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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Wondering what streaming device is right for you? Here's your official starting place.

Step 1: consult the charts below for capabilities and specs for various streaming devices
Step 2: post here with your specific scenario and questions

HD Streamers:
DeviceRelease YearMSRPMax ResolutionHDR supportAudio supportRemote TypeRemote punch-throughWired EthernetCPUGPURAMInternal Storage
Fire TV Stick Lite​
2020​
$29.99
1080p​
HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG​
Dolby Atmos (pass-thru)​
MT8695D Quad-core 1.7GHz​
IMG GE8300​
1 GB​
8 GB
Fire TV Stick (Gen3)​
2020​
$39.99
1080p​
HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG​
Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus​
Alexa Voice Remote​
Yes​
MT8695D Quad-core 1.7GHz​
IMG GE8300​
1GB​
8 GB​
Roku Express​
2019​
$29.99
1080p / (menus 720p)​
None​
Dolby Digital Plus​
IR​
ARM Cortex A53​
512 MB​
Roku Express+​
2019​
$39.99 (Walmart only)
1080p / (menus 720p)​
None​
Dolby Digital Plus
Voice remote​
Yes
ARM Cortex A53​
512 MB​
Apple TV HD​
$149
1080p 60fps​
None​
Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus​
Siri voice remote​
A8​
32 GB​

4K Streamers:
DeviceRelease YearMSRPMax ResolutionHDR SupportAudio supportRemote TypeRemote punch-throughWired EthernetCPUGPURAMInternal Storage
Fire TV Stick 4K​
2018​
$49.99
4K 2160p 60fps​
HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision​
Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital+​
Alexa Voice Remote​
Yes​
MTK8695/MT7668 Quad Core 1.7GHz​
IMG GE8300​
1.5GB​
8 GB​
Fire TV Cube (Gen2)​
2019​
$119
4K 2160p 60fps​
HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision​
Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital+​
Alexa Voice Remote (hands-free)​
Yes​
S922X / ARM Mali G52-MP2 (3EE), 800MHz​
2GB​
16GB
Roku Premiere​
2019​
$39.99
4K 2160p 60fps (menus 1080p)​
HDR10 (requires HDCP 2.2 input)​
HDMI 2.0, DTS Pass-through, Dolby pass-through​
IR​
ARM Cortex A53​
1 GB​
Roku Streaming Stick+​
2019​
$49.99
4K 2160p 60fps (menus 1080p)​
HDR10 (requires HDCP 2.2 input)​
HDMI 2.0, DTS Pass-through, Dolby pass-through​
IR; Best Buy exclusive model adds headphone jack
ARM Cortex A53​
1 GB
Roku Ultra LT​
2019​
$59 (Walmart only)
4K 2160p 60fps (menus 1080p)​
HDR10 (requires HDCP 2.2 input)​
HDMI 2.0, DTS Pass-through, Dolby pass-through​
Voice remote with headphone jack
ARM Cortex A53​
1 GB
Roku Ultra​
2020​
$99.99
4K 2160p 60fps (menus 1080p)​
HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG (requires HDCP 2.2 input)​
HDMI 2.0, Dolby Atmos, DTS Pass-through​
Voice remote with headphone jack​
Yes​
Yes​
ARM Cortex A55​
2 GB​
Chromecast with Google TV
2020​
$49.994K 2160p 60fpsHDR10, HDR10+, Dolby VisionDolby Atmos, Dolby Digital+IR Voice remote (Google assistant)Yes
NVIDIA Shield TV$149.994K 2160p 60fpsHDR10, Dolby VisionHDMI 2.0, Dolby Atmos, DTS Pass-throughVoice remoteYesYesNVIDIA Tegra X1+integrated 256-core2 GB8GB
NVIDIA Shield TV Pro​
$199.99
4K 2160p 60fps​
HDR10, Dolby Vision​
HDMI 2.0, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital+, DTS pass-through, Dolby TrueHD pass-through​
Voice remote​
Yes​
Yes​
NVIDIA Tegra X1+​
integrated 256-core​
3 GB​
16GB​
AppleTV 4K​
$179 / $199
4K 2160p 60fps​
HDR10, Dolby Vision​
Siri voice remote​
Yes​
A10X Fusion​
32 GB / 64 GB​


Notes: Information is per manufacturer's published specifications. Please DM me with any corrections/additions. Note that hardware device capability (for example, for Atmos support) does not mean that all apps will include this feature. This chart reflects currently-sold models only; for details on previous generations see Wikipedia:
Feature comparison
 

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I need either 4K Roku or 4K Fire TV for

(1) Dedicated media room with 7.2.4 set up, no windows, (15' wide x 19' deep x 10" high) with Revel speakers

Front 3 R/L/C - Revel W990 x 3

Atmos Ceiling x 4 - Revel C583

Surround x4 - Revel W383

Sony Projector VPL -VW295ES

Denon receiver AVR-6700H

I see there is Roku Ultra with Dolby Vision and 4K Roku Streaming stick and 4K Fire TV stick. Any recommendations?

(2) Sony XBR75900H TV - 4K Roku v/s 4K Fire TV? Which device to get?

Thanks
 

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I need either 4K Roku or 4K Fire TV for

(1) Dedicated media room with 7.2.4 set up, no windows, (15' wide x 19' deep x 10" high) with Revel speakers

Front 3 R/L/C - Revel W990 x 3

Atmos Ceiling x 4 - Revel C583

Surround x4 - Revel W383

Sony Projector VPL -VW295ES

Denon receiver AVR-6700H

I see there is Roku Ultra with Dolby Vision and 4K Roku Streaming stick and 4K Fire TV stick. Any recommendations?

(2) Sony XBR75900H TV - 4K Roku v/s 4K Fire TV? Which device to get?

Thanks
If Atmos is really important then I would recommend the Roku Ultra with Dolby Vision.
Neither of the sticks support Dolby Atmos on Netflix.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I've tried 4 of those listed.
Roku Streaming Stick+: Works fine and I still have it as a back up device. Only drawback is no Dolby Vision.
Amazon Fire TV 4k: This device also works great and has DV. I do not like the user interface. It is bloated compared to the Roku device. I wound up returning this device after I bought the Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019.
Roku Ultra: This device was my favorite. This list is order of purchase. The user interface is streamlined and works great. Love the quality of video and audio. I had repeated problems with 'hdmi error' when watching DV content. The error...loss of video...could be remedied by restarting the device but after this happened over and over but sporadically so you never knew when it would happen, I returned it. I found many other complaints, online sources, forums, etc., about the same thing but also many people who have never had the difficulty.
Nvidia Shield Pro 2019: I love this device. The quality of video/audio is great. Same with its' versatility. The user interface is very good. The 'add ons' are endless if you are into such things...I'm not. I love the ability to add a hdd for movies, etc. and another for additional storage. The ability to use it as a decent gaming device is cool but I don't play video games so nothing I care much about at this time. I do have a 10gb hdd with a large collection of movies, only BD or less quality as I prefer to use a disk player for 4K or my favorite movies, connected and the poster wall is quite nice.
I have the Roku SS+ as a backup and the Shield as my primary streaming device. I have no regrets as to the price of the Shield...imo you get what you pay for.
Good luck and keep us informed.
 
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Searching for device is very difficult. first you find the device that you like, now you got to look at all the individual apps to make sure all of the apps are supported on that device in a manner that you want.

I've had roku's in the past, I think the interface is horrendous. But that's my personal opinion.

I thought the fire stick (My first version was 2014) was really neat at first. Then I realized how bloated it was. Still a great device.

I have a fire stick 4K in the house. I still think it's a great device although it doesn't do Atmos on Netflix. Loaded into face. Oh well. It's a lease of my worries.

Tried the Chromecast with Google TV. I thought that was pretty slick. I have one in the back room feeding a 1080p television. it nicely aggregates all of the content from my apps. But I think it's either the continue watching, or the watch list, that's busted. it's in the back bedroom so I don't use it that much anymore. Don't know if they fixed it. I had one feeding my JVC projector but it did not do a very good job with upscaling Blu-ray rips. to my eyes, my image captures, and on my equipment, the Chromecast with Google TV Blu-ray rip upscaling was about as good as the Nvidia shield Pro basic upscaling. So I couldn't keep that feeding my projector.

The Nvidia shield Pro 2019 version is my favorite. I am using that feeding my projector and the upscaling is absolutely amazing for 1080p content. The downside is it does not support 4K Hulu. And it doesn't support YouTube HDR. Other than that, there's no ads on the user interface. But I'm probably going to load the Google TV front end onto it because I like the Google TV front end. But the shield pro is definitely a keeper.

So it's all trade offs apparently. and it's all based on what we're looking for. I can live without 4K Hulu. Especially now that I downgraded the plan to two bucks a month on special for the next year. I had it for 12 bucks a month no ads, but the quality was my least favorite of all of my streaming apps. So I'm saving 10 bucks a month. I cannot live without Atmos on Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon.

I had to give up on my Xbox one s. The Plex app was a POS. so bad in fact it was basically unusable. Even with a hard-wired connection to the Plex server.

It's true what they say: it's always something :)

-T
 

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I need some advice from you guys. I have a 2017 LG OLED, Denon X3700H connected to a 5.1 setup, and an Apple 4k TV. I am using the Apple TV for Plex and Netflix. I went for the Apple TV because I already do own a lot of Apple products and it looked like it supported HDR/Dolby Vision and Atmos. I tried it for the first time yesterday and was confused to see "Mult Ch In" on my AVR. So I figured, no problem, just gotta change the audio to passthrough. I think you know where this is going and I have since found out that the Apple TV converts everything to LPCM and the Nvidia Shield seems to be the only streaming device that offers audio passthrough, however, I did also find a lot of articles talking about the Shield having inferior picture quality compared to the Apple TV. So here are my questions -- assuming what I have found out is correct:

I would really love to keep the Apple TV if at all possible. Is there any way I can passthrough audio to the AVR? Is there actually any disadvantage to the Apple TV decoding it and passing the audio to the AVR as LPCM? I don't think I really fully understand LPCM and the implications when using it with an AVR compared to bitstreaming Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master/Atmos/DTS-X.

Is the picture quality of the Nvidia Shield really inferior to the Apple TV?

I also have a PS4 and a PS5 - do they offer audio passthrough with Plex/Netflix? Any other downsides compared to using an Apple TV or Nvidia Shield?

What would you guys do in my situation? I am open to all suggestions. :)
 

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LPCM is bit for bit identical to lossless true HD and the DTS-MA lossless. It's just different data formats that both represent lowestless audio. But the problem with converting to LPCM is that your Apple TV is stripping off the Atmos and DTSX if it exists in the original audio stream.

I would imagine 4K from the shield and the Apple TV would look identical. It's just passing through the data unless one is inferior in terms of HDR but both should be just passing the video right to the display without touching it too much.

I've never seen the Apple TV in action. I do know that the upscaling on the shield is much better than my projector. And it's much better than the Chromecast with Google TV. And better than the fire stick 4K.

I cannot address the PlayStations... I have an Xbox one s that doesn't pass through Lossless audio from Plex so I don't use it anymore

The shield is the only streamer on the planet as far as I know that can bitstream lossless Atmos and lossless DTS:X.

-T

Edit:
You only have a 5.1 system. If you have no plans of moving to an atmos set up in your room, then you won't benefit from the shield. And you can stick with the Apple TV because it'll PCM will be good enough for your equipment.
 

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LPCM is bit for bit identical to lossless true HD and the DTS-MA lossless. It's just different data formats that both represent lowestless audio. But the problem with converting to LPCM is that your Apple TV is stripping off the Atmos and DTSX if it exists in the original audio stream.

I would imagine 4K from the shield and the Apple TV would look identical. It's just passing through the data unless one is inferior in terms of HDR but both should be just passing the video right to the display without touching it too much.

I've never seen the Apple TV in action. I do know that the upscaling on the shield is much better than my projector. And it's much better than the Chromecast with Google TV. And better than the fire stick 4K.

I cannot address the PlayStations... I have an Xbox one s that doesn't pass through Lossless audio from Plex so I don't use it anymore

The shield is the only streamer on the planet as far as I know that can bitstream lossless Atmos and lossless DTS:X.

-T

Edit:
You only have a 5.1 system. If you have no plans of moving to an atmos set up in your room, then you won't benefit from the shield. And you can stick with the Apple TV because it'll PCM will be good enough for your equipment.
My concern is that the Apple TV will not be able to properly decode all audio formats to PCM and that my AVR would do a better job. Is that a possibility and if so, will it be obvious like I will have no sound at all for example? Are you saying that whatever the Apple TV does to the audio source will not change, for example, how a movie with DTS-MA 5.1 will sound like -- the only difference being that the AVR will display "Mult Ch In" instead of "DTS-MA"? 95% of my movies on Plex are 1080p with AC-3, DTS, Dolby True HD, or DTS-MA. Also, Apple TV has Atmos as an option in the settings -- I wonder how they do that if it is not possible with PCM.

I am planning on upgrading to 5.1.4 in a year or two, but I am not too concerned about that since most of my movies with an Atmos audio track are on 4k Blu-ray. I guess Netflix would be a non-disc source for movies with Atmos.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I need some advice from you guys. I have a 2017 LG OLED, Denon X3700H connected to a 5.1 setup, and an Apple 4k TV. I am using the Apple TV for Plex and Netflix. I went for the Apple TV because I already do own a lot of Apple products and it looked like it supported HDR/Dolby Vision and Atmos. I tried it for the first time yesterday and was confused to see "Mult Ch In" on my AVR. So I figured, no problem, just gotta change the audio to passthrough. I think you know where this is going and I have since found out that the Apple TV converts everything to LPCM and the Nvidia Shield seems to be the only streaming device that offers audio passthrough, however, I did also find a lot of articles talking about the Shield having inferior picture quality compared to the Apple TV. So here are my questions -- assuming what I have found out is correct:

I would really love to keep the Apple TV if at all possible. Is there any way I can passthrough audio to the AVR? Is there actually any disadvantage to the Apple TV decoding it and passing the audio to the AVR as LPCM? I don't think I really fully understand LPCM and the implications when using it with an AVR compared to bitstreaming Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master/Atmos/DTS-X.
I do not think Apple TV allows any passthrough options, however it should not necessarily be converting all audio to LPCM, it claims to "automatically" support whatever best capability your receiver has. Where this doesn't work, the Apple TV user guide page ( Play audio in Dolby Atmos or surround sound on your Apple TV ) suggests:

On your Apple TV 4K, go to Settings > Video and Audio and select Audio Format. Under Immersive Audio, check that Dolby Atmos is on.

There is also this caveat:

You can't play sound in Dolby Atmos if Quick Start is turned off in Settings. To check, go to Settings > Apps > iTunes Movies and TV Shows > Quick Start.

Which from context I suspect applies only to iTunes movies rather than general apps, but may be worth trying anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My concern is that the Apple TV will not be able to properly decode all audio formats to PCM and that my AVR would do a better job. Is that a possibility and if so, will it be obvious like I will have no sound at all for example? Are you saying that whatever the Apple TV does to the audio source will not change, for example, how a movie with DTS-MA 5.1 will sound like -- the only difference being that the AVR will display "Mult Ch In" instead of "DTS-MA"? 95% of my movies on Plex are 1080p with AC-3, DTS, Dolby True HD, or DTS-MA. Also, Apple TV has Atmos as an option in the settings -- I wonder how they do that if it is not possible with PCM.
I am pretty sure, but willing to be corrected, that "LPCM" in this case (and in most AV applications) refers to interleaved stereo PCM bitstream. PCM/LPCM format is technically a single channel, so carrying multiple PCM channels on one bitstream requires some interleaving techniques and I think the only standard one in use is for 2 channels.

So if the Apple is outputting everything in LPCM the implication is that that's always a 2.0 stream (which could be decoded by your receiver into matrix surround, but of course that would be sub-optimal if the original source it was converted from was discrete multi-channel).

However, as mentioned in my previous post, you should be able to change options on the Apple TV to output another format.
 

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I am pretty sure, but willing to be corrected, that "LPCM" in this case (and in most AV applications) refers to interleaved stereo PCM bitstream. PCM/LPCM format is technically a single channel, so carrying multiple PCM channels on one bitstream requires some interleaving techniques and I think the only standard one in use is for 2 channels.

So if the Apple is outputting everything in LPCM the implication is that that's always a 2.0 stream (which could be decoded by your receiver into matrix surround, but of course that would be sub-optimal if the original source it was converted from was discrete multi-channel).

However, as mentioned in my previous post, you should be able to change options on the Apple TV to output another format.
I do have the settings the way you described it above. I really don't know much about PCM, which is why I prefer to just passthrough everything and let the receiver handle it. However, I do know that PCM multichannel has to work properly somehow. The best audio options on the PS4/PS5 are 7.1 and 5.1 PCM depending on your setup. The receiver also does show 5.1 as a signal coming in as PCM from the Apple TV and my Playstations. I just don't know how any of it works.
 

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I do have the settings the way you described it above. I really don't know much about PCM, which is why I prefer to just passthrough everything and let the receiver handle it. However, I do know that PCM multichannel has to work properly somehow. The best audio options on the PS4/PS5 are 7.1 and 5.1 PCM depending on your setup. The receiver also does show 5.1 as a signal coming in as PCM from the Apple TV and my Playstations. I just don't know how any of it works.
I would not get too wrapped up around LPCM versus bitstream in your case. The two formats will sound exactly the same to your ears.

The only caveat is what your receiver does if it receives LPCM input. For instance, can your Denon take a two-channel LPCM input (e.g. your stream content is only stereo) and use Dolby to enhance it to 5.1. stuff like that. Sometimes the receiver can't perform certain functions when receiving multi-channel input. Depends on the receiver.

I personally prefer bitstream and let my receiver decode so I know I'm getting the very best quality No matter what input source.

I did a quick Google search and determine that the Apple TV does output LPCM up to 7.1. which is consistent with your recent post.

-T
 

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I would not get too wrapped up around LPCM versus bitstream in your case. The two formats will sound exactly the same to your ears.

The only caveat is what your receiver does if it receives LPCM input. For instance, can your Denon take a two-channel LPCM input (e.g. your stream content is only stereo) and use Dolby to enhance it to 5.1. stuff like that. Sometimes the receiver can't perform certain functions when receiving multi-channel input. Depends on the receiver.

I personally prefer bitstream and let my receiver decode so I know I'm getting the very best quality No matter what input source.

I did a quick Google search and determine that the Apple TV does output LPCM up to 7.1. which is consistent with your recent post.

-T
I'm pretty sure the Denon 3700 allows you to use all the upmixers like Dolby Surround and Neural:X with PCM, but I will check all of that over the weekend. The more interesting question to me is, will the upmixers work the same way they would work with the untouched bitsteam?
 
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