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post #1 of 24 Old 05-26-2020, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Plex streaming vs local playback ( Best quality possible )

Hi,

Im looking online but can't find if somebody did the test with a 4K HDR high MBs clip to see if Plex can stream the same quality than a local playback over USB or a media center like the Nvidia shield.

Is there really no loss of quality in video and audio using Plex original quality stream ? If so then why people buy media center and don't just stream from their local pc ?

I have a really good audio and video set up and would like to know if im loosing something by streaming with Plex vs getting a local player.

My files are usually 4K HDR around 70 to 80 go movies. So am I loosing quality by streaming with Plex even is Plex is saying that it stream at the native 65 mbs bitrate and all ... Should I play them via an other, non streamed player ?

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post #2 of 24 Old 05-29-2020, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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No one ? Then why so many of you get the shield to stream Plex on it instead of using the exact same app that could run on your TV ? Forget the maybe best UI or the loading speed of the APP of the shield, im talking video and audio quality wise.
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post #3 of 24 Old 05-29-2020, 07:05 PM
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The quality of Plex playback is a function of the playback device. The Nvidia Shield has enough horsepower and the Plex app in the Shield is of sufficient quality to play back the AV stream as it is stored on the server without modification -- assuming you have sufficient network bandwidth between the server and the Shield. This is called Direct Play. Most other devices that include a Plex app -- i.e. TV's, Disk Players, low-end streamers and streaming sticks -- cannot playback the stream in full quality. They have limited support for video formats and may not support the encoding format the source video is encoded with. The attraction of Plex is that it will communicate with the playback device to determine its capabilities and what it can do with the file being requested for playback. In the event the playback device cannot Direct Play the source, Plex server will transcode it down in both video and audio into a format and bitrate the device can handle.

That's why people use the Shield for Plex.
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post #4 of 24 Old 05-29-2020, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post
The attraction of Plex is that it will communicate with the playback device to determine its capabilities and what it can do with the file being requested for playback. In the event the playback device cannot Direct Play the source, Plex server will transcode it down in both video and audio into a format and bitrate the device can handle.

That's why people use the Shield for Plex.
Alright I get it, Since I can confirm that running Plex APP directly on my TV can handle 4K HDR10 up to 68 mbs and maybe more, but thats the biggest file I tested it with ... ( the APP in TV confirm it can stream and play original ), getting a shield pro to run Plex would be 100% useless.

Thanks for your reply, its just hard to find this kind of info, lots of people praise the Nvidia Shield pro but it seem my native TV app can deliver result as good or even better in some case ( like Netflix dolby vision that was not supported by the shield ) ... Since I only use Youtube, Netflix and Plex I have nothing to gain from an external streamer box !
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post #5 of 24 Old 05-30-2020, 12:27 AM
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Alright I get it, Since I can confirm that running Plex APP directly on my TV can handle 4K HDR10 up to 68 mbs and maybe more, but thats the biggest file I tested it with ... ( the APP in TV confirm it can stream and play original ), getting a shield pro to run Plex would be 100% useless.

Thanks for your reply, its just hard to find this kind of info, lots of people praise the Nvidia Shield pro but it seem my native TV app can deliver result as good or even better in some case ( like Netflix dolby vision that was not supported by the shield ) ... Since I only use Youtube, Netflix and Plex I have nothing to gain from an external streamer box !
Right then definitely dont get an external box. As long as you're direct playing the content and not transcoding it, you're getting full quality in plex.
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post #6 of 24 Old 05-30-2020, 08:48 AM
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Is there a separate audio system running? If so is your TV passing the multi channel audio onto that system?

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post #7 of 24 Old 05-30-2020, 08:56 AM
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Right then definitely dont get an external box. As long as you're direct playing the content and not transcoding it, you're getting full quality in plex.
The Plex Server will more than likely transcode any Lossless Audio if the TV App is the client. So Dolby TrueHD and DTSMA will be dropped down to their lossy variants.

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post #8 of 24 Old 05-30-2020, 10:39 AM
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Did you intentionally omit the audio part? Assuming the video is on par, what's about the audio?
Do you care for lossless audio track?
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post #9 of 24 Old 05-30-2020, 03:02 PM
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Alright I get it, Since I can confirm that running Plex APP directly on my TV can handle 4K HDR10 up to 68 mbs and maybe more, but thats the biggest file I tested it with ... ( the APP in TV confirm it can stream and play original ) . . .
I would not trust the TV app to confirm anything.

While you are streaming the file on the TV using Plex, go to your Plex server; click on the "Activity" icon at the top-right; select the Dashboard. The display will show you what is currently playing from the Plex server and whether or not it is transcoding the video and the audio as it sends it out. Unless it says Direct Play at the server screen for video and audio, you are not streaming the original quality.
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post #10 of 24 Old 06-04-2020, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I would not trust the TV app to confirm anything.

While you are streaming the file on the TV using Plex, go to your Plex server; click on the "Activity" icon at the top-right; select the Dashboard. The display will show you what is currently playing from the Plex server and whether or not it is transcoding the video and the audio as it sends it out. Unless it says Direct Play at the server screen for video and audio, you are not streaming the original quality.
The Plex APP is the same APP that run on the TV vs Nvidia shield. And yes, it can stream Original quality from my server to the TV plex APP.

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Did you intentionally omit the audio part? Assuming the video is on par, what's about the audio?
Do you care for lossless audio track?
For the sound, I use ARC mode via HDMI from the TV to feed a denon AVR 5.1 system, I would really like to see the math behind the audio out of the Nvidia Shield HDMI feed by plex app vs the audio out of my TV ARC HDMI feed by plex app, its the same app both running sound to HDMI ... And your telling me you can hear or even data compare whats the output difference of both set up ? I dont need to decode atmos, Im using at max a 5.1 and it can be supported by ARC or optical out.


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Is there a separate audio system running? If so is your TV passing the multi channel audio onto that system?
Bill
Yes, and yes via HDMI, just like the plex that is running on your nVidia is feeding your AVR, my feed comes from the TV HDMI instead.


.......................

Im not trying to avoid getting a Nvidia shield, its just that even If it try really hard, in my set up I cant find any real benefits to it and dont get why so many people buy into it if your smart TV can do all the streaming job if what you need to audio feed is a 5.1 max.

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post #11 of 24 Old 06-04-2020, 02:00 PM
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The Plex APP is the same APP that run on the TV vs Nvidia shield. And yes, it can stream Original quality from my server to the TV plex APP.



For the sound, I use ARC mode via HDMI from the TV to feed a denon AVR 5.1 system, I would really like to see the math behind the audio out of the Nvidia Shield HDMI vs the audio out of my TV ARC HDMI, its the same app both running sound to HDMI ... And your telling me you can hear or even data compare whats the output difference of both set up ?




Yes, and yes via HDMI, just like the plex that is running on your nVidia.
If you're streaming 4k Rips with Atmos or DTS-X using the Plex app on the TV, you will not get a downgraded version of Atmos or DTS-X via ARC. Therefore if you an AVR capable with an Upmixer for your "height" channels, then that's really the only option for now.

The Shield has full passthrough for Audio formats, thus allowing a capable AVR or Soundbar to decode the audio in a Lossless format (Dolby TrueHD/Atmos or DTS-MA/DTS-X). ARC is not capable of handling Lossless Audio. eARC,on the other hand, will.

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post #12 of 24 Old 06-04-2020, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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If you're streaming 4k Rips with Atmos or DTS-X using the Plex app on the TV, you will not get a downgraded version of Atmos or DTS-X via ARC. Therefore if you an AVR capable with an Upmixer for your "height" channels, then that's really the only option for now.

The Shield has full passthrough for Audio formats, thus allowing a capable AVR or Soundbar to decode the audio in a Lossless format (Dolby TrueHD/Atmos or DTS-MA/DTS-X). ARC is not capable of handling Lossless Audio. eARC,on the other hand, will.
Ho well, for netflix, youtube and music they are not using these format has we speak, maybe only some audio files from 4K rip are encoded in Dolby TrueHD/Atmos or DTS-MA/DTS-X but again, having only a 5.1 I would not benefits from the extra channel experience ...

I can still run from the TV 5.1 DTS, 5.1 dolby digital

I would be surprised if someone ever did a audio video blind test using a 4K HDR file with Dolby TrueHD/Atmos or DTS-MA/DTS-X Lossless audio mix from a Nvidia shield vs the same file from a plex TV APP in a 5.1 config to see if there is any real life difference between the two.

I get why its usefull to have if your have a 7.1 or + ... but in a 5.1 ...

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post #13 of 24 Old 06-04-2020, 04:25 PM
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The Plex APP is the same APP that run on the TV vs Nvidia shield. And yes, it can stream Original quality from my server to the TV plex APP.
Does that mean you have actually looked at the status screen on the Plex server while it is streaming the 4K file to your TV? Unless you see Direct Play on that status screen you can't be sure you are streaming Original quality. Just because your TV may say 4K doesn't mean the server hasn't transcoded it to reduce the bitrate. You will see the truth on the status screen.

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post #14 of 24 Old 06-04-2020, 04:31 PM
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If Using the Plex App from the TV and streaming Blu Ray or 4K rips with Lossless Audio, your PMS will more than likely display:

Plex For Android TV (or whatever OS runs the Display)

Video - Direct Play
Audio - Transcoding Dolby Digital or DTS

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post #15 of 24 Old 06-04-2020, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by groove93 View Post
If Using the Plex App from the TV and streaming Blu Ray or 4K rips with Lossless Audio, your PMS will more than likely display:

Plex For Android TV (or whatever OS runs the Display)

Video - Direct Play
Audio - Transcoding Dolby Digital or DTS
Thats right, so you think the Nvidia shield pro is worth the money to play Dolby TrueHD/Atmos or DTS-MA/DTS-X Lossless audio on a 5.1 set up vs a DTS 5.1 or a dolby digital 5.1 transcoded version of these files.

In the end thats the ultimate question, can you hear in a 5.1 the difference between the Dolby TrueHD/Atmos or DTS-MA/DTS-X Lossless audio and the transcoded version. If and only if ... yes ... is it worth it ? I would love to see some test on that, I mean the difference must be so thin ... if there is any ...

from plex website on that ...

So in short; when using decoding the only drawbacks are the lack of the extended Atmos data bits, and that your receiver will not light up the TrueHD light. Don’t worry, though: even if the pretty light doesn’t go on, you’re still getting identical sound!

So, ... I get that if you have more than a 5.1 the shield is a go ... but if you have a 5.1 and under ( soundbar, 3,1 or 2,1 ) ... You really only pay to avoid that audio transcode, and to get the extra bit of data for the 2 speaker that you dont have ...

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I've had a 1st Gen Shield since 2015. It's my go to Media Player for Movies, Live TV, streaming, and now audio playback.

The fact that the Shield was capable of Lossless Audio playback 5 years ago, along with constant updates and improvements, I've been more than happy with this device.

Now if you plan on upgrading to more speakers, or an AVR or Sounndbar capable of newer (Lossless) Audio formats, having a Shield could expand your purchasing possibilities.

It's in no way a perfect device, but the fact that Nvidia didn't abandon the device with 2 to 3 years speaks volumes.

Now with the 2019 Shield, you'll have Dolby Atmos for Netflix, Dolby Vision, plus AI Upscaling. I do not own a display with Dolby Vision and can get Dolby Atmos using the Netflix Add-on for Kodi, so justifying an upgrade to the latest model is pointless at this point in time. Plus when it comes to Android TV on the Shield, it's fast and smooth and works much better than the Android TV interface on my Sony TV.

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I've had a 1st Gen Shield since 2015. It's my go to Media Player for Movies, Live TV, streaming, and now audio playback.

The fact that the Shield was capable of Lossless Audio playback 5 years ago, along with constant updates and improvements, I've been more than happy with this device.

Now if you plan on upgrading to more speakers, or an AVR or Sounndbar capable of newer (Lossless) Audio formats, having a Shield could expand your purchasing possibilities.

It's in no way a perfect device, but the fact that Nvidia didn't abandon the device with 2 to 3 years speaks volumes.

Now with the 2019 Shield, you'll have Dolby Atmos for Netflix, Dolby Vision, plus AI Upscaling. I do not own a display with Dolby Vision and can get Dolby Atmos using the Netflix Add-on for Kodi, so justifying an upgrade to the latest model is pointless at this point in time. Plus when it comes to Android TV on the Shield, it's fast and smooth and works much better than the Android TV interface on my Sony TV.

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Thank you, so picture and audio quality wise its useless for most people ( only if you have more than a 5.1 ). My 4K HDR TV APP all support Dolby Vision, ... from native APP and other input, with a 5.1 speaker set up I wont benefits from Atmos ...

I dont get why all this info was so hard to get, and why people dont discuss more about the real picture or audio benefits from the shield vs in smart TV app ... Because at the end there is close to no benefits in a lot of set up.
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Definitely not useless, but may not fit ones Application at the moment.

If you have a basic set up with the apps that you need and a 5.1 setup, then higjer-end devices like the Shield, Apple TV4k, and devices in the 150 to 200 dollar price point would be overkill, especially if the urge to expand is not there. But if you're looking for Scalability, then those higher-end devices may be worth the investment.

Whether or not you hear a tonal difference between the formats is up to the individual IMO. The way I see it, if I'm paying for "hi Rez" music, then I better have the equipment capable of playing said music untouched.



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Thats right, so you think the Nvidia shield pro is worth the money to play Dolby TrueHD/Atmos or DTS-MA/DTS-X Lossless audio on a 5.1 set up vs a DTS 5.1 or a dolby digital 5.1 transcoded version of these files.

In the end thats the ultimate question, can you hear in a 5.1 the difference between the Dolby TrueHD/Atmos or DTS-MA/DTS-X Lossless audio and the transcoded version. If and only if ... yes ... is it worth it ? I would love to see some test on that, I mean the difference must be so thin ... if there is any ...

from plex website on that ...

So in short; when using decoding the only drawbacks are the lack of the extended Atmos data bits, and that your receiver will not light up the TrueHD light. Don’t worry, though: even if the pretty light doesn’t go on, you’re still getting identical sound!

So, ... I get that if you have more than a 5.1 the shield is a go ... but if you have a 5.1 and under ( soundbar, 3,1 or 2,1 ) ... You really only pay to avoid that audio transcode, and to get the extra bit of data for the 2 speaker that you dont have ...
No I still wouldn't get a shield just for the audio when you only have a 5.1 system anyway. Most receivers that are 5.1 don't direct decode true hd and dts-x anyway which means the player has to handle those formats and transcode them to 5.1.

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No I still wouldn't get a shield just for the audio when you only have a 5.1 system anyway. Most receivers that are 5.1 don't direct decode true hd and dts-x anyway which means the player has to handle those formats and transcode them to 5.1.
Thanks, the whole discussion comes down to this, but to find that conclusion, what a ride haha ! I think with all the people that still have or plan to stay with a 5.1 for physical room limitation this topic is kind of important.
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Thanks, the whole discussion comes down to this, but to find that conclusion, what a ride haha ! I think with all the people that still have or plan to stay with a 5.1 for physical room limitation this topic is kind of important.
I didn't read the whole thread but I'd say Plex is extremely limited in format playback as it depends on the capabilities of your client side. It can't even play sup sub files without transcoding that Kodi can without breaking sweat. There are several good and much-cheaper-than-shield streamers that are Amlogic based you can slap CoreElec/Kodi on and play your local files without all the Plex limitations + can passthrough lossless audios to your AVR.
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I didn't read the whole thread but I'd say Plex is extremely limited in format playback as it depends on the capabilities of your client side. It can't even play sup sub files without transcoding that Kodi can without breaking sweat. There are several good and much-cheaper-than-shield streamers that are Amlogic based you can slap CoreElec/Kodi on and play your local files without all the Plex limitations + can passthrough lossless audios to your AVR.
Yes, but I can also run kodi directly on my TV. The main question was more is there any REAL benefits in term of quality in using external content streamer vs these same app ( plex, kodi, youtube, netflix ) directly from your smart TV and it seem that if all you have is a 5.1 there is none. You can just output the audio from your TV to the AVR that run your 5.1

But all the topic talking about how the shield is so great and other android box pretty much all miss the point to explain what they offer that the native smart TV app dont ... And its pretty much nothing in 2020, only real benefits is if you have a 7.1 setup or more with an AVR that can decode ATMOS.

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Yes, but I can also run kodi directly on my TV. The main question was more is there any REAL benefits in term of quality in using external content streamer vs these same app ( plex, kodi, youtube, netflix ) directly from your smart TV and it seem that if all you have is a 5.1 there is none. You can just output the audio from your TV to the AVR that run your 5.1

But all the topic talking about how the shield is so great and other android box pretty much all miss the point to explain what they offer that the native smart TV app dont ... And its pretty much nothing in 2020, only real benefits is if you have a 7.1 setup or more with an AVR that can decode ATMOS.
If you can run it all from the TV apps, I think you can skip the streamer option. The only thing that may limit you is if your TV has ARC and your AVR has eARC. Then the passthrough audio for high bitrate formats like DTS MA is limited. If you can run Kodi on your TV, I wouldn't touch Plex with a stick. If you happen to love it's interface then Kodi has Plex addons.
Shield is good if you need a streamer and haveblow $200 to blow. It has issues too, though I think many have been fixed...finally. You can get a $40 streamer with CoreELEC on it that will do the same job and well but it won't have official Netflix or Amazon Prime.

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Originally Posted by Jumaqc View Post
For the sound, I use ARC mode via HDMI from the TV to feed a denon AVR 5.1 system, I would really like to see the math behind the audio out of the Nvidia Shield HDMI feed by plex app vs the audio out of my TV ARC HDMI feed by plex app, its the same app both running sound to HDMI ... And your telling me you can hear or even data compare whats the output difference of both set up ? I dont need to decode atmos, Im using at max a 5.1 and it can be supported by ARC or optical out.
You will miss out the lossless audio track such TrueHD and DTS-MA HD.
You can only have up to the regular lossy 5.1 DD or DTS.
Based on what you have said so far, I think you are good to go with the lossy 5.1


"I would really like to see the math behind the audio out of the Nvidia Shield HDMI feed by plex app vs the audio out of my TV ARC HDMI feed by plex app, its the same app both running sound to HDMI"
The math is what I described above.
To summary, you will get up to lossless TrueHD/DTS-MA HD with Atmos/DTS:X using the ShieldTV. You cannot get these audio features from your TV unless your TV and AVR are both HDMI 2.1 w/ eARC capable. It's the math. Again, if you don't need those, sure, go with whatever you have.
To the bold there, just let you know, they are two separate apps, not the same app even though they bear the same name and yes, from the same company.
Take one example, the well-known Youtube app. Youtube app on TV can play 4K HDR, Youtube app on Nvidia can play 4K but not HDR, and I think Youtube app on ATV can't even play 4K, left alone HDR.
And diving a little deepper, Youtube app on Samsung TV is different than Youtube app on Sony TV, etc.
Different entity.
Just bear in mind.
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