Greetings to all,
This is my first post, so if I flub accepted form, or protocol, please advise me of same so I may correct it in future.
Question/problem: I have a Roku 3. It works very well with all streaming channels to which I subscribe. Wanting to expand streaming to include downloads and other files on my computer, I installed Plex Media Server. PMS has a number of defects and deficiencies, as I'm certain many of you already know about, but in my experience with it, it is often sorely confused. It fails to catalogue files definitely on my computer, incorrectly identifies music files, for instance, as movie ones, misnames files, displays totally unrelated posters for files that then require a one by one search to locate, displays files not on my computer, does not save changes I make, despite assuring me it has, and so on. When a file is properly identified and selected, I must say, PMS works. I, a short while ago, installed the latest update. The confusion is worse than ever. I uninstalled the entire mess. By the way, after the application's built-in Uninstaller, there are left behind some 30,000 files, not to mention the hundreds of registry ones. Now the question: Is there an alternative media server, compatible with Roku, that does not require the sophistication of a technically proficient person to use? Thank you for your attention.
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I know that Roku comes with its own optional media player which you can install. It's not streaming though, but it's no cost. You would need to copy your files to a USB flash drive and physically attach that to the Roku. I know some people act like copying files to a flash drive is like being asked to give up a testicle, but I've found that at times it's often just easier to do that than to deal with streaming problems. Yes we know that Plex has deficiencies. I use it too - when it works. I think there is another type of streaming server that works on Roku that a few others here have mentioned but I don't remember the name. Hopefully they will join in and mention it.
Dunno of anything better than Plex for the Roku.
Yeah, it's a bastard when it misidentifies a file and your edits won't "take". Best in that case to move the file to another, unshared location and rescan the database, then delete the "trash". That removes the bogus data. Then carefully rename the file, paying attention to the recommended syntax. If it's a movie for which there's an original *and* a remake (Red Dawn, Conan the Barbarian, etc), append the year to the title. Then move it back and rescan. This won't invariably solve the problem, just reduce its incidence. For really stubborn ones, you have to delete *all* the bogus fields (director, year released, everything) and re-enter.
I have nearly 600 movies cataloged, plus a helluva lot of captures, documentaries, music. It took a few hours to fix everything, but it's done. Again, it helps to follow the recommendations on the Plex website on naming conventions and syntax. I have since then resisted the temptation to update. I did that once early on and what little editing I had done to that point was screwed.
Really, if you have a Roku3, why not use a flash drive as mentioned, or a powered external hard drive? That is, if editing your database is too onerous.
Plex Media Server works very well, it's just setting up your database that's the pain in the ass. BTW, for anyone else reading this, don't pay for the Plex channel on the Roku. Use the nearly identical and free RARflix channel. (Search for it).Pull! Bang! Darn!
My thanks to both of you for your helpful replies, including the commiseration. Yes, indeed, the USB option is one I've used often, particularly prior to installing Plex. It is, to be sure, far less convenient than scrolling to a file in Plex, choosing to play it, then, watching it. That is, IF the file is there, uncorrupted, properly titled, etc., etc. The limitations Roku media channel imposes are, in my non-expert opinion, almost arbitrary, except, as some other posters have suggested, Roku intentionally makes it so, not because of any technology challenges, but for bait to lure buyers to the "new" version that will, presumably, have fewer format limitations. With Roku, the audio and video both, must conform to what's allowed, or the file might be watchable with no sound, or listenable with no picture. Clearly, there is no way to do any of this without some sort of finagling, since the retail software has a way to go to enable rank amateurs with no more aptitude than cable users, to find convenience and happiness. The dream of selecting a file, wherever it's stored, pressing "go" and have it stream to one's TV, or wherever, remains just that, a dream. Thus far, in our world, there's always a middle man, and if his agenda is different from yours, he'll get his cut before you can get what you want. I'm not suggesting that's evil, just far too prone to self-serving manipulation and control by other than you.
I'll take a look at fritzi93's suggestion to investigate RARflix. Except for here, I've not come across it.
What do you more learned and facile members think of the Google system?
We have very few people who bought Google TV. Many of us bought one of various Western Digital models years ago. The more recent models do streaming over wifi. I bought Roku not to stream from my PC but specifically to watch certain internet channels or stream from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc. to my TV. The fact that Roku can play files via Plex or its own media player is just a bonus - it has nothing to do with why I bought Roku to begin with.
I can't comment in Western Digital streaming because I have a first generation player that can't do that. It still meets my needs although I do have to copy files to USB flash drives and play from those, but I'm OK with doing that.
I don't stream songs but I've had none of the problems mentioned in this thread. In the rare instance that Plex doesn't find a movie or television show in the IMDB database, it still shows and plays it. My only gripe (and it's very minor) is that the theme music it plays for television shows is way louder than the audio for the shows themselves. Oh, and I have to convert movies with DTS audio to AC3, but that's also minor. I find it complements the Roku3 very well and I love them both.