3 Ways to Play MP4 on Plex

Diana Joan

Jul 13, 2017 05:07 am / Posted by Diana Joan

Many people would record the TV shows or download the TV series to collect all the episodes then watch them with Plex on TV, Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, PS4 Slim, Roku via USB hard drive or NAS server. In this way, you don't have to watch the advertisement and if you like, you can fast-forward through the part you don't like.  However, the feedback unveiled that Plex can't recognize MP4 TV shows and movie files sometimes. In our cognizance, MP4 should be supported by Plex but why Plex can't play MP4 files as we expected.

Why Plex Can't Play MP4 Files Sometimes?

In Plex supporting page, we can see that Plex's native video support is typically (but not always) limited to the MP4 container, H.264 video encoding, and AAC audio. Content matching the following can usually be Direct Played:

  • Container: MP4
  • Resolution: 1920x1080 or smaller
  • Video Encoding: H.264 (level 4.0 or lower)
  • Video Framerate: 30fps
  • Video Bit Depth: 8
  • Audio Encoding: AAC

MP4 in H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec can be directly played by Plex. But as a video container, not all MP4 video files are encoded with H.264 and AAC codec. Many MP4 video is encoded with H.265/HEVC, XviD, DTS and other codecs, which are not supported by Plex. In addition, when we have many TV series episodes, the TV Show names can lead the MP4 playback issues on Plex. When we play external MP4 files on Plex via USB, the wrong place where we store our MP4 files also has an influence on Plex MP4 video streaming. In short, there are many reasons that can cause "Plex can't play MP4" isues. When you can't play your MP4 files on Plex, you can try the ways below.

How to Play MP4 Files on Plex?

Method 1: Naming Video Rightly

When your MP4 files are TV shows, it is important that both the folder structure and each episode filename be correct for shows to be correctly matched. To name series/episode based shows:

  • TV Shows/ShowName/Season XX/ShowName - sXXeYY - Optional_Info.ext


  • XX is the season number
  • YY is the episode number

...Optional_Info is additional optional text (e.g. episode title) that is ignored by Plex, and ext is the file extension. (Some operating systems such as Windows may hide your file extensions by default.)

/TV Shows
   /Grey's Anatomy
      /Season 01
         Grey's Anatomy - s01e01.avi
         Grey's Anatomy - s01e02 - The First Cut is the Deepest.avi
         Grey's Anatomy - s01e03.mp4
      /Season 02
         Grey's Anatomy - s02e01.avi
         Grey's Anatomy - s02e02.mkv
         Grey's Anatomy - s02e03.m4v

Method 2: Folder Nesting

MP4 movie files can be placed into individual folders if you want, but it's not mandatory in most cases. If you have external media for a MP4 movie (e.g. custom poster, external subtitles etc.) you should usually place the mp4 movie in a nested folder along with the custom media files. Name the folder the same as the movie file:

  • /Movies/MovieName (release year)/MovieName (release year).ext
   /Avatar (2009)
      Avatar (2009).mkv
   /Batman Begins (2005)
      Batman Begins (2005).mp4
      Batman Begins (2005).eng.srt

Method 3: Make MP4 Encoded with Plex Compatible A/V Codec

When you named your MP4 TV shows rightly and put them in a folder called movie and still can't play MP4 video with Plex, you might need to check if the MP4 video is encoded with Plex compatible video and audio codec. To exclude playback issues caused by the codec, you can use a third-party video converter to re-encode your MP4 video to H.264 MP4 with AAC audio codec for Plex.

Pavtube Video Converter Ultimate handles MP4 video as a boss. You can convert your H.265/HEVC MP4, XviD MP4, DivX MP4, MP4 with DTS audio to H.264 AAC MP4 for Plex directly playback. Batch conversion and "Drag-and-Drop" feature will make the process as easy as ABC. If your MP4 video is a whole file with multiple episodes, this video converter can convert your MP4 video to separate episodes for your convenient playback with Plex. You can compress your 4K MP4 video to 1080p for Plex and also can upscale your lower resolution MP4 to high resolution.

Step-by-Step to Convert MP4 to Plex

Step 1: Load original MP4 files

Click "File" button on the main interface to load your MP4 files to the program. You also can directly drag and drop the MP4 files into the software. Batch conversion will save you a lot of time. Besides MP4, you also can load MKV, AVI, WMV, TS and other video files to H.264 AAC MP4 for Plex.

If you are using a Mac, you should use the equivalent Pavtube iMedia Converter for Mac.

load MP4 video

Step 2: Choose MP4 for Plex

Click "Format" and choose MP4 from "HD Video" as output format, which can be recognized by Plex easily.

MP4 video for Plex

Check MP4 Codec

You need to check if the MP4 video is H.264 and AAC codec, which is most compatible with Plex. Just click "Settings" to open the profile settings window and check the item in the right places.


Step 3: Start MP4 to Plex Conversion

Finally, hit the "Convert" button at the bottom of the main interface to start the conversion. It will automatically convert MP4 to Plex Media Server compatible video files. After the conversion, click "Open" to quickly find the converted movies.

Then, you can store the MP4 video in USB storage drive or NAS so that you can play the MP4 files with Plex on your Samsung TV, LG TV, Sony TV, Panasonic TV and more.

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