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Oh my gosh, I registered here after reading some threads and realizing you guys seem way more tech literate than most sites. I am being driven insane trying to pick a streaming device!

My needs seem modest, but everything I look into seems like it has one issue or another.

I have a (thankfully quite nice) 2016 Samsung 4K HDR10 TV, I just use stereo which simplifies things, I only need HDR10. I'd wouldn't mind the ability to switch frame rates, but it's not crucial for me, and in my research it seems like even the devices that do it have issues with some content...I'm probably okay just now putting 60fps.

Right now the only 4K HDR content I care about is Disney+. In the future I'm sure I'll use other services again, but right now everything else I use is 1080p, so my immediate concern is just getting the Mandalorian, the Marvel Stuff, Etc to look it's best on my TV, 4K + HDR10, with no weird issues. (and obviously I don't want anything that has lip sync issues!)

I'd also like the ability to stream content and H. 264/265 that's a maximum of 1080p originally from my TiVo back to my TV, preferably with no third-party software, but this is less critical to me than simply working right with things like Disney+, Tubi, different TV apps, IMDb TV, Etc.

from what I've read, a lot of these devices have trouble with HDR, like not using 10 bit color, having black levels set wrong so images look washed out. Obviously just correctly supporting hdr10 is one of my biggest concerns.

The devices I keep trying to pick between are:

-Apple TV-in my research it sort of seems like this is the least buggy, but still not perfect, and I don't like how old it is that they're probably going to release something better next year. (I'm also having my Apple account lock quite often and would probably be stuck on locking my Apple TV too) The remote is IMO garbage, but supposedly it's fully functional using and IR remote. if it doesn't fully functional with an IR remote, that pretty much rules it out. a nice benefit if I should be able to get content stream to it through either airPlay from iOS or from a file I stick in iTunes on Windows.

-Fire TV Cube 2019-I don't trust amazon security, it seems like Amazon doesn't support their devices very long, but I do like the idea of the voice control, and I like the available DVR, and I like that Luna might be useful to me at some point. I've heard it has issues with HDR though. I don't like that peacock is missing, and I'm not sure there's any great way for me to get content from my PC onto it. (do Amazon's devices still leave wifi-direct in pairing mode all the time? Years ago they used Wi-Fi direct, and it seemed to cause all sorts of issues, but I THINK the newer devices have dumped wifi-direct?)

-Fire TV stick 4K-same issues, other than its cheaper but lacks the fun voice control.

-Chromecast with Google TV-I've read on here that this doesn't do hdr10 correctly, that the colors are washed out, if that's true that seems like it rules this out for me. I do trust Google security more than Amazon or roku's though, and I already use quite a few Google products. (I'm not sure how well Chromecast works to be able to "cast" video from a Chrome tab on Windows to this... I'm also not sure if it would give me local playback controls, like so I could play pause fast forward from a remote after I started on my PC...I don't want to have to run to another room to fast forward or jump back)

-Roku Ultra 2020-I like that these seem to have 3 plausible ways for me to get content onto them-UPnP/DLNA/whatever, the ability to hook up a USB drive to a directly, plus AirPlay 2. I'm pretty sure I've read these have hdr10 issues though. I've been reading so much maybe I'm mixed up.

-I've also thought about a Roku Premiere, but I really dislike that it doesn't have an Ethernet port. I thought about the cheaper Shield also, but it seems like the shield is mostly just for people who want to stream high-end audio formats to their TVs... And I would never be doing anything fancier than just 1080P and stereo. take away those local streaming capabilities and I'm not sure it's any better than anything else.

would anything fit my needs correctly? I'd really appreciate any help you guys might have, this is so confusing to me, especially when it seems like problems with hdr10 are very common.
 

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Discussion Starter #22 (Edited)
I'd really appreciate any help you guys might have, this is so confusing to me, especially when it seems like problems with hdr10 are very common.
As far as I've been able to see, there hasn't been any consistency with reports on where HDR10 and HDR10+ are problematic, but my sense is it's at least as much a function of the display device, cables (and any switches or conversions done in between) as it is the streamer.

The chart in Post #1 shows which devices claim HDR10 support; my advice would be to find the one(s) that otherwise fit your needs and try it in your configuration -- if it doesn't do what you need I think you can return in good conscience and try something else.
 

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My question is probably basic, but I dont know much in this realm: If my Sony A8H and my AppleTV 4K have the same app, is there any advantage to using one or the other?

Option 1 is AppleTv through Sony STR-DH770 to Sony A8H.
Option 2 is SonyA8H, sound out to Sony STR-DH770.

Is there going to be any difference in the 4K quality?
 

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I am looking for a device that can stream MKVs from a NAS to my AV Receiver, and can properly handle forced subtitles. Does such a device exist? (An HTPC is not a viable option)
 

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I have an old Pioneer plasma PDP-501MX with no HDMI input other then via and HDMI adapter. I have it hooked up to a generic comcast box output to adapter by HDMI from the adapter to the tv via old rca cables. works well. My wife wants to use a Firestick lite. Can i just connect this to the HDMI adapter and will it work? We use this in our exercise room only.
 

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I see all the Rokus has DTS passthrough, but this is not DTS HD MA? (only thought the shield could do that).
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I have an old Pioneer plasma PDP-501MX with no HDMI input other then via and HDMI adapter. I have it hooked up to a generic comcast box output to adapter by HDMI from the adapter to the tv via old rca cables. works well. My wife wants to use a Firestick lite. Can i just connect this to the HDMI adapter and will it work? We use this in our exercise room only.
This is an interesting one. That's a really old commercial Plasma (that sold for over $20K new!)

Can you provide more details on the adapter you are talking about? I assume this is an HDMI-to-component (blue/green/red) breakout box? That should in theory work. The main question would be how the streaming device would properly set up the video mode, which normally requires some handshaking that I doubt is available across the adapter. I know there is an option in the video settings menu on the Firestick to force 720p (which is what this display needs), but unless it starts out at that resolution I'm not sure you'd be able to see the menus to get there. It's easy enough to try just plugging it in where the cable box is now; if you don't get a visible screen you may have to plug the stick into a different TV, change video settings to 720p, then install it on the Pioneer via the adapter box.

BTW, I'm all for keeping good old equipment working, but I will point out that 50-inch 4K TVs with apps built in are at $300 or so at the moment . . .
 

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Is there any other option besides the Nvidia shield pro to play 4K HDR via USB external 3 TB drive without stutter? Maybe a small android box with some beefed up specs for a relatively cheap price under $100? Any suggestions? Just wanting to be able to play stutter free things on an old Panasonic plasma whether they are 4K HDR or 1080P. You probably wonder why I want 4K HDR on a plasma LOL. I want to be able to play the same movie on my newer OLED and also on my plasma rather than downloading two different resolutions for two different TVs.


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Is there any other option besides the Nvidia shield pro to play 4K HDR via USB external 3 TB drive without stutter? Maybe a small android box with some beefed up specs for a relatively cheap price under $100? Any suggestions? Just wanting to be able to play stutter free things on an old Panasonic plasma whether they are 4K HDR or 1080P. You probably wonder why I want 4K HDR on a plasma LOL. I want to be able to play the same movie on my newer OLED and also on my plasma rather than downloading two different resolutions for two different TVs.


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There are a bunch of options. Even the 2-year-old firestick 4K that I have on one of my 4K televisions plays 4K HDR perfectly using a Plex server.

So in your case, I think all you need is Kodi on a cheap fire stick 4K, pay a little extra to get a hub so you can connect the USB 3 drive, and you're all set.

You did not mention anything about audio, so I'm assuming kodi converting the audio to PCM is sufficient for you.

Although you did mention stutter free. That's not the same as judder (I'm probably stating the obvious). In my experience, stutter is not really related to the streaming device but it's more related to the television.

-T
 

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There are a bunch of options. Even the 2-year-old firestick 4K that I have on one of my 4K televisions plays 4K HDR perfectly using a Plex server.

So in your case, I think all you need is Kodi on a cheap fire stick 4K, pay a little extra to get a hub so you can connect the USB 3 drive, and you're all set.

You did not mention anything about audio, so I'm assuming kodi converting the audio to PCM is sufficient for you.

Although you did mention stutter free. That's not the same as judder (I'm probably stating the obvious). In my experience, stutter is not really related to the streaming device but it's more related to the television.

-T
I’m not picky when it comes to audio as long as I have 5.1 or 7.1. I used Plex before but my Internet isn’t very good so I wanted to do something straight from a hdd to media box to avoid buffering issues and other picture degradations inherent with streaming so basically I need something with a USB port they can accommodate a 3 TB hard drive.


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I’m not picky when it comes to audio as long as I have 5.1 or 7.1. I used Plex before but my Internet isn’t very good so I wanted to do something straight from a hdd to media box to avoid buffering issues and other picture degradations inherent with streaming so basically I need something with a USB port they can accommodate a 3 TB hard drive.


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You could get a Chinese Android box. That has a USB port on it. But you'll be stuck with 1080p streaming. Which is probably okay for your plasma TV that you want to fit it to. But it won't have the licensing to do 4K in case you decide to move it to another TV.

-T
 

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You could get a Chinese Android box. That has a USB port on it. But you'll be stuck with 1080p streaming. Which is probably okay for your plasma TV that you want to fit it to. But it won't have the licensing to do 4K in case you decide to move it to another TV.

-T
Well I may need to go with the Nvidia shield pro then. It’s just too bad it doesn’t do proper HDR on YouTube. Wanted to get the Sony BDP X 700 bluRay Player as it has everything (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon) working in hdr but I don’t really need a disc player. I suppose if it’s $75 cheaper than the Nvidia shield it might be the better option even if I am not going to watch Blu-ray’s.


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Well I may need to go with the Nvidia shield pro then. It’s just too bad it doesn’t do proper HDR on YouTube. Wanted to get the Sony BDP X 700 bluRay Player as it has everything (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon) working in hdr but I don’t really need a disc player. I suppose if it’s $75 cheaper than the Nvidia shield it might be the better option even if I am not going to watch Blu-ray’s.


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Well, Generally Blu-ray players don't have the very best interfaces for apps. Everything is kind of a silo into individual apps. That's what's so great about streaming sticks etc. Whether it's Alexa, or Google Assistant, it makes voice search is real easy and it keeps track of (at least when they work)watch lists and the continue watching list.

If Sony would just create a Blu-ray player with Android TV software in it, that would be so cool :)

-T
 

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Well, Generally Blu-ray players don't have the very best interfaces for apps. Everything is kind of a silo into individual apps. That's what's so great about streaming sticks etc. Whether it's Alexa, or Google Assistant, it makes voice search is real easy and it keeps track of (at least when they work)watch lists and the continue watching list.

If Sony would just create a Blu-ray player with Android TV software in it, that would be so cool :)

-T
I completely agree. Thank you for the help as well


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In following all this my take is that there is no one streaming box/device that seems to nail all of the potential use cases. That said, where does an HTPC fit in the mix ? is there an HTPC configuration that DOES seem to nail it all?

I understand that choosing LINUX as an OS presents some DRM issues and that...as a generalization...an HTPC is going to cost a LOT more than any other given streamer, but can it do it all or is this just another case of trading one set of limitations for another (at greater cost)?

[edits to correct typos that made it look like English is my 2nd language]
 

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I following all this my take is that ther s no one streaming box/device that seems to nail al of the potential use cases. That said, where does an HTPC fit in the mix ? is there an HTPC configuration that DOES seem to nail it all?

I understand that choosing LINUX as an OS presents some DRM issues and that...as a generalization...an HTPC is going to cost a LOT more than any other given streamer, but can it do it all or is this just another case of trading one set of limitations for another (at greater cost)?
HTPC won't come close to a streaming device for streaming content. HTPCs will basically play any local content. so as you alluded to, it has limitations, but at a far greater cost financially.

I stopped using my HTPC (Windows 10 with J River media center front end, and madVR for upscaling) after getting the Nvidia shield pro. The shield pro plays all of my local content and bitstreams so I don't lose my lossless atmos and lossless DTS:X from any of my local blueray rips and 4K Blu-ray rips. Plus it's a really nice streamer. The only downside for me is no 4K Hulu which I can live without. No YouTube HDR. Which i can also live without.

I still use my home theater PC as my Plex server. One day I'll set up my shield to be a plex server.

For 180 bucks on sale, The shield Pro is basically a home theater PC replacement IMO.

-T
 

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Hey Everyone, new poster here. I basically stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube from my built in apps on my Samsung 4K smart tv. I got the tv at local Costco while back. I have Ethernet cable connected to the tv. I have had no complaints, everything loads fast. But based on the apps I like, would it really improve my streaming experience using a streaming device? Would the picture quality be better? I was thinking since I’m using an Ethernet cable it would be better than wireless connection to like a Firestick or something similar? Any recommendations would be appreciated. Also, I am interested in getting a professional calibration done. So if I bought Firestick or another device and had it calibrated, what happens when the device gets newer version down the line? I imagine I would have to pay to get it calibrated again? So what if I just decided to keep using built in apps and just got my tv calibrated and no separate streaming device. If I did it this way, would the calibration hold during tv updates? Sorry for the long post. Thx
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Hey Everyone, new poster here. I basically stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube from my built in apps on my Samsung 4K smart tv. I got the tv at local Costco while back. I have Ethernet cable connected to the tv. I have had no complaints, everything loads fast. But based on the apps I like, would it really improve my streaming experience using a streaming device? Would the picture quality be better? I was thinking since I’m using an Ethernet cable it would be better than wireless connection to like a Firestick or something similar? Any recommendations would be appreciated. Also, I am interested in getting a professional calibration done. So if I bought Firestick or another device and had it calibrated, what happens when the device gets newer version down the line? I imagine I would have to pay to get it calibrated again? So what if I just decided to keep using built in apps and just got my tv calibrated and no separate streaming device. If I did it this way, would the calibration hold during tv updates? Sorry for the long post. Thx
If you are happy with the apps and experience you have, there is no driving force to add an external device. Picture quality is likely optimized for your TV by the built-in apps; if you are worried about getting some advanced audio modes (e.g. Atmos) you might find that an outboard device has more capabilities.

Ethernet vs. wireless connection should not matter as long as your WiFi can provide "enough" bandwidth to the device for the optimal stream (which it usually can). Of course a wire is always the most reliable and highest-bandwidth connection if you don't mind the cable.

As to calibration, generally you would be calibrating the display rather than the connecting device (though the display may allow independent calibration per input, all input sources should be providing standard signals; that is, upgrading to a new Firestick, or from say Firestick to Roku, should not drive a re-calibration). TV firmware updates have been known to mess up calibration, however -- I would find and consult the forum specific to your TV model to discuss that further before I'd invest in an outside calibration. IMO screen uniformity has gotten good enough that it's often near-optimal to use existing modes or "borrow" settings from other users -- again those pros and cons are probably better taken to the TV thread.

Good luck
 
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