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post #151 of 178 Old 01-09-2017, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mailiang View Post
Ya think?





Although DD Plus can be encoded at a higher bit rate, with most streaming applications, the improvement in audio quality over DD is nominal. The real improvement comes from a more efficient codec and the availability of 7.1 channels.

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post #152 of 178 Old 01-09-2017, 05:05 PM
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Then you must not have ears.
You can't broad brush it.

Some things will be better and others will not. It doesn't have much to do with the container. It'll be content dependent.

But don't for a second think the DD+ from online streaming is anywhere near the quality of DD+ on a bluray disc. Same container for lossy audio - significantly higher bitrate on the disc.
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post #153 of 178 Old 01-10-2017, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dwaleke View Post
You can't broad brush it.

Some things will be better and others will not. It doesn't have much to do with the container. It'll be content dependent.

But don't for a second think the DD+ from online streaming is anywhere near the quality of DD+ on a bluray disc. Same container for lossy audio - significantly higher bitrate on the disc.
When I asked Roger Dressler, former Dolby Labs chief engineer, (who also happens to be a member of this forum), if there was a difference in audio quality, this was his response:
Quote:
There can be. In practice, however, the bitrates are adjusted to maintain good quality. For DD that might be 448 kBps, and for DD+ it could be maybe 256-384 kbps. That's for 5.1. If we are talking 7.1 or Atmos, then there's no DD capability for that.
Hope that clears it up for everyone.

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post #154 of 178 Old 01-11-2017, 01:20 AM
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When it comes to disc-based audio, I'm used to 640kbps AC3 when HD audio Codecs aren't available. But I always prefer the superior lossy codec in DCA. I can't hear much of a difference from 384 to 640. But when you jump up to 1536kbps...I hear the difference.

As for streaming, I am very frustrated watching Westworld in stereo at the moment on my Shield. My ATV4 is in the living room, and I really really have a hard time comprehending ANY conceivable reason for not adding that one basic feature. There is no financial, technical, ... Just no reason that we're still waiting.

@guy who mentioned Dolby... Just saw Rogue One in one of the 48 Dolby Cinema locations, which I lucked out on, as it happens to be right near my house. Wow what a fantastic cinematic experience. 176 wall speakers. 16 down-firing speakers, 4 suspended subwoofer mega packs, whatever the hell is behind the screen, seat transducers, 2 projectors for Dolby Vision I assume, seats unbelievably comfortable.
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post #155 of 178 Old 01-26-2017, 08:29 PM
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As for streaming, I am very frustrated watching Westworld in stereo at the moment on my Shield. My ATV4 is in the living room, and I really really have a hard time comprehending ANY conceivable reason for not adding that one basic feature. There is no financial, technical, ... Just no reason that we're still waiting.
It must be a political/business reason. We know that HBO had to fight the cable companies to even be allowed to launch an a la carte service. It's not out of the realm of possibility that after the negotiating was finished, HBO agreed to give the cable companies some feature(s) that their a la carte subscribers wouldn't get. Perhaps multi-channel audio was one of those things?
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post #156 of 178 Old 01-26-2017, 09:41 PM
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It must be a political/business reason. We know that HBO had to fight the cable companies to even be allowed to launch an a la carte service. It's not out of the realm of possibility that after the negotiating was finished, HBO agreed to give the cable companies some feature(s) that their a la carte subscribers wouldn't get. Perhaps multi-channel audio was one of those things?

I'm sure most remember that when HBO Now was first introduced, it was exclusively available on Apple devices for what, 90 days, 180 days? I can't remember. Great product, but underpowered as they used software to disable H.265/HEVX support that debuted in the Apple A8 SoC (iPhone 6 / Apple TV). Until HEVC compression became important to me for local video storage capacity reasons, I never had a desire to stray from Apple TV devices.

But what kind of deal involves screwing over those using a particular operating system with regard to 84 year old stereo vs the "Premium" channel supplying 23 year old AC3?

Off topic, but - it plays into the fact that I've already had a horrendous experience with my first Android product, the Nvidia Shield (they had a bug affecting like 8% of users where the audio passthru, listed prominently on the side of the box, failed with certain DTS-HD MA / TrueHD capable receivers, that somehow they hadn't fixed 18 months past release What the F***? You don't expect failures like that being a late adopter!)

Because they were about to release the 2nd gen 1/16/17, [with 1st gen owners like myself getting the update 1/24/17], and I bought my Nvidia Shield 11/25/16, they f****d with me for 60 days acting like they were "working on" a fix when they knew the whole time it was months away.

Admittedly, it was bad timing, but from a customer service standpoint, there is no question that they should have pushed me a hotfix earlier, or just revealed the ****ty failure of a product the 2nd gen is before CES. (That's my only consolation prize - the 1st gen [now 20 months old] is better than the 2nd gen.)

But man... We're talking prominently displayed feature guaranteed on the box.

Btw, I'm so scared of the "updates" that ive disabled the auto update on Google Play.

I don't even think twice about auto-updating my Apple devices.


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post #157 of 178 Old 01-30-2017, 08:15 PM
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Any updates on surround sound from chromecast ultra? HBO seems to be way behind everyone else. They can get away with that because of good content.

When GoT season comes I wonder what device I'll use to watch it. Chromecast seems to be stereo, maybe mixing it with the dolby setting on the receiver.

I've been using the Amazon prime app on my Samsung linked to my HBO account. From there I can send the audio to the receiver with ARC and get surround but I'm not convinced with the video quality.
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post #158 of 178 Old 02-19-2017, 09:10 AM
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Time to ding review of Fire TV on Amazon.com

Between the Fire TV 2's inability to support DTS surround sound via its Plex app; clipping in Dolby surround in the same app, and its continued (after almost TWO YEARS) failure to support DD 5.1 surround sound in HBO Now (a key app for many, many cable cutters--who are, after all, among the primary target for these streaming devices--and the chief reason for HBO Now's existetence-- I'm about ready to pronounce the Fire TV 2 a "fail"--despite its overall slick design.

I feel that prospective buyers should be forewarned--and advised to opt for a Roku or AppleTV alternative if they plan/hope to use anything more than a 2.1 soundbar (or the TV's built in speakers) for sound. Think of all of the millions of dollars and thousands of person-hours devoted on modern films to audio mastering for Dolby 5.1 (or 7.1) surround sound or better (e.g., DTS), and the tens of millions of dollars spent by consumers on high end video receivers with hdmi (or even optical/coax digital)--ALL ESSENTIALLY WASTED (at least as far as true surround audio goes) --if one plans to view/hear content through this crippled device. Its a bottleneck, pure and simple.

Prologic just ain't the same.

So I encourage other to share any disappointment they may feel via an Amazon's review of the Fire TV--which is far more likely to be monitored (or at least given weight) by the relevant Fire TV honchos than this thread ....

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post #159 of 178 Old 02-19-2017, 09:15 AM
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What's Adobe got to do with it?

Can someone explain the references in earlier posts in this thread about the lack of DD 5.1 support on the Fire TV HBO Now app being an Adobe problem? TIA.
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post #160 of 178 Old 02-19-2017, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by drewmcg View Post
Between the Fire TV 2's inability to support DTS surround sound via its Plex app; clipping in Dolby surround in the same app, and its continued (after almost TWO YEARS) failure to support DD 5.1 surround sound in HBO Now (a key app for many, many cable cutters--who are, after all, among the primary target for these streaming devices--and the chief reason for HBO Now's existetence-- I'm about ready to pronounce the Fire TV 2 a "fail"--despite its overall slick design.

I feel that prospective buyers should be forewarned--and advised to opt for a Roku or AppleTV alternative if they plan/hope to use anything more than a 2.1 soundbar (or the TV's built in speakers) for sound. Think of all of the millions of dollars and thousands of person-hours devoted on modern films to audio mastering for Dolby 5.1 (or 7.1) surround sound or better (e.g., DTS), and the tens of millions of dollars spent by consumers on high end video receivers with hdmi (or even optical/coax digital)--ALL ESSENTIALLY WASTED (at least as far as true surround audio goes) --if one plans to view/hear content through this crippled device. Its a bottleneck, pure and simple.

Prologic just ain't the same.

So I encourage other to share any disappointment they may feel via an Amazon's review of the Fire TV--which is far more likely to be monitored (or at least given weight) by the relevant Fire TV honchos than this thread ....
Is the Fire TV 2 capable of 5.1 on other apps? Because this isn't Amazon's fault but HBO's
The issue here is HBO Now app. For example Chromecast Ultra can bitstream DD+ on Netflix and other apps but on HBO Now its Stereo...

HBO is the one being sucky.
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post #161 of 178 Old 02-19-2017, 10:04 AM
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Interesting question, but in the end does it really matter? The question is which streaming device to buy/use--and get the full benefit of surround sound that the studios create at great effort and expense and that we invest a good deal of time, money, and effort to set up our home theaters to enjoy. Even if this is somehow HBO's "fault," the result is the same: don't buy a Fire TV if you want DD 5.1.

But to your question, I suspect that the device manufacturer is the ultimate responsible party:
  • they create the code for the operating system (FireOS?);
  • they code/roll out firmware updates;
  • they provide the "hooks" for apps developers to use to enable the features of the device

Per a post on Motley Fool last week, there are currently (or soon will be) about 2.5 million HBO Now subscribers in the U.S.

In 2015, Apple TVs were fourth in the streaming device market, *after* Rokus, Chromecast, and Fire TV's. Not sure how more recent data stacks up, but this represents the ranking at about the time HBO announced Now.

It is difficult for me to imagine that the failure to support DD 5.1 on the two android-based devices (Chromecast and Fire TV, which employs a variant of android) is not a reflection of limitations in the architecture of those devices. And that's a limitation that Google/Amazon would have to fix, I would think, rather than HBO . . . .

As I understand it, FireOS is still based on Android 5.0. There was a post in the Plex forum that DTS passthrough was not likely to occur until FireOS was upgraded to an Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) or even 7.0 (Nougat) architecture. The reason given was beyond my technical understanding, but the conclusion I drew from this was that its Amazon's problem to fix--not HBO's. Cheers.
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post #162 of 178 Old 02-19-2017, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by drewmcg View Post
Can someone explain the references in earlier posts in this thread about the lack of DD 5.1 support on the Fire TV HBO Now app being an Adobe problem? TIA.
Good question. If one was talking about watching HBO Now via a browser this would make sense but watching via a dedicated piece of hardware like the Amazon products? Adobe has been the whipping boy for HBO Now support for years with no real explanation. I can watch HBO Now in DD 5.1 on my Roku 3 and ATV3 without issue so I'm good. But I find the lack of support for other hardware after nearly 2 years to be a real head scratcher.

http://help.hbonow.com/app/answers/d...round-sound%3F

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post #163 of 178 Old 02-19-2017, 08:05 PM
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Agreed. Couldn't tell you why, other than a desire to be a smart ass - I recently called HBO Now technical support regarding 5.1 support on my Nvidia Shield, knowing full well that it's not supported (and that my comments would never get to anyone who cared) and pretended that I was in total disbelief that a company who claims to be a "premium channel" would offer their customers the "premium" experience of an 83-year old sound format in stereo, vs the bare minimum in the nearly 25 year old (Batman Returns, summer 1992) Dolby Digital format. The rep didn't even know what Dolby Digital or 5.1 channel sound was. Moron.

The audio track even on the first season release of Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray was DTS-HD Master Audio, and that was released 5 years ago. Perhaps HBO doesn't have the money to take on such a complex technical challenge? (ummmm....nope, that's not it.)


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post #164 of 178 Old 02-20-2017, 01:29 PM
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I know this thread is about 5.1 audio but I'd just like to vent and say that the HD picture quality offered by HBO Now (at least on my Apple TV 3) is just a tad better than digital dog****. Surround sound is nice but what I'd really like is for HBO to get their act together and offer video streams that aren't overly compressed, bitstarved, pixellated noisy messes. (And, no, it's not a bandwidth problem on my end, as my device is connected via ethernet to cable internet fast enough to always serve up Ultra HD content from Netflix, Amazon, VUDU, etc. without fail.)

HBO Now (and HBO Go back when I used it) both have HD picture quality that easily ranks below Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Showtime. Yet they charge about 50% more.
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post #165 of 178 Old 02-20-2017, 09:53 PM
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I know this thread is about 5.1 audio but I'd just like to vent and say that the HD picture quality offered by HBO Now (at least on my Apple TV 3) is just a tad better than digital dog****. Surround sound is nice but what I'd really like is for HBO to get their act together and offer video streams that aren't overly compressed, bitstarved, pixellated noisy messes. (And, no, it's not a bandwidth problem on my end, as my device is connected via ethernet to cable internet fast enough to always serve up Ultra HD content from Netflix, Amazon, VUDU, etc. without fail.)

HBO Now (and HBO Go back when I used it) both have HD picture quality that easily ranks below Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Showtime. Yet they charge about 50% more.
Yeah. They survive because they have great shows BUT you're right. The Picture Quality from HBO is horrible, way behind everyone else on everything.

I was planning on canceling Netflix to get HBO but I won't. I'll only do that during Game of Thrones season and that's it.

I'll probably get a Roku stick I guess so I can watch it on 5.1

I don't think HBO will ever get their sh** together on this, it's like they don't care.

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post #166 of 178 Old 02-21-2017, 09:20 AM
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I know this thread is about 5.1 audio but I'd just like to vent and say that the HD picture quality offered by HBO Now (at least on my Apple TV 3) is just a tad better than digital dog****. Surround sound is nice but what I'd really like is for HBO to get their act together and offer video streams that aren't overly compressed, bitstarved, pixellated noisy messes. (And, no, it's not a bandwidth problem on my end, as my device is connected via ethernet to cable internet fast enough to always serve up Ultra HD content from Netflix, Amazon, VUDU, etc. without fail.)

HBO Now (and HBO Go back when I used it) both have HD picture quality that easily ranks below Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Showtime. Yet they charge about 50% more.
Can't say as I agree. Watched the first episode of Big Little Lies on HBO Now using my ATV3 and it looked decent - scenes of Monterey coastline looked very nice. HBO Now typically streams at 4-5 Mbps so I don't expect the best quality, the best I can say is that's adequate. I watch on a 120" projection screen so any little imperfection is pretty obvious.

It would be nice if HBO Now would ratchet up their datastream but doubt that will ever happen - at least for 1080p.

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post #167 of 178 Old 02-21-2017, 06:10 PM
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Can't say as I agree. Watched the first episode of Big Little Lies on HBO Now using my ATV3 and it looked decent - scenes of Monterey coastline looked very nice. HBO Now typically streams at 4-5 Mbps so I don't expect the best quality, the best I can say is that's adequate. I watch on a 120" projection screen so any little imperfection is pretty obvious.

It would be nice if HBO Now would ratchet up their datastream but doubt that will ever happen - at least for 1080p.
Well-lit daytime scenes with minimal movement look fine. But throw anything challenging at HBO NOW -- dimly lit scenes, subtle transitions of light/color along surfaces, quickly moving content (e.g. splashing water, explosions, fire, etc.) -- and it's a mess. There were plenty of instances watching Big Little Lies on Sunday night that I found to look unacceptably bad and I only have a 55" screen.
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post #168 of 178 Old 02-23-2017, 09:29 AM
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Well-lit daytime scenes with minimal movement look fine. But throw anything challenging at HBO NOW -- dimly lit scenes, subtle transitions of light/color along surfaces, quickly moving content (e.g. splashing water, explosions, fire, etc.) -- and it's a mess. There were plenty of instances watching Big Little Lies on Sunday night that I found to look unacceptably bad and I only have a 55" screen.
I'm not disputing your (and others) picture problems I'm just saying I don't see them to the degree you do.

Yesterday I visited my daughter who lives in another area of the state and has a different ISP. She owns a budget Vizio 55" HDTV. This time I rewatched the Big Little Lies on her Roku 3. Sitting 4 feet away from the screen I conscientiously watched the surf and breaking waves and any other fast moving images in the episode and saw none of the artifacts you mentioned.

The picture looked sharp and colorful although I agree that shows on Netflix usually look better. I have subscribed to HBO Now since it became available on the Apple TV 3 but I'm not a big user. The shows I usually watch are talk shows like Bill Maher and John Oliver so motion is not an issue. I stopped watching Game of Thrones after the second season. I have watched a few movies on HBO Now but don't recall any picture issues.

I own over 500 Blu-rays so I know what an excellent picture looks like. HBO Now is not excellent it's merely adequate. If I stream I prefer VUDU to any other streaming service.

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post #169 of 178 Old 02-23-2017, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by drewmcg View Post
Interesting question, but in the end does it really matter? The question is which streaming device to buy/use--and get the full benefit of surround sound that the studios create at great effort and expense and that we invest a good deal of time, money, and effort to set up our home theaters to enjoy. Even if this is somehow HBO's "fault," the result is the same: don't buy a Fire TV if you want DD 5.1.

But to your question, I suspect that the device manufacturer is the ultimate responsible party:
  • they create the code for the operating system (FireOS?);
  • they code/roll out firmware updates;
  • they provide the "hooks" for apps developers to use to enable the features of the device

Per a post on Motley Fool last week, there are currently (or soon will be) about 2.5 million HBO Now subscribers in the U.S.

In 2015, Apple TVs were fourth in the streaming device market, *after* Rokus, Chromecast, and Fire TV's. Not sure how more recent data stacks up, but this represents the ranking at about the time HBO announced Now.

It is difficult for me to imagine that the failure to support DD 5.1 on the two android-based devices (Chromecast and Fire TV, which employs a variant of android) is not a reflection of limitations in the architecture of those devices. And that's a limitation that Google/Amazon would have to fix, I would think, rather than HBO . . . .

As I understand it, FireOS is still based on Android 5.0. There was a post in the Plex forum that DTS passthrough was not likely to occur until FireOS was upgraded to an Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) or even 7.0 (Nougat) architecture. The reason given was beyond my technical understanding, but the conclusion I drew from this was that its Amazon's problem to fix--not HBO's. Cheers.
It has nothing to do with Android. VUDU and Netflix work great on Android as well as others.

It's HBO laziness and carelessness what's causing issues.

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post #170 of 178 Old 03-01-2017, 06:27 PM
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Well. I'm frustrated. All this research about how to get GOT in 5.1 and although I'm still unsure if it is DD+ only now which necessitates an hdmi receiver anyway, it appears I have been screwed again when samsung decided not to allow the output of dolby over optical. Sound like copyright defense?sure, only I hear sony tvs will do this. Not everyone wants or needs to get an HDMI receiver to get decent sound. I have got everything I need as far as I can tell after reading 20+ pages and yet the only codec? that hasn't let me down is pro logic. The consumer push to get me to be an early adopter and fall in line with current proprietary b.s is wearing thin.
You can pick the right provider on the right device with the right version and choose the right show at the right time with the right settings and still not get something as basic as true, dedicated, discreet 5.1 surround sound which came out what 20-30 years ago? I wish I had just put a big antenna on the roof. In hindsight.
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post #171 of 178 Old 03-08-2017, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mailiang View Post
When I asked Roger Dressler, former Dolby Labs chief engineer, (who also happens to be a member of this forum), if there was a difference in audio quality, this was his response:
Hope that clears it up for everyone.

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Only many streaming apps use DD+ at 192Kbps for 5.1. Which is below what was quoted for equivalent audio bitrates.

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post #172 of 178 Old 03-08-2017, 07:57 PM
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Only many streaming apps use DD+ at 192Kbps for 5.1. Which is below what was quoted for equivalent audio bitrates.
As they continue to develop more efficient codecs, even the gap between lossy and lossless audio formats will get smaller. The less garbage in, the less garbage out.

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post #173 of 178 Old 04-30-2017, 03:18 PM
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Is this 1080p on any device? The thing i like about Amazon video is it's 1080p regardless of any secondary services. It's why, imo, HBO has limited their TV shows to a few seasons, or none at all, on Amazon video app.

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post #174 of 178 Old 05-12-2017, 09:44 PM
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I couldn't tell you how it looks on HBO Now, but I just finished watching Sully on HBO GO. Excellent PQ. Almost as good as the BD version. The Jet engine sounds were pretty good too.

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post #175 of 178 Old 06-23-2017, 06:25 AM
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With Games of Thrones coming out next month I was wondering what devices now support 5.1 audio? I would think HBO would want to have the best audio available for one of their most popular shows.

EDIT: It looks like HBO says it does: http://help.hbonow.com/app/answers/d...round-sound%3F

PSN ID: Onedropshot

Last edited by TViewer2000; 06-23-2017 at 08:44 AM.
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post #176 of 178 Old 06-23-2017, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TViewer2000 View Post
With Games of Thrones coming out next month I was wondering what devices now support 5.1 audio? I would think HBO would want to have the best audio available for one of their most popular shows.
I watch HBO Go with 5.1 audio using my Roku's.

Ian

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post #177 of 178 Old 07-24-2017, 10:55 PM
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Lightbulb HBO NOW w/ 5.1 on PS4/XBOX One S - Workaround

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Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post
Devices that do NOT stream HBO NOW 5.1 (stereo only)

  • Macbook Pro
  • Amazon Fire TV / Fire TV Stick (Gen. 1 and 2)
  • Chromecast
  • nVidia ShieldTV (?)
  • PS3/PS4 (Workaround: See post below)
  • XBox 360
  • Xbox One (Workaround: See post below)
  • Sony X810C TV (Android TV)

(Adobe is cited as the culprit)

Devices that DO stream HBO NOW 5.1

  • Apple TV 3
  • Roku 2, 3 and 4
  • Roku Stick
  • HR-44 DTV

Computer using Firefox browser (Chrome browser outputs stereo)

Devices that MAY (or may not) stream HBO Now 5.1

  • Apple TV 2


Devices that DO stream HBO GO 5.1

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
  • Samsung Orsay and Samsung Tizen TV models that support Dolby Digital Plus
  • TiVo
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Nvidia Shield TV (10/11/16)


-----------------------
One note about HBO Now streaming in 5.1. Not every program streams in 5.1

This might be of interest to Playstation and XBOX owners:

So after watching two episodes of Game of Thrones on my XBOX One S via the HBO NOW app I was (as many here already am) disappointed to find that regardless of the fact that my Yamaha a3060 reported that it was receiving a 5.1 PCM signal only two of the five channels actually had any audio. Pretty rude.

Tried and found the same on the PS4 and PS3. I guess that's old news. (I actually called HBO NOW support and the CSR was very nice and tried to help but eventually had to tell me none of the HBO NOW compatible devices I own can do actual 5.1). I told her I had to cancel my subscription because "why would I pay for a subscription that is 'missing' so much of the content on devices listed as 'compatible' on their Website and Advertisements" and she seemed to understand. She then told me that I had to cancel through what ever service I subscribed through (Playstation Vue in my case).

I then hopped on the Amazon Prime Video app on the XBOX One S and noticed a big GoT banner and "7-day free Trial" for HBO NOW. Listed next to the episodes was the 5.1 logo.

I started the trial subscription, through Amazon's Amazon Channels, and what do you know- 5.1 PCM into my AVR and sound coming out of all 5 speakers!!! I recall when Amazon first started Streaming HBO content it was only a back catalog but I guess now it's a full HBO subscription- (they do the same with STARZ).

Tried the Amazon app on the PS4 and also got 5.1 there using the same method.

I have my Xbox One S successfully setup to Bitstream for Dolby Atmos in the system's settings but it just spits out PCM from the Amazon App. If I recall the Dolby preview "app thing" needed some app-specific system settings changed/enabled to allow it to output Dolby (Atmos)??? The Amazon app never took me through that process. ::shrugs::

TL;DR If you have Amazon Prime and subscribe to HBO NOW via Amazon.com you can watch all of the HBO content through the Amazon Video app on PS4/XBOX One S and content with 5.1 will play in 5.1

Also you can use still use the 5.1 lacking HBO NOW app on the PS4/XBONE/whatever with your subscription credentials from Amazon after activating them on the HBO Now website.

Last edited by Lucavi; 09-01-2017 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Added notes to original post
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post #178 of 178 Old 09-09-2017, 09:29 PM
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HBO GO has a new interface which offers a nicer menu, improved graphics, faster loading and better PQ. I can only assume that HBO Now will received the same advancements.

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