Best Device for Streaming Apps

K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
I am presently trying out various devices for streaming. Unlike a lot of you, I'm not streaming from a computer or hard drive. I don't know where I would start in getting that content.

I watch about half my stuff from Directv but the other half from Netflix, Hulu, HBOMax, Prime, etc. For discs I have an Sony X800

For whatever reason, I tend to not notice the differences in video quality but I zero in on sound quality and impact. I have found some differences.

I have a several 4k Firesticks and they do a solid job. Playing my son's XBOX, i realized that those things deliver strong audio. It seems they amp up the signal by several DBs and there seems to be more dynamics for the same content vs when I switch back to the Firestick 4k for the same content. I don' t know why. Sometimes it's too much and I think alters the sound but overall I like it.

I tried out a Shield TV and while I'm sure it's very functional for those that use Plex, etc. I don't think it is that great for SQ compared to the others (sounded same as the prime stick). I sent it back.

I have also bought a Apple TV 4K. and I'm gonna try that next.

Wanted to see if you had any experiences or recommendations
 
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BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
"I tried out a Shield TV and while I'm sure it's very functional for those that use Plex, etc. I don't think it is that great for SQ compared to the others (sounded same as the prime stick). I sent it back."
Huh - Wut? The point of Shield TV isn't at all about SQ, but VQ. 2019 model includes an AI video upscaling system which 100% unique to Shield TV. Yes, it supports the same bitstreaming as many others, but it's not the point.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
SQ isn't an issue among any the apps/devices I have particularly except perhaps sync/stuttering issues because of crappy delivery practices, but that's another subject....
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
Atv 4k has been great for me. I sometimes use the apps in my x700 and haven’t noticed a difference in SQ. Our Xbox One is on a smaller 5.1 system which less capable and I wouldn’t say it would be any better based on that, but I intend to bring it into the big system just jo try it out. There does seem to be a difference in output via some delivery methods. Usually even just a couple db can make things l sound better” but a simple MV bump can generally fix that.
 
K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
Atv 4k has been great for me. I sometimes use the apps in my x700 and haven’t noticed a difference in SQ. Our Xbox One is on a smaller 5.1 system which less capable and I wouldn’t say it would be any better based on that, but I intend to bring it into the big system just jo try it out. There does seem to be a difference in output via some delivery methods. Usually even just a couple db can make things l sound better” but a simple MV bump can generally fix that.
I look forward to testing out the Apple TV 4K i just bought and see how it compares. The XBOX One does seem to amplify the impact a bit. Similar to how Dynamic eq does. So for some content it really makes the show immersive in ways that the FIrestick or other devices doesn't. Sometimes however it seems to distort a little too. So it's kind of a pro and kind of a con. But at relatively cheap prices I guess it's acceptable to sometimes have more than one streaming device although it feels like a bit of a waste/overkill. But that hasn't stopped us prior to this so I'm guessing I don't hold much hope of being responsible with this either :)
 
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K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
"I tried out a Shield TV and while I'm sure it's very functional for those that use Plex, etc. I don't think it is that great for SQ compared to the others (sounded same as the prime stick). I sent it back."
Huh - Wut? The point of Shield TV isn't at all about SQ, but VQ. 2019 model includes an AI video upscaling system which 100% unique to Shield TV. Yes, it supports the same bitstreaming as many others, but it's not the point.
You might be right on VQ. I didn't give that much focus as I was focused on SQ. I don't doubt it's a good device especially for people watching content that needs to be upscaled. Most of what I watch on the apps is already there or close enough.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
If the output on the Xbox is "hot" (higher dB) that may make fair comparisons difficult. A louder device will almost always sound better at first listen. Level matching is important for comparisons. Depends on how the audio is decoded too. Blu-rays on my old PS3 sound much better than streamed movies from my cable box, but I have Plex on both the PS3 and my Shield TV and they sound the same with the same content. Xbox, Shield and AppleTV are all capable streamers.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Ninja
How are these devices connected to the system? Direct to TV or to receiver? It matters in a few ways. I use the Apple TV 4K after having tried a Shield Pro, Roku Ultra and XBOX Series S. It was the best all around solution in my case.

The XBOX requires the download of the Dolby Access app for Dolby Atmos playback and “Dolby Atmos for home theater(HDMI only)” needs to be selected for output. It will upmix all content if passthrough of content is not also selected. This, however, applies to video content, not games. The XBOX can also convert ALL audio to DTS:X with the download and selection of the DTS app.

The Apple TV converts everything to PCM and only Dolby Atmos tracks will trigger the Dolby indicator as it uses Dolby MAT to deliver the audio. This will not work when connected directly to a TV that supports ARC as the bandwidth is limited and a direct connection to the receiver is necessary unless the TV and receiver both support eARC.
 
K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
How are these devices connected to the system? Direct to TV or to receiver? It matters in a few ways. I use the Apple TV 4K after having tried a Shield Pro, Roku Ultra and XBOX Series S. It was the best all around solution in my case.

The XBOX requires the download of the Dolby Access app for Dolby Atmos playback and “Dolby Atmos for home theater(HDMI only)” needs to be selected for output. It will upmix all content if passthrough of content is not also selected. This, however, applies to video content, not games. The XBOX can also convert ALL audio to DTS:X with the download and selection of the DTS app.

The Apple TV converts everything to PCM and only Dolby Atmos tracks will trigger the Dolby indicator as it uses Dolby MAT to deliver the audio. This will not work when connected directly to a TV that supports ARC as the bandwidth is limited and a direct connection to the receiver is necessary unless the TV and receiver both support eARC.
Thanks for your reply. All the devices run through my Marantz/Denon AVRs directly. On the XBOX one series S, I do have the Dolby Access app for Atmos and I'll switch between that and DTS:X. I like the impact of the sound but it can get distorted.

Haven't opened the Apple TV yet. So will try that later in the weekend. The Firestick is probably fairly accurate and decent sound but not as exciting as the XBOX

I look forward to trying the Apple TV vs the other two. If better, I'll keep it. If the same, might not.
 
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T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Ninja
You know, if you like the Apple TV 4K after trying it, you might return it anyway. Gen 3 will be out in a couple of weeks. Might as well get the latest version of it. I may move my Gen 1 into another room and get the Gen 3. Though, nothin' wrong with the Gen 1 and while the Gen 3 is supposed to be a powerful and efficient new box, it won't support AC-4 and their still aren't any new streamers or AVRs that do so. It will support HDR10+ as Apple never did bring that around for Gen 1 or 2.
 
K

Kleinst

Senior Audioholic
You know, if you like the Apple TV 4K after trying it, you might return it anyway. Gen 3 will be out in a couple of weeks. Might as well get the latest version of it. I may move my Gen 1 into another room and get the Gen 3. Though, nothin' wrong with the Gen 1 and while the Gen 3 is supposed to be a powerful and efficient new box, it won't support AC-4 and their still aren't any new streamers or AVRs that do so. It will support HDR10+ as Apple never did bring that around for Gen 1 or 2.
That's a good point. I might have bought too early. Good news is I have till into January to return I guess due to holiday purchase timeframe. I'm not usually one to pull those moves. But in this case it might only make sense frankly. And to be honest, I give Amazon an astounding amount of business.
 
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