Infuse vs. VLC vs. PLEX vs. ???

Hi, I’m a n00b. I just found out about Infuse out of frustration using VLC Player on my Apple TV 4K. I currently use “remote playback” on the Apple TV / VLC Player app to stream movies, tv shows, etc… I simply drag and drop them on my laptop and then stream on the app on my tv. It works ok for 1080i/1080p shows, but it still has buffer issues or possible network cache issues even after tweaking the settings and I want to watch 4K movies, which I know will be a problem, so doing some searching I found a lot of people recommending Infuse. I downloaded the Apple TV Infuse app, went through setup and got some movies and tv shows loaded up to watch, and it won’t even let me play anything without paying. After searching around on this forum I found the “free app” and “paid app” and honestly it’s all just super confusing. :confused: Is there a basic free Infuse app that will let you watch your own media or do I have to pay? I just downloaded the Apple TV PLEX app and the Plex media server app on my laptop but I’m not sure how it will do with UHD/4K Remux. So my question is, Is there a basic free Infuse app that will let you watch videos or do I have to sign up and pay to watch my own videos?

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Also for people using PLEX media server with Infuse, what’s the advantage to doing that vs having Infuse connect directly with your media?

Third question, is it really a noticeable difference watching a 4K Remux vs streaming 4K via iTunes/Vudu/MA/Amazon Prime/Netflix??

Couple of reasons: a) I like the metadata collection, editing, organizing in Plex; b) I don’t just use ATVs - I also have Rokus, smart TV apps, that can all use the same library.

It depends on your setup. If you have an expensive TV and a nice home theatre setup then yes there is a difference. If it’s just a cheap tv with a soundbar then I’d say probably not much of a difference.

I have a pretty nice Sony 75” 4K tv with a decent 5.1 sound system but no atmos so I just hear 5.1. Is the picture difference really that big? Even with a remux of a 1080p is it noticeable too?

Strangely enough, even watching 1080p movies right now on PLEX I can notice the audio quality is way better than VLC. I might have to do the week trial of Infuse and watch a remux. If anyone can recommend the best actual 4K remux to watch. Maybe Avatar?? I want to hear some lossless audio and see the best picture possible on this tv.

Add Free vs Paid

The free Version is able to play your own movies. However there are a bunch of codecs which are only available in the paid app. This is because some codecs require a paid license.

You can either re-encode your files to codec supported by the free version or purchase a license

You can subscribe to a trial in the free version (i’d recommend doing a lifetime subscription over buying the standalone version of pro as the standalone does not include upgrades to the next major version).

As for 1080p remux you’ll notice improvement in audio quality provided your 5.1 setup is connected via HDMI and not toslink/optical as optical does not support lossless audio. for 4K remux i’d recommend the new Mad Max. The HDR has a 9000 nit max brightness and the lossless audio is amazing.

Do you know if mkv files are supported in the free app? I’m only trying to play mkv files and it immediately takes me to the “upgrade to pro” subscription page. If they are supported in the free version, what am I doing wrong or missing?

I will probably end up doing that free week trial, I just wanted to try it out first to see if I even liked it. PLEX seems to be working ok, I watched a few 1080p WEB-DL tv shows last night although it did freeze up twice briefly.

Funny you mention, I totally forgot I have an older receiver with toslink/optical so I actually won’t be able to take advantage of lossless audio. Hmmmmmmm. I haven’t seen the new Mad Max yet, will check it out either way! I wonder what some good 1:85:1 aspect ratio Remux would be.

Can you notice a difference between a 4k remux with Infuse and streaming the same movie in 4k?

Another question, aren’t you technically streaming a 4k remux with Infuse? So is the only difference really the file size? That you are streaming the exact same file as the original Blu-Ray and not a compressed video/audio file for netflix/hulu/amazon/itunes, etc

Yes the files are being streamed and I can see a difference in the online versions vs the remux versions. The online versions have higher compression which affects sharpness and colour detail in some scenes. Youtube Channel HDTVTest has some comparison videos where he compares online versions vs bluray versions (which a remux basically is). The other difference is sound as i found the dynamic range not as good as what you’d get with a disc/remux.

Yeah I definitely want to experience this.

Are .mkv files not allowed to view in the free version? That’s the only thing I’m trying to play and it keeps sending me to the Upgrade screen.

The most common reason is that the video file has an AC3 sound track which needs software licensed from Dolby which requires a license fee (hence not available in the free version). This restriction is mentioned in the description in the App Store near the end in the “GET MORE FROM INFUSE PRO”

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Yes, MKV files play fine on the free version, however most MKV files are loaded with DTS or AC3 audio, both of which require the audio licenses in the pro version to work. If you rip your blu-rays with stereo sound, they should play just fine on the free version.

4k requires a massive amount of power to transcode if plex has to do a full transcode, doubleful any laptop you have could do it. Many people use infuse to ensure that plex always direct plays to Infuse and never transcodes.

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Ah ok, yeah definitely did not read that anywhere I ended up signing up for the trial so I’ve been watching movies and shows. I was starting to have some streaming buffer issues and switched to PLEX media server and it seems to be ok for now. I’m wondering if there’s a way to see if there’s any difference with the picture or sound between this app and PLEX.

Ok got it. That’s what I’m doing now, using Infuse with PLEX. Are there any settings I need to change or will PLEX just pass through the file without transcoding? Also is there any way to really compare Infuse & PLEX quality? I’m just curious if there’s any noticeable difference at this point between playing the same movies between the two. I’m trying to a/b now but unless I have buffering issues with one or the other, not sure I can notice a difference.

HDR movies will probably have a difference in picture quality because both programs might apply different tone maps to the video. But most other movies should look the same.

For sound, Infuse should be better if Plex has to transcode to another format to play directly on your device. Dolby Atmos is the only one where plex might sound better if you can do passthrough to your home theater system. I believe Infuse still converts dolby atmos to LPCM audio lossless audio.

There may also be image quality differences if plex is doing any transcoding.