Plex - h264 vs h265 Plex |

Plex h264 vs h265 Plex

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Original poster
Mar 27, 2020
PG Related
Server Type
Dedicated Remote
Hi all

So, as I understand it, with h264 files are bigger, but generally don't need transcoding for Plex. h265 gives smaller files, but needs to be transcoded.

I have an EX42 server with Unlimited GDrive running Plex.

Which one would be best? On the one hand, the bigger size of H264 would require more bandwidth, right? Now if we have h265 and it gets transcoded, would the transcoded file still get bigger and consume the same bandwidth as if I just had h264 to begin with?

I guess what I want to know is: Which format will stream the fastest and use the least amount of bandwidth?


Project Manager
Jun 7, 2020
The endclient is the biggest part of

X264 vs x265

Nvidia shield can play x265
Xbox one can't play x265
Windows can play x265
AppelTV idk
FireTV I mean they can't play x265
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Data Hoarding Primate
Project Manager
Jan 20, 2018
The tragic answer is most of what H265 is supposed to do, it’s been very slow to accomplish other than in low bandwidth scenarios where it is better than H264. Doob is 100% on the hardware limitations, if you can direct play everything (and do), then it’s an irrelevant question. It’s when you can’t or have friends/family who cannot, it becomes a problem.

Let’s start with the obvious, hardware H265 decode is relatively new in Ubuntu, doing it in software significantly increases the CPU Mark requirement, if plex has to transcode it, the output is always H264 at present. The act of transcoding H265 to H264 is way more CPU heavy than H264 to H264 and in general with high quality encodes, the sizes aren’t massively different, but H265 tends to give a more acceptable result in low bandwidth scenarios. The issue that frustrates me is the idea that H265 is always better, it’s not. It also doesn’t help when people do silly things like re-encode H264 to H265, compressing a lossy format to another more compressed lossy format is technically horrible.

My advice is therefore simple, if you want to ensure maximum hardware compatibility, H264 is probably the better option. That said on things like TV rips, if you want small file sizes (and low bit-rates), H265 is likely to give a better result the lower the bit-rate gets, especially if you can always direct play it.
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