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Mp4 vs Mkv


jhs39

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Is the Media Browser Roku app more likely to play a video file in Mp4 rather than Mkv?  I ask because I am coming across an increasing number of video files that will not play on the Roku app--actually the audio plays fine but there's no picture.  These same files play perfectly on Play On, VLC, Windows Media Player and the couple times I tried even on the web version of Media Browser.  It seems like the files the Roku app doesn't like are usually in the Mkv format.  On top of that I've noticed that if I have a file that plays fine on Roku Media Browser but where the subtitles won't play if I use Mkv Merge to remux the file so the audio stream is identified, the subtitle language is identified and the subtitles are flagged as default there is only a 50/50 chance that the resulting Mkv file will play properly on my Roku 3.

 

So my question comes down to--are there video or audio formats that Media Browser Roku likes better than others?  Is there a higher chance of compatibility with specific audio/video formats?

 

Joe Smart

Edited by jhs39
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The roku has a very specific way files need to be encoded in order to play properly. The Roku will play MKV perfectly fine. All my movies are in MKV format and all play on ROKU.  Some need transcoding, some don't. The ones that don't are due to the fact I re-encoded them to the proper video specs and added 2ch AAC audio.

http://sdkdocs.roku.com/display/sdkdoc/Encoding+Guide

Edited by A8HTPC
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The problem is that files that don't play on the Media Browser Roku app always play fine on the PlayOn Roku app.   Always.  Unfortunately PlayOn has a god-awful interface and I have never been able to get subtitles to work with it.  Since the files play on a different Roku App I think the issue logically has to be with Media Browser's app and not with general encoding guidelines for Roku, although PlayOn might simply do a better job of trans-coding video so it's compatible with Roku, in which case I guess you could be right..

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I don't think Roku video specs are the issue because Media Browser and PlayOn transcode videos that aren't compatible with Roku's native specs.  The link provided with Roku requirements doesn't list mkv as a compatible format but most of my mkv files play fine.  The requirements also list 2 channel audio only but most of my files have surround sound and play fine.  The issue is what Media Browser can and can't transcode for Roku but I'm not sure where to find that information.

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If your TV can play DTS and AC3 then you need to select surround audio then everything will play without transcoding. Most TVs these days will play AC3 and DTS. My LG TV have no issues with it.

Edited by Deihmos
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I have selected surround sound but the videos that don't play right in Media Browser's Roku app--the sound usually plays fine and the picture is black.  If I re-encode the video from Mkv format to Mp4 sometimes the file will play Ok on Roku.  Conversely when I've had AVI or Mp4 files that I remuxed with Mkv Merge so I had more control over the audio and subtitle flags (as recommended by a Media Browser administrator since subtitles don't work right unless everything is flagged properly) half the time the resulting Mkv file will no longer play in Media Browser Roku even though the original Avi or Mp4 file played fine.  It seems like Media Browser Roku has an issue with some Mkv files but I haven't been able to figure out what the difference is between the ones that play and those that don't.   

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