Transcoder settings related to your Plex Media Server. You can access these under Settings > Server > Transcoder in Plex Web App.

Related Page: Plex Media Server > Using Plex Web App

Normal Settings

Transcoder quality

These will influence the quality used when transcoding media. Select from:

  • Automatic - the Server will select from the other three options automatically
  • Prefer higher speed encoding - lower quality, but faster transcodes
  • Prefer higher quality encoding - higher quality, but slower transcodes
  • Make my CPU hurt - best quality with slower transcodes and highest CPU usage

Most users should leave it set to Automatic. Hardware-Accelerated Streaming is not affected by this setting.

For the technically-minded, what this setting does is pass different sets of x264opts extra parameters to the transcoder.

  • Prefer higher speed encoding: subme=0:me_range=4:rc_lookahead=10:me=dia:no_chroma_me:8x8dct=0:partitions=none
  • Prefer higher quality encoding: subme=0:me_range=4:rc_lookahead=10:me=hex:8x8dct=0:partitions=none
  • Make my CPU hurt: subme=2:me_range=4:rc_lookahead=10:me=hex:8x8dct=1

Maximum simultaneous video transcode

Set the maximum number of transcoding sessions that you will allow simultaneously. For instance, if you only want to allow two transcodes to happen at any one time (even if your computer is capable of more), you can set the value to 2. Most users won't see a need to change this value.

Related Page: Bandwidth and Transcoding Limits

Advanced Settings

Click on the Show Advanced button at the top right of the settings area to toggle display of advanced settings. Be careful when adjusting or using advanced settings.

Segmented transcoder timeout

Timeout value in seconds that segmented transcodes will wait for the transcoder to begin writing data.

Transcoder temporary directory

Directory to use when transcoding temporary files for streaming. This is useful if your primary drive has limited space. The directory used (whether default or not) needs sufficient free space, roughly equal to the size of the source file of the transcode plus 100MB.

This setting does not affect where transcoded files are stored for background transcoding tasks (sync or Media Optimizer). See Where are sync transcodes stored on my computer?

Warning!: You should not specify a location that resides on a network share/disk.

Transcoder default duration

Duration in minutes to use when transcoding something with an unknown duration.

Transcoder default throttle buffer

Amount in seconds to buffer before throttling back the transcoder speed.

Background transcoding x264 preset

You can control the x264 preset used by the transcoder when processing content for background transcoding (Mobile Sync, Cloud Sync, or Media Optimizer). Available options:

  • Ultra fast
  • Super fast
  • Very fast
  • Faster
  • Fast
  • Medium
  • Slow
  • Slower
  • Very Slow

Your Plex Media Server's default value is Very fast. Slower values can give you better video quality and somewhat smaller file sized, but will generally take significantly longer to complete the processing.

Most users will not want to change this, but those who have a particularly powerful server or who don't mind much longer processing times might choose a higher quality (slower) value.

Related Page: ffmpeg: Encode/H.264

Use hardware acceleration when available

When this is enabled, Plex Media Server will attempt to use hardware acceleration for video decoding and video encoding.

Related Page: Using Hardware-Accelerated Streaming