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Roku Media Player 101 - USB video, music & photos

Roku Support
posted this on January 31, 2011, 16:55

RMP.JPG

If you have a Roku player with a USB port, you can watch your personal videos or movies on your TV using the Roku Media Player channel.

NOTE:  USB port only available on Roku 3 (model 4200, 4230), Roku 2 (model 4210) select Roku TV models, Roku 2 XS (model 3100), Roku XDS (model 2100), and Roku HD-XR (model N1101).

To watch a video or movie:

  • From the Roku home screen, select the Roku Media Player channel. (Channel must first be installed from the Roku Channel Store. If you have a Roku TV, the Roku Media Player will come pre-installed.)

  • Select the media type (Video, Music, or Photo) in the Roku Media Player channel.

  • Choose the available source which has the content you want to watch. USB will only be available if your Roku player has a USB port and a compatible USB storage device is plugged into it.

  • Use the arrow keys to navigate through your folder directory to find the video or movie you wish to view. If the desired file is known to not be compatible, it will not be displayed. 

  • Navigate to the content you wish to play and press OK

While a video or movie is playing, you can pause, skip forward and skip backwards using the PLAY/PAUSE, FORWARD and REVERSE buttons on your Roku remote control. NOTE: Not all files can skip forward and backwards. 

To stop video playback, press UP or BACK.

Protip: To show cover artwork for a video or movie, save a JPG file with the cover artwork under the same name as the video or movie and place both files together in the same folder.

Dolby Digital in MKV, MP4 and MOV movies is supported via pass-through only. DTS in MKV movies is supported via pass through only. You must connect your Roku player via HDMI or S/PDIF (optical) to a TV or receiver capable of decoding Dolby Digital or DTS in order to hear videos with audio tracks in those formats.

NOTE: On Roku TVs, Dolby is supported natively, not pass-through.

Click on a question below for answers to common questions about the Roku Media Player channel: 

What media file types does the Roku Media Player channel support?

The following media file formats are supported:

Video — MKV (H.264), MP4 (H.264), MOV (H.264), WMV (VC-1, firmware 3.1 only)

Music — AAC, MP3, WMA, FLAC (firmware 5.3 and later), WAV (firmware 5.3 and later)

Photo — JPG, PNG, GIF (non-animated)

Only supported file types are shown in the Roku Media Player channel. The channel hides unsupported file types. Dolby Digital audio in MKV and MP4 movies is only supported via pass through.

DTS in MKV movies is also only supported via pass through. You must connect your Roku player via HDMI to a TV or receiver capable of decoding Dolby Digital or DTS in order to hear videos with audio tracks in those formats.

Some media server software may convert files into Roku compatible formats.

DRM-protected content is not supported

What USB hard drive formats does the Roku Media Player channel support?

The Roku Media Player channel enables you to play back personal video, music and photo files from a USB drive on your TV. The following USB drive formats are supported: FAT16, FAT32, NTFS and HFS+.

USB flash drives and externally powered USB hard drives work best with the Roku player. Some USB powered hard drives will not be able to draw enough power from the Roku player to function properly, especially if used with another drive on a USB hub.

The Roku Media Player also lets you access different partitions on a USB drive.

Roku Media Player instructions with Windows Media Player

The Roku Media Player channel is capable of playing media from a variety of networked media servers, including streaming from Windows media player.

Instructions and general information about getting started with media streaming in Windows can be found here.  It will teach you how to setup your Windows Media Player for streaming service.

If you have not already done so, install the Roku Media Player from the Streaming Channels Store (in the Top Free category).  Once your PC has been setup, you should be able to immediately find it when you enter the Roku Media Player

Can I connect multiple hard drives to my Roku player for use with the Roku Media Player channel?

Yes. You can connect more than one USB flash drive or USB hard drive to your Roku player by using a USB hub (not included).

USB flash drives and externally powered USB hard drives work best with the Roku player. Some USB powered hard drives will not be able to draw enough power from the Roku player to function properly, especially if used with another drive on a USB hub.

How can I convert my videos to play with the Roku channel?

There are a number of tools capable of converting videos into a format that is playable on the Roku player.  One of the more popular ones is called Handbrake. We have found that the Handbrake preset, “Regular – High Profile”, produces files that play well on Roku.  For further discussion on how to create or convert files that play well on the Roku player, please visit the Roku Forums.

Does the Roku Media Player channel support music playlists?

The Roku Media Player channel supports music playlists only for .m3u and .m3u8 formats at this time. For other music file types, you can play all the songs in a folder by pressing the PLAY button on your Roku remote while the icon representing that folder is highlighted.

Does the Roku Media Player channel support movie subtitles?

Yes. The Roku Media Player channel supports embedded subtitles in .mkv files. To choose a subtitle track use the ‘*’ button.

The Roku Media Player will automatically display the first available subtitle track found in an .SRT file. The subtitle file must be saved in the same folder matching the filename of the associated movie file.

There are no controls in the app to turn on/off subtitles or select subtitles of different languages. You must remove the .SRT file from the folder in which the movie file is located to disable the subtitles.

Can I use the Roku Media Player channel while my Roku player is not connected to my home network and the Internet?

Yes. You can use the Roku Media Player channel while your Roku player is not connected to your home network and the Internet..

I cannot hear the audio on a movie I am playing with the Roku Media Player channel. What should I do?

First, ensure the audio cable is connected properly between your Roku player and your TV or your receiver. Second, check to see that the volume on your TV or receiver is set to an audible level and that your receiver, if you are using one, is set to the correct input.

If you are playing audio that is Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 Surround Sound, make sure your Roku audio mode is set to “5.1 surround sound.” From the Roku home screen, go to Settings > audio mode. If you still do not hear audio, its possible that your TV or receiver does not support Dolby Digital or DTS 

How can I play a movie file in 1080p using the Roku Media Player channel?

The current Roku Media Player (RMP) channel does not need to know resolution or frame rate of video files played locally from a connected USB media or from a DLNA server.  This information is handled by the firmware. 

To optimize the picture quality of video playback:

  • Set the Display type to the appropriate TV resolution (i.e. 720p HDTV or 1080p HDTV)
  • Ensure video file is in a supported extension

Additionally, the RMP channel will only display video information on the user interface for video files through DLNA servers.  Video information for local files will not be displayed.

 

 
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