In an effort to not only improve streaming performance and lower the amount of storage our library has grown to, we’ve started to reformat our library to a universal standard.
This project is expected to take months, however it should have little to no impact on your current experience.
Over time you should notice a better viewing experience with less buffering. This will also help us to recover some additional space in order to continue expanding our library in a fiscally responsible way.
Our Plex users use a variety of different device to stream their favorite content. This can be a challenge for us having a library with different file video codecs and containers as not all devices support the same standard. Due to this, our servers sometimes have to transcode video on the fly for certain devices to stream a file. This can cause a bottle neck depending on the video type, the device a user is streaming from and the number of others attempting to transcode at the same time, this is what usually causes your video to buffer even if you have a fast internet connection. Our current infrastructure can support over 25 streams in 1080p if no transcoding is required.
What we’ll be attempting to do is standardize our library format so that all videos are already transcoded to h.264, mp4 which is a standard that most devices already support. This will help to reduce the load on our servers by being able to just send the video straight to the users streaming device directly.
There is another advantage to this in that it will help to compress files a little more without losing any video or audio quality. The less hard drives we have to purchase, maintain and supply power to, the more we can invest in making Plex even better.
Sample batches of files will be ran for testing during the first few weeks of May so adjustments to the process can be made to ensure the best possible results. No downtime should be required for this, but as always please report any issues you may have with streaming or accessing Plex.