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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tetrode
Level 7

Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

I've Googled 'til I'm cross-eyed but can't seem to find an answer to this question:  I recently acquired a TCL Roku TV.  Currently, my media library is on a 2TB portable USB HDD plugged into the TV's USB port. The on-board Roku Media Player can play the content just fine but the interface is primitive. I was hoping to be able to use the Roku Plex channel to access the content on the locally connected drive, but, with no Plex server running, that does not seem possible. In addition to the TCL TV, I also have a Roku Ultra in another room with another USB HDD and would really like to use Plex on that as well. Am I missing something?  Can Plex access a locally attached HDD sans server?

Any help/guidance would be very greatly appreciated.
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16 Replies
twiceover
Level 10

Re: Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

No.  You will need something acting as the Plex server.  The Plex app cannot play locally attached content.

If you have a lot of content, it would be worth setting something up since you have multiple TVs and hard drives.
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CParker
Level 7

Re: Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

Take a look at RoksBox. I've not used it, but the interface looks like it might be more what you're looking for. There are several "flavors". I'd guess you just go for RoksBox xStream.
It's in the channel store.
Chief Technology Officer, Barge Captain/mechanic/deckhand/dock hand, Cook, Lawn care and vehicle maintenance.
Yep.... I'm retired. :D
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theuser86
Level 7

Re: Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

The other option we are discussing in another thread here which I don't entirely recommend but you can try is:

Connect your HDD to your router and host a DLNA server on your router, the Roku Media Player channel can access the DLNA server to play content from your HDD.

This is of course provided you have a router with the ability to connect and host USB HDDs. My recommendation is just run a cheap Plex Media Server. Plex is great and has come a long way over the years.
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CParker
Level 7

Re: Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

Over the years I've found most routers are not very good DLNA servers. Kinda like those fax/scanner/copier/printer things Smiley Happy

And the Roku Media Player will work and find the router-based DLNA server and play the files (video and music) just fine. But you're still stuck with RMP's interface which the OP objects to as it really is quite primitive.
Chief Technology Officer, Barge Captain/mechanic/deckhand/dock hand, Cook, Lawn care and vehicle maintenance.
Yep.... I'm retired. :D
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theuser86
Level 7

Re: Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

"CParker" wrote:
Over the years I've found most routers are not very good DLNA servers.

I agree and this is exactly what I said in the other current running thread, but the OP is set on using their router, and also has tin foil hat syndrome with regards to Plex.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

As the others have replied, using Plex requires a Plex server. Same with Emby. The Roku Media Player is greatly improved when you use it with a DLNA server that provides metadata. Then you have something closer to Plex or Emby, but still not that feature rich. Another potential reason to use a DLNA server is having the ability to play media that the Roku itself doesn't support. Most DLNA servers offer transcoding, so you can play media without worrying about native support. 
.
Of course, the main disadvantage of a media server is that it has to always be powered on. If that power consumption isn't acceptable, then you're pretty much stuck with using RMP and connecting your hard drive. Someone else mentioned RoxsBox, I too have never used it, and from some things I've seen here on the forum it might be supported very well anymore. But it's at least something to look at. 
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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ghb51
Level 8

Re: Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

I use my routers dlna and RMP for watching my media throughout the house and actually prefer it to Plex, yeah the interface is nowhere as nice, but it's much faster, works great and the router is always on so I never have to deal with any problems waking up my Plex server (although I really can't remember when I had that problem last it's been so long), I still use Plex for watching outside my home network.
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ronfelder
Level 7

Re: Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

I use Plex and it's great. I have two 2Tb and one 4Tb drives connected to the plex server. I have tons of movies , tv shows and music connected to it. I also share with atleast some 10 people. They all love it. It's easy to install the sever software and set up the server. With it you get the cover art with a synopsis of the title. Hell tv shows even give you the theme music to the show. Again my pc is on 24 hours with a daily shut down to shake out any cob webs. It doesn't use that much power. I don't know how it compares to other apps that do the same thing I just know Plex is great for sharing media files of various types...
Roku 2xs (3100x), Roku Express (3900x) ,Roku Ultra (4660RW) .FIOS Quantum modem router, Verizon FIOS 100/100, LG HDTV 42LH90, Pioneer VSX-920 Audio/Video Multi Channel Receiver
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RokuDale
Level 8

Re: Plex Roku channel vs. locally attached HDD

@op Could you identify specifically which parts of the RMP UI is primitive? And please include any suggested changes. I'm keeping a wish list for future RMP development.
rokudale
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