Plex streaming this media is unsupported? Well, let’s solve this problem in this guide!
Plex is a popular choice for media servers, which allows you to organize, manage, access, and stream your movies, music, shows, photos, and more.
The reason why the “media unsupported” message appears is that the platform is unable to stream the selected media file.
When Plex is unable to stream a media file, first update the Plex media server, and test if the files are not damaged, corrupted, or incomplete on your local machine.
If the media is intact, then you need to clear the Plex metadata and caches or reinstall the Plex server.
Let’s jump straight into the guide!
How to Fix “Plex Streaming This Media is Unsupported”?
1. Update the Plex Media Server!
The first and most important step is to update the Plex media server.
This is very important since running an outdated Plex media server firmware is proven to bring up the “unsupported” error upon attempting to play certain media files (not based on media file format).
Update Plex Media Server on Windows/MacOS:
- Hover your cursor over the Plex icon in the Taskbar.
- Right-click on the Plex icon to bring up all the options.
- Select “Check for Updates” and wait for the scan.
- If a new update has been found, allow it to commence.
Update Plex Media Server on Synology NAS:
- Access your Plex media server control panel.
- Select “Server” from the tabs on the top-right.
- Then ensure that you’re in “General” settings.
- Check the current server version displayed.
- Info: There should be “An Update is Available”.
- On the left, press “Please Install Manually”.
- Download the file on your NAS or local computer.
- Access the Package Center on the Synology NAS.
- Find the Plex Media Server and stop the service.
- In the Package Center, click on “Manual Install”.
- Then find and select the previously downloaded file.
- Follow the prompts to update your Plex server.
Note: The steps are almost identical even when you’re using a Qnap NAS or other!
2. Check for Media File Compatibility
In case streaming this media is unsupported Plex only on a number of files within the Plex media server, it’s likely that the message is correct.
The media support of Plex includes a wide variety of file formats, but they are far from being complete, hence there are many exceptions.
To verify the file format compatibility with Plex, you need to be able to inspect the questionable files under Windows, Linux, or macOS environments.
This way you will be shown the exact file format, so you can later check whether Plex supports the streaming of this type of file format.
|Supported Plex Media Formats
|mpeg4, vc1, wmv3, msmpeg4, msmpeg4v2
|aac, ac3, mp3
|H.264, hevc, H265, mpeg4, mpeg2video, vc1, wmv3
|aac, mp2. mp3
|aac, mp2, ac3
|H.264, H.265, hebc, mpeg4, vc1, vp9, wmv3
|aac, e-ac3, flac, mp2
Note: In case the file format does not appear in this table, then it’s unsupported by Plex!
3. Restart the Plex Media Server
Sometimes, even if rarely, the reason why Plex is unable to stream certain or all files, could be due to a temporary glitch or a bug.
The easiest way to solve such incidental occurrences would be by stopping the Plex media server, waiting for a few moments, and starting it up again.
Restart Plex Media Server on Windows:
- Locate the Plex icon from the Taskbar Tray.
- Hover your cursor over the “Exit” and click.
- This will ultimately close and stop the Plex.
- Then after a few moments, start Plex again.
Restart Plex Media Server on Linux/FreeBSD:
When you’re running your Plex media server on a Linux-like operating system, you can only interact with the media server via commands.
Hence, you’ll need to SSH into your Plex server through the terminal and execute a simple command to stop, start or restart the Plex server.
- server plexmediaserver restart
- server plexmediaserver start
- server plexmediaserver stop
Tip: Instead of only testing the “restart” option, completely kill the server process by first “stop” and then “start” to perform a natural reboot.
Restart Plex Media Server on Synology NAS:
- You only need to open Package Manager.
- Then go to the Plex Media Server package.
- Access the Action Bar, drop-down menu.
- Then Stop the Plex Media Server package.
- Then access the menu and Start the package.
In case the files are still “supported” and unable to be streamed, continue reading!
4. Clear Plex HTTP Cache & Metadata
The reason why some media on your Plex media server is “unsupported” may not be due to a bad format or server bug, sometimes the cache data is the culprit.
This contains data gathered over time usage, to enhance the server performance with easy and fast access.
Sometimes the Plex media server may encounter issues with corrupted files within this data, which might affect the server in different ways.
However, the ultimate solution would be to clear the entire cache and start from scratch, but we’ll also explain how to avoid this.
Where is the Cache Data Located?
The cache data is located and stored in different places with different operating systems and environments.
Within the directory, you’ll find the “Caches” for all channels, plugs, and agents so you can be selective when clearing (based on the media file formats that are unsupported).
- Windows: %localappdata%\Plex Media Server\Plug-in Support\Caches
- Linux: ~/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/Plug-in Support/Caches
- macOS $PLEX_HOME/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/Plug-in Support/Caches
How to Clear the Cache on Plex?
To clear the cache for everything on your Plex server, delete the entire content of the “Caches” directory.
Alternatively, browse the content of the “Caches” directory to discover a specific agent, plugin, or channel to delete the cache data.
Tip: Always have a backup of the data, before deletion!
5. Tweak the “Transcoder” Settings
Sometimes the issue is simply with the Plex Web App. In those cases, we can only suspect that the transcoder settings are misconfigured, leading to Plex playback error streaming this media is unsupported.
- Simply go to the Plex Web App > Settings > Server > Transcoder!
Then under expanding the Transcoder Quality drop-down menu:
- Automatic – the Plex server will automatically select one of the options below.
- Prefer higher quality – the quality will be better in contrast to the transcoding.
- Prefer higher speed – the server will transcode faster but the quality is lower.
- Make my CPU hurt – the slowest transcode speed with the best quality possible.
If your Transcoder is set to “Automatic” then feel free to switch from one setting to another and test whether your media will finally start playing.
In addition, don’t forget to select the “Maximum Simultaneous Video Transcode” to Unlimited, to prevent any operational Plex conflicts.
6. Verify the Integrity of your Media!
Lastly, in case nothing helps, we need to verify the integrity of your files (media) to determine whether they are corrupted, incomplete, or damaged.
You can do so by extracting the files from the Plex media server to your local computer and testing them with a proven media player.
- We recommend testing files with the VLC Media Player!
In case the “unsupported” files from your Plex media server are working on your local computer, then you should double-check whether they are supported as a format.
If yes, you might have to completely re-set up the Plex media server, from scratch, to eliminate the problem for good.
7. Uninstall the Plex Media Server
The ultimate solution to any sort of Plex media server issues would be to re-set up the server from scratch.
First, you would need to back up your content to avoid any loss.
Secondly, you need to uninstall the Plex media server from your computer, which involves extra steps!
Close the Plex media server from the Taskbar system tray. Next, uninstall the Plex media server normally from the Control Panel. Then delete the following registry key and directory:
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Plex, Inc.
- %LOCALAPPDATA&\Plex Media Server
Tip: To edit and remove registries on Windows, open the Registry Editor from the Start Menu!
First, ensure that the Plex media server is not running and use the “Go” menu select the “Go to Folder” option, and enter ~/Library/. Then you need to delete the following directories:
- ~/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/
- ~/Library/Logs/Plex Media Server
Reminder: Also open the terminal and run “defaults delete com.plexapp.plexmediaserver”.
On Linux, you need to ensure that the Plex media server is not running and follow the steps:
- Run the command: dpkg -r plexmediaserver
- Delete the directory /var/lib/plexmediaserver/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/
Note: If you’re running Plex on a NAS, remote the package from the Package Center!
Here we’ve learned that when Plex streaming this media is unsupported, the first step is to check whether the media format is supported and verify the file’s integrity.
In case that doesn’t work we need to update the Plex media server or uninstall and start from scratch. Follow us for more!
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