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playing music files

My digital music player died, and I want to switch to Roku.  My Express+ has no USB port for my external drive.  Also, my external drive has 300GB of ALAC files.  Some questions:

  1. Roku advertises it can play FLAC files; can it also play ALAC files, as it's the same idea?  If not, are they easy to convert?  Any downgrade in quality?

  2. The Ultra has a USB port, right, and I can connect my external drive?

  3. Should I forget the Ultra, and just copy my files onto a new WiFi external, that will work with my Express+?

  4. Can I search for artists, titles, albums, and genres, using the Roku app on my phone's alphanumeric screen?
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38 Replies
atc98092
Level 13

Re: playing music files

I don't use the USB ports in any of my Rokus, instead relying on a DLNA server on one of my computers. I do happen to have a USB plugged into my 4 at this time, so I fired up the app on my phone and connected. I can't see any way to search for media, although there is a voice search function that I'm unsure how it works. The app does allow playing media on my phone through the Roku, but that's not what you are looking for.
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When you have a USB device plugged in, you use the Roku Media Player to access the media. RMP has no search function, so it is at the mercy of folder layout and file naming to find titles. I suggest instead using some sort of DLNA server connected to your home network. This of course means leaving something powered up at all times, unless you are willing to only turn it on when necessary. 
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With most DLNA servers, you don't have to worry if your media is in a container or uses a codec that Roku doesn't support. Most servers can transcode the media to a Roku supported format. If the media is supported, it will be streamed without alteration. Also, depending on the media, you might transcode the video but leave the audio intact, or vice versa. Also, with most DLNA servers you can create playlists, which provide a personal created list of media that plays in the order you desire, and only the titles you want. This requires advance work of course, and can't build you something on the fly. 
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Here's a link to a Roku support page that explains what containers and codecs are supported. 
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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RokuDale
Level 8

Re: playing music files

the alac codec is supported, what is the file extension?
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Re: playing music files

ALAC file extension is .ALAC

So, I can plug my external drive into a Roku Ultra?
Does Roku have a music file search on my iPhone app that can find songs using alphanumeric keyboard?
Does Roku have a music file search on my iPhone app that can sort songs by Artist, Title, Album, and Genre?
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: playing music files

I could find no search function on my iPhone app. It has a voice search function, but I have no idea if it searches local media or just things like Netflix. 
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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RokuDale
Level 8

Re: playing music files

alac is a codec and not a container. What program created them as .alac? They probably should be .m4a files.
.m4a files are recognized by the current RMP app, but .alac files are not
rokudale
0 Kudos

Re: playing music files

I think they are .M4A

So, I can plug my external drive into a Roku Ultra?
Does Roku have a music file search on my iPhone app that can find songs using alphanumeric keyboard?
Does Roku have a music file search on my iPhone app that can sort songs by Artist, Title, Album, and Genre?
0 Kudos

Re: playing music files

I think they are .M4A

So, I can plug my external drive into a Roku Ultra?
Does Roku have a music file search on my iPhone app that can find songs using alphanumeric keyboard?
Does Roku have a music file search on my iPhone app that can sort songs by Artist, Title, Album, and Genre?
0 Kudos
RokuDale
Level 8

Re: playing music files

I don't know of any app that does search on a usb drive. Maybe one of the other users that is using an app other than rmp can provide information.
rokudale
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Re: playing music files

OK, please tell me after I plug the USB drive into the Roku Ultra, what do I see onscreen, and how do I play songs?
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