Roku and H.265- Can Roku Play HEVC/H.265 Videos

I stream wirelessly to the PLEX app on my  Roku (earlier model) wirelessly from Asus RT-AC68U router.  Things work just fine until I try watch a 1080P movie encoded in HEVC H265.  When watching H265 encoded movies they play for a few seconds then stop, loads the buffer with a bit more, then repeats this process until I give up. 

Roku is by far the most popular set top box for streaming media with the access of thousands of channels. Recently, the dispute about if Roku 3 and its successor Roku 4 support H.265 codec video since H.265/HEVC is gradually more and more used in many camera video, 4K video and other video streaming. Here we will talk about how to play HEVC/H.265 on Roku 3/4/.

Part 1. Can Roku Play HEVC Video File?

HEVC, also known as H.265, has gained increasing popularity for its efficient compression. Many popular devices like iPhone, GoPro and DJI drone have added the support for HEVC. That’s why so many people become concerned about the HEVC compatibility on Roku. Well, can Roku decode HEVC? What type of video files does Roku play? Let’s check now.

According to Roku SDK documentation, Roku devices supported file formats include:
Video file types: MP4, MOV, M4V, MKV, WebM
Video codecs: H.264/AVC, HEVC/H.265, VP9
Audio file types: AAC, MP3, WMA, WAV (PCM), AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, AC3, E-AC3

As we can see, HEVC is included. However, it is only supported on Roku 4K capable devices, such as Roku 4, Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick + (HE), and Roku Ultra (LT). If your Roku device supports 4K, congratulations, now you can follow the guide to play local HEVC/H.265 video on Roku. If your Roku device isn’t compatible with 4K, don’t worry, you can fast transcode HEVC to Roku playable format.

Part 2. How to Transcode HEVC to Roku Supported Video Format?

If you have a bunch of H.265/HEVC video and want to play them on Roku 3/4 without any hassle, you’d better convert H.265 to H.264 codec video with a H.265 converter. DumboFab Video Converter is integrated of HEVC H.265 encoding and decoding. No matter you are looking for converting video to HEVC/H.265 480p, 720p, 1080p, 4K UHD 4320p or decode HEVC/H.265 video to other video formats, like Roku 3/4 supported MP4/MKV, the professional HEVC Converter will fulfill your task fast and easily.

If you are a Mac user, you should use the equivalent Mac H.265 Converter. It can make you convert H.265 to Roku 3/4 on macOS Big Sur Mojave, Catalina(10.15), Mojave, High Sierra, macOS Sierra, etc platform.

Tutorial on How to Convert H.265(HEVC) to Roku 3 Supported File Format

Step 1. Load H.265 files to the converter

Download and install the H.265 converter for Roku on your computer. Run it and directly drag and drop the H.265 files to the main windows of this program. You can also add H.265/HEVC videos by clicking the “add” button.

Step 2. Choose Roku friendly format

After the files are added, click Format > Common Video and set output video format as H.264 Video (*.mp4).

Tip: Roku does play MP4 files according to the relevant info in Roku official site. However, Roku just plays the MP4 files with H.264 video codec and AAC audio. Roku fails to play MP4 files with other codec. Click the Settings icon to set the correct video, audio codecs.

Step 3. Start H.265 to Roku conversion

Hit the Convert button to start encoding H.265 to H.264 for Roku 3/4 playback.

Once the conversion is finished, click Open button to get the output files. You can either stream them or transfer the converted H.265 videos to Roku’s SD card or to a USB stick that can be attached to Roku streaming player. Enjoy!

Author: Chris Gu

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