A good successor to my Popcorn A300 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-11-2019, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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A good successor to my Popcorn A300

Hi everyone,

I hope you are well. I'm here to receive your guidance on a potential successor to my popcorn A300.

I have used this fellow machine for about ten years to no fault. It has always done what I needed from it and more. Sadly, it seems that 4k is where the fun stops.

Recently after getting my new 4K Projector, I bought a 4K Chromecast, but it doesn't looks like the solutions to direct play MKVs (from a network HDD) are very exciting this way as far as I've seen (but maybe I missed something?). And I don't want to play films through a PLEX server as I like the planet and don't want my computer running for that.

So, right now I have been considering :

- Apple TV 4K : I know a new one could be announced soon (I had hopes for yesterday but...), but this + infuse seem quite decent. It's a bit redundant with the Chromecast but also does the job for Netflix, Amazon Video Direct etc. I'm however skeptical I'll keep it as long as my popcorn... Although it gets great updates during its lifetime, I feel the average lifetime for an Apple product before being made redundant is quite brutal.

- Zappiti Mini 4K : More expensive than the Apple TV + Infuse upfront, but I like the fact of buying something that I might use ten years like the Popcorn. Never used a Zappiti product however.

- Dune HD PRO 4K : The most expensive, but same logic as Zappiti, if it's something I keep for 10 years then it sounds good. And I've often heard good things about this brand.

I loved my popcorn and it breaks my heart to let go of it while it still works. If only it was reading 4K files @[email protected]

Thanks for your input and kind opinions.
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-11-2019, 09:37 AM
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If your only holdback on a Plex Server is the cost/impact of running a PC as a server full-time, you might want to consider the NVidia Shield. It's a capable Plex server (without the power draw of an always-on PC), client, plays your rips with full HD audio passthrough, and handles streaming extremely well. Its main drawback, lack of Dolby Vision, doesn't apply here since you're using a projector. The only other real drawback, in my view, is lack of Atmos support for Netflix... the ATV4K does this but, IMHO, the lack of HD audio passthrough outweighs the benefits. There's almost definitely a new Shield device coming soon, but I don't think it will offer anything materially that the current model does not.

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post #3 of 9 Old 09-11-2019, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post
If your only holdback on a Plex Server is the cost/impact of running a PC as a server full-time, you might want to consider the NVidia Shield. It's a capable Plex server (without the power draw of an always-on PC), client, plays your rips with full HD audio passthrough, and handles streaming extremely well. Its main drawback, lack of Dolby Vision, doesn't apply here since you're using a projector. The only other real drawback, in my view, is lack of Atmos support for Netflix... the ATV4K does this but, IMHO, the lack of HD audio passthrough outweighs the benefits. There's almost definitely a new Shield device coming soon, but I don't think it will offer anything materially that the current model does not.
Hi Stephen,

Thanks a lot for your reply.

Oh, I thought the Apple TV 4K had LPCM at least? (I'm still very bad with the terminologies, and realised recently I had misconfigured my popcorn for about 10 years... now really enjoying it even more!).

And thanks for your opinion on the Shield. It was actually the first device I considered, but I saw quite a large amount of negative feedbacks regarding the specific PLEX server feature on various forums... But I did also hear and read wonders about its streaming capacities. It's never easy, is it. Both Shield and Apple TV are due to be updated, but who knows when. Also, I feel my feeling towards keeping the Apple TV for less time than the Popcorn also applies to the Shield. Or maybe it applies to all device now, I don't know. I've been happy with the Popcorn for so long, it was a great investment!!

I'll look into a bit more and, in the meantime, am happy to receive more opinions. Thanks again.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-11-2019, 10:52 AM
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Apple TV unlike Apple mobile devices, has a decent shelf life.
You do not have to upgrade as long as the one you have is serving the purpose. It’s just that other OEMs do not come up with new models or refresh their products as often as Apple and it doesn’t mean the older Apple TVs stop working.

I have the 4K model and I feel it’s more than enough to last me 5-7 years. As long as you are happy it’s doing the job if you know what I mean.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-11-2019, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QCarb View Post
Oh, I thought the Apple TV 4K had LPCM at least?
It does have LPCM output, but if you have any interest in Atmos/DTS:X from TrueHD/DTS-MA tracks then LPCM isn't enough. If you have zero interest in Atmos/DTS:X and don't think you ever will, maybe it's not a dealbreaker.

Plex on the Shield (and the Shield itself) really has come a long way in the last year or so thanks to needed software updates. The VAST majority of what folks used to consider dealbreakers for the device just aren't problems anymore. Also, if you don't need a Plex Server to serve other client devices around the house, Kodi is probably even more capable for standalone playback and media management and infinitely more configurable, just without the benefit of managing your media across multiple disparate client devices. I just, personally, prefer the ability to let the Shield act as a Plex Server so everything is in-sync everywhere in the house and 4K files can also be transcoded for the few 1080p client devices I still have in a few rooms.

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post #6 of 9 Old 09-12-2019, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Stephen for your added comments. I've seen the shield is a bit discounted here and there so will have a look.

And many thanks Osamah for your reply too. Good to know.

One thing though I would like to clarify : how come the Apple TV "support" Atmos / DTSX if it cannot carry it properly through LPCM? I'm very curious as I'm indeed interested in DTSX and want to make the most future proof choice, whichever device I go for eventually.

Thanks!
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-12-2019, 09:37 AM
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I own the Zappiti one and the mini if you are on Ethernet then I recommend both. Wi-Fi won’t let you stream 4K. Maybe when the first Wi-Fi6 adapter comes out it will be possible


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post #8 of 9 Old 09-12-2019, 05:48 PM
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I have an Emby server and 7 Nvidia Shield TV's. Works great! Emby is superior all around to Plex.

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post #9 of 9 Old 09-17-2019, 02:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Sammy2 and Veger69 for your kind replies.

I took some time to think and eventually went for an Apple TV 4K in the end (even if probably a new one is gonna be announced next month, I'll discuss with the shop if it happens). I am very happy with the video quality, even if indeed the sound quality is not totally on par with my popcorn. I'll explore more.

This thread can be closed now.
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