Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019 and the Disney+ app



Audioholic Spartan
Disney+ recently rolled out IMAX Enhanced Sound by DTS as many already know. It is a lossy version of DTS:X that DTS calls DTS:X Profile 2. Many, myself included, hoped that, because the Nvidia Shield TV Pro is an android device, it would stream DTS:X from the Disney+ app. But, while it can bitstream DTS:X like the Roku Ultra, it and the Roku cannot decode it. So, support is limited to devices that can bitstream DTS:X as well as decode it. Certain Smart TVs can do it but only a select few of them are actually supported at this time. Decoding Dolby Atmos and DTS:X can be done in some Smart TVs when using their own speakers. Connect an AVP, AVR or soundbar to them and those signals need to be bit streamed for output from the connected device. So, for now, there is no DTS:X from Disney+ from any of my devices.

The lack of DTS:X streaming isn't the only issue concerning the Disney+ app on the Nvidia Shield TV Pro. Before I get into the Disney+ app, I do want to comment on the Home Screen. It looks like s#%t. The Nvidia Shield TV Pro does NOT allow ALL screens to be displayed in Dolby Vision AT ALL. My Amazon Fire TV Cube Gen 3, Apple TV 4K Gen 1 and Roku Ultra 4800X ALL want to default to Dolby Vision for EVERYTHING when connected to a Dolby Vision capable TV. This means their Home screens and app menus all look colorful and sharp when using Dolby Vision. The Apple TV 4K has a color calibration feature that is disabled when outputting Dolby Vision as it says "The TV's Color Is Accurate" when using it. The Shield cannot output HDR10 or Dolby Vision in the Home Screen though it supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision output when using apps that support them. The SDR image of the Home Screen is a bit fuzzy and washed out and switching to the Home Screen of one of the other streamers, my Mac mini desktop or the XBOX Series S results in a much nicer image onscreen.

Anyway, let's click on the Disney+ app and select an IMAX Enhanced title. The Shield Disney+ app supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos BUT does NOT support 24Hz playback. Now, some will output everything in their Shield at 24Hz by selecting it for output or select the 24Hz playback feature, still in Beta, to make the app output in 24Hz. This will result in the Disney+ app disabling Dolby Atmos output and the signal will change to PCM 2.0. The Shield can also output each app in Game mode and ALLM will display onscreen when doing so BUT, the Disney+ app will warn that the feature does NOT work when watching Dolby Vision material and it is disabled when doing so. While the ALLM limitation and 60Hz output may be a con for some, the Shield does support both TV Led AND Player Led Dolby vision when it is put into Developer mode. Some displays may have an issue with TV Led Dolby Vision and Player Led may work. Using TV Led Dolby Vision, which sends an RGB 8 bit signal to the display, IMAX Enhanced titles from Disney+ look amazing on my LG OLED TV.

While disappointed that DTS:X is currently not working for Disney+ IMAX Enhanced titles on the Nvidia Shield TV Pro, image quality is not an issue. Disney+ did have some aspect ratio issues over the last few days that resulted in the IMAX Enhanced 1.90:1 aspect ratio not working at all for the Marvel movies and the "Queen Rock Montreal" concert being shown in 1.90:1 rather than the 1.43:1 aspect ratio that is closer to the 1.33:1 aspect ration in which it was supposedly originally filmed. All seems fixed now and the "Queen Rock Montreal" concert plays in 1.43:1. The color and detail are impressive on that one. But, some aren't keen on lossy audio/video presentations streamed from certain devices. So, for those folks, none of this really matters. For others, it may be of some interest. Whatever you watch and however you watch it, enjoy!

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