Infuse/Plex Seemingly Transferring Files

I have been trying out Infuse Pro (Apple TV 4K) and Plex functionality (so far everything has been working very smoothly). When playing back content, I have been noticing that Infuse seems to be trying to transfer the full video – at least I see Plex transferring data and the buffer bar slowly filling in and I can see the amount of data being transferred over the switches. Is this what is really going on and is this normal? I have some concerns about needlessly filling up the flash with buffered data and it seems to be trying to use as much of the flash as possible and typically will transfer about 15 GB until the transfer trickles as you would expect from a stream. All of my content is Bluray/UHD, so this will be quite a lot of written data to the flash drive over time.

Thank you!

I think the main reason people use Infuse to watch plex is to direct play the movies without needlessly transcoding. So yes, it will stream the whole movie in it’s entirety. If you are concerned and have a great network, I would reduce your buffer size on plex. Or buy a cheap 128gb SSD or Magnetic Hard drive to install in your PC. These days, a 128gb ssd is like $20. Throw it out once it goes bad. I’ve been using plex for 2 years now with an SSD, and still have yet to have a problem with a 600 second buffer.

Or, just use Infuse without Plex. Infuse direct plays from your Samba share.

Thank you! I do not want to transcode anything which is why I am looking at Infuse and I verified that Plex isn’t transcoding the content at all, so it’s a direct https stream. All the content is available via SMB/NFS, but that would eliminate using Plex to keep track of my media.

The Plex app itself also doesn’t do any transcoding, I just really prefer the interface, subtitle, and chapter handling of Infuse.

My main concern is, with my current usage, about 100 GB per day is being written directly to the Apple TV, which would destroy the storage in under a year.

I’m not sure, as I don’t know the inner workings of the Infuse app on ATV, but I didn’t think it wrote the buffer into flash on the apple tv. I would assume the stream only goes into the RAM. I thought the buffer was just on the server side in the temp file which you specify on plex, and that’s mainly due to transcoding needing a buffer. I think James would have to answer this one.

That’s what I thought as well, but the ATV only has 3 GB of RAM, so there’s no way it can buffer 15 GB. Thank you for your help!

Yes, but at what point in the movie does it start to trickle? I guess I’ll have to try it when I get home.

At the start of play back, it will transfer about 14-15 GB at 120 Mbps. Depending on the original file size, this is typically about 1/2 of the movie (and the buffer bar in Infuse fills to this point). After this has been transferred, every 30 seconds or so, there will be a burst up to 20-30 Mbps and then back to zero. Pretty much what you would expect once a buffer is full (RAM or storage).

Infuse will utilize disk-based caching, which allows great resiliency for high bitrate content, especially when using networks with inconsistent performance. How much cache Infuse uses will depend on the amount of free space on your Apple TV (Infuse will avoid pushing the Apple TV near its limits, which would trigger tvOS’ housekeeping tasks which remove data from other apps). If your Apple TV is very low on disk space, Infuse will automatically fallback to RAM-only based streaming.

This new caching was added in Infuse 6.0, and the real-world impact has been dramatic. The number of reports of buffering or slow streaming we see on a weekly basis has dropped by ~95% since the release of 6.0.

With regard to the lifespan of flash storage, there is really no cause for concern here, IMHO. There are real-world tests ( where the lifespan of flash storage ranges from 1 up to 9(!) PB of total data written. To put that in perspective (using the low estimate), you’d have to write 100 GB a day, every day for 27 years in order to hit that number. Even if you played it safe and took a quarter of that lifespan, it still gives you more than 9 years by which point we’ll be all using the Apple TV 64K Plus Max.

Thank you for the confirmation! It would definitely be nice for this to have an option to disable. Your SSD quote really doesn’t apply however. TBW goes up the larger the size of the drive is as well as the type of flash (SLC, MLC, etc). Unfortunately, this information isn’t available from Apple, so only a best guess can be made.

However, other 32 GB flash based storage solutions typically have around a 25 TBW, so I think this is a very big cause for concern, since the Apple TV is quite expensive with no user-replaceable components. Here are some examples:

32 GB Sandisk (20 TBW):
32 GB eMMC (40 TBW):

FWIW, there is also a study that looked into drive failure rates in a Google Data center, and it showed the main factor that leads to flash storage failure is age, and not actually the number of PE (program/erase) cycles.

We observe that even after controlling for the effect of PE cycles in the way described above, there is still a significant correlation between the number of months a device has been in the field and its RBER (correlation coefficients between 0.2 and 0.4) for all drive models.

I understand the desire for getting the most life out of your devices, but the risk for long-term issues here is really very low.

You are comparing data center drives with embedded consumer drives. Enterprise drives don’t even compare to your standard PC SSDs (they are designed for high write use). For instance, we have drives in our data center which have a 7 PBW failure rate. The storage in the Apple TV is embedded and likely cache-less TLC. They just aren’t designed for this type of use.

It’s nice that you provide the ability to do disk caching on device. In my experience (wired ethernet), I’ve never had any buffering issues for local content. It’s fine though, the Plex app doesn’t have this behavior so I can just use that instead. They also added an experimental media player which can handle other codec (such as VC-1 and mpeg2) without server-side transcoding. I was hoping to use Infuse is all, but for me, it just isn’t worth the risk. As I stated earlier, it would be nice to disable this behavior and use RAM-only caching.

Fair enough. I can’t say I share your concerns, but adding a setting should be pretty easy.

Cheers. :slight_smile:

We’ve added a new ‘Streaming Cache’ setting that will be available soon in the upcoming 6.2.4 release.

Thanks for the feedback. :slight_smile:

WOW that is awesome news! Thank you!

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