How to use Roku Media Player to play your videos, music and photos

Background

Roku Media Player is a channel available for download through the Roku Channel Store. It may also be pre-installed on some Roku® streaming devices. Roku Media Player allows you to watch your own personal video files, listen to your music files, and view your photos using the Roku device’s USB port (if available) or by accessing a media server on your local network.

Playing content stored on a USB drive

Some Roku devices include a USB port to which you can connect an external USB drive for the purpose of playing locally stored photo, audio, and video files. You can connect more than one USB drive to your Roku device by connecting them to a USB hub.

You can use the Roku device comparison chart to determine which products include a USB port.

Hard drives may be formatted with different file systems. Roku Media Player supports drives that are formatted with the FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, EXT2, EXT3, and HFS+ file systems.  You can also access different partitions on the USB drive.

Insert the USB device into the USB port on your Roku device. If Roku Media Player is not installed, you will be prompted to install it from the Roku Channel Store. If you are already in the Roku Media Player device selection screen, a USB icon should show up.

Follow this link if Roku Media Player does not detect the USB device.

Playing content on your local area network

DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a standard technology that enables sharing of content between devices connected over a network. To play content stored on another device or computer on your Roku device using DLNA, the other device must be running DLNA server software and must be on the same network as your Roku device. Some routers and NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices have a built in DLNA server.

Roku Media Player has been tested to work with the following DLNA servers:

  • Windows Media Player/Center
  • Serviio
  • Plex
  • Twonky
  • MiniDLNA/ReadyDLNA/ReadyMedia
  • PlayOn

For information on setting up a DLNA server, consult the associated online support site.

Supported media file types

Different Roku devices support different formats. Newer firmware may support additional formats. The type of audio formats supported is dependent on the type of TV or A/V receiver your Roku device is connected to. Formats supported by your Roku device can be viewed by accessing the ?/Help pages from the Media Device and the Media Type selection screens.

The following file formats are supported:

  • Video – H.264/AVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV)
  • Audio – AAC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); MP3(.MP3, .MKV); WMA (.ASF, .WMA, .MKV), FLAC (.FLAC, .MKV), PCM (.WAV, .MKV, .MP4, .MOV), AC3/EAC3 (.MKV,.MP4. .MOV, .AC3), DTS (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV,.DTS), ALAC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV, .M4A)
  • Playlists –.M3U, .M3U8
  • Image – JPG, PNG, GIF (non-animated)

The following media formats are supported on Roku devices that support 4K

  • 4K Video – H.265/HEVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); VP9 (.MKV)
  • 4K Video – H.264 (Roku Premier, Premier+, and Ultra only)

The following media formats are supported on Roku TVs

  • Video – H.262 (.MKV)

Notes:

  • The Roku Media Player channel will not display unsupported file types or files it has determined cannot be played by your Roku device.
  • DRM-protected content is not supported.

Support for 5.1 AC3/E-AC3 (Dolby Digital)

Most Roku players will only pass-through Dolby Audio (AC3, E-AC3). To decode multi-channel surround sound, you must connect your Roku player via HDMI® or S/PDIF (optical) to a TV or A/V receiver capable of decoding Dolby Digital (AC3) or Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC3).

Some Roku players can decode Dolby Digital Plus to HDMI and S/PDIF TOSLINK (optical). This means that content encoded with Dolby Digital Plus will be transcoded (converted) into Dolby Digital if your A/V receiver does not support Dolby Digital Plus, but does support Dolby Digital 5.1.

Go here to find out which Roku streaming players can decode Dolby Audio via HDMI and optical.

Check your Roku device specifications to determine its audio capabilities.

Roku TVs support transcoding Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital for the S/PDIF (optical) and ARC (Audio Return Channel) connectors, allowing you to connect your TV audio to an A/V receiver (AVR) that supports Dolby Digital 5.1 (but not Dolby Digital Plus).

Note: Dolby TrueHD and lossless Dolby are not supported.

Support for 5.1 DTS (Dedicated to Sound)

Roku devices will only pass-through DTS audio. To decode multi-channel surround sound, you must connect your Roku device via HDMI or S/PDIF (optical) to a TV or A/V receiver capable of decoding DTS.

Note: DTS-HD and lossless DTS are not supported.

Support for AAC (Advanced Audio Coding)

Roku devices do not support AAC pass-through. Instead, Stereo AAC is transcoded to PCM stereo.

Roku TVs and some Roku players decode 5.1 AAC to PCM stereo for headphone, internal speaker, and HDMI/ S/PDIF (optical) output. However, Roku devices that support Dolby Audio decode connected via HDMI or S/PDIF (optical) to an A/V receiver that also supports Dolby Audio, will convert the audio to Dolby Digital 5.1.

Go here to find out which Roku streaming players can decode Dolby Audio via HDMI and optical.

How to play music or video using Roku Media Player

  1. Select the media type from the Media Type Selection
  2. Choose the device that has the content you wish to play.
  3. Navigate through your folders to find the content you wish to play. If the desired file is in an unsupported file format, then it will not be displayed.
  4. When you find the content you wish to play press Select/OK or Play.
  5. While playing, you can pause, skip forward and skip backwards using the Play/Pause, Forward and Rewind buttons on your Roku remote control. Note: Not all files support fast-forward and rewind.
  6. To stop playback, press Back.

Tips:

  • To play all the videos/music in a folder as a playlist, click Play on the folder.
  • Options for playback and browsing can be accessed by pressing star on your remote.

Convert videos to play with Roku Media Player

Some DLNA servers, such as Plex and Serviio, will automatically convert (transcode) the video to a format supported by the Roku device. If you are using a DLNA server that does not support transcoding, or you are playing directly from a USB drive, you may need to convert the files first. There are several applications available for converting videos. Follow the link to get the encoding settings for Handbrake, one of the more popular video conversion applications.

Provide your own poster artwork for videos on a USB drive

You can add your own artwork for a video by creating a JPG or PNG file with the same name as the video, and copying it to the same folder as the video on the USB drive.

Support for movie subtitles

Roku Media Player supports embedded subtitles in .mkv files. To choose a subtitle track use the star button while the video is playing. Roku Media Player will automatically include subtitle tracks found in .SRT files. The .srt files must be saved in the same folder as the video. They must have the same name as the video and the .srt extension. To include multiple .srt files you must insert a language extension, for example movie.eng.srt or movie.ger.srt.

Support for playlists

Roku Media Player supports .m3u and .m3u8 playlists on a USB drive. The media in the playlist must have an extension that indicates the media type, for example .mp3, .mkv, .jpg, etc. Playlist entries can also point to a URL. Make sure the URL begins with http:// and that the extension indicates the media type. Some DLNA servers will convert playlist files to folders that the Roku Media Player can access using DLNA.

Change the number of posters in a row

  1. Go to the Select Media device
  2. Press star on the Help poster to bring up a list of options.
  3. Go to the Display format row.
  4. Pressing the OK button will toggle between Long (50) or Short (4 posters per row).
  5. Press star to dismiss the Options screen.

Disable album artwork lookup when accessing mp3 files on a USB drive

You can change whether the USB player attempts to find album artwork on the web when reading .mp3 audio files. This can significantly speed up going into a folder with lots of audio files.

  1. Go to the Select Media device
  2. Press star on the Help poster to bring up a list of options.
  3. Go to the Lookup album art on Web
  4. Pressing the OK button will toggle it on and off
  5. Press star to dismiss the Options screen.

Disable the Media Type selection screen at startup

  1. Go to the Select Media device
  2. Press star on the Help poster to bring up a list of options.
  3. Go to the Request media type at startup
  4. Pressing the OK button will toggle it on and off
  5. Press star to dismiss the Options screen.

 

Dolby is a registered trademark of Dolby Laboratories.

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