Playback Issues - Audio/Video & Power

Help with audio & video playback issues, TV display type recognition & compatibility, HDCP messages, troubleshooting playback errors, advertisements, and resolving power issues.
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Level 8

USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3

Until I get a new TV with built-in Roku (such as a 75-inch TCL Roku TV), I will continue to use and enjoy my Roku 3. HOWEVER, some movie files, whether .mp4, .mkv, .mov or .m4v movie files are quite large, more than 5 GB.

With specificity, can someone please direct me IF there is a compatible format I can create on a 1TB flash drive on my Mac, drag and drop a BIG movie file and then play it on the Roku 3?

I believe that Fat32 will not play these large files. I know that ExFAT is not yet supported. I have tried MacOS Journaled (Scheme) Apple Partition Map - was not recognized by Roku. Ditto when formatting APFS Case Sensitive (Scheme) GUID Partition Map.

Again, is there a format I can create on a USB Flash Drive plugged into my Mac running MacOS Catalina 10.15.4 (19E287) that will be recognized by and allow me to play videos (movies) of 5GB size or greater on my aged Roku 3?

Would this NOT be an issue if I was to upgrade my external Roku to a Roku Ultra 4K and then format an external flash drive as recommended by you?

I am not interested in streaming using a Plex server or a USB drive connected to a router (my mesh router does not have USB available).

Thank you, Roku community!

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Level 7

Re: USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3

Roku has no interest in supporting ExFat, which is the format for Macs and is a standard format for news USB drives.   Since Roku won't adapt to current technologies and to what works for Mac users, my next generation streaming device will have to be made by a company just a little more open to supporting all its customers.

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Level 7

Re: USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3

I've spent an hours doing research.  Roku doesn't want to support ExFat.  I use a Mac.  I have files larger than 4GB that I want to play via my Roku.  More USB players these days use ExFat.  Roku has not interest in having either of these two demographics as their customers.  I hate Apple, but I guess my next streaming device will be theirs.

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Level 21

Re: USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3

Per the Roku support page that describes using RMP:

USB drives may be formatted with different file systems. Roku Media Player supports drives that are formatted with the FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, EXT2, EXT3, and HFS+ file systems. You can also access different partitions on the USB drive.

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 7

Re: USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3

That's not helpful if you own a Mac.  Please read what the previous people wrote before applying the corporate form letter.   If the standard you set weren't so inflexible, we wouldn't be talking about it.  Repeating what I can see on the screen of my TV set doesn't resolve the issue. 

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Level 21

Re: USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3


@CarlosCinema wrote:

That's not helpful if you own a Mac.  Please read what the previous people wrote before applying the corporate form letter.   If the standard you set weren't so inflexible, we wouldn't be talking about it.  Repeating what I can see on the screen of my TV set doesn't resolve the issue. 


I'm not Roku, and I have no knowledge of what a Mac can and can't do. I simply offered what Roku has provided on their support page. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 7

Re: USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3

Sorry. 

Since you reiterated what we both know already, I could only assume you worked for them.  We're looking for a solution to a problem we already understand. 

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Level 8

Re: USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3

I found a solution that works for ME on Macs. Since Roku supports NTFS and Macs can natively read, not write to them, read them. I looked further. Paragon sells software called NTFS for Mac (https://www.paragon-software.com/us/home/ntfs-mac/#) that has come in handy and is NOT expensive at only $20.

The Paragon software is compatible with MacOS from Catalina, and, I am sure, with Big Sur, back through El Capitain.

I should also add that I also have a Windows PC here, which I network with my Mac.

Long story short, with the Paragon software and NTFS-formatted USB sticks and portable drives, I can write to NTFS-formatted disks and sticks. Roku says howdy and plays the videos in the Media Player app. NTFS also provides the support for movies larger than 4 GB.

It never hurts for us Mac users to be able to play nicely with Windows. As a matter of fact, I bet most of you Mac users have friends and fam that are Windows users. Why not be more compatible?

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Level 12

Re: USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3

You could also install the Plex server on your Mac and let the roku play over the network running the plex client instead of bothering with the USB copy.

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Level 8

Re: USB Drive formatting on Mac suggestions to play 5 GB movies on Roku3

Re: PLEX Server solution.

Thank you for the PLEX reminder. Right you are. PLEX can be used. However, it was my objective to NOT require a connected, active server to feed the Plex app on Roku. That eats bandwidth, too, even though I am hard-wired everywhere that Ethernet can be used. My Mac laptop is mobile, and I leave it untethered.

For users more geeky than I and who might have an available older computer or a Raspberry Pi that can be dedicated as a media server, PLEX can work, I am sure. Again, too complex for ME, and too many steps to get to the desired result.

I tried PLEX some time back. I was unsatisfied. Performance was not consistently reliable and the interface leaves much to be desired. I do not believe it is a good solution for most users and I know it is not my choice.

The Paragon Software solution is simple, inexpensive and unobtrusive and is why I chose it.

USB flash drives are quite reasonably priced. I get true 256 GB USB 3.0 flash drives for about $30. Why USB 3.0? Faster transfer rate from host computer to the flash drive. USB 2.0 drives are fast enough for Roku playback, but I hate to wait for the files to transfer to the drive. A 256 GB flash drive will probably hold more than 135 movies, even if some are larger than 4 GB.

I'm sure you can think of all the ways such storage space can be utilized. By default files are displayed in alphabetical order.

Most movie downloaders are probably accustomed to using the free and excellent Handbrake software (for Mac and Windows) - from https://handbrake.fr/. This is what I/we use to convert .mkv, .avi and other otherwise incompatible video file types to, in my case, .mp4, 1080p and with the best available audio, 5.1 preferred. I choose the available preset designed for playback with those characteristics on Roku called "Roku 1080p30 Surround" because this ought to be virtually universally playable on TVs via other streamers and on computers. I could, but do not select the Roku 2160p60 4K HEVC Surround because it is not backward compatible with non-4k hardware.

I also often include .srt files in my conversion. These are subtitles, often helpful even on English-language films featuring accents that may be (for my ears and brain) difficult to understand. Adding these .srt files is easy and, more importantly, fully compatible and switchable On/Off with Roku's Media player software.

The .mp4 format should be playable through just about any device that will accept content-rich USB sticks.

I convert all of my ripped DVDs and other content to .mp4 in this way for consistency.

Again, thank you for your suggestion. Now you know why it is not best for ME. I know your suggested solution is popular.

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