Best Netflix/Amazon 5.1 DD streaming device for HDMI 1.1 or toslink - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 12-04-2011, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been reading the latest HD video streaming news and much to my dismay, my Roku XD and XDS will not be able to take advantage of the new Netflix streaming features (5.1 audio, 1080p). Okay, not the end of the world. So I read about the new Roku2 and find out they have dropped the optical output . Not only that but even if I am forced to use HDMI audio, my HDMI 1.1 pre/pro will not get the 5.1 audio because somehow the Roku cannot output the DD core of the DD+ audio stream on Netflix and will downgrade it back to 2ch audio

So I look for another device to take its place. But wait let's not forget about Amazon streaming. That is just as important to me as the Netflix. So I hear about the new Panasonic BD players can support all the new Netflix streaming features and output Netflix as DD to my pre/pro but they do not support 5.1 audio on Amazon streaming? You have got to be kidding me.

I do not want to replace my perfectly good pre/pro just for video streaming. That is not an option. Is there a streaming device/BD player that can provide me with ALL the features of both Netflix AND Amazon streaming to my processor via toslink or HDMI v1.1? I cannot find one, so please am I missing something here?

I don't know what happened over there at Roku but they must have fallen on their heads putting out a device that only works with the newest surround sound decoders. I have been a loyal Roku/Netflix/Amazon customer and I take it as a slight they would put out a new device that makes my setup "obsolete". Please advise me, is there any solution available to get the latest and greatest features of my Netflix/Amazon streaming to my processor via toslink or HDMI 1.1 in regular DD? What company will save me from this Roku mess?
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post #2 of 39 Old 12-05-2011, 09:17 AM
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There is no device that meets your needs right now. Personally, I sold my old Roku XDS and bought a WD Live streaming device which does 1080P at both 60 and 24 fps and autodetects dolby digital through the optical out (converted from dolby digital plus). It does not do Amazon.

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post #3 of 39 Old 12-05-2011, 11:54 AM
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You're wrong about the Panasonics supporting all of Netflix's features (DMP-BDTx10s I presume; I have a BDT110)--they cannot display the 1080p video encodings.

I think that Roku was just trimming features from the product to get the price down. The top-of-the-line XS is just $100 now and is the only model which features a wired network jack (which I require or I'd have bought the XD). Their assessment apparently was that not many of their customers needed S/PDIF anymore so they removed it. I will agree with you that their deciding not to do something to convert Netflix' DD+ audio stream to PCM or strip out the 5.1 core and send that was a mistake which causes some problems. Since not every 5.1 AVR can handle DD+, they can't make it the default for titles which have it (as do the PS3 and BDTx10s) so you annoyingly have to select it every time. They could obtain the capabilities of the downstream HDMI device and determine whether it can handle DD+ and make it the default if it can and not offer 5.1 audio for titles if it can't; I've made this suggestion to them in their forums and one of their staff e-mailed me asking me to explain the problem in detail.

The PS3 now seems to output the AC3 core and I can tell you that it's pretty thin sounding in comparison, but I guess it's at least a little better than stereo (which is a separate alternative audio stream, BTW, and not the 5.1 stream "downgraded").

As Scott says above, there's nothing available which does everything perfectly. If a device appears which does Netflix with all features (1080p/5.1/captions), Amazon w/5.1 sound and VUDU, I'll buy it and sell my Roku.

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post #4 of 39 Old 12-05-2011, 01:39 PM
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This is an interesting problem. HDMI is great for video, but there do still seem to be some snags with the audio portion of it. Most television manufacturers seem to expect you to connect your input source directly into their TV, possibly suffering from the mistaken belief that you want to use the TV speakers rather than your home audio setup. But then, traditionally HDTVs don't provide any sort of HDMI output. Typically you seem to get an S/PDIF optical connection which the TV uses for output when its acting as an OTA tuner, and which may or may not provide full audio functionality when watching other sources. In many cases, the TV is only outputting 2-channel PCM over it for non-OTA sources, so one is essentially right back to stereo.

S/PDIF can't transport Dolby Digital Plus regardless of the equipment involved at either end, so one has to either perform a downmix or use HDMI as the audio transport. Manufacturers seem to think they've "solved" this problem with the audio return channel in the latest equipment, but even that's not perfect and requires a new HDTV and new A/V receiver for most folks.

In light of all this, I would say that optical audio output on source devices is still very important, so it's a real shame that this isn't supported on the Roku 2.
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post #5 of 39 Old 12-05-2011, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slordak View Post

...S/PDIF can't transport Dolby Digital Plus regardless of the equipment involved at either end, so one has to either perform a downmix or use HDMI as the audio transport. Manufacturers seem to think they've "solved" this problem with the audio return channel in the latest equipment, but even that's not perfect and requires a new HDTV and new A/V receiver for most folks....

I am aware S/PDIF cannot transmit DD+. Part of the specifications of DD+ is backward compatibility with DD decoders. DD+ has been dormant since the HD-DVD days but it was always compatible with non DD+ equipment as stated in the specs by Dolby Labs.

http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/...tal-plus.html#
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Compatibility with Current Equipment

Because Dolby Digital Plus content is easily converted to a traditional Dolby Digital signal, you are assured of the best performance your equipment is capable of, regardless of when you purchased it. If your system includes a Dolby Digital decoder, you'll still get 5.1-channel surround sound, with the highest quality Dolby Digital signal possible.

Roku is not following the the above stated specification with their Roku2 device

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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

You're wrong about the Panasonics supporting all of Netflix's features (DMP-BDTx10s I presume; I have a BDT110)--they cannot display the 1080p video encodings.

I may very well be, I am only going off a post I read. It could only be referring to 5.1 audio and not the full 1080p/CC capabilities. I was not aware you could have one without the others when it came to Netflix streaming. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1#post19629911

Players known to be capable of playing the 5.1 soundtracks available on the titles in this list:
  • Playstation 3
  • Apple TV 2
  • Roku 2 (presumably HD, XD and XS--XS verified); requires DD+ decoding AVR
  • Boxee Box (reportedly coming)
  • WD Live Plus
  • 2011 Panasonic products with Viera Cast/Viera Connect apps (DMP-BDTx10 series of BD players confirmed--I own one ; TVs with Viera Connect don't currently have support)
  • At least some Toshiba products with Net TV (55WX800 confirmed)


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I think that Roku was just trimming features from the product to get the price down. The top-of-the-line XS is just $100 now and is the only model which features a wired network jack (which I require or I'd have bought the XD). Their assessment apparently was that not many of their customers needed S/PDIF anymore so they removed it. I will agree with you that their deciding not to do something to convert Netflix' DD+ audio stream to PCM or strip out the 5.1 core and send that was a mistake which causes some problems. Since not every 5.1 AVR can handle DD+, they can't make it the default for titles which have it (as do the PS3 and BDTx10s) so you annoyingly have to select it every time. They could obtain the capabilities of the downstream HDMI device and determine whether it can handle DD+ and make it the default if it can and not offer 5.1 audio for titles if it can't; I've made this suggestion to them in their forums and one of their staff e-mailed me asking me to explain the problem in detail.

Roku has 3 models to fit any budget. There is no reason they should have skimped on their flagship model. They are not following the DD+ spec by omitting DD core.

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The PS3 now seems to output the AC3 core and I can tell you that it's pretty thin sounding in comparison, but I guess it's at least a little better than stereo (which is a separate alternative audio stream, BTW, and not the 5.1 stream "downgraded").

Whether you think it sounds "thin" is not the point, DD+ is suppose to be better than DD. No matter, discrete 6 channel digital audio is going to be superior to 2ch matrixed to 5.1 with Dolby PLII in a proper surround sound setup, even if it is only regular DD.

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As Scott says above, there's nothing available which does everything perfectly. If a device appears which does Netflix with all features (1080p/5.1/captions), Amazon w/5.1 sound and VUDU, I'll buy it and sell my Roku.

I am not even asking for perfection, just to follow the specs and use common sense. I have been a big supporter of Roku and the pay services of Netflix/Amazon streaming. I have not used Vudu so I cannot comment on that.
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post #6 of 39 Old 12-05-2011, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyV View Post

I am aware S/PDIF cannot transmit DD+. Part of the specifications of DD+ is backward compatibility with DD decoders. DD+ has been dormant since the HD-DVD days but it was always compatible with non DD+ equipment as stated in the specs by Dolby Labs.

http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/...tal-plus.html#


Roku is not following the the above stated specification with their Roku2 device

That statement (product feature overview) is not a set of requirements on Roku. The compatibility is provided by an extractable core, but no product is required to be able to extract that core and output it for playback on non-DD+-capable equipment. Essentially Roku 2 doesn't in any way "support" DD+ on Netflix streams--they just pass it on without processing it in any way.
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I may very well be, I am only going off a post I read. It could only be referring to 5.1 audio and not the full 1080p/CC capabilities. I was not aware you could have one without the others when it came to Netflix streaming. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1#post19629911

Yeah--I'm the author of that post and until recently maintained the list of Netflix titles with 5.1 sound contained in it (forever freed from that tedious task by the advent of TVandMoviesNow.com). Nowhere in it do I state that the BDTx10s can display the 1080p Netflix encodings.
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Roku has 3 models to fit any budget. There is no reason they should have skimped on their flagship model. They are not following the DD+ spec by omitting DD core.

Since last month, there are 4 models of Roku 2--LT, HD, XD and XS, priced at $50, $60, $80 and $100 respectively. Dumping S/PDIF output was a business decision on their part--they'll no doubt lose some sales to people like you who require it. I'm sure that they realize that and feel that the loss of those sales is small enough to be acceptable. Obviously they'd have to charge more for any model with S/PDIF to acheive the same profit. (I think that all previous models had an RJ45 jack for wired networking and now only the most expensive one does because they know that the vast majority of their customers will use wireless).
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Whether you think it sounds "thin" is not the point, DD+ is suppose to be better than DD. No matter, discrete 6 channel digital audio is going to be superior to 2ch matrixed to 5.1 with Dolby PLII in a proper surround sound setup, even if it is only regular DD.

DD+ as used on BDs is generally 1500 Kbps or better with a 640 Kbps AC3 core--DD+ on Netflix streams is 384 Kbps altogether--if the core is half of that it's the same bit rate as their stereo sound encoding. Having heard it (if that's actually what the PS3 is now presenting), I'm not sure that I wouldn't rather listen to the stereo.
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I am not even asking for perfection, just to follow the specs and use common sense. I have been a big supporter of Roku and the pay services of Netflix/Amazon streaming. I have not used Vudu so I cannot comment on that.

Again, there's no requirement on them to process DD+; extracting the core for playback is processing. The audio spec for their device states that they provide "5.1 surround sound passthrough" on the HDMI connection. They don't process either DD+ from Netflix or DD 5.1 from Amazon (and possibly other "channels")--they simply pass it on, untouched. I just thought of this, but I'd guess that any processing of it, including extracting the core, would require licensing from Dolby, adding to the manufacturing cost of the product.

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post #7 of 39 Old 12-07-2011, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyV View Post

...
So I look for another device to take its place. But wait let's not forget about Amazon streaming. That is just as important to me as the Netflix. So I hear about the new Panasonic BD players can support all the new Netflix streaming features and output Netflix as DD to my pre/pro but they do not support 5.1 audio on Amazon streaming? You have got to be kidding me.

I do not want to replace my perfectly good pre/pro just for video streaming. That is not an option. Is there a streaming device/BD player that can provide me with ALL the features of both Netflix AND Amazon streaming to my processor via toslink or HDMI v1.1? I cannot find one, so please am I missing something here?
...

The 2011 LG Blu-ray Players may do it. They received an upgrade to their Netflix players a couple of months ago enabled 5.1 surround sound. They were supposed to also get a 1080P upgrade (have not been able to confirm if it acttually rolled out or not).

I tried out one of their players in the first half of the year. I could not get DD to work from Amazon Instant over the digital optical output. Amazon's support page for Instant Video says it supports 5.1, so maybe it's been fixed?

Another possibility is the Sony SMP-N200. Great Amazon player with HDMI and optical out. Only problem is that Netflix is 720P and no surround sound and Sony won't say if it's getting an upgrade or not.

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post #8 of 39 Old 12-07-2011, 10:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RangerOne View Post

The 2011 LG Blu-ray Players may do it. They received an upgrade to their Netflix players a couple of months ago enabled 5.1 surround sound. They were supposed to also get a 1080P upgrade (have not been able to confirm if it acttually rolled out or not).

I tried out one of their players in the first half of the year. I could not get DD to work from Amazon Instant over the digital optical output. Amazon's support page for Instant Video says it supports 5.1, so maybe it's been fixed?

Another possibility is the Sony SMP-N200. Great Amazon player with HDMI and optical out. Only problem is that Netflix is 720P and no surround sound and Sony won't say if it's getting an upgrade or not.

Thank you, I will look into the LG player. That Sony streaming player you are talking about does not seem like it would be any upgrade from my current Roku XDS. I already have Netflix 720P w/ 2ch audio, Amazon HD w/ 5.1, HDMI and toslink audio output from that model.

I sent Roku an email and they responded. The person basically said that they would have to pay licensing to Dolby for the Roku to be able to output the DD core on the Netflix DD+ audio. I was under the impression that it should already be there in the stream from Netflix but maybe the players have some kind of Dolby software that enables it to send the DD core. It is not like it is being decoded and sent as Multi PCM. I mean when I set my BD players to "bitstream" and use the HDMI connection, my processor automatically detects DD/DTS from the new codecs such as DolbyTHD and DTS-MA. I do not understand why it does not behave the same way with the Netflix DD+ audio from a Roku2 but people have reported that they can only get 2ch audio unless they have HDMI 1.3 or higher.

The response from Roku seemed to hint they are considering releasing an even higher model that would be able to do all of what I am wanting from it. I would definitely be wiling to pay more for a complete Roku. I would prefer that from my other options. I already have enough devices as it is, so one box for streaming like I have now would be ideal.
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post #9 of 39 Old 12-07-2011, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyV View Post

I sent Roku an email and they responded. The person basically said that they would have to pay licensing to Dolby for the Roku to be able to output the DD core on the Netflix DD+ audio.

Which was what I guessed at the end of my last reply.
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I was under the impression that it should already be there in the stream from Netflix but maybe the players have some kind of Dolby software that enables it to send the DD core. It is not like it is being decoded and sent as Multi PCM. I mean when I set my BD players to "bitstream" and use the HDMI connection, my processor automatically detects DD/DTS from the new codecs such as DolbyTHD and DTS-MA. I do not understand why it does not behave the same way with the Netflix DD+ audio from a Roku2 but people have reported that they can only get 2ch audio unless they have HDMI 1.3 or higher.

The word "core" is key here. They haven't taken the core out and always send it as part of what they get on the Netflix stream. If your AVR cannot decode DD+ then it cannot handle the untouched DD+ audio stream. It could handle the core, but the core would have to be extracted and sent by itself. Picture it as an apple--your AVR can't eat the whole apple, just the apple core. If you send it the whole apple, it can't get to the core by itself; you have to slice the core out of the apple and send that to it alone. (DD+ on a BD would be too high bit rate to send over S/PDIF--only the AC-3 core portion of the audio stream would fit). I recently upgraded from a 5 y/o Onkyo HTiB AVR which featured HDMI switching but could not decode DD+; when the Roku 2 sent it a Netflix DD+ audio stream, it interpreted it as LPCM and output incoherent static.
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The response from Roku seemed to hint they are considering releasing an even higher model that would be able to do all of what I am wanting from it. I would definitely be wiling to pay more for a complete Roku.

I hope that they eventually offer that, but can you wait? I wonder what else they might add to justify a higher end model than the XS; S/PDIF and Dolby decoding by themselves don't seem like a big enough addition to make a compelling new product (I'd expect them to go all the way and fully decode DD+ to LPCM for output over HDMI for AVRs which can't handle it as well as extract the core for output over S/PDIF). Of course, I bought the XS instead of the XD solely for the wired network connection, but they also threw in that motion sensing gaming remote and a copy of "Angry Birds" that I never use.

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post #10 of 39 Old 12-08-2011, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Which was what I guessed at the end of my last reply.
The word "core" is key here. They haven't taken the core out and always send it as part of what they get on the Netflix stream. If your AVR cannot decode DD+ then it cannot handle the untouched DD+ audio stream. It could handle the core, but the core would have to be extracted and sent by itself. Picture it as an apple--your AVR can't eat the whole apple, just the apple core. If you send it the whole apple, it can't get to the core by itself; you have to slice the core out of the apple and send that to it alone. (DD+ on a BD would be too high bit rate to send over S/PDIF--only the AC-3 core portion of the audio stream would fit). I recently upgraded from a 5 y/o Onkyo HTiB AVR which featured HDMI switching but could not decode DD+; when the Roku 2 sent it a Netflix DD+ audio stream, it interpreted it as LPCM and output incoherent static.

From the wording on the Dolby site, they make it sound like the Dolby decoder in your audio equipment will be able to detect the core of the track.

Quote:
I hope that they eventually offer that, but can you wait? I wonder what else they might add to justify a higher end model than the XS; S/PDIF and Dolby decoding by themselves don't seem like a big enough addition to make a compelling new product (I'd expect them to go all the way and fully decode DD+ to LPCM for output over HDMI for AVRs which can't handle it as well as extract the core for output over S/PDIF). Of course, I bought the XS instead of the XD solely for the wired network connection, but they also threw in that motion sensing gaming remote and a copy of "Angry Birds" that I never use.

I am not sure, I may end up buying a BD player or PS3 in the mean time just for the better Netflix streaming. I looked at the LG BD690 and it looks promising as well. It has many streaming capabilities and a HDD. One device would be ideal but I already have BD players that I like. I am hesitant to buy an LG device. From my experience, they are not as reliable and are not supported quite as well as other electronic companies.

A more complete Roku would be my preference. Best would be on board decoding to LPCM but I will take DD 5.1 and be happy. I am not sure if I would want to wait though on something that may or may not come to light.
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post #11 of 39 Old 12-08-2011, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by TommyV View Post

From the wording on the Dolby site, they make it sound like the Dolby decoder in your audio equipment will be able to detect the core of the track.

Difficult to create a new format with 60% more bits which can be recognized by old equipment as containing the old format that it knows how to handle.
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Best would be on board decoding to LPCM but I will take DD 5.1 and be happy.

If they're going to pay per-unit licensing of Dolby decoding they might as well do actual Dolby decoding. My Panasonic DMP-BDT110 3D BD player can be had for just a few bucks more than a Roku 2 XS and it can do it.

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post #12 of 39 Old 12-08-2011, 01:00 PM
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Well, I have a PS3 and never use it for netflix, in spite of it being 1080p, simply because it's a PITA (slow, awkward, loud, power hog). My panny 110 (same as yours) does a great job. I think you may be overly concerned with specs and not with the actual viewing experience. I say just enjoy netflix on your panny until something significantly better comes along. If on the other hand, you're just itching for a new toy for Christmas, the LG would be nice, but the NF is no better on it than what you already have.


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post #13 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I have a PS3 and never use it for netflix, in spite of it being 1080p, simply because it's a PITA (slow, awkward, loud, power hog). My panny 110 (same as yours) does a great job. I think you may be overly concerned with specs and not with the actual viewing experience. I say just enjoy netflix on your panny until something significantly better comes along. If on the other hand, you're just itching for a new toy for Christmas, the LG would be nice, but the NF is no better on it than what you already have.

I don't have the Panasonic. You must have misunderstood. I considered getting a panasonic player (as well as other options) for streaming but it does not have 5.1 for Amazon VOD HD.

I already have an Oppo BD player so if I bought the Panasonic, it would only be for the Netflix capability. I also like having Wifi & wired. I think the 110 does not have wifi built in but I could be wrong.
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post #14 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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...If they're going to pay per-unit licensing of Dolby decoding they might as well do actual Dolby decoding. My Panasonic DMP-BDT110 3D BD player can be had for just a few bucks more than a Roku 2 XS and it can do it.

So on your Panasonic, how would you compare it to a Roku if you have one. If not how would you say the Netflix App is in total? Like menus/interface, searching, categories, quality meter, scanning frames, etc.
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post #15 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 08:20 AM
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If it helps, I had a Roku XDS and sold it and bought the WD Streaming device. The WD box does Netflix at 1080P and it is far superior to the Roku 720P. In fact, the 1080P streams are better than Directv's HD feeds. I did not expect to see such a huge difference, but it is there. If my daughters are watching Disney shows they watch on both (i.e., Good Luck Charlie; Wizards of Waverly Place), I can tell whether they are watching Directv or Netflix by the quality of the video.

In addition, the WD box does a much better job with upconverting the SD streams than the Roku. This could be that the XDS upconverted all streams to 720P and then the TV upconverted again to 1080P (double upconversion). The WD also can do Netflix HD at 24 fps which is great for movies.

The WD box does have Blockbuster and Cinema Now, but no Amazon.

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post #16 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by TommyV View Post

I don't have the Panasonic. You must have misunderstood. I considered getting a panasonic player (as well as other options) for streaming but it does not have 5.1 for Amazon VOD HD.

I already have an Oppo BD player so if I bought the Panasonic, it would only be for the Netflix capability. I also like having Wifi & wired. I think the 110 does not have wifi built in but I could be wrong.

I got that from another post of yours that said, "DMP-BDTx10 series of BD players confirmed--I own one...".

Anyway, you are correct that panny doesn't do Amazon in 5.1 and that the 110 isn't wifi. I think the Panny NF interface is very good, but lacks a quality meter. Scanning, search, categories, queue management are all good. The only major app I dislike on the panny is Hulu+, which is terrible IMO. But if you have no need for a disc player, I see no reason to get the panny over a roku or PS3.


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post #17 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

I got that from another post of yours that said, "DMP-BDTx10 series of BD players confirmed--I own one...".

He was quoting the top post of my Netflix-titles-with-5.1-sound thread without wrapping it in [quote] tags.

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post #18 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by TommyV View Post

So on your Panasonic, how would you compare it to a Roku if you have one. If not how would you say the Netflix App is in total? Like menus/interface, searching, categories, quality meter, scanning frames, etc.

I have a BDT110, Roku 2 XS, PS3, Xbox 360, TiVo S3 and this PC (connected to the same 46" panel and AVR as the rest), all of which can play Netflix streams. At this time, I'd rate the the user interface on the BDT110 as my favorite. It has the Webkit/HTML5 based GUI that Netflix codenamed "Special" (which was on my PS3 before they replaced it with a version of the GUI that people don't particular care for):


It has many, many genre/subgenre groups and can display up to 250 titles per group, 10 thumbs at a time; the Roku 2 can only display up to 50 per group, 5 at a time (it will display all of your Instant Queue).

The BDTx10's Netflix player does have a bug which they don't seem to be able or willing to fix. It occasionally displays a blank black frame--people commonly call it "black flashes". This is definitely associated with adaptive bit rate encoding switches and will only be seen if bandwidth on your connection to Netflix waivers; if your connections to Netflix' servers are rock solid, you might never see the problem. It rarely bothers me, and if the BDTx10's Netflix player could display the 1080p encodings it'd be my favorite.

The DMP-BDT110 doesn't have WiFi, but the 210 and 310 do. I only use WiFi for portable devices (my cable modem and router are co-located with my AV equipment), so the 110 was fine for me.

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post #19 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

He was quoting the top post of my Netflix-titles-with-5.1-sound thread without wrapping it in [quote] tags.

I did not wrap it in quote tags around it but I did state it was info from a post I read, including a link to the post:
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Originally Posted by TommyV View Post

I may very well be, I am only going off a post I read. It could only be referring to 5.1 audio and not the full 1080p/CC capabilities. I was not aware you could have one without the others when it came to Netflix streaming. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1#post19629911

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post #20 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I have a BDT110, Roku 2 XS, PS3, Xbox 360, TiVo S3 and this PC (connected to the same 46" panel and AVR as the rest), all of which can play Netflix streams. At this time, I'd rate the the user interface on the BDT110 as my favorite. It has the Webkit/HTML5 based GUI that Netflix codenamed "Special" (which was on my PS3 before they replaced it with a version of the GUI that people don't particular care for):


It has many, many genre/subgenre groups and can display up to 250 titles per group, 10 thumbs at a time; the Roku 2 can only display up to 50 per group, 5 at a time (it will display all of your Instant Queue).

The BDTx10's Netflix player does have a bug which they don't seem to be able or willing to fix. It occasionally displays a blank black frame--people commonly call it "black flashes". This is definitely associated with adaptive bit rate encoding switches and will only be seen if bandwidth on your connection to Netflix waivers; if your connections to Netflix' servers are rock solid, you might never see the problem. It rarely bothers me, and if the BDTx10's Netflix player could display the 1080p encodings it'd be my favorite.

The DMP-BDT110 doesn't have WiFi, but the 210 and 310 do. I only use WiFi for portable devices (my cable modem and router are co-located with my AV equipment), so the 110 was fine for me.

The panasonic looks nice but I do enjoy my Oppo BDP-80 which has DVD-A/SACD capabilities. My connection to Netflix has not been rock solid because I have been having ISP issues. I have RR Xtreme 30mb/s down/ 5mb/s up but my bandwidth has been inconsistent. They just replaced the "node" in my area last night which immediately solved the slow internet after I escalated the issue to an "intermittent ticket".

I ran a hard line Cat6 behind the HT setup but I still like having the wireless option. If I want to move the device to another spot in the house or if I move to another house, I like have the ability to go wired or wireless.

I went ahead and ordered a Emotiva UMC-1 preamp A/V processor on clearance sale so I will give it a try and see how I like it. If the SQ is up to my standard and there are no major "bugs" that make it too annoying, I will have HDMI decoding capability which will open my options up. If the Emotiva does not work out, then I am back to my original situation though.
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post #21 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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If it helps, I had a Roku XDS and sold it and bought the WD Streaming device. The WD box does Netflix at 1080P and it is far superior to the Roku 720P. In fact, the 1080P streams are better than Directv's HD feeds. I did not expect to see such a huge difference, but it is there. If my daughters are watching Disney shows they watch on both (i.e., Good Luck Charlie; Wizards of Waverly Place), I can tell whether they are watching Directv or Netflix by the quality of the video.

In addition, the WD box does a much better job with upconverting the SD streams than the Roku. This could be that the XDS upconverted all streams to 720P and then the TV upconverted again to 1080P (double upconversion). The WD also can do Netflix HD at 24 fps which is great for movies.

The WD box does have Blockbuster and Cinema Now, but no Amazon.

Scott

I do appreciate your comments on this device. I have looked at it quite a bit and trying to understand if it works similar to a Roku and how the HDD model is related.

As far as VQ on Roku, I have suggested they add a "Source Direct" video output option. That would be ideal for me as I use a DVDO Edge video processor. I am definitely going to get some kind of Netflix 1080p device just for the better video quality. I have not decided if I am just going to grab a Roku2 or test the waters with a WD or possibly Panasonic player.
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post #22 of 39 Old 12-09-2011, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I ordered a Roku2 XS. I just am really itching to see the Netflix in 1080P and compare the new Roku interface. I can always stick it in my other (2ch analog) setup to replace my Roku XD if I decide to get something else. I will just have one extra Roku until I get things figured out on how I want the HT configured best.
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post #23 of 39 Old 12-13-2011, 05:14 PM
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The 2011 LG Blu-ray Players may do it. They received an upgrade to their Netflix players a couple of months ago enabled 5.1 surround sound. They were supposed to also get a 1080P upgrade (have not been able to confirm if it acttually rolled out or not).

I tried out one of their players in the first half of the year. I could not get DD to work from Amazon Instant over the digital optical output. Amazon's support page for Instant Video says it supports 5.1, so maybe it's been fixed?

Another possibility is the Sony SMP-N200. Great Amazon player with HDMI and optical out. Only problem is that Netflix is 720P and no surround sound and Sony won't say if it's getting an upgrade or not.

Whoooaaaa!!! I was following up to see if the LG Blu-ray players ever received their update to enable 1080P Netflix. LG is now saying that it is not coming to 2011 models. They are saying that their 2012 Blu-ray players will support it.

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post #24 of 39 Old 12-30-2011, 01:53 AM
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Okay so I admit I am not the most geeky person on the planet. But like I was looking for this Roku thing for my boyfriend all over the place for christmas. I read a review that a local computer shop site (please don't put me down I dont know how to point everyone to the site or link it or whatever its called). Everything was the same as they recommended, but I think I ordered it too late, because I have not recieved it yet. Anythows, does anyone have any experiences with this Roky thingy? I know you guys probably dont have time to help me find an answer, but you guys are teh only people who have made any effort to think of anyone but themselves. Is this really the best thing? I am worried that he will not like it.
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post #25 of 39 Old 12-30-2011, 02:05 AM
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One other thing that I dont understand. Like, what is the difference between the Western Digital player thingy and the Roku 2 thingy? Like the guys at Best Buy said that the Roku is better, but in all honesty it all does not make sense to me. My boyfriend watches the UFC, and like all kinds of movies. But I am still not sure if I've made the best choise. Either way I will have to find out I guess.
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post #26 of 39 Old 12-30-2011, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Mynna View Post

One other thing that I dont understand. Like, what is the difference between the Western Digital player thingy and the Roku 2 thingy? Like the guys at Best Buy said that the Roku is better, but in all honesty it all does not make sense to me. My boyfriend watches the UFC, and like all kinds of movies. But I am still not sure if I've made the best choise. Either way I will have to find out I guess.

There is a thread in the Networking & Content Streamers forum, where Roku owners discuss the ins and out of the Roku player.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1348657

The Roku and Western D boxes do basically the same thing, it's just that different brands may have different features than the other. The Roku seems to be the best of these streaming devices, there are several non subscription channels offered on it, in addition to the fee based Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. I'm sure he'll be happy with it, so don't worry too much.

Dazed and confused over high tech.

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post #27 of 39 Old 12-30-2011, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Mynna View Post

One other thing that I dont understand. Like, what is the difference between the Western Digital player thingy and the Roku 2 thingy? Like the guys at Best Buy said that the Roku is better, but in all honesty it all does not make sense to me. My boyfriend watches the UFC, and like all kinds of movies. But I am still not sure if I've made the best choise. Either way I will have to find out I guess.

The only content source of any consequence that the WD player can stream that the Roku currently can't is the excellent pay video on demand VUDU service--if the Roku could stream VUDU it would be virtually perfect. It has a buttload of other "channels", including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, EPIX, plus a ton of lesser channels, some free, some paid, including UFC (they list the currently available ones on this page).

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There is a thread in the Networking & Content Streamers forum, where Roku owners discuss the ins and out of the Roku player.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1348657

I didn't know that thread was there--I'll have to check it out. Thanks.

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post #28 of 39 Old 01-19-2012, 09:44 AM
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Whoooaaaa!!! I was following up to see if the LG Blu-ray players ever received their update to enable 1080P Netflix. LG is now saying that it is not coming to 2011 models. They are saying that their 2012 Blu-ray players will support it.

Some of the LG 2011 TVs had it...until now! My LW6500 had some Netflix titles in 5.1...but now all 5.1 audio (as well as the indicators on NF indicating which films were in 5.1) has been eliminated! Anyone know why or what's going on???

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post #29 of 39 Old 01-20-2012, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Mynna View Post

One other thing that I dont understand. Like, what is the difference between the Western Digital player thingy and the Roku 2 thingy? Like the guys at Best Buy said that the Roku is better, but in all honesty it all does not make sense to me. My boyfriend watches the UFC, and like all kinds of movies. But I am still not sure if I've made the best choise. Either way I will have to find out I guess.

They are both good devices. If you care about surround sound and have an older A/V receiver (i.e. no HDMI and Dolby Digital Plus support), the WD is a better choice. The Roku doesn't have an optical audio (TOSLINK) out whereas the WD box does.

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post #30 of 39 Old 01-20-2012, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

Some of the LG 2011 TVs had it...until now! My LW6500 had some Netflix titles in 5.1...but now all 5.1 audio (as well as the indicators on NF indicating which films were in 5.1) has been eliminated! Anyone know why or what's going on???

Can you redownload the Netflix client? Is it greyed out or has the 5.1 badget completely disappeared. A good title to test with is "Food, Inc." Or Amadeus

Out of curiousity, how were you using the 5.1 audio from the TV? Were you using audio return channel (ARC) via HDMI or TOSLINK back to the receiver?

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