Since I registered in the rclone forum almost 7 years ago, the tool has made huge leaps. I would like to express my deepest thanks to @ncw for not only providing and maintaining the software open-source, but also for continuing to be active here in the forum! Thanks, Nick!
I would like to make the following feature request:
Like so many people, I use rclone to mount my movies and series from Google Drive on a server running Plex, Emby or (in my case) Jellyfin.
Since some films use DTS audio, others AC3, some use avi, mp4, mkv as the file format, some use x264, x265, etc. as the video codec. Not all end devices can handle these many formats and also due to the available bandwidth between the media server and the device, the media servers transcode the video formats on the fly. However, this costs a lot of computing capacity. Otherwise, I would like to run the media server on a small VM or a Raspberry. But even if I rent a very expensive server, like the one I currently have, it often reaches its load limit (even if two people are streaming).
With Kodi, which is unfortunately less of a media server and more of a local media library, there is a plugin for Google Drive where you can choose to play the streaming version instead of the original file either for each video or as a standard setting. As many people know, Google Drive also creates streaming formats for every video file, similar to YouTube (the same player is even used).
For example, a 1080p film in Google Drive has 10.2 GB - as a streaming format in 1080p it only has 3.1 GB. That's brilliant: Google Drive has taken over the transcoding work. It converts any video, including 4k films, into streaming versions that use mp4 x264 as the video codec and mp4a aac as the audio codec - codecs that almost every device supports. Transcoding by the server would be unnecessary.
This would save a lot of resources if it could be used. And that would also be my wish: Please add a “preferred-1080” (or -720 or -480(***) or -360) option for Google Drive. If this command is entered, rclone will retrieve the 1080p streaming version for each video file instead of the original file. In addition, a fallback to the next available lower version should be pre-programmed, which could be overridden by a "no-fallback" command.
With Google Drive the qualities are uniform: there are 360, 720 and 1080p (***: there used to be 480p). But: of course there is never a higher quality than the original video. So if the original itself only has 480p, there will only be a 360p version, but not 720p or even 1080. I also noticed that many files only have a 360p version, even though the original was 1080p, for example (BTW: In this case, you can simply duplicate the file using the “Create a copy” function and Google Drive will completely restart the process of creating the streaming format).
Even if you have a video with a higher resolution than 1080p: a resolution sharper than 1080p will not be created. So if you want to watch in 4K, you have to use the original.
Here I have two open source tools that can also intercept the streaming formats (such as the Kodi-Google Drive plugin above) or can even download them (JDownloader):
GitHub - cguZZman/plugin.googledrive: The Google Drive addon for Kodi (since I'm no developer I don't know where exactly the code for the streaming variants is)
(JDownloader2 source code will be delivered later)