Apple tv 4k vs amazon fire cube vs roku ultra - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-14-2019, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Apple tv 4k vs amazon fire cube vs roku ultra

I am looking for a streaming device for my home theater, I would like to be able to stream 4k and prefer to have a ethernet plug to hard wire the internet. Any recommendations on best device?
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-14-2019, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDoutdoorsman View Post
I am looking for a streaming device for my home theater, I would like to be able to stream 4k and prefer to have a ethernet plug to hard wire the internet. Any recommendations on best device?
First, let me say, going with ethernet is definitely the right choice. WIFI is never better; especially for streaming Live TV. The ONLY reason WIFI is even available, is for convenience, NOT for performance. It's the only reason it was even designed. Ethernet is always better. So for that; excellent choice and vision.

Next; narrow it down to the apple 4k tv and the roku ultra. It seems like "most" of the issues I've seen with ALL of the streaming services, Amazon Fire, of any type, seems to have more issues than any other streaming device. Having said that, both the apple tv 4k and roku ultra have their pros and cons. The two biggest advantages of the apple 4k tv is 1) if you are into apple/iphone/itunes at all, the apple tv 4k is perfect for bringing together all of your movies and music. It even coexists with movies anywhere perfectly. It has plenty of apps for just about anything you want. It is the most stable of the streamers in my opinion. 2) For those who are SERIOUS about movies/video, apple tv 4k does Dolby Vision. While HDR is great, Dolby Vision is BETTER. It's the next step up. Now, if someday, Roku comes out with a streamer that does Dolby Vision, I might reconsider. But, because I'm big into itunes and such, it will always be my first choice.

Roku on the other hand, is the industry leader. Just about every app made, is made for Roku. Roku also allows basically open source, to allow anyone to write an app for it. There are LITERALLY MORE THAN 8,000 apps for Roku. Anything you can think of, is written for Roku. The ultra is powerful, fast, and stable.

CONS:
Apple tv 4K; Price: $175 for the apple 4k tv. That is a bit higher than all others. Another con; but not a deal breaker, is it doesn't have the 8,000+ apps. But it definitely has a BOAT LOAD. So for most people, it's not an issue. Only for those really wanting to find obscure private channels; then the Roku is better.

Roku Ultra: While it has a fast processor, the ethernet port is only 10/100. The Apple tv 4k is a TRUE 1GB port. Also, Roku developers, when coordinating apps, doesn't spend a lot of time on convenience. For instance; if you have Hulu TV, when you go to the guide, which could have 100+ channels, you have to press the up or down button on and off to go up or down the channels one at a time. With the apple, you can hold the up or down button and the guide will fast forward and scroll super fast. Also; Apple updates their firmware on a much more regular basis. And their firmware is much more stable. Basically, the apple tv, iphones, ipad, etc. use the same firmware base. Roku has very specific firmware and it's simply not as good.

Conclusion: If you're not into Itunes; and don't already do Iphone or Ipads, and you are content with HDR and aren't too interested in Dolby Vision; then by all means skip the apple tv 4k and go with the Roku Ultra. On sale, it runs around $89. That's about $90 LESS than the apple. But, if you want the highest end video, such as Dolby Vision; if you're into itunes or other apple products at all; if you want the fastest ethernet port and fastest processor; then definitely go with the Apple tv 4k.

FWIW: I own BOTH. And also 2 other Roku's. i have 4 tv's so I use them all over. BUT, for my MAIN Home Theater TV, where I watch SERIOUS MOVIES on netflix, prime, hbo, dvd/itunes, etc. The apple tv 4k is the best. Especially with Dolby Vision. The Roku's, I mainly use on tv's to "WATCH TV"; such as Hulu Live tv, Philo, and similar.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-15-2019, 11:38 AM
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For another perspective, I was in the same boat this past weekend. I had a 2nd generation firetv and couldn't watch anything on the new criterion channel app because of DRM/HDCP issues. I've never had an issue with my firetv to date. After considering cost and needs, I went with the FireTV cube. I'm happy to have kept the ethernet connection and was super happy with the Alexa integration. It detected my old rotel rsp-985 pre-amp, my old panasonic plasma tv and can control them. I was able to tell Alexa to set a timer to remind me of GOT at 8pm and it turned it on for me. So I'm happy with the FireTV cube. Since I do most stuff via amazon, it was an easy choice and it was $79 this weekend everywhere.

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post #4 of 17 Old 04-15-2019, 02:41 PM
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iTunes 4K streaming has my Blu-ray player collecting dust. ATV 4K all the way.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-15-2019, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDoutdoorsman View Post
I am looking for a streaming device for my home theater, I would like to be able to stream 4k and prefer to have a ethernet plug to hard wire the internet. Any recommendations on best device?
Nvidia Shield TV
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-15-2019, 09:05 PM
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I agree with adam, the nvidia shield is superior to pretty much anything. It is on the android platform. The only negative is it does not support spectrum cable, aside from that it is the fastest processor easy to use, great remote. Amazon prime, KODI, Sremio and you tube are flawless.
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-16-2019, 08:01 AM
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Shield PQ is "soft" compared to ATV4K....

Sony XBR 75X940E - Sony Z9F 3.1 Soundbar - Sony UBP-X700 UHD BD Player - ATV 4K
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-16-2019, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggw2000 View Post
Shield PQ is "soft" compared to ATV4K....
Have to agree. I've looked at Shield on 2 of my friend's systems. I even downloaded some of the apps I use, and brought over my apple tv 4k. I'll stick with the apple tv 4k any day of the week. Especially when I'm sitting their with an OLED tv that is top of the line for picture quality, dolby vision, hdr, and other 4k signals.

The only reason I'd even recommend or consider a Shield, is if I was really into Plex or Kodi. Other than that, the Apple tv is much better in my opinion. PLUS..... I HATE ANDROID. Thus, why I also decided against Youtube TV. Not a google fan. I have a $55,000 PER MONTH cellular bill. (Yes, that's NOT a typo). The company I work for, I manage ALL of their cellular devices. More than half are Android. Only about 5-10% are IOS. The rest are true mobile platforms like Airlink/Cradlepoint. I've written a lot of APK/Apps for android. It is ok. It's fine and even great in some regards. But for the world of streaming video, especially for personal use, I'll take the Apple tv 4k IOS any day over the others. Again; unless you're really into plex/kodi. Then shield is set up more for that.

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post #9 of 17 Old 04-17-2019, 07:46 AM
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I've heard some good things about ATV4K, never own one so can't comment.
However, just want to point out so OP to know, ATV4K or any of those on your list is NOT capable of passing lossless audio through.
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-17-2019, 10:04 AM
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I've said this a million times, but IMO the most important question is, do you have 'height' speaker channels and do you plan on playing blu-ray rips? If these answer to that is yes, then get a Shield (or maybe something like a Vero 4K+ if you only plan on playing local media and don't need streaming services like Netflix). If the answer is no, then Apple TV 4K (and then use the Infuse app or MrMC for rips).

Although, keep in mind the Shield does not support Atmos in Netflix or Dolby Vision.
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post #11 of 17 Old 04-17-2019, 11:38 AM
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I am not a fanboy. But after reading ,IIRC , Apple 4k was the only hardware to support 4k w HDR, ATMOS and all the other goodies of 4k , ON THE 4 BIG services like Vudu, Amazon Movies, Netflix and one more I cant remember.
I just upgraded my receiver to a New Denon , I am still using my 1080p tv. Only on ATV (MY roku wont) can i stream 1080p video and ATMOS sound.
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post #12 of 17 Old 04-17-2019, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDdawn6 View Post
I am not a fanboy. But after reading ,IIRC , Apple 4k was the only hardware to support 4k w HDR, ATMOS and all the other goodies of 4k , ON THE 4 BIG services like Vudu, Amazon Movies, Netflix and one more I cant remember.
I just upgraded my receiver to a New Denon , I am still using my 1080p tv. Only on ATV (MY roku wont) can i stream 1080p video and ATMOS sound.
The Atmos sound you mentioned is a re-encoded or upmixing audio signal plus if it isn't, that Atmos is carried on top of a lossy signal such DD+.
Not the true lossless audio signal from source.
Just so you know.

Last edited by tinhvo; 04-17-2019 at 03:29 PM.
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post #13 of 17 Old 04-17-2019, 06:17 PM
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I use Nvidia Shield to stream 4K mkv’s with bitstream audio and it works great. Don’t think it’s soft at all from my experience, though I don’t have atv4k to compare it to. I do have a Panasonic 820 though and it fairs pretty well in comparison, minus the tone mapping.
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post #14 of 17 Old 04-20-2019, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinhvo View Post
The Atmos sound [is] Not the true lossless audio signal from source.
Just so you know.
Just so you know -- Netflix, MA, Prime Video, Vudu etc don't currently provide "lossless" audio -- Atmos or otherwise.

I might type 2K for 1080p.
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post #15 of 17 Old 04-23-2019, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bodosom View Post
Just so you know -- Netflix, MA, Prime Video, Vudu etc don't currently provide "lossless" audio -- Atmos or otherwise.
Maybe I misunderstood your point, maybe you've misread my post.
Anyway, just so the OP to know the limit of those sticks.
If you or he does NOT care about lossless audio track such TrueHD and/or DTS-HD MA, go for any of those listed above.
If you or he does care, get something else.

If you think I'm talking about online streaming. NO, I am talking about the capability of audio pass-through in local streaming.

I hope I make it clear enough.
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post #16 of 17 Old 04-23-2019, 11:48 AM
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Depending on the device wifi is better. FOr instance devices like ROku, that only have a 100BT wired connection, Wifi has been better in my use. Since I can play 100+Mb/s bitrate files with zero issues over wifi(I'll get between 130Mb/s and 200Mb/s throughput over wifi with streamers). While it's nothing but a buffering mess over the wired 100Mb/s connection.

Any device that only has a 100Mb/s wired connection, I use it's wifi. Like I do with my SOny X800 and ROku Ultra. While any device with a 1000BT gigabit wired connection, I use it's wired connection. Like my SHield TVs and ATV 4Ks.

But for any streaming services whether Apple, Vudu, Youtube, DirecTV NOw etc. the wifi experience has been identical to a wired experience. Since all the streaming services use very low bitrates. With a properly setup wifi network there is zero difference between using wired or wireless with those low bitrate streaming services.

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post #17 of 17 Old 04-23-2019, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDdawn6 View Post
Apple 4k was the only hardware to support 4k w HDR, ATMOS and all the other goodies of 4k , ON THE 4 BIG services like Vudu, Amazon Movies, Netflix and one more I cant remember.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinhvo View Post
The Atmos sound you mentioned is a re-encoded or upmixing audio signal plus if it isn't, that Atmos is carried on top of a lossy signal such DD+.
Not the true lossless audio signal from source.
Just so you know.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinhvo View Post
Maybe I misunderstood your point, maybe you've misread my post.
...
If you think I'm talking about online streaming. NO, I am talking about the capability of audio pass-through in local streaming.

I hope I make it clear enough.
You replied to someone that was talking about "ATMOS and all the other goodies of 4k , ON THE 4 BIG services like Vudu, Amazon Movies, Netflix and one more I cant remember." If you think that's talking about local streaming, NO it's Vudu et. al. Perhaps you misread the OP.

I might type 2K for 1080p.
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