Playback Issues - Audio/Video & Power

Help with audio & video playback issues, TV display type recognition & compatibility, HDCP messages, troubleshooting playback errors, advertisements, and resolving power issues.
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ehart
Level 7

Audio out on ultra?

Hi, I have an Ultra on order - will be trying Playstation Vue in place of my current cable subscription.

I am also interested in using the roku to play music through my high-end old-school 2-channel stereo.

Does the USB port allow music to go OUT as well as in? If so I could use an external DAC.

Other ideas?

By the way, I notice some Shield users here, would that be a better choice?

Thanks

Eric
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11 Replies
twiceover
Level 10

Re: Audio out on ultra?

Only the 2016 edition of the Ultra had Optical audio out.  The current version is HDMI only.  The USB can be used to play files only, it has no other use such as audio adapters.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Audio out on ultra?

I have my doubts the Shield would be any better for higher quality audio. I'm not certain if it has any analog out jacks, and I also doubt the USB jack can output audio. Using HDMI I believe it will support high bitrate audio tracks, but I've never really looked into that part as I only use mine for video. It does support bitstreaming all of the lossless audio codecs used for movies, including Atmos and DTS:X. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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ehart
Level 7

Re: Audio out on ultra?

Thank you for these replies.

Would it be crazy to buy the older ultra that offers the optical port? They are still available on Amazon. They get about 1 star lower rating than the newer ones though, in part because of HDCP errors.

Does the older unit get all the same software upgrades as the latest model does? If so, perhaps those problems have been fixed.

Don't know if it matters but I do not intend to do 4k anytime soon.

Thanks again
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Audio out on ultra?

I have the 4640 Ultra, and just recently received the OS 9 update. It currently is not connected to a 4K TV, just a Panasonic 1080 plasma. It's also connected to an HDMI 1.4 AVR. With the previous OS I would see an occasional HDCP error message, but it was pretty rare. Since I received OS 9, I haven't seen any HDCP errors. I'm perfectly happy with my Ultra, and have no reservations recommending the 4640 version, especially if you need the optical out. The only reason it's not on my 4K TV anymore is because I bought the Shield for its support of lossless audio bit-streaming. But since the Shield doesn't support YouTube HDR, I use my Roku TV if there's something I want to watch there. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Miami_Son
Level 7

Re: Audio out on ultra?

"atc98092" wrote:
I have the 4640 Ultra, and just recently received the OS 9 update. It currently is not connected to a 4K TV, just a Panasonic 1080 plasma. It's also connected to an HDMI 1.4 AVR. With the previous OS I would see an occasional HDCP error message, but it was pretty rare. Since I received OS 9, I haven't seen any HDCP errors. I'm perfectly happy with my Ultra, and have no reservations recommending the 4640 version, especially if you need the optical out. The only reason it's not on my 4K TV anymore is because I bought the Shield for its support of lossless audio bit-streaming. But since the Shield doesn't support YouTube HDR, I use my Roku TV if there's something I want to watch there. 

Hey Dan, as you know, I got an older Ultra mainly on your recommendation. Would there be any advantage for audio in having it connected via optical to my Onkyo amp instead of just HDMI? My amp supports everything I can throw at it over either one. Just curious. Thanks.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Audio out on ultra?

"Miami Son" wrote:
"atc98092" wrote:
I have the 4640 Ultra, and just recently received the OS 9 update. It currently is not connected to a 4K TV, just a Panasonic 1080 plasma. It's also connected to an HDMI 1.4 AVR. With the previous OS I would see an occasional HDCP error message, but it was pretty rare. Since I received OS 9, I haven't seen any HDCP errors. I'm perfectly happy with my Ultra, and have no reservations recommending the 4640 version, especially if you need the optical out. The only reason it's not on my 4K TV anymore is because I bought the Shield for its support of lossless audio bit-streaming. But since the Shield doesn't support YouTube HDR, I use my Roku TV if there's something I want to watch there. 


Hey Dan, as you know, I got an older Ultra mainly on your recommendation. Would there be any advantage for audio in having it connected via optical to my Onkyo amp instead of just HDMI? My amp supports everything I can throw at it over either one. Just curious. Thanks.

Just the opposite. HDMI will offer the highest potential audio quality over optical. You won't get Dolby Atmos from the streaming sites over optical to my understanding. Of course, that's not the lossless version of Atmos, but still. Smiley Happy
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Miami_Son
Level 7

Re: Audio out on ultra?

"atc98092" wrote:
"Miami Son" wrote:
Hey Dan, as you know, I got an older Ultra mainly on your recommendation. Would there be any advantage for audio in having it connected via optical to my Onkyo amp instead of just HDMI? My amp supports everything I can throw at it over either one. Just curious. Thanks.

Just the opposite. HDMI will offer the highest potential audio quality over optical. You won't get Dolby Atmos from the streaming sites over optical to my understanding. Of course, that's not the lossless version of Atmos, but still. Smiley Happy

Ok, thanks again, Dan. You really are an asset to this community and I surely appreciate the time and effort you put into it. Smiley Happy
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Bravo_Family
Level 7

Re: Audio out on ultra? - Time for for some Myth Busting about TOS Link Optical Audio

Just an FYI, we have a Yamaha Brand AVR that features THX Select, that we bought new last year.  We have no problems getting Atmos using the Optical Out / TOS Link connected directly from our Roku Ultra 4640X to our Yamaha Brand AVR.

HDMI has unfortunately caused the audio market to move backwards because the best connections from a hardware perspective are always going to be compartmentalized connections that fulfill specific purposes.

What is and isn't recognized for audio format is strictly dependent upon the combination of what both an accessory device, whether a Roku Player, 4k Blu-ray Player, or any other device connected through the optimal cable, and what the receiving device such as an AVR are both capable of recognizing and/or decoding.

Audio over HDMI is in no way, nearly as clear as it is when used with a high grade fiber optic TOS Link optical cable because it is mechanically impossible for any cable that is carrying more than one type of signal, even if it is an extremely high grade cable, to not have some degradation.  Video signals are in many ways, more complex than audio signals, and thusly do not lose much in the way of using HDMI as the choice of connective technologies for video; however the same cannot be said for audio.  Additionally, HDMI cables provide a signal that is 100% electric, and are therefore subject to interference; however Optical Cables are exactly that, "Optical" and are not subject to significant interference because their signal is based on light.

Optical Audio via a TOS Link connection directly from the source, in our case the Roku 4640X, to our Yamaha THX Select AVR, has provided the most consistent and highest quality of audio.  We've had no problems receiving content from services that support various Dolby standards that include Dolby Digital+.  The Yamaha AVR that we do have did cost close to $1,500.00 and was a special order because we only buy Yamaha Brand AVR's with the THX Select certification that are difficult to find, and it has been a great experience with the 4640X Roku that we use, and specifically selected because it has an Optical Audio Out in 2016.  We originally used our Roku 4640X Ultra with a receiver that we bought in 2015 that is also a Yamaha with THX Select, and again, we had no problems whatsoever having any Dolby standards recognized by it via having our Roku 4640X Ultra connected to it.

Results did vary slightly with some services, but that was expected because different services host different qualities of content and use different protocols and compression methods for streaming.  In short, if we read the fine print for a service, a given piece of content, and for services like Netflix that require independent configuration of Audio that can vary slightly depending on the content being viewed, every time Dolby came up, Dolby audio was both detected and played correctly at the appropriate standards that include Dolby Digital+ and Dolby Atmos by both of our Yamaha AVR's.
- Bravo Family
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Audio out on ultra?

That's great to get verification that DD+/Atmos works over optical. I had read conflicting information, so always good to hear it from someone with experience.
.
You have a very valid point about optical not being affected by electrical interference. But of course the issue with optical is bandwidth. That's why the lossless audio codecs won't pass over optical, hence the need for HDMI audio. From your other post you appear to have extensive knowledge in this area, so I won't delve into areas that I don't feel I have sufficient knowledge to debate. I appreciate your input.  Smiley Very Happy
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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