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Emby Theater Stuttering on wifi Win10 Tablet


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Hi folks,


This weekend I've been having a blast troubleshooting assorted Emby minor issues. So far, so good, with just one left to go:


I've got a new windows tablet, and I would like to use it as a roving Emby client, within my home.  I'm a paid supporter; I've installed the latest Theater release from the web. After some hiccups due to server issues (now trouble-shot) I've got it basically working, and standard definition video is playing fine.


But any high def video (stored as MKV files on the Emby Server, standard h264 video with AAC or DTS non-high def sound) is super stuttery when played on the tablet through wifi via emby. My guess is that the effective connection speed of the wifi is somehow too slow and I'm requesting advice troubleshooting this.


Here are the basics of the situation:


1. The Emby Server is part of my HTPC which runs Emby through WMC. It's an older Windows 7 x 64 box, dual core Kuma processor, but it's fast enough for anything I've ever asked it to do. It has no problem handling watching 2 HD streams at once on wired connections.


2. The network in the house is all wired as gigabit including all switches. As far as access points go I've got the main router which is a Netgear WNDR4300 and a Linksys EA3500 as a supplemental access point.  Any wifi device connects strongly to either of these; I'm not doing anything in a fringe area.


3. Emby Theater works fine on my wired-Ethernet desktop PC (Windows 7 64 bit). No stuttering playing the content.


4. I've got an android tablet; the Emby app plays the HD content just fine (via wifi) no stuttering.


5. The new Win 10 tablet is a cheap thing (Nextbook Flexx 10, $100 at Walmart). However, it plays LOCAL media from it's SSD or a microsd just fine without stuttering if I run MPC-HC or some such. In other words, the tablet can render HD video fine.  It only stutters when playing via wifi.


So, with those as the basic facts, I did some troubleshooting:


A. Checked my Win 10 settings... what else is using wireless? As far as I can tell, nothing. I've disabled the peer to peer update scam MS uses, and the tablet is currently up to date so it's not feeling compelled to download anything new. I've turned off the telemetry that is under my control. In Task Manager, network usage rests at 0% unless I start doing something deliberate like streaming video.


B. If I go on the tablet to speedtest.net, my results are pretty variable. Full speed to the testing site depends on my neighborhood's traffic load, but typically I will see between 30 and 50 Mbps download speeds when testing from a wired computer, and when testing from the tablet, I often get 15-20 Mbps, which suggests the tablet's connection to the router is at least adequate for our purposes. Once in a while it is much slower (<5 Mbps), which worries me, though, because I can't explain it.


B. When I start Emby Theater on the tablet, I see a bit of network activity (in Task Manager),  under 1 Mbps, while it loads up. It quickly returns to zero. So far, so good. Let's say I play an episode of Hannibal (HD). I hit play. This is what happens: I get the circle animation which says it's starting. It will play fine for a few seconds, then start stuttering. Total Network usage per Task Manager will vary from 15% to 70%. I'll get a few spikes from System and Compressed Memory using a few Mbps of bandwidth. Interestingly, Emby Theater app (up at the top of Task Manager) will show 0 Mbps. However, Antimalware Service Executable (I'll call it ASE) is using on average 25 Mbps. Say what?  If I pause playback that ASE drops to zero Mbps.


C. If I try playing content on the server PC just using the tablet's Windows Video Application (Movies & TV), I see ~20 Mbps video usage by that application and it's super stuttery. No blips from ASE.


D. If I try to play content on the server PC just using the tablet and MPC-HC the MPC-HC app shows lots of network usage on the order of 30 Mbps and the video may or may not stutter. Let's say it's similarly stuttery as Emby Theater. No blips from that ASE thing.


E. Once in a while, Emby Theater plays the content just fine.


F. Just now I unpaused the video in Emby Theater and it plays fine for a minute or so, then starts stuttering. Total network usage per task manager's total at the top is around 30% (ranging from 15%-40%) and the ASE is showing 0 Mbps, as is the Emby Theater app. No idea why Emby Theater doesn't seem to be using network. Looking at the wifi Performance details, I see the usual spikes in bandwidth use, from 15-50 Mbps.


Any ideas how to troubleshoot this? I'm a bit out of my depth here.







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It sounds to me like your wifi isn't good enough to handle direct playing the files especially from your other tests.  Are you using the 5ghz band on that netgear router?  5ghz AC is great but the range on it is limited and that is even if your tablet there even has that band.  If you aren't using that band and your tablet can, try that first.


If you are using that band / your tablet doesn't have it then I would suggest force transcoding for that tablet.  You can do that in theater through a couples steps.  First you need to make sure you don't have any of your shared drives / folders mounted as network drives on your tablet.  If you do then theater will find them and play them directly.  If you absolutely need them to be mounted then make sure they are different drive letters than the drive letters you use on your actual server.  I believe that will prevent emby theater from finding them, but not 100% positive.


Then go into emby theater, go to settings, play back settings, General, and go to max streaming bit rate.  From there start playing with the settings until you find something your wifi can handle without too much quality loss.  This should force all your videos to be transcoded and you shouldn't see anymore stuttering... as long as your server is capable for transcoding.

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Thanks. This is excellent advice for troubleshooting. I will work through this during the week as time permits and report back.

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