What media formats are supported?

General Media Support

Media compatibility and video quality limitations vary by device. Plex for Smart TVs uses playback systems provided by the TV manufacturer. In some cases, formats that can be played by DLNA or from a USB drive on a device may not be available for direct playback by Plex.

Related Page: Which Smart TV models are supported?

Direct Play Video Support

Native video support is typically (but not always) limited to the MP4 container, H.264 video encoding, and AAC audio. Content that is not natively supported will automatically be Direct Streamed or transcoded as needed by the Plex Media Server.

See the Specific Model Differences later in the article for more information about cases that may vary from this. Content matching the following can usually be Direct Played:

  • Container: MP4
  • Resolution: 1920x1080 or smaller
  • Video Encoding: H.264 (level 4.0 or lower)
  • Video Framerate: 30fps
  • Video Bit Depth: 8
  • Audio Encoding: AAC

Other content will usually need to be either Direct Streamed or transcoded. Enabling subtitles of any type will require them to be transcoded (burned) into the video stream.

Unsupported audio formats in video will have the audio automatically transcoded to either AAC or AC3 (Dolby Digital) as appropriate by the Plex Media Server in order to preserve any surround sound audio channels.

Related Page: Plex Media Server > Direct Play, Direct Stream, Transcoding

4K (UHD) Direct Play Video Support

Some 4K (ultra high definition) devices are recognized by the Plex app. We're working to bring 4K playback support to other devices, too. 4K/UHD content matching the following will Direct Play on supported devices:

  • Container: MP4
  • Resolution: 3840x2160 or smaller
  • Video Encoding: HEVC (H.265)
  • Video Frame Rate: 30fps
  • Video Bit Depth: 8

4K content not matching the above properties will be transcoded to 1080p. Transcoding 4K content is a very intensive process and will require a powerful computer running Plex Media Server.

Tip!: See below for specific model/manufacturer support.

Direct Play Music Support

The following audio formats are usually supported for music playback:

  • MP3
  • M4A

Tip!: Other audio formats such as FLAC or ALAC will be transcoded by your Plex Media Server to be compatible.

Video Playback Tips

Keep these tips in mind to help ensure the best experience.

  • Higher streaming quality values have a better chance to allow the content to be Direct Streamed or Direct Played.
  • Enabling multi-channel audio in the global settings menu adds support for the associated audio codec during Direct Play and transcoding.
  • Setting a streaming quality value lower than the content's bitrate will cause the video to be transcoded. Most devices can handle streams with peak bitrates < 20Mbps. Some devices can handle higher quality transcodes or remuxes.
  • Changing the Maximum H.264 Level global setting can allow many files to Direct Stream or Direct Play. Videos use the H.264 Level to define a maximum bitrate for the video as well as decoding parameters.
    • A H.264 level below that of the source video will force the video to transcode.
    • A H.264 level slightly higher than the recommended is usually safe.
    • Selecting the "None" value may be safe based on you media.
    • Changing the H.264 Level above the device's recommended value could possibly result in severe playback stability issues or device instability. Please exercise caution when adjusting this setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the app support multi-channel (AC3, eAC3, DTS, etc.) audio?

When possible. Enabling AC3/eAC3/DTS is prevented on devices we have directly found to be incompatible. On other devices, users can enable settings for their own testing.

Note: If you enable one of these settings but your device/setup doesn't actually support it, you'll typically experience silence or strange audio playback.

See the Specific Model Differences section for more information.

Does the app support audio passthrough?

Yes. Plex will present video streams with multi-channel audio to the television as-is. It's up to the television to handle the audio from there. If you experience issues, you may find success enabling digital (bitstream) audio output from your television to your receiver via ARC.

Is 3D playback supported?

Yes. However, note that there is nothing special that the Plex app can do to instruct the television that a specific video is 3D. You will need to enable the appropriate 3D viewing mode on the television yourself.

See the Specific Model Differences section for more information.

Does Plex support 4K?

When possible. We currently support 4K on the TiVo Roamio & Bolt (Series 6) devices, supported 2016 Tizen-based Samsung models, as well as VIZIO televisions.

Specific Model Differences

In addition to the baseline Direct Play support described earlier, particular manufacturers and models sometimes have unique differences. Content not matching the baseline information listed previously and also not listed below for a particular model will need to be transcoded by the Plex Media Server to make it compatible.

Related Page: Investigate Media Information and Formats

LG

2013 NetCast Models

Additional Direct Play video support:

  • ASF container with vc1 or wmv3 video encoding
  • MKV container with H.264 video encoding
  • MPEG-TS container with mpeg2video video encoding

Additional Direct Play music support:

  • ASF container with wmav2 audio encoding
  • OGG container with vorbis audio encoding
  • WAV container with pcm_u8 or pcm_sb16e audio encoding

WebOS Models

Additional Direct Play music support:

  • AAC container with aac audio encoding

2016 Samsung Televisions

Additional Direct Play video support:

  • 3gpp container with:
    • H.264 or mpeg4 video encoding
    • aac or he-aac audio encoding
  • ASF container (includes Windows Media files with .wmv extension) with:
    • wmv3 or vc1 video encoding
    • wmav2, wmapro, wmavoice, or pcm audio encoding
  • AVI container with:
    • H.264, mpeg, mjpeg, mpeg4, or msmpeg4v2  video encoding
    • ac3, dca (standard DTS core), eac3, mp3, or pcm audio encoding
  • FLV container with:
    • H.264 video encoding
    • aac, ac3, eac3, mp3 or pcm audio encoding
  • MKV container (includes files with .webm extension) with:
    • H.264, hevc (H.265), mjpeg, mpeg2video, mpeg4, vc1, or vp9 video encoding
    • aac, ac3, dca (standard DTS core), eac3, mp2, mp3, pcm, or vorbis audio encoding
  • MOV container with:
    • H.264 or mpeg4 video encoding
    • aac, ac3, eac3, mp3, or pcm audio encoding
  • MP4 container with:
    • H.264, hevc (H.265), mjpeg, or mpeg4 video encoding
    • aac, ac3, eac3, mp3, or pcm audio encoding
  • MPEG container with:
    • H.264, mpeg1video, or mpeg2video video encoding
    • aac, ac3, dca (standard DTS core), eac3, mp2, mp3, or pcm audio encoding
  • MPEGTS container with:
    • H.264, hevc (H.265), mpeg2video, or vc1 video encoding
    • aac, ac3, eac3, or mp3 audio encoding
  • WTV container with:
    • mpeg2video video encoding
    • aac, ac3, eac3, or pcm audio encoding

Additional 4K (UHD) Direct Play video support:

  • MKV container with H.264, hevc (H.265), mjpeg, or vp9 video encoding
  • MP4 container with H.264, hevc (H.265), or mjpeg video encoding
  • Resolutions up to 4096x2160 are supported

Considerations:

  • Direct Play of audio streams other than the default stream is supported
  • We will attempt to remux streams for 4K (UHD) content where possible, but in some cases, the video may be transcoded to 1080p (full HD)
  • We try to follow the documented media support as closely as possible. See: https://www.samsungdforum.com/Tizen/Spec#2016TVSpec

Sony Bravia Televisions

Additional Direct Play video support:

  • MKV container with H.264 video encoding

Considerations:

  • M4A container music files are required to transcode due to compatibility issues.
  • Currently, 3D playback options are not available to apps running through the Opera TV Store. If this situation changes in the future, we'll certainly investigate the possibility of supporting 3D playback.

TiVo

Series 4 and Series 5 (TiVo Premiere, Roamio, Mini, etc.)

Considerations:

  • These TiVo models currently only support video playback up to 4 Mbps, 720p quality. Content with higher bitrates or resolution will be automatically transcoded to be compatible.
  • MP4 container content must be "Web Optimized" to allow Direct Play.

Series 6 (TiVo Roamio OTA, Bolt, etc.)

Additional Direct Play video support:

  • MKV container with H.264 video encoding

Considerations:

  • MP4 container content must be "Web Optimized" to allow Direct Play.
  • Direct Play of 4K video is supported as long as the content conforms to the 4K media properties mentioned earlier.

VIZIO

Additional Direct Play video support:

  • MKV container with H.264 video encoding

Additional 4K (UHD) Direct Play video support:

  • MKV container with hvec (H.265) video encoding
  • 10-bit  hvec (H.265) video encoding

Additional Direct Play music support:

  • AAC container with aac audio encoding
  • AIFF container with pcm_u8 or pcm_sb16e audio encoding
  • ASF container with wmav2 audio encoding
  • FLAC container with flac audio encoding
  • OGG container with vorbis audio encoding
  • WAV container with pcm_u8 or pcm_sb16e audio encoding