If you have been considering buying a Synology NAS for your home, then there is a half-decent chance that you are doing so to use the system as a multimedia centre for Plex Media Server. Plex has a long and established history now as a solid alternative to paid subscription streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime video, giving you the ability to watch all of your lovely movies and box sets, but still enjoy the slick graphical user interface and background polish (such as trailers, reviews descriptions, thumbnails, watchlists, recommendations and artwork) afforded to those online streaming platforms. The currently available generation of Synology diskstation NAS’ that arrived in summer 2020 (DS920+, DS220+, DS420+, DS1520+ and DS720+) are all solid solutions for use as a Plex media server NAS, however many users have identified a recurring playback problem on these recent Intel Celeron powered NAS’. Namely, the fact that they seem to be having difficulty playing H.265 (also known as HEVC) in even rather simple files even as low as 480p and 720p, despite the fact that the CPU and memory are not being hit very hard. This is a playback issue that is not apparent in the Synology Video Station app (happily playing and converting these files without issue). So, what gives? I am pleased to confirm though that it CAN BE SOLVED! Just follow the guide below, spare 5 minutes to go through the steps and you will be able to play those pesky H.265 / HEVC files, even at 8bit and 10bit.
What You Will Need to Perform this Plex Fix for Synology DSM 7 on your NAS
In order to action this fix for Plex Media Server on your Synology DS920+, DS220+, DS420+, DS720+ and DS1520+ NAS, you will need the following:
- A Synology NAS (duh!)
- Plex Media Server Installed on your NAS (video guide HERE and written guide HERE)
- A Desktop PC/Mac system (or Laptop/MacBook). This CAN be done on a mobile, but you need both DSM GUI access and Command-line terminal access
- A Telnet or SSH terminal tool. Mac users can use their in-built Terminal tool, or windows users can download and install PuTTy HERE.
So, all easy, free and/or accessible things! Let’s begin the guide.
Step 1 – Go into the Control Panel > Terminal & SNMP option, then enable Synology Settings for Terminal/ Enable SSH
Step 2 – Open Terminal on MAC, or if you are a Windows user, you can install and open the tool PuTTy HERE.
Step 3 – Switch to Root mode
Step 4 – Using Terminal or Putty, Connect to your Synology NAS
Step 5 – Using Terminal or Putty, Open the Plex Media Server Directory
Step 6 – Find and Open the ‘Preferences.xml’ file
Step 7 – Use the combination/button-shortcut ‘SHIFT + $‘ in order to jump to the end of the file. Arrow down to go down.
Step 8 – Press letter I on the keyboard to enable file editing mode and at the end of the file add: VaapiDriver=”i965″
Step 9 – Press the ESCAPE button on a keyboard to stop editing and then Press SHIFT + Z + Z to save the file
Step 10 – Finally, Type REBOOT and hit enter to restart the NAS server.
Synology DSM 7 NAS Plex H.265 Performance Fix – Solved
And that is it. If Plex Media Server opens in the next few minutes, then you know that it has worked and now you can go ahead and start playing those h.265 / HEVC files that you were having so much difficulty with ease, barely troubling your CPU and memory. A FULL video of the steps above is available HERE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyNEwaRv8eA
TRYING (AND SUCCEEDING!) TO PLAYBACK A SIMPLE 3Mbps H.265 (HEVC) 1080p File
Just remember this fix allows your Plex media server NAS to playback h265 HEVC (8-bit and 10-bit too) media compressed files much more easily, however it does not necessarily mean that high-end 4K files and high bitrate will be in any way affected in their playback on your NAS. The new diskstation DSx20+ series features J4025/J4125 Celeron processors, which will typically only allow up to high-end 1080p playback and transcoding in Plex media server, so you will need to look at higher-end Intel core processors if you want to start dabbling with 4K Plex media server.
Still looking for ways to Improve your Plex Media Server Performance? Below are 11 ways to improve your Plex NAS (click below – Part 1 AND 2)
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