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Discussion Starter #1
I generally stream movies from various services, but yesterday I happened to be near a Redbox kiosk and rented the Blu-ray version of Honest Thief. As with most streaming services the video was just fine, even from a JVC projector lighting a 125" screen. What really struck me, though, was how much more intense the audio sounded off the disc compared to what I usually get from streaming. The disc soundtrack was 7.1 DTS Master and, as I understand it, comes off the disc in a uncompressed format. Tons of deep bass and the surround mix was impressively dispersed throughout the room.

The streaming companies have done a great job rolling out 4K and HDR, but seemed to have ignored improving the audio signal. Is it just a market thing--there are so few consumers who care about good sound that the cost and effort to improve it can't be justified? With the intense competition among the streaming services, you'd think one of them would step up with better audio, even if it's just a marketing gimmick for most consumers.
 

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It will probably take widespread unlimited data before they'll stream data matching disc bitrate. Right now, people are hitting their caps even with compressed content.
 
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It will be awhile considering that on a disc the audio size is near the video size usually and that means a lot of bandwidth.
Also the majority of people streaming are not using HT with quality audio systems.
 

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I generally stream movies from various services, but yesterday I happened to be near a Redbox kiosk and rented the Blu-ray version of Honest Thief. As with most streaming services the video was just fine, even from a JVC projector lighting a 125" screen. What really struck me, though, was how much more intense the audio sounded off the disc compared to what I usually get from streaming. The disc soundtrack was 7.1 DTS Master and, as I understand it, comes off the disc in a uncompressed format. Tons of deep bass and the surround mix was impressively dispersed throughout the room.
This seems highly likely to be more related to some audio-handling setting in your path than to differences in what the technologies can deliver. It's true that most streaming services are putting out 5.1 rather than 7.1 but that alone should not affect dynamism. Nor should reasonable data compression of the audio track (which is basically a freebie riding along with the much-higher bandwidth for the video). What might be getting you is dynamic range compression which is often hidden down in the menus; for example Roku defaults to a compressed dynamic range that requires you to go into the audio menu and turn "Volume Mode" to OFF. (There were also some issues with Roku software forcing 2.0 sound last year, but I think that was resolved.) Other devices have similar issues; notably Apple TV insists on re-encoding all audio to a single setting).

I recently watched Annihilation and one of the Marvel movies on streaming services wouldn't have wanted MORE dynamic sound than I got.

The streaming companies have done a great job rolling out 4K and HDR, but seemed to have ignored improving the audio signal. Is it just a market thing--there are so few consumers who care about good sound that the cost and effort to improve it can't be justified? With the intense competition among the streaming services, you'd think one of them would step up with better audio, even if it's just a marketing gimmick for most consumers.
Look at some of the other threads here, there are plenty of complaints about HDR implementations also! It's also true that the AVR-based scenario that can actually make use of top-notch sound is a shrinking slice of the pie (a lot of streaming users primarily watch on phones and tablets, so default sound optimized for earbuds may be the "best" result from the provider's POV.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the comments. I didn't realize how large the audio files were on a Blu-rays. However in a typical month I use only about 20% of my allowed data limit, so I'd like the option of better audio at the cost of greater data use, but I guess I can't expert Netflix or Prime to change their whole structure just to suit me and the few like me who have quality audio setups.

I use an Apple TV in my HT and may post a question in the ATV thread about setting changes that might improve audio quality. It is a bit disappointing to see how little value the masses seem to attach to quality. I recall seeing a frustrated post here on AVS where someone had spent much time and money creating a top notch home theater only to find his kids preferred watching movies on their phones.
 

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It's pretty much a mobile society today, the majority watch on phones, tablets and laptops.
It's like how I laugh at the ones who demand FLAC when they are just using mobile devices where the audio system is so poor that they couldn't tell the difference between FLAC and a good AAC audio file in an A/B blind test.
 

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It won't happen until the majority of streaming customers have access to 100+ Mbps internet. The vast majority of people don't and that's who streaming services are aiming for. Those who care about the audio will pay for discs and such, while everyone else is generally happy with stereo and tv speakers.
 

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There is a tradeoff with everything. The tradeoff with streaming is lower fidelity but of course, greater convenience. It's not that streaming cannot play at the same fidelity as disks. It is just a matter of speed. streaming services tend to use lossy codec because they are smaller and stream faster. They could quite easily use lossless formats, but they would take longer to stream and take up more space on their servers. However, this probably won't ever happen because most people don't care about lossy/lossless. Maybe someone here could start a streaming service just for audiophiles?
 

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I might be wrong but I think there a decent market out there for a streaming service that has 5.1 sound. It would I guess take a good amount of time and money though to remix music in surround sound though. I'm not sure if it makes sense business wise but I would be a customer.
I do subscribe to Amazon music HD and the HD and Ultra HD stuff does sound very good. This through the Amazon Fire Cube and my HT, Denon X3400H.

Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
 

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I'm surprised a disc-like premium streaming tier for those with unlimited high speed internet hasn't been tried by someone.
 

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Have to consider that the majority of the streaming "market/customers" while having 65+ plus 4k TVs....are still at best using a soundbar..most likely TV speakers.. I can see why audio quality takes a back burner for streaming services.
 
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