Overview - Start Here
The settings in these guides work with the official Roku Media Player channel (USB and local stream) and the PLEX channel (learn more about PLEX here.) Before you jump into the guides and start encoding, lets talk about video encoding. Basically, what you will be doing is is taking your DVD or blu-ray disc and converting it to a format the Roku can understand. You will need two software programs to accomplish this task, a ripping program and your encoder. I use MakeMKV to rip the video to my hard drive and then I encode it with Handbrake. MakeMKV is not free, but it is a well supported program. Video encoding is similar to converting music to MP3, but it is not a quick process, it takes time to encode quality video. The speed of this process depends on your PC and the settings you choose. I used an old Pentium 4 (2.4 ghz) PC when I first started encoding movies for the Roku. It would take 6 to 8 hours to encode just one DVD movie on that dedicated PC. That was just a DVD, blu-ray was not even a possibility on that system. I currently use a AMD Phenom II quad core (2.4 ghz) PC that encodes DVD's in 45 minutes and blu-ray in 3 to 6 hours using my original settings.
Now that you understand the time involved with encoding, let's collect some important information about your Roku.
Which Roku do you have?
You need to know your Roku's model number and software (operating system) version number. These two numbers will dictate which setting you can use to encode your movies for playback on your Roku. First, the Roku boxes use two different versions of the Roku operating system. I will refer to them as OS 3.x and OS 6.x. See the images below to identify the software version number of your Roku.
This is Roku OS 3.x, which is still used on 1st generation (classic) Roku's. This OS features a side scrolling user interface and is the final release for the 1st generation Roku's. You may also see a dark gray background instead of white on your Roku.
This is Roku OS 6.x, which can be found on second and current third generation Roku's. This OS features a grid based user interface and is actively updated by Roku. This OS has a few different theme options, so you may see a different background color on your Roku.
Now that you know which Roku OS you have, it's time to locate your model number. The easiest way to do this is to flip your Roku over and look for it on the bottom of the box. You can also find it in the setting menu of your Roku. OS 3.x user will find it under Settings>Player Info. OS 6.x users will find it under Settings>System>About. Once you have your number, match it up on the list below to find the compatible settings for encoding video for your Roku.
|1st Generation (OS 3.x)||Compatible settings|
|Roku DVP (N1000)||Original - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku SD (N1050)||Original - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku HD (N1100).||Original - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku HD-XR (N1101)||Original - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku HD (2000)||Original - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku XD (2050)||Original - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku XDS (2100)||Original - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|2nd Generation (OS 6.x)||Compatible settings|
|Roku LT (2400)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku LT (2450)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku HD (2500)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku 2 HD (3000)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku 2 XD (3050)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku 2 XS (3100)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku Streaming Stick, MHL (3400, 3420)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|3rd Generation (OS 6.x)||Compatible settings|
|Roku LT (2700)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku 1 (2710)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku 2 (2720)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku 3 (4200)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku Streaming Stick, HDMI (3500)||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
|Roku TV||Original or Tuned - 480p, 720p, 1080p|
Original vs. Tuned
Which one should you use? If you have a 1st generation Roku (models listed above,) you must use the original settings. The tuned settings are incompatible with 1st generation Roku because they make use of higher ref frames. The tuned settings sacrifice speed to focus on improving picture quality and compression for those with a discerning eye. If you are new to encoding, I recommend starting with the original settings to get a feel for Handbrake and encoding before trying the tuned settings.
The original settings are a good combination of speed, compression and picture quality that most users will be happy with. These settings can be used with any Roku and other devices like the iPad, Galaxy tablets and more.
This tune is for encoding traditional, hand drawn animation like classic Disney, Hanna Barbera cartoons and anime. Do not use this tune with 3D animation, instead use the Film tune. The Animation tune uses more aggressive settings for deblocking, psychovisual distortion, adaptive quantization, b-frames and ref frames to improve picture quality and compression. Use these settings for 2nd and 3rd generation Roku's.
This tune is for encoding film, TV and 3D animation. The Film tune uses more aggressive settings for deblocking, psychovisual trellis and ref frames to improve picture quality, compression and to lessen black crush. Use these settings for 2nd and 3rd generation Roku's.
These settings will encode your DVD so you can play it through your Roku. Your results will be varied as far as video quality is concerned. This is due mostly to how the movie is compressed to fit on the DVD. I recommend encoding a few sample files with different RF settings to get the quality you desire before encoding the entire movie.
Original | Film | Animation
Why 720p? Encoding HD video to 720p saves you time and storage space. There is some loss of detail when stepping down from 1080p to 720p, but most people will not notice a difference. Why? Well, most 1080p HD flat panel TV's will automatically upscale lower resolution video to 1080p. If you are concerned about storage space, give these settings a try.
Original | Film | Animation
This is the current industry standard for HD video at home. These setting will give you 1080p video that looks decent on the Roku, but the 8 mbps bitrate can limit the quality of some movies and causes grainy compression and blocking in low light scenes.
Original | Film | Animation