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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Anonymous
Level 8

Video Encoding for the USB Channel

This thread is intended for discussion of how to encode or transcode content for use with the official Roku USB channel.

I'll get it started. We've had good success using handbrake (http://www.handbrake.fr) to encode videos into a playable format for the USB channel. Specifically, using the "Regular - High Profile" preset.

Some specifics about getting the most out of your videos:

  • MKV works well and we generally recommend it

  • While MKV supports embedded subtitles, our implementation does not. However, we do support srt files external to the video file. Simply name the SRT file with the same name (but as a .srt instead of .mkv or .mp4) and it will be played when the video is played

  • For audio in MKV , we simply play the first stream in the video. So, if you want 5.1, make sure you encode the 5.1 stream first in the file. Additionally, we don't downmix from Dolby Digital or DTS to analog stereo, so if you are not connected to a TV or Receiver with optical or HDMI, you'll want to pick a 2-channel stereo audio stream.

  • With MP4 files, we attempt to match the audio stream to your current preference. If you are set to 5.1, we will attempt to pick and pass through the first 5.1 stream present in the file. Otherwise, we'll play the stereo audio track, if present.

  • If your video is 1080 and your Roku is set to 1080p mode, simply make sure "1080p" is in the filename and the Roku will switch to 1080p mode when playing the file.

  • I'd recommend keeping the average bitrate below 8mbps or so with peaks no higher than 12 or 14mpbs


If you have problems with high-bitrate mkv ( peaks up to 15 or 16mpbs) , rest assured that an update is coming to help with this.
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323 Replies
rebkell
Level 7

Re: Video Encoding for the USB Channel

I hope you will support the .ts container. 90+% of my videos have been recorded with the HDPVR and they are all .ts files, they should meet all the other specs, h.264/ac3 and should fit in the recommended bitrate.
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kumasuki
Level 7

Re: Video Encoding for the USB Channel

"rebkell" wrote:
I hope you will support the .ts container. 90+% of my videos have been recorded with the HDPVR and they are all .ts files, they should meet all the other specs, h.264/ac3 and should fit in the recommended bitrate.

+1 I'm in the exact same boat with my HDPVR recordings.
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Roku XDS; DSM-520; HDX1000 w/1TB drive; Neuros; Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR; HDHomeRun; Vudu; VuNow HD; Boxee Box
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destructo
Level 7

Re: Video Encoding for the USB Channel

Thanks for the update and support with subtitles! I'll give it a try.
destructo
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dividebyzer0
Level 7

Re: Video Encoding for the USB Channel

"destructo" wrote:
Thanks for the update and support with subtitles! I'll give it a try.

While MKV supports embedded subtitles, our implementation does not.
Sounds like it tolerates, but does not show subtitles. for the moment...
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mwp2295
Level 7

Re: Video Encoding for the USB Channel

So for anyone that uses DVDfab to rip, here are the settings that worked for me to rip a regular(non BR) dvd into mkv format and play fine on the roku xds usb port.

After you select 'DVD Ripper' then 'to MKV', click edit in the lower right. Now, in the top right select 'generic.mkv.h264.audiocopy'. You should not have to change anymore settings, but just in case, here are the settings.

Fixed Bitrate: 802 kbps.
Split: No split
Framerate: Same as source
Deinterlacing: not checked
Audio Format: Same as source for all.

Additional tips...

I was originally running out of the roku with hdmi into a samsung plasma. I was getting no audio, I assume because the tv would not de-code the 6 channel surround sound. I had to run optical out into my surround sound system to get any volume.

Also for anyone using Roksbox for network streaming, here are my DVDfab settings for MP4 ripping that work for me.

Fixed Bitrate: 1500 kbps.
Split: No split
Framerate: Same as source
Deinterlacing: not checked
Audio Format: Bitrate: 128 kbps; Channel: Dolby Surround / ProLogic

Important for the mp4, It would not work for me with the default 802 bitrate for video, or for any other audio channel besides Dolby Surround / ProLogic.
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marsradio
Level 7

Re: Video Encoding for the USB Channel

I'd recommend keeping the average bitrate below 8mbps or so with peaks no higher than 12 or 14mpbs.


If you have problems with high-bitrate mkv ( peaks up to 15 or 16mpbs) , rest assured that an update is coming to help with this.



I guess I'm going to be the first one out here to express extreme disapointment at these bitrates. 8mbps is about standard for DVD. Why would a great box like this, which can support 1080p, only be able to handle an average of 8mpbs???

As I'm typing this, I have PremierePro crunching a test clip for me. Using 2 Pass VBR set at these limits, it's going to take 20 minutes for it to render down a 30 second clip of HD video! 20 minutes for 30 seconds. Do the math for a normal-length home video.

You say that an update is coming. What will this update yield? Peaks of 15 or 16mbps??? Can't it be more for those of us with HD video that we don't want to compress to a point that it really isn't HD anymore?

Please tell us there's hope...
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grommet
Level 7

Re: Video Encoding for the USB Channel

The brain surgeons at Apple use H.264 in .mp4/.m4v with two audio tracks, the first being Stereo AAC and the second being Dolby Digital 5.1. To play ball with Apple TV and get 5.1, this is how many encode their content... and it's playback compatible with other devices like iPhone 4, iPad, etc., too, since the stereo track is first.

Since the Roku can currently only play the first track, this content only plays in stereo and it won't output the Dolby Digital track. The Apple TV 2, on the other hand, automatically uses the Dolby Digital 5.1 track if you've set the player to output 5.1. So, my feature request: Similar behavior on the Roku, or just the ability to switch between audio tracks...

[Ooops. I didn't realize the limitation was with .mkv only... This is already implemented!]
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ApK
Level 7

Re: Video Encoding for the USB Channel

"marsradio" wrote:

I guess I'm going to be the first one out here to express extreme disapointment at these bitrates. 8mbps is about standard for DVD. Why would a great box like this, which can support 1080p, only be able to handle an average of 8mpbs???


Because an MPEG-2 DVD requires a HECK OF A LOT MORE bandwidth than an h.264 file for equivalent picture quality.
The Roku could not play a standard DVD image if it wanted to.

8 Mbps is more than enough for for 1080p, bluray-like video in this format.

ApK
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RokuMarkn
Level 7

Re: Video Encoding for the USB Channel

"grommet" wrote:
The brain surgeons at Apple use H.264 in .mp4/.m4v with two audio tracks, the first being Stereo AAC and the second being Dolby Digital 5.1. To play ball with Apple TV and get 5.1, this is how many encode their content... and it's playback compatible with other devices like iPhone 4, iPad, etc., too, since the stereo track is first.

Since the Roku can currently only play the first track, this content only plays in stereo and it won't output the Dolby Digital track. The Apple TV 2, on the other hand, automatically uses the Dolby Digital 5.1 track if you've set the player to output 5.1. So, my feature request: Similar behavior on the Roku, or just the ability to switch between audio tracks...


RokuPatrick's comment about playing the first audio track was specifically in reference to mkv files.
For MP4 files, the Roku behaves the same as your description of the Apple TV 2. If both AAC and AC-3 tracks are present in the file, it will play the AC-3 track if 5.1 is enabled, otherwise it will play the AAC track.

--Mark
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