As a Plex user, you might have encountered the error “there was a problem playing this item?” while streaming. This error is mostly encountered by streamers using the app for the first time.
You can also experience this error if you’re using the Plex Media Server 0.9.17.X and above. Also, you encounter this error when you try to access certain files like the Matroska Video (MKV) files.
This error hinders you from streaming via Plex. Nonetheless, this error can be fixed.
Follow these solutions listed below to get it done.
Solutions to the “problem playing this item” error on Plex
- Delete old devices
- Change transcoder settings
- Downgrade the server
- Add AC3 codec to Plex
Solution 1: Delete old devices
Plex users have the privilege of linking several devices to their accounts. These can include Plex Cloud, Plex Web, Plex for Roku, and Plex for Android to mention a few.
In this situation, the media player may malfunction if there is a device conflict. A conflict occurs when all devices are using the same server resources – memory, interrupt request, etc., or running simultaneously.
In another situation, this error can occur when your account has multiple of the same devices. For instance, when a web browser is listed several times on your Plex account. That means each browser is an independent instance.
Although your media player can know which entry to use, you should remove it to prevent conflicts and errors in the future.
These steps below will help you delete or detach old devices or accounts:
- Sign in to your Plex account
- Open Devices list
- Locate the devices you have added to your account
- Click on the red ‘ X’ to delete the specific devices from your account
- Confirm deletion
To restore or reconnect any deleted device Plex, all you have to do is sign in again to your account on the device.
Solution 2: Change transcoder settings
Plex Server requires a high processing power to exhibit maximum performance. It enables Plex Sever to stream videos and transcodes files at the same time. That also means you need a higher CPU power to change media file formats on the fly.
To fix this issue, you need to change your transcoding settings. Plex Server automatically transcodes files. But to match the performance of your CPU, you must change the default settings. The best way of doing this is to reduce the quality of transcoded files to free up some CPU space.
Follow these steps below to change the default settings:
- Go to Home Menu
- Select Settings
- Select Transcoder
- Click on the drop-down Menu
- Choose from the four qualities provided
- Automatic – the option will allow the Plex Server to select the quality automatically.
- Make my CPU hurt – the option allows for the best quality of images. It will slow down transcodes and encourage higher CPU usage.
- Prefer higher quality encoding – the option will allow for slower transcodes but at a higher quality.
- Prefer high-speed encoding – the option will allow for faster transcodes but at a lower quality.
If your option is automatic and you are getting the error, try the other three to notice the changes.
Solution 3: Downgrade the server
You may get the error message ‘there was a problem playing this item’ if you had just upgraded your media server to a newer version.
After upgrading the server on Windows, some files may not play.
To fix this issue and continue watching your shows, try downgrading the media server to the version you were using before.
Solution 4: Add AC3 codec to Plex
Plex uses playback systems for Smart TVs provided by device manufacturers. You may have encountered this error if you used a media format that is not available on direct playback.
The audios of unsupported video formats will automatically be transcoded to AC3. However, if the AC3 codec is not generated properly, then you will have a problem playing items.
To fix this error, you’ll have to add the AC3 codec to Plex. Follow these steps below to do so:
- Download a video file using a web browser
- Add the file to your Plex Library
- Play the video file – By playing the file, it should be able to generate the AC3 codec. The codec is always generated when you play the media player.
When this is done, try streaming the video again. It should be void of the error now.
Solution 5: Contact Plex Customer Care
If the above solution didn’t fix the ‘Plex error: There was a problem playing this item’ for you, ensure to reach out to Plex Customer Care for troubleshooting. They’ll not only tell you the cause of the error but also prescribe a solution to it.
Certainly, our proffered solutions should help you fix the ‘Plex error: There was a problem playing this item’ quickly.