26 posts / 0 new / Last post
#1  June 16, 2019 - 10:08am
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0

Hi all,

In the process of trying to debug some playback issues with Plex app on my Apple TV 4K it was recommended to try Infuse 6 and I'm trying to understand the advantages/disadvantages to this approach.

Overall I've been pretty happy with the performance of Plex running on a Windows i7 based server back-end and feeding out Plex to the Plex app on my various devices, most of them now are 1080P Apple TVs.

I recently upgraded my main viewing area and purchased a 77" LG OLED TV and an Apple TV 4K. I noticed after this upgrade a couple of issues with the Plex app;

  1. I am getting "bit rate choking" when playing higher bit-rate MKV files from my library. None of my content is 4K so at most these would be 1080P BD rips where I ripped the full bit-rate Blu-ray using MakeMKV to an MKV file, these files might include VC-1 video codec, True-HD audio codec, etc. Normally my expectation is that these files get transcoded by the Plex server since the Apple TV can't handle these codecs. When the bit rate is too high or the codec seems to be incompatible I will notice bad video stuttering, macro blocking, etc., and this is usually cured by one or more corrective actions such as limiting playback to 20mbps 1080P or disabling direct play in the Plex app.
  2. I am getting "micro stutters" during playback. These are tiny jumps in the picture, some users might not notice them, but I do. I don't observe these micro-stutters in other apps just the Plex app.

How will Infuse help me out here, or will it? I tried setting up the Infuse App, pointed it to my existing Plex server and it immediately wanted me to do a subscription. Before subscribing I want to better understand what I would be getting out of Infuse that Plex is not doing for me.

Thanks

P.S. I have an Intel NUC system that I use Kodi on that I used to bust out when I wanted to watch my full bit rate HD stuff as it can convert HD audio formats to PCM, etc. It's not clear to me if Infuse would also allow me to relegate this machine to the dust bin of history.

Thanks

  June 16, 2019 - 10:16am
NC Bullseye's picture
Moderator
Offline
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 2,594
Kudos: 372

I'm not a plex user so I can't really address your specific questions but don't forget that you get a free trial period before your subscription starts so you could do a year and I think you get 30 days free before you get charged. That may give you the time you need to get settled in. If not you can cancel and not be out anything.

•Just Another Infuse User• •Not An Employee Of Firecore• •Certified Curmudgeon•

  June 16, 2019 - 10:20am
Silergo's picture
Beta Tester
Offline
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 10
Kudos: 0

When you subscribe, first week is free (don't forget to cancel the subsctiption if you don't like it). It's more than enough for testing.

  June 16, 2019 - 10:50am
NC Bullseye's picture
Moderator
Offline
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 2,594
Kudos: 372
  Silergo wrote:

When you subscribe, first week is free (don't forget to cancel the subsctiption if you don't like it). It's more than enough for testing.

You get a week free with a "Monthly" subscription but If you do the "Yearly" you get 1 month free.

•Just Another Infuse User• •Not An Employee Of Firecore• •Certified Curmudgeon•

  June 16, 2019 - 12:44pm
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0

okay I understand that I can get a free week or month via signing up for a subscription.

Can anyone explain why, when I play the video back with Infuse I am seeing different performance and behavior then when I play it back with the Plex app and using the same back-end?

How does Infuse advertise itself to the Plex server for purposes of Direct Play? Does it ask the server to transcode anything?

I watched my full bit-rate BD rip of The Goonies with my son and noticed that I wasn't getting any micro-stutters but I did notice that I was getting some severe macro blocking on parts of the pictures during certain scenes... is Infuse asking the Plex server to transcode the video? This title, I believe, has forced subtitles that probably have to be transcoded somewhere unless somehow Infuse is able to handle those..... How can I figure out what it is doing with the MKV it is being fed?

Should I configure Infuse as a standalone player w/out Plex just pointed to my shares to get better performance?

Thanks.

  June 16, 2019 - 12:54pm
elchupete's picture
Beta Tester
Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 209
Kudos: 85

Unless you have a Plex Pass and access to latest Plex App, the old non Plex Pass App uses native tvOS decoder and therefore PMS needs to transcode a lot.

Infuse Plays everything using direct stream with its own decoder and therefore IMHO has a smother and much better playback without any buffering / stutter.

The newer Plex Pass App has its own decoder but still Infuse is reported to provide better results.

  June 16, 2019 - 2:00pm
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0

I do have Plex pass but am not wowed with the performance I am seeing from the beta video player.

  June 17, 2019 - 2:18am
wenneberg's picture
Offline
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 15
Kudos: 1

I tried Plex Pass and running it on a Windows 10 machine. It looked great but I had all sorts of issues.... Most notably with bigger files and running 4K material. Some files it just wouldn't run. Kept getting an error message that I didn't have enough bandwidth (on a cabled connection). I did a search for it and it seems it's one of those errors they never fixed, so if you get it you're f****** basically. So I went back to infuse.

No issues with Infuse at all in this department. I have to say having tried quite a few solutions now, infuse is the best for me with ease of use and it just runs everything that I ask it to.

  June 17, 2019 - 8:15am
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0

I will probably always run Plex since it lets me have multiple users, different shared media for kids, ability to sync playback and other things between devices.

However I am definitely interested in getting the best playback quality possible on my big new OLED set.

Is there any difference in playback quality when integrating infuse to Plex vs using it standalone?

  June 17, 2019 - 9:05am
elchupete's picture
Beta Tester
Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 209
Kudos: 85
  voip-ninja wrote:

I will probably always run Plex since it lets me have multiple users, different shared media for kids, ability to sync playback and other things between devices.

However I am definitely interested in getting the best playback quality possible on my big new OLED set.

Is there any difference in playback quality when integrating infuse to Plex vs using it standalone?

No difference. When using Plex as share in Infuse, all the Metadata, Library etc. is taken form Plex, but Infuse will directly access the files via direct stream.

Until now, there are some features of Plex that are not supported by Infuse yet.

This includes
- Plex Collections (is announced for version 6.1)
- Plex Users
- Plex Trailers
- Plex Live TV
- Plex add ons

But IMHO Using Plex to manage your files and Metadata and Infuse as player is unbeatable.

  June 17, 2019 - 9:56am
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0

That is great information, thank you.

Do you have a source for information about what the infuse player capabilities are around things like supported codecs, bit rates, etc. on the Apple TV 4K?

For example, did Infuse license the VC1 video codec for playback or will it require the back end server transcode that video stream or will it try to make the ATV transcode it?

Thanks!

  June 17, 2019 - 11:11am
elchupete's picture
Beta Tester
Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 209
Kudos: 85

all is here

https://firecore.com/infuse

scroll down a bit. To get additional codecs, you need a subscription

But basically Infuse will play almost everything you throw at it

  June 17, 2019 - 11:15am
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0

Thanks. Surprised no VC1 support or Dolby Vision or Atmos support.

Guess it’s time to start to carve out some time to do some A/B testing with Plex beta vs infuse.

  June 17, 2019 - 11:21am
elchupete's picture
Beta Tester
Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 209
Kudos: 85

You may want to read through https://firecore.com/forum/topic/20983

regarding Atmos.

I have no Atmos so I don't know the status.

  June 18, 2019 - 10:42am
james's picture
Staff
Offline
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 13,806
Kudos: 1,154
  voip-ninja wrote:

Thanks. Surprised no VC1 support or Dolby Vision or Atmos support.

Guess it’s time to start to carve out some time to do some A/B testing with Plex beta vs infuse.

VC-1 is supported in Infuse, in fact most VC-1 videos are playable on the 4th gen Apple TV too. Smile

Infuse 6 for iOS and Apple TV is now available!

  June 18, 2019 - 11:15am
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0

So I’ve done some a/b testing with one of my favorite test films, a full BD rip of Gravity in MKV format with DTS-HD audio. I like this clip because the white astronaut suits against the black space background make any motion artifacts immediately apparent.

When this is played back on Plex with default settings there is noticeable video judder (almost looks like frames are dropping) that is not eliminated by messing with the motion settings on the C9.

Oddly if the video playback quality is reduced in Plex to 20mbps 1080P the playback is nearly perfect. I’m not sure if this is due to the transcode lowering the bit rate or if the conversion is eliminating 24P judder.

If I play the same video in infuse I am also getting the stuttering effect that almost looks like frame drops.

Is there any way to further debug it?

  June 18, 2019 - 11:30am
james's picture
Staff
Offline
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 13,806
Kudos: 1,154
  voip-ninja wrote:

So I’ve done some a/b testing with one of my favorite test films, a full BD rip of Gravity in MKV format with DTS-HD audio. I like this clip because the white astronaut suits against the black space background make any motion artifacts immediately apparent.

When this is played back on Plex with default settings there is noticeable video judder (almost looks like frames are dropping) that is not eliminated by messing with the motion settings on the C9.

Oddly if the video playback quality is reduced in Plex to 20mbps 1080P the playback is nearly perfect. I’m not sure if this is due to the transcode lowering the bit rate or if the conversion is eliminating 24P judder.

If I play the same video in infuse I am also getting the stuttering effect that almost looks like frame drops.

Is there any way to further debug it?

Can you check to see if you have the Match Content options enabled, as described here?

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208288

Infuse 6 for iOS and Apple TV is now available!

  June 18, 2019 - 12:08pm
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0
  james wrote:

Can you check to see if you have the Match Content options enabled, as described here?

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208288

I have never adjusted those options so I assume they are at the default. I will investigate, thanks for the tip.

Is there any way to get Infuse to display information on playback such as codec and resolution in use, bit rate, drop frames, etc?

This kind of info is super helpful for debugging under Kodi.

  June 18, 2019 - 12:13pm
james's picture
Staff
Offline
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 13,806
Kudos: 1,154
  voip-ninja wrote:

I have never adjusted those options so I assume they are at the default. I will investigate, thanks for the tip.

Is there any way to get Infuse to display information on playback such as codec and resolution in use, bit rate, drop frames, etc?

This kind of info is super helpful for debugging under Kodi.

Believe it or not, Apple has chosen to have the Match Content options off by default, so I would highly recommend enabling them. I suspect this choice was made for compatibility, as not all TV support 24Hz input.

In particular, without the frame rate matching option enabled, the Apple TV will be outputting a fixed 60Hz (or 50Hz) signal, which will always leave you with 3:2 pulldown judder when playing 24p videos.

Infuse does not currently have a debugging overlay option, sorry.

Infuse 6 for iOS and Apple TV is now available!

  June 19, 2019 - 8:05am
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0
  james wrote:

Believe it or not, Apple has chosen to have the Match Content options off by default, so I would highly recommend enabling them. I suspect this choice was made for compatibility, as not all TV support 24Hz input.

In particular, without the frame rate matching option enabled, the Apple TV will be outputting a fixed 60Hz (or 50Hz) signal, which will always leave you with 3:2 pulldown judder when playing 24p videos.

Infuse does not currently have a debugging overlay option, sorry.

So this info was solid gold as it does seem to have resolved the choppiness which must have been introduced when the ATV was doing its own 24p-60p conversion and doing a rotten job of it.

These settings also fixed some odd content color depth issues I was seeing in my material which was probably introduced when ATV took REC.709 color space material and "upconverted" it to Dolby Vision.

So, here's my observation now that I have these settings locked in;

  1. Plex legacy player was struggling with high bit-rate BD material resulting in some macro-blocking and other artifacts.
  2. Plex beta player did not have this issue.
  3. Infuse did not have this issue.
  4. Infuse seems to have some other advantages such as showing scene information in the scrubber bar which is missing in both Plex players.

A couple outstanding questions;

  1. Every time I play a new title with Infuse I am getting the subtitles, is there an option that will disable the subtitles automatically but still display forced subs in MKVs that have those (I believe I set something on the server side to display forced subs automatically bot not sure if that propagates to players like Infuse).
  2. Is there any way to see a feature roadmap for this player? I'm interested if multiple user profiles, etc., are coming along with more information about audio format support (I'm curious if the TrueHD and DTS-MA HD audio support can eventually go bitstreamed and if other high resolution audio format support is coming.
  3. I signed up for the free one week subscription, and when I go manage it on my Apple device I only have options for monthly or yearly subscriptions. I believe there was an option for a lifetime subscription and if I pay for the application that is what I would prefer.

Thanks!

  June 19, 2019 - 9:44am
NC Bullseye's picture
Moderator
Offline
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 2,594
Kudos: 372
  voip-ninja wrote:

So this info was solid gold as it does seem to have resolved the choppiness which must have been introduced when the ATV was doing its own 24p-60p conversion and doing a rotten job of it.

These settings also fixed some odd content color depth issues I was seeing in my material which was probably introduced when ATV took REC.709 color space material and "upconverted" it to Dolby Vision.

So, here's my observation now that I have these settings locked in;

  1. Plex legacy player was struggling with high bit-rate BD material resulting in some macro-blocking and other artifacts.
  2. Plex beta player did not have this issue.
  3. Infuse did not have this issue.
  4. Infuse seems to have some other advantages such as showing scene information in the scrubber bar which is missing in both Plex players.

A couple outstanding questions;

  1. Every time I play a new title with Infuse I am getting the subtitles, is there an option that will disable the subtitles automatically but still display forced subs in MKVs that have those (I believe I set something on the server side to display forced subs automatically bot not sure if that propagates to players like Infuse).
  2. Is there any way to see a feature roadmap for this player? I'm interested if multiple user profiles, etc., are coming along with more information about audio format support (I'm curious if the TrueHD and DTS-MA HD audio support can eventually go bitstreamed and if other high resolution audio format support is coming.
  3. I signed up for the free one week subscription, and when I go manage it on my Apple device I only have options for monthly or yearly subscriptions. I believe there was an option for a lifetime subscription and if I pay for the application that is what I would prefer.

Thanks!

Glad things are working out for you! I think I can help with some of your questions.

  1. In settings, there is a option under the "Playback" section called "Subtitles" there you can choose to have On, Force Only, or Off.

2 There is a forum thread here that lists the features that are in the works here https://firecore.com/forum/topic/13575 and it's kept current in the first post.

  1. This thread gives you the info on purchases https://firecore.com/forum/topic/17587 . Just remember, what gets many people confused is the difference between a Lifetime subscription to the free version and the single purchase of Infuse Pro 6. The lifetime subscription will give you all the pro features and future updates including major updates like version 7 and on with no additional costs. The outright purchase of Infuse Pro 6 will give you free updates for all future releases of version 6 only. When version 7 comes out you'll need to either purchase Infuse Pro 7 as an outright purchase or at that time start a subscription to get the new features and updates.

For me the lifetime subscription is the way to go since it's good for ever and I don't have to worry about remembering a monthly or yearly subscription fee. You'll see comments about a "Special Lifetime" subscription which is a bit cheaper but that is for people that have purchased the stand alone Pro version in the past and want to upgrade to the Lifetime subscription.

Both versions have the same features.

If I've missed the finer points I'm sure James will fill in the blanks. Good luck!

EDIT TO ADD: Also if you do decide to go with the lifetime subscription you will need to cancel the monthly subscription you started other wise it will be billed with it comes due.

•Just Another Infuse User• •Not An Employee Of Firecore• •Certified Curmudgeon•

  June 20, 2019 - 11:24am
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0
  NC Bullseye wrote:

Glad things are working out for you! I think I can help with some of your questions.

  1. In settings, there is a option under the "Playback" section called "Subtitles" there you can choose to have On, Force Only, or Off.

2 There is a forum thread here that lists the features that are in the works here https://firecore.com/forum/topic/13575 and it's kept current in the first post.

  1. This thread gives you the info on purchases https://firecore.com/forum/topic/17587 . Just remember, what gets many people confused is the difference between a Lifetime subscription to the free version and the single purchase of Infuse Pro 6. The lifetime subscription will give you all the pro features and future updates including major updates like version 7 and on with no additional costs. The outright purchase of Infuse Pro 6 will give you free updates for all future releases of version 6 only. When version 7 comes out you'll need to either purchase Infuse Pro 7 as an outright purchase or at that time start a subscription to get the new features and updates.

For me the lifetime subscription is the way to go since it's good for ever and I don't have to worry about remembering a monthly or yearly subscription fee. You'll see comments about a "Special Lifetime" subscription which is a bit cheaper but that is for people that have purchased the stand alone Pro version in the past and want to upgrade to the Lifetime subscription.

Both versions have the same features.

If I've missed the finer points I'm sure James will fill in the blanks. Good luck!

EDIT TO ADD: Also if you do decide to go with the lifetime subscription you will need to cancel the monthly subscription you started other wise it will be billed with it comes due.

Thanks for the info on the forced subtitles, I now have that working!

On the subscription when I go to manage the sub I am only seeing the monthly/annual options. Is there something else that needs to be done to get the lifetime to show up as an option?

Thanks

  June 20, 2019 - 2:13pm
james's picture
Staff
Offline
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 13,806
Kudos: 1,154
  voip-ninja wrote:

Thanks for the info on the forced subtitles, I now have that working!

On the subscription when I go to manage the sub I am only seeing the monthly/annual options. Is there something else that needs to be done to get the lifetime to show up as an option?

Thanks

Since the lifetime license is a one-time purchase it won't show up in the subscriptions area, but you can access it by tapping the 'View Subscription' link which appears below the Infuse Pro logo in Infuse > Settings.

Infuse 6 for iOS and Apple TV is now available!

  June 20, 2019 - 5:29pm
voip-ninja's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Kudos: 0
  james wrote:

Since the lifetime license is a one-time purchase it won't show up in the subscriptions area, but you can access it by tapping the 'View Subscription' link which appears below the Infuse Pro logo in Infuse > Settings.

Thanks! A bit confusing, when I tried to do this yesterday it kept complaining that I already had a subscription.

Today it worked and I was able to purchase.

  June 21, 2019 - 1:31am
Jecht_Sin's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 184
Kudos: 18
  james wrote:

Since the lifetime license is a one-time purchase it won't show up in the subscriptions area, but you can access it by tapping the 'View Subscription' link which appears below the Infuse Pro logo in Infuse > Settings.

Is there any way to move the life subscription to the App Store, thus disabling the option to renew the monthly/yearly subscription? It gets very confusing at times. Not to mention that one with the life subscription may renew another (unneeded) timed subscription by mistake.

  June 21, 2019 - 7:58am
EssamB's picture
Beta Tester
Offline
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 89
Kudos: 17

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Plex client (without the advanced VMP player) can now play 4K, HEVC, HDR movies under tvOS 13 beta 2 without video transcoding (direct stream); EAC audio is transcoded, however.
It seems that the native Apple player is greatly improved in tvOS 13 especially with respect to HEVC playback.