Looking to get a new streamer box

D

Dr. Manhattan

Audiophyte
I have a TCL Roku TV and two Roku Ultras. I ended up with them because I just love the Roku GUI...it's so intuitive and easy to use. And, the shear number of available apps/channels is mind boggling. However, I'm about to run into a problem: I'm finally putting together my dream 7.4.6 Atmos HT, and the Roku will not output Atmos sound when the source is Netflix. There's some kind of glitch between Roku and Netflix (Roku says it's on Netflix to correct, and Netflix isn't saying/doing anything to correct it) that just won't allow Atmos to come out. My Sony display/TV is Android, which is just clunkier than the Roku, but the TV's internal apps do, ostensibly, deliver Atmos sound from Netflix, so provided I can get the eARC connection between the TV and whatever AVR I end up with to actually work, I'll have to view Netflix through the Android Sony instead of the Roku.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
I have a TCL Roku TV and two Roku Ultras. I ended up with them because I just love the Roku GUI...it's so intuitive and easy to use. And, the shear number of available apps/channels is mind boggling. However, I'm about to run into a problem: I'm finally putting together my dream 7.4.6 Atmos HT, and the Roku will not output Atmos sound when the source is Netflix. There's some kind of glitch between Roku and Netflix (Roku says it's on Netflix to correct, and Netflix isn't saying/doing anything to correct it) that just won't allow Atmos to come out. My Sony display/TV is Android, which is just clunkier than the Roku, but the TV's internal apps do, ostensibly, deliver Atmos sound from Netflix, so provided I can get the eARC connection between the TV and whatever AVR I end up with to actually work, I'll have to view Netflix through the Android Sony instead of the Roku.
Roku has a lot of models and they can do specific things. I haven't looked, but I'd be quite surprised that they don't have a model that can output Atmos from streaming services.

You may just have to get a new Roku model and be done with it.
 
D

Dr. Manhattan

Audiophyte
Roku has a lot of models and they can do specific things. I haven't looked, but I'd be quite surprised that they don't have a model that can output Atmos from streaming services.

You may just have to get a new Roku model and be done with it.
No, the Ultra DOES output Atmos...it just has a specific problem doing so with Netflix as the source, and they claim that the problem lies with Netflix.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
No, the Ultra DOES output Atmos...it just has a specific problem doing so with Netflix as the source, and they claim that the problem lies with Netflix.
Ah ok. I figured it did, but I guess I didn't fully grasp your post. Sorry.

I'd just do what you're doing and use the built in app for it in your TV. I'm having to do the same with YouTube TV since it's broke for my Shield TV. I'm sure Roku and Netflix will publish a fix at some point, sooner rather than later.

This is why having so many platforms isn't all that great.

Right now we have:

Android TV (Fire TV is included here)
Apple TV
Roku
LG's WebOS
Samsung's Tizen OS

That's 5 different platforms with different requirements. It's a pain to manage as a developer I'm sure.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Ninja
You must subscribe to the Netflix Premium Service to achieve Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos playback. What is the Roku currently connected to if you have yet to put together the pieces of the 7.4.6 system?
 
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TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
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.
I think the HTPC route has improved a lot. It was fine until 4K. My first rebuild for 4K had issues, I admit. However, I could not be more pleased with my latest rebuild. It does everything I want, and it gives an absolutely superb picture and audio is second to none. Set up was the simplest since getting into HTPCs quite a few years ago.
The system can be used by anyone who can use a PC. There are fast button options, I have set to many sites. Reboot is literally seconds, but coming out of sleep is instantaneous. I could not be more pleased with it. I have not found any limitations to getting anything I want.

So I think it is time for HTPCs to have another think. The only streamer I do use occasionally is ChromeCast Ultra, but I don't remember when I last used it. The grandchildren use them from their devices, when they visit. I really am not interested in other streamers personally.

This is the processor. I don't know of a streamer that would meet my needs.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G - Ryzen 5 5000 G-Series Cezanne (Zen 3) 6-Core 3.9 GHz Socket AM4 65W AMD Radeon Graphics Desktop Processor - 100-100000252BOX

I used this gamers' motherboard.

ASUS ROG STRIX B550-I GAMING AM4 AMD B550 SATA 6Gb/s Mini ITX AMD Motherboard

The power supply is a high end Gold.

So far, "touch wood", there has not been a single glitch.

My impression is that computer technology is much more reliable and robust than it used to be.

Using this system is just fast, reliable and simple.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
Sidebar: I have streamed AAC for years from iTunes running on several of my laptops to my Home Theater System via usb, Airport Express, and Airplay. I just purchased an M1 iMac, which I have connected to my Parasound P6 Preamplifier/DAC via usb. This connection allows me to now stream up to 24/192 to the Parasound, which seems on par with SACD entertainment, so I think I'm done chasing upgrades. At any rate, the only problem with the iMac is maintaining an Airplay connection to my Marantz NR1200. After a music selection ends so does the connection, which cannot be reconnected unless I restart the iMac. The folks at Apple tell me it's an iMac software issue which will be fixed. When it will be fixed is what is not known.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
I don't really understand the enthusiasm for streamers, as they are severely limiting.

Most of what I watch on the Net. has no app, in a TV or those streamers. Only two of the sites I visit regularly have apps on the TV or those streamers. Those apps being the BPO Digital Concert Hall and the Metropolitan Opera player.

To me being able to open up a web browser instantly is essential, and not being able to without a complex hit or miss work around, rules out those streamers for me.

I just watched a concert from the Philadelphia Orchestra this evening and it was wonderful. Picture and audio were of the highest quality, in my theater.
I don't think I could have done that on any streamers mentioned here without a huge hassle, if at all.

I honestly fail to see the enthusiasm for these streamers. They just appear to be utter grief to me. With an HTPC you instantly bring up a browser and the world is literally your oyster as they say.

In our great room system, we have an Intel NUC HTPC, which we have had for years. My wife uses it without any difficulty at all. That is a 2K system, bu with the Panny Plasma there is little difference to 4k on our LG OLED in the theater. In fact our two 2K plasmas give a better picture than any 4K LED I have seen.

I just don't seem to have any baggage associate with our HTPCs. As far as I'm concerned an HTPC is the best streamer you can obtain, and the easiest to use by far.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
I don't really understand the enthusiasm for streamers, as they are severely limiting.
...
You aren't using a HTPC from the sounds of it, you simply have a PC connected to your home setup. Yes, with some shortcuts.

I think if you didn't have a single use case where you needed a web browser or a specialty app, and wanted true simplicity that the entire family could use at any time, then it might be a bit different, but in reality, everyone knows how to use a PC.

My statement was more to the fact that I wanted a HTPC which could read my video collection properly and easily and do so automatically. The software isn't integrated in the HTPC, and you end up jumping from one app to another to another to get anything done, which is pretty much what you have to do on a streaming device (Roku, etc.), but they have a 12 foot interface and a remote which makes much of that really easy.

Stability was never my issue. My computers have been perfectly stable over the years. Certainly my Plex server keeps running despite being a 8 year old PC... does fine.

But, I hate the PC interface unless I'm sitting right at it. Using a mouse/keyboard on the couch when I'm just trying to watch a show isn't convenient, and it remains bulky, and I'm still not sure they've figured out any integrated solution to this.

Which doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy what you have, or that I don't, at times, hook a PC up to my AV system for playback of some specific content. I do. But, my main way to ingest content remains my Roku and AppleTV players.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Agreeing on using the Windows interface from the couch is far from optimal. I am a big proponent of the "10ft Interface" concept. Things should be simple and intuitive to use. Screen navigation with simple left/right/up/down controls and OK buttons. Extra metadata (album covers), descriptions, etc... delivered and presented in an organized fashion.
In fact, my first "streamers" were custom-built HTPC's I went from small factor Intel Atom/Ion build on mini-ITX Zotac board. Then it was a tiny Asus Eee-pc box with gen 2 of Ion on it. Several semi-custom ARM micro-pcs like Khadas-VIM. OS for these was OpecElec at first, later switched to its fork - LibreElec. Running Kodi on top of a thin OS layer. Then switched to Plex and realized that the streamer itself suddenly matters very little so I went with better long-term supported commercial streamers, like FireTV 4k and now Nvidia ShieldTV.

The last one is really great, and one really cool (maybe even killer) feature is AI upscaling. It is not simple video resizing and sharing. It's much more than that and my old 480p videos look brand new again.

As for Mark's remarks of limiting - I could see how some of the classical music sources are limited to in-browser streaming and never came out with Android/IOS apps - it's their loss really. This is a very old-fashioned way of doing things. Please keep in mind me saying this, and I'm far from a spring chicken - in my mid-40s and doing IT for over 20 years now.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
Agreeing on using the Windows interface from the couch is far from optimal. I am a big proponent of the "10ft Interface" concept. Things should be simple and intuitive to use. Screen navigation with simple left/right/up/down controls and OK buttons. Extra metadata (album covers), descriptions, etc... delivered and presented in an organized fashion.
In fact, my first "streamers" were custom-built HTPC's I went from small factor Intel Atom/Ion build on mini-ITX Zotac board. Then it was a tiny Asus Eee-pc box with gen 2 of Ion on it. Several semi-custom ARM micro-pcs like Khadas-VIM. OS for these was OpecElec at first, later switched to its fork - LibreElec. Running Kodi on top of a thin OS layer. Then switched to Plex and realized that the streamer itself suddenly matters very little so I went with better long-term supported commercial streamers, like FireTV 4k and now Nvidia ShieldTV.

The last one is really great, and one really cool (maybe even killer) feature is AI upscaling. It is not simple video resizing and sharing. It's much more than that and my old 480p videos look brand new again.

As for Mark's remarks of limiting - I could see how some of the classical music sources are limited to in-browser streaming and never came out with Android/IOS apps - it's their loss really. This is a very old-fashioned way of doing things. Please keep in mind me saying this, and I'm far from a spring chicken - in my mid-40s and doing IT for over 20 years now.
You already know I agree with you, but I still thought I'd piggy back off your post.

HTPCs still have their place for folks like @TLS Guy because it's the only way he can get the content he wants. I'd be perfectly happy with a setup like his too if it can play nice with streaming (it can if you know what you're doing), but my kids wouldn't be able to use it as well (5,7,8) and that's a deal breaker.

Good streaming boxes are nice to have, but they still aren't as customizable as a PC. @AcuDefTechGuy has an HTPC as his primary box too, but he didn't like the Shield so there's that, and loves it. His setup is solid and works for him. My HTPC just runs Kodi and it's only alive because some things don't work as they should on my Shield.

Both is really the best setup IMHO.
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Samurai
I'll throw in another vote for the NVIDIA Shield. Love mine, have no issues streaming local movies and music from my PC through it using Plex. Works well with all the streaming services we use: Netflix, Hulu, AMC+, Disney+, HBO Max, etc. Simple enough to use that the wife doesn't complain about it.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
@AcuDefTechGuy has an HTPC as his primary box too, but he didn't like the Shield so there's that, and loves it. His setup is solid and works for him. My HTPC just runs Kodi and it's only alive because some things don't work as they should on my Shield.

Both is really the best setup IMHO.
I tried using Shields Pro TV TWICE (Kodi/Plex). I didn't like it either times. It was alright. But nothing to make me want to give up my HTPC.

Yep. My ONE and ONLY Source is my HTPC. I now use Kodi 100%. Plex is my backup just in case.

Only time I use my Panasonic BD player is to TEST the HDR performance for a client.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
I tried using Shields Pro TV TWICE (Kodi/Plex). I didn't like it either times. It was alright. But nothing to make me want to give up my HTPC.

Yep. My ONE and ONLY Source is my HTPC. I now use Kodi 100%. Plex is my backup just in case.

Only time I use my Panasonic BD player is to TEST the HDR performance for a client.
Ah yes, that would make an HTPC easy to use. That's how I use mine as well, but it's got other stuff on there for streaming games to my theater and such.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
I'll throw in another vote for the NVIDIA Shield. Love mine, have no issues streaming local movies and music from my PC through it using Plex. Works well with all the streaming services we use: Netflix, Hulu, AMC+, Disney+, HBO Max, etc. Simple enough to use that the wife doesn't complain about it.
This is what's so hard to re-create with an HTPC. Kodi can do a lot, but not without a lot of work to get it to pull content from those services.

I used SageTV back in my HTPC days (before streaming boxes existed) and it was great, but took a TON of work to get the functionality of my Shield TV. I don't have time to be a full time IT guy at my house anymore. I'm a set it and forget it guy now.

Granted, when things break I have to jog my memory a bit more since everything is so stable now. Gotta love techie problems.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
I've been flipping between the Shield and HTPC but I'm leaning towards the latter. I want a device that handles everything: YouTube videos and other internet streaming services, Netflix / Disney, my library of video files sitting on another PC, and lastly Roon for music. The Shield does most of that but the current deal breaker is that Roon does not support multi-channel audio on the Shield. Android only supports 2-channel and developers have to use proprietary means to implement multi-channel and get around the OS limitation, and Roon has not made that a priority on the Shield. :(

So I'm currently looking at an Intel NUC or miniPC. There are some compact wireless keyboards with track pads that are fine for couch surfing. I have Plex on my server, so I figure I can run Plex or Kodi on the HTPC for the rest of the family and then I can always pull up a browser for other streams. Roon runs in the background and can be controlled easily on my mobile via the app. Would need to access Roon on the HTPC or pull up a web browser only for displaying Roon's lyrics and band photos.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
As a caveat, Roon works better for music as it is gapless. I tried some live recordings on Plex, but I use the Playstation3 as my end point and it is not gapless. The PS3 is not a good DLNA client, though, and rather slow & cludgy. An i7 NUC might alleviate the gapless issue with Plex?
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
I've been flipping between the Shield and HTPC but I'm leaning towards the latter. I want a device that handles everything: YouTube videos and other internet streaming services, Netflix / Disney, my library of video files sitting on another PC, and lastly Roon for music. The Shield does most of that but the current deal breaker is that Roon does not support multi-channel audio on the Shield. Android only supports 2-channel and developers have to use proprietary means to implement multi-channel and get around the OS limitation, and Roon has not made that a priority on the Shield. :(

So I'm currently looking at an Intel NUC or miniPC. There are some compact wireless keyboards with track pads that are fine for couch surfing. I have Plex on my server, so I figure I can run Plex or Kodi on the HTPC for the rest of the family and then I can always pull up a browser for other streams. Roon runs in the background and can be controlled easily on my mobile via the app. Would need to access Roon on the HTPC or pull up a web browser only for displaying Roon's lyrics and band photos.
I use Kodi to play my multichannel rips without issue on my Shield TV.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
As a caveat, Roon works better for music as it is gapless. I tried some live recordings on Plex, but I use the Playstation3 as my end point and it is not gapless. The PS3 is not a good DLNA client, though, and rather slow & cludgy. An i7 NUC might alleviate the gapless issue with Plex?
PS3 never played nice with Plex. I tried once and noped out of that real fast.

Plex works best as a server back end. Their clients are OK, but have their issues depending on platform. Kodi fares a bit better and with plexkidoconnect you don't have to re-do your entire library to use an alternate front end.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
I use Kodi to play my multichannel rips without issue on my Shield TV.
PS3 never played nice with Plex. I tried once and noped out of that real fast.

Plex works best as a server back end. Their clients are OK, but have their issues depending on platform. Kodi fares a bit better and with plexkidoconnect you don't have to re-do your entire library to use an alternate front end.
Thanks for that info. That does make a Shield Pro very appealing as it's C$260 vs $500-$900 for a NUC. I last used Kodi years ago and it did not have a decent web browser but the Shield has much better browser support than old versions of Kodi.
 

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