Will we ever get a native resolution switching streamer? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-28-2017, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Will we ever get a native resolution switching streamer?

I have been doing a lot of comparisons in my setup to get the best picture I can. Currently my setup is Roku Ultra -> Yamaha RX-V481 -> Samsung KS9000. For the Roku our main apps are Hulu, Vudu, Netflix and Amazon. We try to watch native 4K content whenever it's available as that's the best picture. But we also watch a lot of Hulu. Our main reason is we can't stand how bad Comcast compresses their signal. The 1080p Hulu signal for most of our shows simply blows away the over-compressed crap Comcast is sending.

Overall we've been happy with the Roku. I've even tried the Shield TV twice to get a comparison. Sometimes though I feel like the Roku upscaler to 4K isn't that great. The best example I can give for this is we recently had an issue with Hulu on our Roku. During that time we used Hulu from our Apple TV (Gen 4). I have to say, I was really impressed by the quality of the picture from the Apple TV. I guess I always knew that Samsung's upscaler was better than Roku - but until I saw the ATV4 and Hulu and didn't realize just how much better it is. Just a bit clearer and crisper on the ATV. The Roku can tend to make the image a bit soft and some parts almost look out of focus. Note that the AVR and TV settings are the same for both the Roku and ATV.

We also saw a bit of this with Airplaying Vudu via the ATV. When viewing an HDX movie there were times the ATV was just a little better. Same reasons - I felt the Roku picture could be soft at times.

This got me wondering, will we ever see a streamer that will just send the native signal through? Let the TV handle the upscaling if we want it? I know this have been a long sought after request on the Android side of things. I know I can change the display type to 1080p on the Roku - and that can make a difference with things like Hulu, but man what a pain to have to do that as we bounce between 1080p and 4K content.

I am looking forward to seeing what Apple has up their sleeves at WWDC with a potential 4K ATV. I wonder how well their system would be upscaling content (or maybe even native switching). I would of course need Amazon and Vudu on any new ATV (rumors are Amazon might be coming).

-Kevin
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by kbmb View Post
I have been doing a lot of comparisons in my setup to get the best picture I can. Currently my setup is Roku Ultra -> Yamaha RX-V481 -> Samsung KS9000. For the Roku our main apps are Hulu, Vudu, Netflix and Amazon. We try to watch native 4K content whenever it's available as that's the best picture. But we also watch a lot of Hulu. Our main reason is we can't stand how bad Comcast compresses their signal. The 1080p Hulu signal for most of our shows simply blows away the over-compressed crap Comcast is sending.

Overall we've been happy with the Roku. I've even tried the Shield TV twice to get a comparison. Sometimes though I feel like the Roku upscaler to 4K isn't that great. The best example I can give for this is we recently had an issue with Hulu on our Roku. During that time we used Hulu from our Apple TV (Gen 4). I have to say, I was really impressed by the quality of the picture from the Apple TV. I guess I always knew that Samsung's upscaler was better than Roku - but until I saw the ATV4 and Hulu and didn't realize just how much better it is. Just a bit clearer and crisper on the ATV. The Roku can tend to make the image a bit soft and some parts almost look out of focus. Note that the AVR and TV settings are the same for both the Roku and ATV.

We also saw a bit of this with Airplaying Vudu via the ATV. When viewing an HDX movie there were times the ATV was just a little better. Same reasons - I felt the Roku picture could be soft at times.

This got me wondering, will we ever see a streamer that will just send the native signal through? Let the TV handle the upscaling if we want it? I know this have been a long sought after request on the Android side of things. I know I can change the display type to 1080p on the Roku - and that can make a difference with things like Hulu, but man what a pain to have to do that as we bounce between 1080p and 4K content.

I am looking forward to seeing what Apple has up their sleeves at WWDC with a potential 4K ATV. I wonder how well their system would be upscaling content (or maybe even native switching). I would of course need Amazon and Vudu on any new ATV (rumors are Amazon might be coming).

-Kevin
@kbmb : Apple's quality has always been superior on the market, that's why I've always made them my main platform for computing, and mobile. The Apple TV is great and with some additional content such as Amazon and VUDU directly on the device will probably give them an edge over the competition. An example is DirectTV Now it still hasn't come to ROKU, after being promised for almost a year or more now and following the ROKU blog on the subject, there are a lot of mad people in the comments.
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 08:16 AM - Thread Starter
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@kbmb : Apple's quality has always been superior on the market, that's why I've always made them my main platform for computing, and mobile. The Apple TV is great and with some additional content such as Amazon and VUDU directly on the device will probably give them an edge over the competition. An example is DirectTV Now it still hasn't come to ROKU, after being promised for almost a year or more now and following the ROKU blog on the subject, there are a lot of mad people in the comments.
I'm really interested in what Apple may announce on June 5th at WWDC, especially with the Amazon rumors. I'm hoping that if they come out with a new 4KHDR box, and Amazon comes to it....that would push Vudu to at least get a streaming only version of their software on the box.

I will give Vudu credit in that the Airplay functionality is pretty good.....since you only use your iOS device to start the movie. After that it's the ATV that's doing all the work.

I also worry about not having a top tier device when it comes to new services/features. Like you mentioned with DirecTV Now......still not on Roku. ATV tends to be first to get new services/apps just because of it's high profile.

The Shield TV wasn't any better for me, so I returned it. I think that device is perfect for people that want Kodi/Plex etc and stream from their own NAS. I don't - everything I do is from streaming services. And I can certainly see where some people on the Nvidia forums complained about the Shield's upscaler and wishing they could turn it off.

We are in a weird transition world where there is still a ton of non-4K material......and at least in my setup, my Samsung is doing a better job upscaling than any of them. That's not too surprising given that Samsung has some of the best upscalers.

Are you running just a Roku? Or an ATV as well?

-Kevin
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 08:21 AM
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I'm really interested in what Apple may announce on June 5th at WWDC, especially with the Amazon rumors. I'm hoping that if they come out with a new 4KHDR box, and Amazon comes to it....that would push Vudu to at least get a streaming only version of their software on the box.

I will give Vudu credit in that the Airplay functionality is pretty good.....since you only use your iOS device to start the movie. After that it's the ATV that's doing all the work.

I also worry about not having a top tier device when it comes to new services/features. Like you mentioned with DirecTV Now......still not on Roku. ATV tends to be first to get new services/apps just because of it's high profile.

The Shield TV wasn't any better for me, so I returned it. I think that device is perfect for people that want Kodi/Plex etc and stream from their own NAS. I don't - everything I do is from streaming services. And I can certainly see where some people on the Nvidia forums complained about the Shield's upscaler and wishing they could turn it off.

We are in a weird transition world where there is still a ton of non-4K material......and at least in my setup, my Samsung is doing a better job upscaling than any of them. That's not too surprising given that Samsung has some of the best upscalers.

Are you running just a Roku? Or an ATV as well?

-Kevin
@kbmb : I have Roku, and an AppleTV 4.
I also have an Xbox one s for 4k blu-ray.

For computers I have a late 2013 13" Retina MacBook Pro, and for my main desktop. I have the latest 27" 5K iMac apple had available the beginning of the year, when I needed to upgrade. So technically the iMac has a higher resolution then our TVs. It can also play 8k video downscaled to 5k.
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post #5 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 08:48 AM
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@kbmb : I have Roku, and an AppleTV 4.
I also have an Xbox one s for 4k blu-ray.

For computers I have a late 2013 13" Retina MacBook Pro, and for my main desktop. I have the latest 27" 5K iMac apple had available the beginning of the year, when I needed to upgrade. So technically the iMac has a higher resolution then our TVs. It can also play 8k video downscaled to 5k.
It's interesting, I too have the 27" 5K iMac, but I'm always amazed at how much better my own 4K60p videos, shot on my GH5, look on my 4K 65" LG OLED as compared to my 5K iMac. There are times I think some of the clips look a bit soft, or a bit desaturated on the 5K iMac, but once I put them on my 65" OLED, it's a whole other story. The same is true, but to a slightly lesser degree, when I watch these videos on my 75" Sony 940c.

I think the 4K videos actually look better on the 21.5" 4K iMac than the 5K iMac, since no downscaling is necessary on the native 4K display.
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 08:57 AM
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It's interesting, I too have the 27" 5K iMac, but I'm always amazed at how much better my own 4K60p videos, shot on my GH5, look on my 4K 65" LG OLED as compared to my 5K iMac. There are times I think some of the clips look a bit soft, or a bit desaturated on the 5K iMac, but once I put them on my 65" OLED, it's a whole other story. The same is true, but to a slightly lesser degree, when I watch these videos on my 75" Sony 940c.

I think the 4K videos actually look better on the 21.5" 4K iMac than the 5K iMac, since no downscaling is necessary on the native 4K display.
Ken: I was originally planning on an OLED TV instead of LCD, but until they are available in, at least a 50", but preferably a tad bit smaller I'm stuck with LCD. I've never had video look soft on the iMac, in fact I find for me, video seems to have deeper more robust colors then the TV, and I think part of it is the Matte finish of the TV vs the glass on the iMac.

Don't get me wrong, the Sony has a great image, but for me there is just something about Apple displays that always seem to look of a higher quality.

Before I got the Sony 4k TV, my main TV was a 42" Panasonic Plasma set, so that's why I was looking to OLED for the upgrade. However, looks like I'll have to wait until screen sizes come down.
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 12:24 PM
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Ken: I was originally planning on an OLED TV instead of LCD, but until they are available in, at least a 50", but preferably a tad bit smaller I'm stuck with LCD. I've never had video look soft on the iMac, in fact I find for me, video seems to have deeper more robust colors then the TV, and I think part of it is the Matte finish of the TV vs the glass on the iMac.

Don't get me wrong, the Sony has a great image, but for me there is just something about Apple displays that always seem to look of a higher quality.

Before I got the Sony 4k TV, my main TV was a 42" Panasonic Plasma set, so that's why I was looking to OLED for the upgrade. However, looks like I'll have to wait until screen sizes come down.
Interesting. Both my OLED and Sony 940c have glossy screens and both look sharper and more saturated than my Mac. I'm very happy with the Mac, but a friend of mine who has the same OLED and IMac, says the same thing. He's shocked at how much better the OLED looks. It's like looking out of a window when you've shot something in 4K60p.
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post #8 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 12:29 PM
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Interesting. Both my OLED and Sony 940c have glossy screens and both look sharper and more saturated than my Mac. I'm very happy with the Mac, but a friend of mine who has the same OLED and IMac, says the same thing. He's shocked at how much better the OLED looks. It's like looking out of a window when you've shot something in 4K60p.
@Ken Ross : I can understand the comparison between LCD and OLED. In my case it's a comparison between an apple IPS panel and a VA panel.

Also, do you have the late 2015 iMac, the first 5k iMac didn't have as good a screen as the second.. I have the late 2015 version and they changed the backlight to use colored LEDs instead of white to improve color. They also made it brighter. The iMac display also has a p3 rating, which is the commercial cinema rating.
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting. Both my OLED and Sony 940c have glossy screens and both look sharper and more saturated than my Mac. I'm very happy with the Mac, but a friend of mine who has the same OLED and IMac, says the same thing. He's shocked at how much better the OLED looks. It's like looking out of a window when you've shot something in 4K60p.
Ken, what OLED do you have? And how much cable/non-4K content to do you watch.

One of my biggest issues in looking at a new 4K TV last year was the fact that we still watch a lot of cable programming. I needed a TV that had a good upscaler, so we went with the Samsung KS9000. I originally had a non-OLED LG that looked really bad for cable TV. Ended up getting the 55" KS9000 and we are pleased overall. I really wanted an OLED, but could justify the cost last year.

How well do your sets upscale 1080p and lower content?

I have Comcast cable with TiVos - and Comcast has been moving everything to over-compressed 720p signal (except for locals). It's awful. So bad that we subscribe to Hulu to get as many shows as we can via that just to get them in 1080p. They look great on Hulu - so I know my TV is doing a good job upscaling a clean signal.

It wasn't until the other day when I played Hulu via my ATV4 that I really realized how soft the Roku was making 1080p content. It varies from content to content as well......but generally I get a crisper picture using my ATV4 (or setting the Roku to 1080p) and letting my TV upscale.

I've always wondered how well the OLED did with upscaling.

-Kevin
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post #10 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 01:56 PM
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Kevin, I've got the LG B6 OLED. All the OLEDs of a given model year have the same PQ. As I mentioned, I also have the Sony 940c, 65" LCD. That's a full array local dimming display, so it was the best LCD of the year that I bought it in. As you may know, Sonys are well regarded for their upscaling prowess like the Samsungs, but here's what I've found. If I examine the screen from a few inches away, I can give a slight edge to the Sony over the LG. However when I move back to anything approaching a reasonable viewing distance, that difference simply disappears. They both look very sharp upscaling HD to 4K.

Now admittedly I watch no SD material, so I can't comment on that, but for HD material (which is the majority of what I watch), they both look extremely good upscaling. However there's no question in my mind, zero, that the overall PQ on the OLED is far superior to that of my Sony LCD. The Sony LCD, as good as it is since it's a FALD LCD, still can't keep up with the pixel by pixel precision of an OLED. No blooming, no off-axis issues, absolute blacks and some truly saturated colors, leads to a PQ that my Sony just can't match. Unless we get another technology, my next TV will be another OLED.

My typical HD content is via Directv, which like all the other guys, compresses quite a bit. Verizon's FIOS used to be the best for being the easiest on compression, but from what I've heard since I left FIOS, things have changed there too.

With all the multicasting that goes on even with locals, there's no longer a guarantee you'll get the best picture on your locals. Of course much of this is location dependent, but here in N.Y., they can easily have 3 sub-channels on any given main channel.

BTW, if you want to add to your 4K material and have any interest in shooting video, this is the kind of result you can get with your own equipment. I shot this a couple of weeks ago:

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@Ken Ross : I can understand the comparison between LCD and OLED. In my case it's a comparison between an apple IPS panel and a VA panel.

Also, do you have the late 2015 iMac, the first 5k iMac didn't have as good a screen as the second.. I have the late 2015 version and they changed the backlight to use colored LEDs instead of white to improve color. They also made it brighter. The iMac display also has a p3 rating, which is the commercial cinema rating.
I wasn't aware that they changed screens. How would I identify which screen I've got?
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post #12 of 21 Old 05-29-2017, 02:07 PM
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Kevin, I've got the LG B6 OLED. All the OLEDs of a given model year have the same PQ. As I mentioned, I also have the Sony 940c, 65" LCD. That's a full array local dimming display, so it was the best LCD of the year that I bought it in. As you may know, Sonys are well regarded for their upscaling prowess like the Samsungs, but here's what I've found. If I examine the screen from a few inches away, I can give a slight edge to the Sony over the LG. However when I move back to anything approaching a reasonable viewing distance, that difference simply disappears. They both look very sharp upscaling HD to 4K.

Now admittedly I watch no SD material, so I can't comment on that, but for HD material (which is the majority of what I watch), they both look extremely good upscaling. However there's no question in my mind, zero, that the overall PQ on the OLED is far superior to that of my Sony LCD. The Sony LCD, as good as it is since it's a FALD LCD, still can't keep up with the pixel by pixel precision of an OLED. No blooming, no off-axis issues, absolute blacks and some truly saturated colors, leads to a PQ that my Sony just can't match. Unless we get another technology, my next TV will be another OLED.

My typical HD content is via Directv, which like all the other guys, compresses quite a bit. Verizon's FIOS used to be the best for being the easiest on compression, but from what I've heard since I left FIOS, things have changed there too.

With all the multicasting that goes on even with locals, there's no longer a guarantee you'll get the best picture on your locals. Of course much of this is location dependent, but here in N.Y., they can easily have 3 sub-channels on any given main channel.

BTW, if you want to add to your 4K material and have any interest in shooting video, this is the kind of result you can get with your own equipment. I shot this a couple of weeks ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXu1emWX_HM&t=2s
@Ken Ross : If I had known the current state of 4k and HDR ahead of time, I probably would have kept my Plasma, and waited a couple more years just to give it more time to mature and more content to become mainstream. As it is I don't regret upgrading and giving the Plasma to some friends who needed a new TV. Just saying because most of the content I like is either HD still or SD, I wouldn't have missed much in this point of time.
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I wasn't aware that they changed screens. How would I identify which screen I've got?
@Ken Ross : go to the Apple menu in the top left corner of the menu bar choose about this Mac. If your date says 2014, then you don't have the same revision of the 5K retina iMac as me. You have the first version. That will be why you can't give the same screen report as me as it's a different panel.
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MacinMan, I do have the newer screen. So I guess it's just that OLED screen, being a self-emissive display, is just more vibrant. I guess there's a reason all the reviews point to OLED as being the best display tech.

The new IPhone 8 will finally have an OLED screen. That's why I'm still holding on to my IPhone 6S+ and skipped the 7.

BTW, there really is no shortage of 4K and HDR on Netflix and Amazon.
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MacinMan, I do have the newer screen. So I guess it's just that OLED screen, being a self-emissive display, is just more vibrant. I guess there's a reason all the reviews point to OLED as being the best display tech.

The new IPhone 8 will finally have an OLED screen. That's why I'm still holding on to my IPhone 6S+ and skipped the 7.

BTW, there really is no shortage of 4K and HDR on Netflix and Amazon.
@Ken Ross : I agree with you that a self lighting display is always going to look better then a backlight one. The thing here is, I only have experience with CRT, and plasma displays when it comes to non LCD and self light emitting displays. I would love to have experience with OLED, however, for now I will have to either wait until smaller OLED TVs come out, or I am able to move to a place that has the space for a larger TV where it would actually look good without being too big, and end up over crowding the setup.
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post #16 of 21 Old 05-31-2017, 10:32 AM
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@kbmb : Apple's quality has always been superior on the market, that's why I've always made them my main platform for computing, and mobile. The Apple TV is great and with some additional content such as Amazon and VUDU directly on the device will probably give them an edge over the competition. An example is DirectTV Now it still hasn't come to ROKU, after being promised for almost a year or more now and following the ROKU blog on the subject, there are a lot of mad people in the comments.
Apples quality always superior? Alright, I wont even go to details on faulty hardware. Just compare lossless videos from Amazon and Apple. Amazon ist just about twice the size/bitrate and thus offers noticeable better quality. Amazon has UHD content, Apple has not.
So this does not qualify for "always superior" quality.
I don't believe that they will offer native resolution on any apple TV as the majority of user just doesn't care and Apple is generally about ease of use and not about giving people a ton of options.
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post #17 of 21 Old 05-31-2017, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Apples quality always superior? Alright, I wont even go to details on faulty hardware. Just compare lossless videos from Amazon and Apple. Amazon ist just about twice the size/bitrate and thus offers noticeable better quality. Amazon has UHD content, Apple has not.
So this does not qualify for "always superior" quality.
I don't believe that they will offer native resolution on any apple TV as the majority of user just doesn't care and Apple is generally about ease of use and not about giving people a ton of options.
I don't think Apple would be the one to offer native resolution - they aren't the high end company that used to be. I guess I'm hoping for something as simple as the TiVo settings, where I can select multiple resolutions and the box will essentially pass that along.

I can say, that for me and my setup right now, what my ATV4 is doing with 1080p Hulu video is better than the Roku Ultra either set at 1080p or 4K. Surely it all comes down to the hardware/software combo on the box and what video processing it's doing. For me, I'd love to be able to set my Roku to send 1080p if the source is 1080p.....not internally upscale it and cause the video to be soft.

-Kevin
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Can either the Roku or the ATV do 24p? I think that's a problem on many platforms for streaming. On my Xbox One S it's not possible because MS is restricting that any other App besides their BD player app can change the framerate.
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post #19 of 21 Old 06-02-2017, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Can either the Roku or the ATV do 24p? I think that's a problem on many platforms for streaming. On my Xbox One S it's not possible because MS is restricting that any other App besides their BD player app can change the framerate.
I think there is a hacky way people have forced the Roku to 24p, not sure though. ATV is locked, like the Roku usually is.

Really wish these streamers would do the TiVo style options.....that allow selecting of resolutions etc, including passthrough which does 24p.

-Kevin
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post #20 of 21 Old 06-02-2017, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by kbmb View Post
I think there is a hacky way people have forced the Roku to 24p, not sure though. ATV is locked, like the Roku usually is.

Really wish these streamers would do the TiVo style options.....that allow selecting of resolutions etc, including passthrough which does 24p.

-Kevin
When I was looking through the video settings for my ATV it gave a few options for different refresh rates for each resolution, such as 1080 50 etc, I typically just let it sit at Auto though. Would any of those work for the Apple TV? With ROKU when I play a video on Youtube, under stats for nerds I see it switch to the framerate, if supported 30 60, or 24.

Not sure what the original question was.
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post #21 of 21 Old 06-02-2017, 08:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacinMan View Post
When I was looking through the video settings for my ATV it gave a few options for different refresh rates for each resolution, such as 1080 50 etc, I typically just let it sit at Auto though. Would any of those work for the Apple TV? With ROKU when I play a video on Youtube, under stats for nerds I see it switch to the framerate, if supported 30 60, or 24.

Not sure what the original question was.
With the ATV I believe it's mainly resolution (1080p, 720p, etc) followed by either 60Hz (US) 50Hz(EU).

-Kevin
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