Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: California Gold Country
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
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There are advantages & disadvantages to both local Apps and streaming device Apps.
Local Apps have the advantage of ‘short path’, that is they don’t require your HDMI cable to pass 4K/HDR/DV, nor are they limited by the particular HDMI port that device is plugged into; the same if your trying to keep the signal intact through an SSP or AVR on the way to your TV. The local Apps could also be ‘tweaked’ for the individual TV, but as has been mentioned, they’re probably using common code most of the time; and you pay for the local Apps when you buy your TV (so they’re kind of free). The disadvantages are that if you want the best surround sound (DD+ etc.) or immersive audio (Atmos / DTS:X) you need to get ARC working properly, which may not be trivial. You also loose any OSD or other UI features your SSP/AVR might have.
Streaming boxes have the advantage of a common user interface for a variety of Apps, and likely a larger selection of Apps, also the platform lives and dies by its ability to give you the best features the source can deliver (whereas a SmartTV’s main purpose is still to deliver a good picture); there could be advantages to using a box that’s part of your home’s ecosystem too (eg ATV). You can also take advantage of a direct HDMI connection to an SSP/AVR for the best possible sound (without ARC), as well as OSD or other common UI features, and you can use a single/best HDMI connection into the TV, which could also make placement/setup/cabling your system easier. The disadvantages are primarily getting a good signal to your TV, you now have to go through one or two HDMI cables and possibly an SSP/AVR, much opportunity for the signal to be degraded (4K/60/HDR/DV can require up to 18 Gbps). Of course you usually have to buy a streaming box.
For me the advantages of a streaming box (ATV4K) and running though my SSP are too compelling, but I wouldn’t expect this to be the case for everyone.
HT: Emotiva RMC-1> XPA-7G3/PA-1> B&W 805S, HTM3S, SCMS, HTM4S & SVS SB-4000 (7.2.2) | Sony XBR-85X900F
2C: Emotiva RMC-1> VTL MB-450> Magnepan 20.1R
Sources: Oppo UDP-203, DirecTV HS17/C61K, AppleTV4K, Mac mini, Thorens TD-295 IV w/ Grado Sonata > Emotiva XPS-1