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  1. I recently bit the bullet and replaced my old analog tv with a so-called Smart Roku TV.
    Only to learn that the built-in Roku Media Player is extremely limited.

    It seems to be most happy with h264 video coupled with AAC, AC3 or MP3 audio in MKV, MP4 or MOV containers.

    I have hundreds of AVI files that I tried to convert with an AVI2MKV tool, only to find it produced silent movies. It converted the audio to vorbis which ROKU doesn't recognize. It took over 10 days to process my first batch. Dumb me for not testing a sample first and assuming MKV was MKV and that is all that mattered. I have since learned.

    MakeMKV works well for converting my library of DVDs as it allows me to specify a ROKU compatible audio codec but when I tried to run these MKV (h264,ogg) files through it, it ignored the vorbis audio and output only video.

    I noted handbrake had an option to pass selected audio formats through without reencoding. I don't see any option to pass the video if it is already h264 format but that would be great if I can find an ap to do that too.

    Based on my limited knowledge, I think I'd prefer MKV over MP4 if I can get an ap that will make ROKU-compatible MKV files.

    Is there an app that will bulk convert my video file archive to h264(AAC,AC3,MP3) and recode the video and audio only if needed to save time?
    Last edited by BugMagnet; 26th Dec 2015 at 16:17. Reason: coherency
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    To correct the MKV files with Vorbis audio you could use AviDemux, which has the ability to copy/pass through the video. Convert the audio to AAC or AC3. Make sure to use the MKV muxer and be certain to name your new file with an .mkv file extension. TEST the output files and make sure they are working in your Roku and there are no audio/video sync issues.

    For conversion of the rest, I like Vidcoder, which is easy to use for batch encodes, but it is based on Handbrake, so I don't believe it can pass through the video.

    I don't know of a program that will be able to recognize that your original file might have a compatible audio or video stream and choose not to re-encode it when going to MKV.
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  3. Thanks, I'll look into aviDemux. I had tried popcorn and it seemed to work on my already converted files however I think I am going to change directions. I had a huge batch of .avi files that I ran through an avi2mkv converter which as I said output audio in vorbis. Converting vorbis to AAC would likely degrade the audio somewhat, especially if the original .avi file already had a ROKU-compatible format like AAC, AC3 or MP3 which could be passed thru without conversion into an MKV container.

    I am using vidcoder now (but not new beta released 6 hours ago). I see it is based on handbrake which does allow selective audio pass-through but I am not sure if vidcoder supports that option. And I can't see either as of yet supporting a similar conditional video pass-through.

    What would be ideal for me would be functionality that would examine the source and pass-through any video and audio that is already in a ROKU-compatible format and just repackage these in an MKV (or MP4) container. So if an .avi file already contains h264 video and AAC audio, just repack as an MKV without any reencoding.
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    VidCoder does have audio pass through. Settings-->Audio tab-->Codec.

    As to your ideal program, as I said, I don't know of one that will work automatically for you.
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  5. I see it has audio pass-through however it appears it is limited to a single codec. Handbrake allows selecting multiple from any of 5? codecs

    I need to research muxers more as that seems to be the function needed.
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    Pass through means that the original audio, no matter what codec used, will be put into the new video. The original audio will be used, untouched.

    If your original avi files have the codecs you want, you could use MKVToolnix GUI to make MKV files from them, with nothing changed but the container. But you would have to determine what was in the original files yourself. MKVToolnix won't pick and choose, it will simply change the files from avi to MKV.

    If you don't know what the original files use for audio and video codecs, you can examine them with MediaInfo, but again, this is a manual process.
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  7. Both handbrake and vidcoder support conditional passthrough, though it appears to me that handbrake offers a more sophisticated, flexible approach, i.e.:

    Allow passthrough {x} MP3 {x} AAC {x} AC3 {_} DTS {_} DTSHD Fallback {AC3} for others
    As far as I can tell, vidcoder will only passthrough the format selected for output if that option is enabled.

    As for the manual processes, that might be tolerable for a few files but for hundreds/thousands an automated batch process is necessary for me to maintain some semblance of sanity.

    The logic seems simple...just needs some capable programming/scripting:

    if file is AVI or MKV or MP4 or MOV open/examine contents
    if video = h264 or x264 passthrough else transcode video to x264
    if audio = AAC or {x} AC3 or {} MP3 or {} DTS passthrough else transcode audio to AAC
    repack as MKV or MP4 (264/AAC) as desired
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    my take on this is .. too much work to reconvert everything again
    i use a media player, to play videos off a hard drive to my TV via hdmi
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  9. If it has Roku then you can install Plex on both the television as well as your computer and stream everything through Plex to your television.

    https://plex.tv/downloads

    Or use a media player as theewizard suggested. If you thought the television would play OGG audio, then you're in way over your head.
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  10. Besides the extra upkeep, energy use (carbon footprint et al) and expense of running a computer side-by-side the tv, Using a portable USB HD/SSD makes more sense for this use and saves more cents. A 2TB ext HD can contain a couple thousand full length movies and keep the family occupied for the next few years
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    you got to use the PC to convert them aka use carbon foot print energy
    to the format the tv roku will play, then copy to the external drive

    the TV roku app is a gimmick, to get you to buy the TV
    just get a real hardware media player copy all the 'unmodified' mp4 mkv files to a HD and plug the drive into the media player
    forget the roku app on the the tv
    you won't have to mess with altering/trans-coding all those video files to match the SPECS for the TV app, most will play 'as is' at better quality
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  12. Yes, there is an initial cost of conversion. But by saving the product of conversion to a portable device, it need not be incurred over and over when being reviewed.

    That aside, learning a little more about the process and tools of transcoding, remuxing and the like has been beneficial and enable other projects.

    This discussion has been very helpful. Thank you all again.
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  13. Originally Posted by theewizard View Post
    you got to use the PC to convert them aka use carbon foot print energy
    Right. I didn't much get the point of his comment either.
    the TV roku app is a gimmick, to get you to buy the TV
    I wasn't talking about a Roku app on a television, although that's how BugMagne is doing it so I wouldn't, at this point, criticize him for getting the television. I have a Roku 3 which is a little box hooked up to the television and through which I can stream about any video file from my computer though its Plex channel, and also available are something like 1000 other channels (aka 'Apps'), some of which require a subscription (Hulu Plus, NetFlix, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, etc.), most of which are free. You can also play video files directly from a USB device plugged into the Roku 3, but they have to have very specific characteristics and are, in my opinion, a waste of time to reencode. I love the thing and don't consider it a 'gimmick' at all. And there are many others here that feel the same way. Even on a television Roku is very worthwhile.
    Last edited by manono; 15th Jan 2016 at 13:55.
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    You can also play video files directly from a USB device plugged into the Roku 3, but they have to have very specific characteristics and are, in my opinion, a waste of time to reencode. I love the thing and don't consider it a 'gimmick' at all. And there are many others here that feel the same way. Even on a television Roku is very worthwhile.
    exactly the point i'm trying to make
    a dedicated hardware player, whether is a ROKU or something else
    will play a lot more formats, no recoding needed, and if your roku 3 has plex, and can play even more formats, all to the better
    He is limited to what the roku APP will play and wants to recode everything,
    to much work for me, spend a few $$ more for a Hardware player and be done with it
    put some files on the a USB drive and watch them

    I recently bit the bullet and replaced my old analog tv with a so-called Smart Roku TV.
    Only to learn that the built-in Roku Media Player is extremely limited.

    It seems to be most happy with h264 video coupled with AAC, AC3 or MP3 audio in MKV, MP4 or MOV containers.
    Last edited by theewizard; 16th Jan 2016 at 11:23.
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    This is the program I use to convert avi, mkv etc to mp4 so I can play on the Roku:

    Video container switcher GPL
    Changing format video without re-encoding with FFMpeg

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/containerswitch/

    So far it has worked great for me.
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  16. I found this thread at this place since I had the below problem:

    I own a Roku 2 and I love the clean interface, so, I have this external HDD with lots of movies, pics and files. Lately, some videos were playing ok but no audio, after tons of research i found that, despite the format mkv or mpeg or mp4, the issue was the number of audio channels... Roku somehow is not able to play 6 channels audio.
    So, the solution to all my problems were this free cool program called AviDemux. This program takes your file, copy the video as it is (no degrade, it goes through thhe very same quality) but it enables you to change the audio, in my case, turn a 6 channels audio to Stereo (which I can live with).

    Many thanks to all of you guys writing here, I hope this little contribution of mine helps someone else later.
    Cheers.
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