Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

mcdj

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jul 10, 2007
8,924
4,130
NYC
I have a Synology NAS with gigabit Ethernet for storage, connected via Ethernet to a Synology 2600 router. Also connected to the router via Ethernet are a 2014 Mac Mini 2.6ghz, 16gb ram, which runs the Plex server, and an Apple TV 4K.

No problems playing 4K content from sources like ITunes rentals or YouTube on ATV.

But the Apple TV Plex app is choking on 50gb+ 4K files stored on the NAS. Star Wars 4K77 is non stop jitter. Other files play for a while, a bit jumpy, then freeze a bit, then play some more, then freeze, etc.

I often get a message saying my network connection isn’t fast enough.

All Plex conversion settings are set to original/maximum. If I turn on automatic conversion, I get a message saying my processor isn’t fast enough.

Do I need a more powerful Mac mini? There’s no WiFi involved so I don’t know how much faster I can get network wise.

thanks.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,606
6,862
Assuming your gigabit Ethernet network is working properly, bandwidth is not the problem.

The legitimate streaming sources all work because they are streaming content to the ATV in a format that is supported by ATV's hardware acceleration. It's not about bandwidth--heck, they are streaming over the Internet to your home, which is for most people way, WAY slower than gigabit Ethernet.

Almost certainly your pirated content is in a format that is not supported by ATV's built-in hardware acceleration. If you set Plex to original, your ATV is receiving the unsupported video format, and so ATV struggles to play it back without the benefit of hardware acceleration. If you set Plex to transcode on the fly, it will send a fully supported video format to the ATV. The problems with that are (A) your Mac Mini has insufficient CPU power to keep up with transcoding on the fly, (B) transcoding on-the-fly results in loss of picture quality (and often audio quality too)--it is optimized for speed instead of quality.

IIRC, Plex can transcode ahead of time, making a copy that is compatible with your ATV. Your Mac Mini is capable of this because it doesn't have to keep up with real time playback--it will just take however long it takes. Doing this should work, but the drawback is that much more disk space will be used because you have two copies of every title, and you're not getting the full quality of the original file when you are playing back the transcoded file.

The other possibility I can think of only applies if you have one of the cheaper, lower-end Synology NAS units. Those have just barely enough CPU and memory to get out of their own way. In my experience if you do anything challenging at all, like turn on file encryption or having hundreds to thousands of files in a folder, they choke and have very poor file serving performance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jackfennimore
Comment

CoastalOR

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2015
2,846
1,045
Oregon, USA
I think there has been a bug with the Plex Media Server (PMS) app since around version 15. I have been having the same server too slow from Plex sometimes from my Mini to the aTV. I went to the Plex forums and saw some discussions about problems.
 
Comment

Tesla1856

macrumors regular
Jul 25, 2017
124
39
Texas, USA
Check the NAS transfer rate of a large file to Mac (outside of Plex). My Synology DS412-Plus likes to slow-down from 100 to around 20. I run CAT-5e/CAT-6 and have a nice gigabit-1000 managed switch (gigabit backbone).

IIRC, seems to have started a year-or-so ago when I upgraded to DSM-6.x . I'm fully loaded with 4tb x 4 =16tb Synology-Hybrid-RAID (RAID-5 with 1-disk fault tolerance) . It's sad, but works fine other than that.
 
Comment

Dameatball

macrumors regular
Feb 7, 2014
129
52
San Francisco
It’s most likely the client can’t handle a file/bitrate that large is my guess, or if it requires transcoding to play then the mini/server may be the issue. What happens when you play it on a browser?

FYI a lot streaming devices are going to choke on something that substantial. Again try some other clients and see what the result is.
 
Comment

msouter

macrumors newbie
Jan 13, 2021
1
0
I've struggled with this for at least the last 6 months - Apple TV latest generation, and an unRaid server on which I'd loaded Plex - that I spent inordinate amounts of time on, endlessly optimizing the Plex configuration, network cards etc. But I could not play ANYTHING beyond a standard 576p ( and a very rare 720p) without getting the 'network too slow' message. This is on a hardwired system with CAT6 straight from my server via a switch to the apple tv. Upgraded the switch - no improvement. Driving me crazy, and she-who-must-be-obeyed was *very* unhappy... Followed numerous 'fixes' and tried Emby & Infuse to no avail. Then by chance, 2 weeks ago, the (5 yr old) OLED TV blew its main board and I decided to get a new LG OLED. By chance, this had a plex client installed, and so decided to give it a try, and bypass the Apple TV.... That has *completely solved* my problems. I can now play 4K/2160p files with ease - no stuttering, no problems. The inevitable conclusion is that it's the Apple TV, that just can't buffer. I dug out the Apple TV's predecessor - a Roku 4 - and that played all my 1080p files with no problem. Essentially, the Apple TV looks good - but does not deliver. I have now also noted that when I go back to try the appleTV it can't even keep up with Netflix or Prime without stuttering. If I was cynical I might think that a sneaky upgrade somewhere may be impacting anything other than Apple streamed input - but it's not as if Apple have ever done anything like that in the past....? oh, wait...
 
Comment

Tesla1856

macrumors regular
Jul 25, 2017
124
39
Texas, USA
I've struggled with this for at least the last 6 months - Apple TV latest generation, and an unRaid server on which I'd loaded Plex - that I spent inordinate amounts of time on, endlessly optimizing the Plex configuration, network cards etc. But I could not play ANYTHING beyond a standard 576p ( and a very rare 720p) without getting the 'network too slow' message. This is on a hardwired system with CAT6 straight from my server via a switch to the apple tv. Upgraded the switch - no improvement. Driving me crazy, and she-who-must-be-obeyed was *very* unhappy... Followed numerous 'fixes' and tried Emby & Infuse to no avail. Then by chance, 2 weeks ago, the (5 yr old) OLED TV blew its main board and I decided to get a new LG OLED. By chance, this had a plex client installed, and so decided to give it a try, and bypass the Apple TV.... That has *completely solved* my problems. I can now play 4K/2160p files with ease - no stuttering, no problems. The inevitable conclusion is that it's the Apple TV, that just can't buffer. I dug out the Apple TV's predecessor - a Roku 4 - and that played all my 1080p files with no problem. Essentially, the Apple TV looks good - but does not deliver. I have now also noted that when I go back to try the appleTV it can't even keep up with Netflix or Prime without stuttering. If I was cynical I might think that a sneaky upgrade somewhere may be impacting anything other than Apple streamed input - but it's not as if Apple have ever done anything like that in the past....? oh, wait...
Are you sure it's an Apple-TV 4K 5th-Gen (with a gigabit port)?

I'm running an older Apple-TV HD 4th-Gen . Plex is on an old (Atom based) Synology NAS. I can definitely run 720p files. I can even run some 1080p files (especially if they are just 1080p MP4's ripped from YouTube). Using ethernet wires with a Netgear Gigabit Switch (backbone).

Yeah, it's hard to know at what ethernet speed the Apple-TV is connecting at (10/100/1000). However, you can look at the tattle-tale lights on the switch's face (or login to it if it's a Smart one).

I'd also remind you to watch your Plex Transcoding settings, but sounds like you are a Plex power-user ( so know all about that).
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.