Transcoding - mkv or mp4?

Hey all. I'm trying to figure out the best file format so that when we stream away from home, my computer is working overtime to transcode on the fly. This is something I do not know enough about so Im asking for help. What is the best file format for me to save my videos in so that we can stream with less stress on the system? I have some in mkv and some in mp4. I assume the device I will be watching on makes a difference, as well as what screen resolution? Ipads, iphones, 4k, non-4k. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

If you're streaming away from home, it doesn't make much of a difference. The reason being is that MP4 and MKV are simply containers that hold the separate audio and video streams. When you stream remotely, the streams are broken up and repackaged into smaller segments. So, it doesn't matter which you use as a container, it will repackaged when it is remotely streamed.

If your server is struggling to handle simple transcodes/remuxes, then I would recommend upgrading your server, or at least video hardware, instead. That would give you better performance, while allowing you to keep higher quality source files for local viewing.

You would need to transcode the files to a lower bitrate and H264/H265. Which would also stress your PC. MKV is the better container as it can contain Subtitles and Several Audio files.

If you do a lot of remote viewing then upgrading your Server is probably your best bet ... with something that Supports Quicksync or Nvidia hardware transcoding.

I Know a Pi is out of the question since it can only transcode 1 stream. Any suggestion on something that could allow for 3-4 at the same time? Broad question, I know. My current desktop that I use as my server is:
i7-4790 @3.6ghz, 8GB ram with an NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1050 Ti. I couldnt get a larger graphics card at the time due to the size of my power supply that doesnt seem to be replaceable.

That is plenty for transcoding on the fly.... I do not see a problem with your server handling multiple transcodes. maybe your problem is upload bandwidth ? Upgrade memory ?

I have an I7 with 32GB ram running Plex Emby ChannelsDVR and SageTV and can easily watch multiple remote shows.

Im on 1gb fiber so no issue there. Might be the fact I only have 8gb of ram. Ill check into if I can upgrade. For some reason I felt like I couldnt but ill check again. Im using the remnants of a corporate machine I got for free but I updated video card and put in an SSD.

You can check for memory upgrade with this tool works great ....

Crucial System Scanner

I doubt memory is your issue. As others have mentioned, that hardware should be more than capable of transcoding like a champ. If you’re having issues, it’s likely not a server horsepower issue. Can you share the actual problems you are experiencing?

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