Acceptable playback of 1080p from PC?

I have a Tablo 4 tuner recording at 1080p. I Am playing content from a PC to a TV. Unless I use Plex Home Theater with the Tablo plugin, I get unacceptable results. The PC is a Windows 7 64bit, i3-4130, 4MB, Intel integrated 4400 HD graphics using HDMI out to HDTV. Tablo, PC are connected to LAN with cat5. The PC is a plex server set up to direct play up to 20 MB/s for local players. (No transcoding)
I tried a test with 3 different playback methods of the same video:
1- Plex Home Theater via Tablo plugin to play a 1080p recording located on the Tablo - 5%-13% CPU load on the PC, flawless playback quality
2 - Next, I tried to play from the Plex media manager which is the web based Plex server browser using Chrome. Same video recording and Tablo plugin. The playback in this case shows ocassional skipped frames and is noticeably flawed for regular viewing. The CPU load is 70-80%, with Several instances of chrome.exe topping the CPU consumption list.
3rd - Played from Tablo TV web application with Chrome browser. This case had significantly more frame skipping than the second case and was unacceptable for playback. CPU load was again 70-80% with Chrome.exe instances explaining for CPU load.

So I’m posting here because I’m new to this and still trying to workout how to best play Plex and Tablo from my TV.
Why is playback awful in case 3?
Why does chrome.exe burden the CPU so much in cases 2&3?
Why is the playback poorer through Plex server browser than Plex home theater?
Without Plex home theater, is there an acceptable way to play Tablo content on a TV with a HTPC? If so, what do I need to try?

@dean5417 I don’t have an answer, but can somewhat confirm what you’re seeing.  I have a Core i3 desktop with a relatively light-weight discrete graphics card (Radeon HD 7750 1GB 128-Bit GDDR5) and also see relatively poor playback in Chrome.  My graphics card is at least as good as 4400HD, and should be more than ample for 1080P video playback, but struggles a bit with Tablo playback in chrome.  I don’t have major playback issues, just not as smooth as from the Roku 3, which is a much less capable device in terms of tech specs.  My Tablo is also set to record in 1080P.

So I don’t know if it’s Chrome that introduces the issue or the way Tablo is presenting the video to Chrome, but I do see a difference between playback in Chrome and the Roku 3.  

@dean5417 - Have you tried playing directly from How is the playback there?

Just trying to isolate whether this is the Plex app (which I know @DavidVR is working on right now) or something else. 

@dean5417 It sounds like it is a decoder issue, both plex and use the html5 video playback element I believe. Try right clicking on the video, if it says flash anywhere, its a probably a issue with your flash install. If it doesn’t mention flash, its something to do with the HTML5 mpeg4 decoder Chrome is using. 

Take a look at this:

And also see if you have any playback issues on these videos:


His case 3 is using the in Chrome.


Playing 1080p video on an HDTV from a computer is generally video card dependent not CPU dependent these days. A dual core CPU can decode 1080p.

Humour me, disconnect the computer from the HDTV and connect it to a regular monitor and tell me if the problem still happens through the Chrome browser via web app.

Oops - sorry! Missed that. (Need more coffee…)

Will send this thread over to @TabloSupport for their input.

I had this exact same issue streaming 1080p content in the past (without Tablo in the picture at all) on a PC with embedded Intel graphics chip.  I added an old nvidia video card I had lying around (maybe a Geforce 5700) and the problem went away. The embedded graphics cards typically don’t have the juice needed to decode 1080p video and therefore send workload to the CPU.

I would also bet money that the Plex Home Theatre is transcoding the video for you. Or it has an optimization for your video chipset that Chrome cannot tap into.


I echo your comments. But the interesting thing I’ve noticed with 1080p (Tablo and other sources) is that it will play fine on a monitor but not on an HDTV with low end video cards - hence the test I asked the OP to try. Upgrade the card and you’re good.

@dean5417 It sounds like it is a decoder issue, both plex and use the html5 video playback element I believe. Try right clicking on the video, if it says flash anywhere, its a probably a issue with your flash install. If it doesn't mention flash, its something to do with the HTML5 mpeg4 decoder Chrome is using. 

Chrome using is using Flash on my Win 8.1 PC by default…

If it is supposed to be using HTML5, I don’t know how you control that.

I too am getting “skipped frames” when I play either Live TV or any recordings on my PC so I did the following experiment:

1. go to FireFox addon setting and disable the Flash extension
2. go to and tune to any Live TV channel
3. a screen popped up and say Flash is disabled and it give you a URL for that Live channel on the screen
4. Cut and Paste the URL into the VLC player for streaming

Ha, it doesn’t skip frames anymore…maybe I give the VLC player a try…I think there was a thread about watching Tablo with a VLC player…need to search for that now

edit: updated instruction above

Thanks all for your input.  I appreciate it.

I’m away from my system so I’ll have to provide other feedback later.

I do know that when playing from (case 3), it’s using adobe flash player and I couldn’t determine how to utilize another player so I’m with @ChrisFix.  I’m pretty sure that my plex web interface (case 2) is using the experimental player which I believe is HTML5.  That could explain for a quality difference between case 2 and 1, but case 2 was still not acceptable from a viewing standpoint and still had a large burden of several instances of chrome.exe which really shouldn’t be there.  Regarding @Davidvr input, I will look at those links. Thanks.

Regarding those that are questioning the capability of the HD4400, I have both a VGA and HDMI input to my ~4 year old Vizio smart TV.  Both are connected with an extended display.  I can check the VGA input to see if there’s any difference in video.  I have successfully played 1080p through the display port - HDMI to the TV from video sourced from a friend’s plex server by using the Plex web player (media manager) from my end.  The video was flawless.  I didn’t check if chrome.exe was a burden or not, but I can repeat this easily to check.  I have also played this same episode that was tested in cases 1, 2, & 3 as an .mp4 with Windows media player.  However, it was processed by Tablo2go (output as .TS) and again by MCEbuddy (comskip & MP4 unprocessed).  It may not be apples to apples, but there was no frame jumps present and it still registers in plex as 1080p resolution.  I also believe I have this same problem on other PC’s (Nvidia 260GTX I think & a separate laptop) so it’s not limited to the HD4400.  I do have all of the latest drivers for the video card within the past 2-3 weeks.

I had resource monitor up and there was no plex transcoding task present for any of these cases.  I learned a few days ago that if I bumped the max. MB/s to 20 for local play, the plex server will not attempt to transcode.  If some sort of transcoding was going on, it could have only be chrome.exe doing it because they were the only significant loads.  The plex home theater case had hardly any loading.  I know for my CPU (4700 or so playmark), transcoding 1080p by a plex server would require 2000+ playmark which is a significant load for this system.

I was beginning to suspect that 1080p quality issues I was seeing were originating in the Tablo.  The plex home theater (case 1) indicated to me that the entire hardware chain (Tablo, 100MB router, Win7 PC with HD4400, Vizio TV) functions to produce excellent quality.  I just don’t understand yet why Plex home theater is a required part of the equation.  I’d like to have a way to see excellent 1080p quality directly from and I’m beginning to suspect that may not be possible with adobe flashplayer.  I may have other non-tablo related issues going on with plex web or anything that requires chrome that I also need to resolve.

Thanks again for everyone’s input

Just did a quick test.  On my work laptop with Chrome and an embedded ATI fire Pro M4000 and an 8-core I7 processor

  • Plex Tablo channel uses the JWPlayer through Adobe Flash.  Hardware Acceleration is turned on and works really well and CPU utilization sits at 8-10%
  • uses VideoJS Flash Component through Adobe Flash.  Hardware acceleration is turned on.  Video is “jumpy” even at 720p and CPU utilization sits at 16%
On my desktop connected to the basement TV, which has an Nvidia 8800GT PCI-Express adapter and a quad-core i5 processor
  • Plex Tablo channel uses the JWPlayer through Adobe Flash.  Hardware Acceleration is turned on and video is jumpy and CPU utilization wits at 23%.
  • uses VideoJS Flash Component through Adobe Flash.  Hardware acceleration is turned on.  Video is not jumpy and CPU utililization is 41%
So definitely the different Flash components behave in completely different ways.  Playback on my Roku 3 is flawless, so far.  Getting the right combination of hardware and software on a general purpose PC has always been a bit of bitch in my opinion.

Flash is a pig and needs to die. Many are hoping/wishing it would. It’s a security problem, it’s a horsepower hog, it’s just plain a pain. Even my son, who is a designer who knows flash inside and out and does flash development for sites such as has said he won’t be upset to see Flash die. Anything Adobe is a resource hog and security risk anyway. Sorry if that offends the Adobe fans and employees here, but it’s an IT fact. 

This is likely an issue with the video card because I get flawless playback of 1080p Tablo video through when connected to a monitor but when connected to an HDTV it is choppy. Quad core 2.4 GHz CPU here.

And yes Roku plays 1080p Tablo video flawlessly. But my Roku is hard wired. People have found problems with 1080p streaming on the Roku when using WiFi due to poor wireless signal.

Wifi, why would anyone use wifi? :wink: is playing VideoJS Flash using the latest Adobe flash player According to Adobe site, this player is used on all Windows platform browsers. Confirmed Chrome browser was up to date.
Played through VGA port and closed extended video feed to HDMI. 56-80% CPU usage, same frame jumping present, less severe, but still not acceptable. CPU idle:1-4%. Tried HDMI again with extended video off on VGA. Similar frame jumping result.
Tried Plex web app again through HDMI with extended video off. It’s using JW Player 6.8.4616(premium edition). 67%-90% cpu load. Much more fluid, occasional frame jumps, but not as noticeable. Most noticeable when camera pans to follow movement.
Played Plex home theater again…completely fluid picture quality and CPU load between 4%-13%

So it would seem that I may have gotten a slight improvement from turning off extended video. I didn’t see improvement from VGA out. It had the same frame jumping with less vibrant colors / crispness compared to HDMI. Unless something else comes to surface, it would appear that I need Plex home theater to get acceptable results.

Played on laptop(core 2 duo, p8400, ahem…3.8 Windows experience index, 64bit,4GB Vista). 100% CPU usage with player running, frame jumping so bad it was more of a slideshow. CPU idle: 5%

You would think the Plex Home Theatre (the PC front-end for Plex) would use the same player as the Plex Media Server. But you are obviously getting different results there, which is odd.

@theuser86, two different animals.  PHT is a software program.  PMS/Web is (duh) a web based interface.


I’ve tried both out, I know very different UIs but that doesn’t mean the players have to be different. I suppose the PHT is using some native player they coded themselves - it is a fork of XBMC, which is pretty solid code to begin with.

@theuser86, PMS is a completely different animal from XBMC.  I sort of wish people would stop referring to its early roots.  It’s very different now.

You may have to be a computer nerd to understand that a web browser interface is radically different from a software application.  Of course, with mobile devices, they can be similar, but you need to think “old school” with regards to PHT… it’s very different.

Ideally, you’d expect PHT to use an accelerated player, whereas you’re hampered by what “flash” can do on Plex/Web (just an example).