Looking to get a new streamer box

K

Kieran

Enthusiast
Wondering what the consensus is here on best media streamers?
Backstory:
I've just finished building a new family/media room. The ht/media system is built around an Epson 5050ub and a 110" motorized screen (Slate1.2 from Screen Innovations). Currently it only has a Sony ubp-x800m2 as a media source which stinks for streaming.
I have an OG miBox in my old system, but think I'd like an upgrade. I also have an OG Xbox One, which is limited to 1080pSDR. I like both Xbox and AndroidTV for media streaming. We don't play games much.
So I'm thinking of anything from a new miBox, to an Nvidia Shield Pro, to a new Xbox Series X (overkill?) to a used Xbox One X...
I've done HTPCs in the past and am over it. I have a HDHomeRun DVR setup running off a Synology NAS which also runs Kodi and Plex for me. Both Android TV and XBox support these apps.
But we really use Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime services the most.
What do you think my best bet is for the best 4kHDR experience? Not interested in Apple products. Probably not interested in Roku; I like a little more flexibility / options than that.
I'll be upgrading to either a Yamaha or Denon 4k/HDR capable AVR soon, just haven't decided which one to get yet - different topic! :)
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Ninja
Hello and welcome! I think you narrowed it down to the Nvidia Shield Pro based on your preferences. It’s a great device with a cool look and a nice remote controller.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
Hello and welcome! I think you narrowed it down to the Nvidia Shield Pro based on your preferences. It’s a great device with a cool look and a nice remote controller.
Totally agree. With your dislike of the other major streamers, the Shield is really your only choice for high end. The other option is an HTPC and all the baggage that comes with.
 
K

Kieran

Enthusiast
yeah, agree with the HTPC baggage thing! With a wife and kids who need to use the system, and the fact they all are used to xbox and/or androidTV, it does come down to those two platforms.

Is the Shield pro still the best in the androidTV world?
What about the ChromeCast With Google TV (mouthful)? At only $50-60 it's hard to ignore.

Also how does the Shield (or CCWGTV) compare to an Xbox for 4KHDR streaming?
I guess I still feel like I'm choosing between:
  1. Shield Pro
  2. CCWGTV
  3. XBox Series X
  4. XBox One X (used)
Benefit of #4 is I could still use my Kinect, which we do love. Kids get a kick (literally depending on the game) out of Kinect games; we were bummed MS killed it.

I obviously am open to spending up a little. Just not sure what the Shield offers that makes it the best. If I decide to add gaming to the picture it would be via xbox, not Android.
And I guess priority #1 is best 4k/HDR streaming performance for hometheater movies & tv.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
yeah, agree with the HTPC baggage thing! With a wife and kids who need to use the system...
I am still team-HTPC (Kodi, Plex)! :D

I have tried that Shields Pro TV and ended up returning it. I guess you just have to try it for yourself and see how you like it.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Ninja
The Shield Pro supports HDR and DD+/atmos bitstreaming for your top three apps. That is more than the current Apple TV 4K can do as Apple converts DD+ to PCM and causes delays in audio output in some receivers as they try to figure out what is going on. Apple just announced a new Apple TV 4K and I'm still in a chat session with them and am getting no answers in regard to HDMI 2.1, HDR @120p or dolby digital plus bitstreaming. Not sure about Xbox One X streaming feaures as I still use an XBOX 360 for TF2. It won't die!:D So, chat ended, no answers from Apple. Big shock:rolleyes: One can pick up a Shield Pro and return it if it doesn't workout for one reason or another in their setup.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
yeah, agree with the HTPC baggage thing! With a wife and kids who need to use the system, and the fact they all are used to xbox and/or androidTV, it does come down to those two platforms.

Is the Shield pro still the best in the androidTV world?
What about the ChromeCast With Google TV (mouthful)? At only $50-60 it's hard to ignore.

Also how does the Shield (or CCWGTV) compare to an Xbox for 4KHDR streaming?
I guess I still feel like I'm choosing between:
  1. Shield Pro
  2. CCWGTV
  3. XBox Series X
  4. XBox One X (used)
Benefit of #4 is I could still use my Kinect, which we do love. Kids get a kick (literally depending on the game) out of Kinect games; we were bummed MS killed it.

I obviously am open to spending up a little. Just not sure what the Shield offers that makes it the best. If I decide to add gaming to the picture it would be via xbox, not Android.
And I guess priority #1 is best 4k/HDR streaming performance for hometheater movies & tv.
Xbox is horrible for anything other than streaming. If you have a media server with full quality BD rips, it doesn't play the audio without downgrading it to AAC then upscaling to Atmos. Not sure why, but the Xbox one did that for me and it's a known thing. Not sure if the new series is like that, but I bet it is.
 
K

Kieran

Enthusiast
Xbox is horrible for anything other than streaming. If you have a media server with full quality BD rips, it doesn't play the audio without downgrading it to AAC then upscaling to Atmos. Not sure why, but the Xbox one did that for me and it's a known thing. Not sure if the new series is like that, but I bet it is.

I think this only applies to the new Series-X & -S but still a move in the right direction.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
I mean, if you're a gamer a new Xbox is kind of a no brainer even if you get a separate streamer. Nab one of those and try it out for a while.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
We still love our baseline media streamers. I understand wanting 'more' out of it, but then it makes it more complex. A Roku, AppleTV, or FireTV, all perform similarly. The AppleTV 4K units may be one of the best. But, what they offer is absolute ease of use. This may not be what you are after, but may be ideal for the kids or wife who just want to flip on Disney+ with a extremely straightforward, and highly reliable user interface. Plus, you can load dozens or hundreds of streaming services to these devices now, which means that for streaming, they aren't really that limited in their flexibility if your goal is just to have a streaming device that works.

But, if I were to avoid the three major streamers, then I would get a Shield. Having to power on a gaming system and navigate through it just to watch Netflix is painful to think of. My wife would have no part of it. My kids love their PS4, but watch Netflix, Plex, and Disney through the Roku. It's just one click easy to use.
 
K

Kieran

Enthusiast
yeah definitely agree with your take, @BMXTRIX ! We have been using AndroidTV via the mibox for a while now, so I think everyone is used to that interface, and honestly having used Roku too, it's not much different, in fact I prefer the AndroidTV UI. Plus we are a windows & Android family; no Apple products in our echosystem. Would prefer to not mix it up. Once you add Apple it kind of takes over and messes other things up. LOL :) I remember trying an ipod for a while, and before I knew it I had itunes everywhere I didn't want it.

If I were a bachelor, I'd be all over HTPC still.... and probably everything else, too. But htpc requires lots of oversight and tweaking. Rarely is it truly setitandforgetit. Wife and kids don't tolerate that. I had it close for a while when running Win7MC with a Flirc and a fully set up Harmony. It was pretty seamless, and wife was ok with it. But then 7MC started its slow death, and I just moved on.
Before 7MC I was into OpenELEC (Kodi) on a little net-top but got tired of the hoops I had to jump through to make my HDHR dvr work, and it woudn't record copy-once flagged shows (HBO Game of Thrones was big at the time) which is what lead me to 7MC back then (which I installed on the same net-top with FLIRC).

It's probably going to be a ShieldPro for me... but still wondering about CCWGTV with a new(er) Xbox in the mix. Not sure what the ShieldPro has over the CCWGTV still...

Also, why couldn't Google have just called it a "chromecast pro" or something like that.... :p LOL
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
yeah definitely agree with your take, @BMXTRIX ! We have been using AndroidTV via the mibox for a while now, so I think everyone is used to that interface, and honestly having used Roku too, it's not much different, in fact I prefer the AndroidTV UI. Plus we are a windows & Android family; no Apple products in our echosystem. Would prefer to not mix it up. Once you add Apple it kind of takes over and messes other things up. LOL :) I remember trying an ipod for a while, and before I knew it I had itunes everywhere I didn't want it.

If I were a bachelor, I'd be all over HTPC still.... and probably everything else, too. But htpc requires lots of oversight and tweaking. Rarely is it truly setitandforgetit. Wife and kids don't tolerate that. I had it close for a while when running Win7MC with a Flirc and a fully set up Harmony. It was pretty seamless, and wife was ok with it. But then 7MC started its slow death, and I just moved on.
Before 7MC I was into OpenELEC (Kodi) on a little net-top but got tired of the hoops I had to jump through to make my HDHR dvr work, and it woudn't record copy-once flagged shows (HBO Game of Thrones was big at the time) which is what lead me to 7MC back then (which I installed on the same net-top with FLIRC).

It's probably going to be a ShieldPro for me... but still wondering about CCWGTV with a new(er) Xbox in the mix. Not sure what the ShieldPro has over the CCWGTV still...

Also, why couldn't Google have just called it a "chromecast pro" or something like that.... :p LOL
I went through several attempts with the HTPC route, and it was all very, very, very bad. Not one solution did what I wanted it to do without tons of work to make it kind of work, and it was never a great experience. Finally, I got a dedicated internal streaming box, and it did okay. Then I discovered Plex, and my entire attitude changed about what the home movie/tv show server should be. Plex is next level for simplicity.

I get it with Apple. I will say that AppleTV is much the same as the rest. But, there are tons of other options and they are all pretty much the same. AppleTV doesn't actually drag you down an Apple required ecosystem the way that some of their other stuff may, but with so many choices, pick another one of them.

My favorite is Roku, by far. Because they aren't tied to ANYONE else. So, you get Roku, and that's all you get. A company that lives and breathes the streaming user experience. It's simple, works well, and is well supported. But, really, most people seem to like whatever streaming appliance they end up with. I just would avoid the ones which don't have major manufacturer support.
 
Kingnoob

Kingnoob

Audioholic Field Marshall
I went through several attempts with the HTPC route, and it was all very, very, very bad. Not one solution did what I wanted it to do without tons of work to make it kind of work, and it was never a great experience. Finally, I got a dedicated internal streaming box, and it did okay. Then I discovered Plex, and my entire attitude changed about what the home movie/tv show server should be. Plex is next level for simplicity.

I get it with Apple. I will say that AppleTV is much the same as the rest. But, there are tons of other options and they are all pretty much the same. AppleTV doesn't actually drag you down an Apple required ecosystem the way that some of their other stuff may, but with so many choices, pick another one of them.

My favorite is Roku, by far. Because they aren't tied to ANYONE else. So, you get Roku, and that's all you get. A company that lives and breathes the streaming user experience. It's simple, works well, and is well supported. But, really, most people seem to like whatever streaming appliance they end up with. I just would avoid the ones which don't have major manufacturer support.
Is anything even close to the quality or speed / power of a roku ultra ?
Roku premier is just a basic model ehh ?



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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
Is anything even close to the quality or speed / power of a roku ultra ?
Roku premier is just a basic model ehh ?
I think there are several which are solid units depending on what your preferences are.
AppleTV is well loved by some, as are the Amazon Fire products.
Apple doesn't have a second tier product really, so their stuff is very much focused on delivering a quality user experience. Fast, snappy, Appley.
Amazon's Fire products seem really targeted to take away market share from Roku. They have a lot of products which are directly price competitive, and with Alexa being so common, they do a good job with their integration. So, they get a lot of love as well.
Roku has been around for a long time on this though. They are a staple device in the industry, and for good reason. I have nothing but good things to say about them. I really haven't played with any of their products outside of the Ultra. You can get those for under $100, and if you are going to spend $50, you might as well spend 50 bucks more to get the best product they have.

Still, they have other offerings, and I don't hear anything bad about their cheaper stuff either.

The nVidia Shield is also well loved by many. I have no personal experience with that product, but it's often considered a cut above, which it should be for the price. I think it offers more versatility and is almost a mini PC type of device rather than a dedicated streaming appliance. So, it falls a bit out of the same category that the other devices are in.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
One feature possibly worth mentioning is Shield can do excellent AI upscaling to lower resolution videos, anything from SD/DVD up to 4k. No other streamer on market can match that. I've watched the 1979 Stalker DVD and it looked perfectly sharp on my FHD display.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
I think there are several which are solid units depending on what your preferences are.
AppleTV is well loved by some, as are the Amazon Fire products.
Apple doesn't have a second tier product really, so their stuff is very much focused on delivering a quality user experience. Fast, snappy, Appley.
Amazon's Fire products seem really targeted to take away market share from Roku. They have a lot of products which are directly price competitive, and with Alexa being so common, they do a good job with their integration. So, they get a lot of love as well.
Roku has been around for a long time on this though. They are a staple device in the industry, and for good reason. I have nothing but good things to say about them. I really haven't played with any of their products outside of the Ultra. You can get those for under $100, and if you are going to spend $50, you might as well spend 50 bucks more to get the best product they have.

Still, they have other offerings, and I don't hear anything bad about their cheaper stuff either.

The nVidia Shield is also well loved by many. I have no personal experience with that product, but it's often considered a cut above, which it should be for the price. I think it offers more versatility and is almost a mini PC type of device rather than a dedicated streaming appliance. So, it falls a bit out of the same category that the other devices are in.
Well put. I had a Roku that was VERY old and the only reason it got kicked out of daily use was because it was simply too out of date to be useful. However, it was used for at least 5 years before it was done. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Roku devices.

Amazon devices are fine, but their interface is terrible. Way to much ad garbage. Most devices have ads now, but they aren't as in your face as the Amazon devices. They were smooth devices in operation. Even the $50 4k stick was decent. Not sure if they work with Amazon Free Time, but they should. It's great for managing kids and what they can do and when.

Apple is apple. You're either in their ecosystem, or you aren't. If you are, you're probably happy with Apple TV devices.

Android TV is on a LOT of devices just like Amazon's fire TV interface. I prefer it over everything else simply because I only use Shield TV devices (except for kids TVs). I've got the first and second gen devices and they all perform flawlessly. It was the only thing that could fully replace my HTPC. With a few minor exceptions.

Google TV. This is Android TV, but it also isn't. You can't get the interface on any other device, but the other Android TV devices are getting a UI that's close. This could change though. These devices are actually fantastic for kids because they come with profiles you can set for kids of all ages. It's slick and simple.

It really depends on what people want their device to do as to which one they should pick. You really can't go wrong.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
One feature possibly worth mentioning is Shield can do excellent AI upscaling to lower resolution videos, anything from SD/DVD up to 4k. No other streamer on market can match that. I've watched the 1979 Stalker DVD and it looked perfectly sharp on my FHD display.
I'll have to grab one of these when I finally grab my 4K projector. Hopefully sooner than later.
 
A

Am_P

Full Audioholic
If you don't play games that much like you say in your post....Ummm...Google Chromecast!! Everything it does and how good it does it for a measly 40 bucks cannot be overlooked... I also have the PS5 edition with the 4k Blu-ray player. I am neck deep in the gaming world though at times. The shield didn't work out for me when I first tried it (glitchy needed more polishing...maybe it's gotten better over the years). If you do get a good quality AVR like you state, it will take care of upscaling and so on better than a shield. So, put your money on a flagship receiver and save cash on these streaming units
https://store.google.com/us/config/chromecast_google_tv?sku=_chromecast_with_google_tv_sky&hl=en-US
 
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panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
If you don't play games that much like you say in your post....Ummm...Google Chromecast!! Everything it does and how good it does it for a measly 40 bucks cannot be overlooked... I also have the PS5 edition with the 4k Blu-ray player. I am neck deep in the gaming world though at times. The shield didn't work out for me when I first tried it (glitchy needed more polishing...maybe it's gotten better over the years). If you do get a good quality AVR like you state, it will take care of upscaling and so on better than a shield. So, put your money on a flagship receiver and save cash on these streaming units
https://store.google.com/us/config/chromecast_google_tv?sku=_chromecast_with_google_tv_sky&hl=en-US
Another $10 gets you a remote and you can use it standalone without your phone.

https://store.google.com/product/chromecast_google_tv?hl=en-US

I've got three for the kids and they're great if you just stream. Chromecast will work well too though, just another option.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
Although expensive, the BlueSound Node is one of THE most versatile streamers out there. Here are its capabilities

 
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