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Tempe44
Level 7

Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

I have a large collection of .wma format music files on my Windows 10 desktop and I play them using Roku Media Player on my Roku 3 attached to my Android TV.  After recently changing Internet providers and all that goes along with that, the Roku Media Player will no longer play .wma files.  It will play .mp3 files on the same server just fine.  When it attempts to play a .wma file, instead of playing the music it immediately skips ahead to the next song and continues that way through the album.  There are no error messages.  I can use the VLC app on the Android TV to play the .wma files from the same server with no problems.  Have tried deleting and reinstalling the Roku Media Player in hopes of getting the latest version, but that made no difference in the problem.  There is a specific reason why I need to be able to play these files using Roku Media Player instead of VLC.  Any idea what's going on?

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11 REPLIES 11\
atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

I don't use my Roku to play music, so I wasn't sure WMA was a supported type. Turns out it is. Here is the entire list of supported audio files and containers:

AAC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); MP3(.MP3, .MKV); WMA (.ASF, .WMA, .MKV), FLAC (.FLAC, .MKV), PCM (.WAV, .MKV, .MP4, .MOV), AC3/EAC3 (.MKV,.MP4. .MOV, .AC3), DTS (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV,.DTS), ALAC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV, .M4A), Vorbis (.OGG,.MKV,.WEBM)

The codec is listed first, with the containers supported for each codec in parentheses. I highlighted the WMA support. 

The Roku Media Player has not been updated in quite some time. I can't see any reason your WMA files should not play, but I have none to test with myself. The few audio files I have are all MP3 or M4A. It is very strange that the change happened after you changed ISPs. 

I don't need to remind you that your Roku 3 is either approaching 6 years old (model 4230) or 8 years old (4200). There's always the possibility that something within it is failing. It might be time to consider a replacement. I don't recommend the Express, so the closest model that matches your player would be the Premiere. If you require a wired network connection, the Ultra is the only player with one. And of course, there's always alternate brands, such as the Fire TV, Nvidia Shield (overkill for audio, but can play anything without transcoding), Apple TV (overpriced, but a good player), or any number of inexpensive Android based players that can be found online. 

Dan

Roku Community Streaming Expert

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Tempe44
Level 7

Re: Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

Probably not a bad idea to get a later Roku and will probably do that.  However, after 5 hours of continuous testing, I've found a solution to my issue with .wma files.  Learned a new fact: Whether or not the Roku Media Player can play .wma files depends upon the server being used (and some other still unknown factors).  I downloaded several of what are supposed to be the best DLNA servers and found them all lacking in this area until I got to the Mezzmo server.  That one has obviously been created by someone NOT a teenage coder and it has the best setup and user interface I've run across yet.  It installs like any other well-done Windows application and mapping your music locations to its library structure is very straightforward and actually works as you'd like it to.  Thus far, both VLC and Roku Media Player can see the server on the network and play both .wma and .mp3 files just fine.  For reasons unknown, some of the other servers could not be discovered on the network even though they had been setup properly.  Roku Media Player remains my favorite, as its operation is logical and other family members can use it without my assistance. 

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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

Did you test Serviio for a DLNA player? I am the author of the Roku profiles that come with it, but I will honestly admit to virtually no testing with audio files. If you did test it and found some issues, I'd appreciate knowing what might not have worked properly. 

I would be curious to know if Mezzmo is transcoding the files into MP3, which would be an obvious but perhaps unnecessary process. Since Roku is supposed to play those file natively, they shouldn't need transcoding. But perhaps Mezzmo is simply transcoding anything that isn't an MP3 for simplicity's sake. 

Dan

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Tempe44
Level 7

Re: Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

A couple of years ago, I went through this same process and then chose Serviio as the best server for me.  It worked just fine until this week when there were major changes in my local network due to changing over to fibre internet.  After the smoke cleared, Roku Media Player would no longer play .wma files.  And, the Serviio server wasn't showing up as a server on my LAN.  When it did, VLC could play the .wma files just fine, but RMP couldn't.  It doesn't sound as if Mezzmo is transcoding to MP3 as I can tell the difference when I listen to the same cuts on MP3 and WMA formats.  But, what goes on under the covers on all these servers is a bit of a mystery as they provide just about no info on that.  I will try and find out if Mezzmo is doing the transcoding if I'm able. 

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Tempe44
Level 7

Re: Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

Well, it turns out that Mezzmo IS doing the transcoding.  That function is exposed in Mezzmo and you have complete control over it.  I turned off transcoding completely and now none of the .wma files will play with Roku Media Player.  For a while, it appeared that it was playing the .wma files, but the way Mezzmo works is it saves the transcoded files as it plays them and if they're requested again it just plays the file from the saved location so it doesn't have to translate the format again.  And, now the Mezzmo server isn't showing up  on the network either.  My wife declares that all this just isn't worth the time and frustration and I think she's right.  None of the people producing these servers and players is paying any attention at all to music quality and handling music properly.  So, I'm going back to my 25 year-old  100 CD Marantz player and dumping the digital music players and servers. 

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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

I appreciate the follow up. There has been no changes in Serviio since May of last year, so can't look for anything there. Roku hasn't released an update that I'm aware of for RMP since I believe November, so that doesn't seem logical either. Of course, RMP is simply the media controller and the Roku OS is what is actually playing the media. There has been Roku OS updates, although my TV shows Dec 19 as the last update and Dec 10 for my Premiere. Nothing since for either of them. I think my Ultra 4800 is the only one that's received a more recent update. So I cannot fathom what might have changed.

If you have a moment to test, could you try putting a few tracks on a USB drive and connect it directly to the Roku? If they play, then we know it's not the Roku. I cannot imagine anything that might change when you replaced your network equipment, but there's nothing left if you can play them off a stick.

Also, if the DLNA servers keep appearing and disappearing on the network, that is absolutely something with the network, and not your computer or the Roku.

Dan

Roku Community Streaming Expert

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Tempe44
Level 7

Re: Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

I've never used a USB stick with the Roku and did what you ask just now.  The Roku WILL NOT play .wma files from the stick, so guess that Roku Media Player just won't do it.  The fact that RMP could play them over the network before is undoubtedly because of the server doing the transcoding, which I was not aware of.  

The other thing I did was to successfully play the .wma files over the network running Android VLC on the smart TV.  It seems that Windows 10 has a built in DLNA server that works fine for the .wma files which makes me wonder why I ever started screwing around with the other servers.  Now I remember - I prefer the way that RMP handles playing a directory that consists of other directories, each with a sub-directory and .wma files.  If you play the top level directory, RMP will play down through the directory serially until reaching the end of the last sub-directory.   VLC and others will stop at the end of the first directory.

Regarding the DLNA servers coming and going on the network: don't know what to say about that.  That's been going on since I started streaming music from my server and is the same on the new network as the old.  Different router, different speeds, ethernet instead of wifi, etc.  Never a network hiccup except for the DLNA servers.  And here's something interesting - the Android SUN player running on the smart TV always discovers the DLNA servers and they never disappear.  That is super reliable.  Guess they may know something that the other authors do not.

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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

VLC will play virtually any file, so it's no surprise it works fine on Android devices. I have it on my Shield players but prefer the user interface of Kodi for my media. 

Windows 10 is overall a terrible DLNA server, although from your experience it sounds like it might do audio files better than video. I just hate the lack of any control over anything it does. 

The DLNA server not appearing could be that the network card on the server computer decides to go into sleep mode if nothing is streaming. I always go into the device settings and disable that function. The Sun player might be retaining a memory of previously connected devices (Sony does this) and shows the icon even if it doesn't see the device on the network. Attempting to connect will refresh the connection and wake the network card. Just a theory, but based on experience. 

Dan

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Tempe44
Level 7

Re: Roku Media Player and .wma files on Windows 10

Yes - with the Windows DLNA server you have no control over anything and you might not even know it exists as nowhere in the Windows setup for streaming does it ever use the term DLNA.  I missed it myself.

That's a good explanation of how Sun might be working - thanks for that.  This PC is used for other time-sensitive applications and is set up so nothing ever goes to sleep.  I've disabled that even on all the USB ports. 

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