (when transcoding) or network congestion.

1. What are your server specs?

2. What are the CPU and RAM utilization when playing the buffering file?

3. Have you switched between 2.4GHz and 5GHz and tested?

4. Is the audio clipping when the same file is played on the PC?

5. Forgive me for assuming, but are you playing the correct file? (the one you converted). Place it in a different folder and add it as a new library so that Plex reads the new version.

6. No harm in converting it again.
 
Dec 25, 2018
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1. Intel Core i5-4670k @ 3.4GHZ, 12GB of RAM, Video is sitting on a Hard disk .

2. Sitting at around 3% to 11% CPU usage and 5.6GB ram usage whilst playing and buffering. These don't really change when the movie is stopped, so I'm pretty sure they're not being affected by it.

3. I've just disabled 2.4GHz on my router, forcing the TV to use the 5GHz connection, and that may have solved the problem!

4 & 5. I've been using a re-converted copy with fixed audio for all my tests, but that didn't solve the issue.

So in summary, I still haven't seen any buffering, I think you may have fixed it for me with the 5GHz suggestion! I'll mark it as solved and just hope that's the end of it.

Thanks very much for talking me through the diagnostic process!
 

eszed556

Estimable
Jan 28, 2016
10
0
4,570
2
5GHz has lesser interference and better speeds (although poorer signal reach) which means your 2.4GHz network was congested causing the buffering.

Later, please update this thread after testing with other 4K files, for peace of mind (mine). After all, we're still not sure why one 4K file wasn't buffering.

Happy to hear that your issue is resolved (hopefully, permanently). I can relate to your frustration - especially after purchasing a new TV.

Have a great 2019.
 
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