Channel Issues & Questions

Help & troubleshooting for channels on your Roku device, including adding/removing channels, logging in to, authenticating, or activating a channel, channel-specific playback issues, assistance contacting channel publishers to report issues, and adjusting channel-specific settings.
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matteg
Level 7

Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

Can the soon to be released Ultra model play video files stored on a network storage device ?  I have a Western Digital MyBookLive ethernet connected disk drive and I'm looking for a player that can play mkv and avi files stored on it.

It's impossible to send this question to Roku support using their website help ... hopefully they monitor this forum.
Thanks 
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34 Replies
Nebo1ss
Level 7

Re: Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

This is from the ROKU web site for the spec on the ultra and it says i does


.https://www.roku.com/products/roku-ultra
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

Virtually all Roku players can do this. Install the Roku Media Player (RMP) app, and it will show any DLNA server on your network. 

There's a limit to the types of files that can be played without the server transcoding the file. RMP will play a MKV file (as well as MP4 and MOV), but the video must be encoded with the H.264/MP4 codec (the Roku boxes that support 4K also support H.265), and the audio must be in AC3/DD or AAC. If you are using an HDMI connection to a compatible AVR, DD and DTS will passthrough. Your AVI files will likely require transcoding. Your WD box may or may not have enough power to smoothly transcode the files. Only way to know is to try it.

One other option is to use Plex. Not sure of your WD box supports Plex, but you could always install Plex to a computer on your network and link to the files on your WD box. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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andyross
Level 10

Re: Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

The problem is that it only supports DLNA servers, not simple network shares. I've tried using DLNA, but find it hard to use than simply going directly to the folders. You can sort-of do that with DLNA, but I've found it to be rather cumbersome and slow.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

Might depend on the DLNA server itself. On the Roku, I find Serviio works quite well. The biggest issue is that they only provide a single profile that covers all Roku players, which means it's designed to work with the oldest and less capable boxes. I've built a new profile for the 4, and am experimenting with the Stick as well, since both of these have far better performance. For example, the older boxes pretty much max out at about 14-17 Mbps. Good enough for DVD quality, but not HD. The Stick I have measured streaming in excess of 70 Mbps, and the 4 is as good or better, so neither of them needs to throttle HD files. 

Anyway, back to using a network share. I'm sure it is possible to attach to a share, but the Roku has such limited codec support that people could get extremely frustrated when attempting to play back incompatible media. Using either DLNA or Plex resolves those issues, and allows a seamless media experience more in line with the other available viewing options on a Roku. Also, if you've ever tried attaching to network shares with other devices, you know how difficult it can be to work out permissions. That's something that most Roku users might not have the knowledge to resolve.
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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andyross
Level 10

Re: Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

I remember searching around, and didn't see anything about connecting to a standard SMB (Windows) share.I used to use it with my previous WDTV and a Windows 7 computer. For the most part, you just create the share with Everyone, read-only. There may be a Windows setting to not require passwords, so it can usually connect.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

Microsoft has tightened up network permissions, so even when I've granted rights like that I've still encountered issues. And I know my way around computers. 

I don't know of any current app/channel for a Roku to connect to a network share. Maybe someone has created a private channel, but none I'm aware of.
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Nebo1ss
Level 7

Re: Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

Again as per my comment number 2. The question was specifically with regard to the Roku Ultra and according to the copy of the spec i posted it does. 
It is also mentioned elsewhere on reviews. It is the only Roku device that directly supports USB media files and it lists the ones that are supported.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

"Nebo1ss" wrote:
Again as per my comment number 2. The question was specifically with regard to the Roku Ultra and according to the copy of the spec i posted it does. 
It is also mentioned elsewhere on reviews. It is the only Roku device that directly supports USB media files and it lists the ones that are supported.

I've searched that page, as well as some it links to. I can find nothing about connecting to network shares. Yes, it has a USB jack that would support an external hard drive or thumb drive, and we know using the Roku Media Player you can access DLNA servers, but nothing about network shares. can you reference where you saw it?
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Nebo1ss
Level 7

Re: Can Roku Ultra play media files from network share ?

Sorry my reading comprehension suffering today. I completely misread the question and was answering based on playing files from a USB drive as opposed to a network share.

My Bad.
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