Playback Issues - Audio/Video & Power

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lesmikesell
Level 13

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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If you are going to play the blame game, blame the Dolby corporation for making Dolby Digital plus sound (intentionally?) confusingly similar to Dolby Digital while being fundamentally incompatible.   And requiring a licensing fee from device vendors to keep their customers from blaming them for the broken operation.

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StreamerUser
Level 17

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@yawitz wrote:


To be clear, I'm not saying that I expected manufacturers to be transparent about their product's limitations (they usually are not). I am saying that it's not reasonable to expect consumers to research the technical details of mass-market devices such as the Roku sticks before making a purchase (especially given the way they're advertised, and often reviewed, as a top-rated and dead-simple solution to adding streaming services to your TV).

The end result is that some will purchase this device and have a bad customer experience; to them, it simply "doesn't work," perhaps leading to multiple returns to the seller until they give up (and switch to a competitor's product). Over time, if this is a company's normal approach, it can hurt the brand. Roku can rely on their market dominance and ignore what may be a marginal segment of their business (considering it a defensible a business decision). Other manufactures clearly decided that segment was important enough to support the functionality in question (in their similarly-priced products). Time will tell if this matters...


As long as you accept the consequences of not doing "unreasonable" research, thats fine.  However, thinking its unreasonable to have to do specific pre-purchase research for specific products intended for specific configurations with legacy equipment is more than a stretch - unless you accept from the get-go you'll likely be doing buy/return until you find the product that works for you.

I can't say I've ever seen any Roku advertising, or read more than a few reviews (specifically looking for confirmation/exploration of new functionality/newest models), or seen any ratings, "top" or otherwise.  Not saying they don't exist, just that I myself dont look for them/use them to make purchase decisions.

Regardless, unless any of that "advertising" or "reviewing" or "rating" specifically mentions the functionality you desired (Dolby decoding for connection to legacy DD equipment), not sure why it even matters.

Though, for the record, the easily accessible product information for the Roku Ultra 2020 at roku.com specifically mentions Dolby decoding (no other model does, just passthrough for them).  Not sure what level of "research" is required to check out the product specs at the product manufacturer's website, but it seems like a basic step that any consumer could/should do.

As far as purchase returns and bad customer experiences go, that's to be expected for any product,  nothing significant about that.

And time has already told - considering that the last time a Roku streamer included Dolby decoding was back in 2016 with the 4640, until a couple months ago with the 4800 (And likely the only reason the 4800 includes the Dolby Atmos-level decoding is because its a NetFlix platform requirement for Dolby Atmos, which NetFlix probably doesnt allow sans Dolby Vision support), and considering Roku's staggering growth during that 4 year period, its pretty clear and safe to say the market decided - Dolby passthrough is clearly "good enough" for nearly all consumers, or at least enough of them to massively contribute to Roku's bottom line.

StreamerUser
Level 17

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@lesmikesell wrote:

If you are going to play the blame game, blame the Dolby corporation for making Dolby Digital plus sound (intentionally?) confusingly similar to Dolby Digital while being fundamentally incompatible.   And requiring a licensing fee from device vendors to keep their customers from blaming them for the broken operation.


Now just imagine what trademarked/trade name Dolby is going to come up with for AC-4....  surely not Dolby Digital Plus Plus?  Dolby Digital Multiplied might be amusing however...

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yawitz
Level 9

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@Heyitsrick wrote:

...

I think that it's fair to say that you didn't do your due diligence when purchasing the Roku device you did. You said earlier that you understand all the technical arguments being made, so these things aren't new to you. You knew you had an older AVR that didn't decode Dolby Digital Plus. I would have been looking for a streaming device that explicitly did that from the outset.  

...

There's nothing wrong with criticizing Roku or any other streaming box/stick brand for their hardware / design choices. But you really need to examine your own decisions that brought you here: not upgrading your AVR, and not doing the "RTFM" routine on the device you wanted to buy.  If I wanted to buy a new HDTV and I specifically wanted Dolby Vision HDR supported on it, I wouldn't just buy an HDTV without first going over all the specs and the reviews. If I don't do that, and I'm unpleasantly surprised by what I end up with, that's on me - not the TV manufacturer.  


You seem pretty dug-in here, and I'm not sure further discussion on my part will convince you, so I'll leave this thread with two points:

  1. Due-diligence on a purchase is warranted when there is reason to think you need to. It's been a while since I closely followed the state of home audio tech, and just needed a quick-fix to get certain services on an older rig. I skimmed reviews from trusted sources before initially settling on the Roku. I had no reason to think about deficiencies with the Streaming Stick + given that the formats in play are not featured in product literature; I only learned about them from this forum after a poor out-of-box experience. (And re: your advice to "RTFM,"  Roku's manual does not expose that deficiency.) The HDTV example you cite makes my point for me; the capabilities you list are typically featured in product literature, so of course I'd research those before making a purchase. Roku does not do the same re: supported audio formats.
  2. I have no idea what the licensing cost to Roku would be to support DD transcoding where required (and feel no need to go down that rabbit hole to find out). However, at least one competitive device at a similar price point (e.g. 4K Firestick) reportedly works in this scenario, so I'm not sure why Roku's calculation led to the decision to omit that support.

 

StreamerUser
Level 17

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@yawitz wrote:

@Heyitsrick wrote:

...

I think that it's fair to say that you didn't do your due diligence when purchasing the Roku device you did. You said earlier that you understand all the technical arguments being made, so these things aren't new to you. You knew you had an older AVR that didn't decode Dolby Digital Plus. I would have been looking for a streaming device that explicitly did that from the outset.  

...

There's nothing wrong with criticizing Roku or any other streaming box/stick brand for their hardware / design choices. But you really need to examine your own decisions that brought you here: not upgrading your AVR, and not doing the "RTFM" routine on the device you wanted to buy.  If I wanted to buy a new HDTV and I specifically wanted Dolby Vision HDR supported on it, I wouldn't just buy an HDTV without first going over all the specs and the reviews. If I don't do that, and I'm unpleasantly surprised by what I end up with, that's on me - not the TV manufacturer.  


You seem pretty dug-in here, and I'm not sure further discussion on my part will convince you, so I'll leave this thread with two points:

  1. Due-diligence on a purchase is warranted when there is reason to think you need to. It's been a while since I closely followed the state of home audio tech, and just needed a quick-fix to get certain services on an older rig. I skimmed reviews from trusted sources before initially settling on the Roku. I had no reason to think about deficiencies with the Streaming Stick + given that the formats in play are not featured in product literature; I only learned about them from this forum after a poor out-of-box experience. (And re: your advice to "RTFM,"  Roku's manual does not expose that deficiency.) The HDTV example you cite makes my point for me; the capabilities you list are typically featured in product literature, so of course I'd research those before making a purchase. Roku does not do the same re: supported audio formats.
  2. I have no idea what the licensing cost to Roku would be to support DD transcoding where required (and feel no need to go down that rabbit hole to find out). However, at least one competitive device at a similar price point (e.g. 4K Firestick) reportedly works in this scenario, so I'm not sure why Roku's calculation led to the decision to omit that support.

 


The fact that you concede its been a while since you "closely followed the state of home audio-tech" is all the more reason you should have put a little more effort into informing yourself.

If you had compared the specs of the 4800 (Ultra 2020) to the 3810 (SS+ 17/19) at Roku.com you'd have noticed the Dolby Atmos & decoding difference.

Roku does in fact list the supported audio formats at roku.com:

https://www.roku.com/products/streaming-stick-plus

Audio features:
Digital stereo over HDMI®
DTS Digital Surround™ pass through over HDMI
Supports pass-through of Dolby-encoded audio over HDMI
 
 
Audio features:
Digital stereo over HDMI®
DTS Digital Surround™ pass through over HDMI
Dolby Atmos® decode via HDMI. Requires Dolby Atmos compatible speakers.
 
The fact that you strangely and oddly chose to ignore the information provided by the manufacturer themselves at their easily accessible web site and product pages and instead chose "reviews", is, well, inexplicable.
 
While the FS4K does in fact have a Dolby decoder, it does not have a Dolby Atmos-level decoder, which is why it too has no NF Atmos support.
 
The same argument could and should therefore be applied to them - why did Amazon choose not to include a Dolby Atmos-level decoder such that there was NF Atmos support as well? Why do they not provide an upgrade "fee" path for consumers, etc etc. 
 
(And considering that Amazon is a much larger company than Roku they can absorb such costs better, making it even perhaps more inexplicable.)
 
Won't that harm them not having an Atmos-level decoder in their flagship stick product that directly competes with the Roku SS+?  Neither provides NF Atmos support, wont that hurt sales of both?
 
Clearly not having a Dolby decoder - Atmos-level or otherwise - hasn't significantly hurt the sales of either, or hurt the bottom line of either company.
Heyitsrick
Level 12

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@yawitz wrote:

 

You seem pretty dug-in here, and I'm not sure further discussion on my part will convince you, so I'll leave this thread with two points:

  1. Due-diligence on a purchase is warranted when there is reason to think you need to. It's been a while since I closely followed the state of home audio tech, and just needed a quick-fix to get certain services on an older rig. I skimmed reviews from trusted sources before initially settling on the Roku. I had no reason to think about deficiencies with the Streaming Stick + given that the formats in play are not featured in product literature; I only learned about them from this forum after a poor out-of-box experience. (And re: your advice to "RTFM,"  Roku's manual does not expose that deficiency.) The HDTV example you cite makes my point for me; the capabilities you list are typically featured in product literature, so of course I'd research those before making a purchase. Roku does not do the same re: supported audio formats.
  2. I have no idea what the licensing cost to Roku would be to support DD transcoding where required (and feel no need to go down that rabbit hole to find out). However, at least one competitive device at a similar price point (e.g. 4K Firestick) reportedly works in this scenario, so I'm not sure why Roku's calculation led to the decision to omit that support.

 


I don't understand this line:  

"Due-diligence on a purchase is warranted when there is reason to think you need to. It's been a while since I closely followed the state of home audio tech, and just needed a quick-fix to get certain services on an older rig."

Why wouldn't you have thought you needed to after an extended time away from following technology?  

Amazon has money to blow on their own products.  To them, the Fire TV sticks and cubes are akin to loss leaders. They can subsidize them to their heart's content. They've done so, with the Fire TV 4K stick going for $25 on sale.  That's the price I paid for it in November of 2019. Apple can afford to do the same. They're just not giving anyone the price break. 

The biggest issue I have with your comments here is (paraphrasing) that it's not reasonable to expect that consumers should have to educate themselves about what products can and can't do. I couldn't disagree more. Consumers have to know what they're buying. If they don't understand something, ask.  It's not reasonable to lay this off on a manufacturer. It's part of the job of being an informed buyer. 

 

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vodil
Level 9

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@Heyitsrick wrote:

@yawitz wrote:

The biggest issue I have with your comments here is (paraphrasing) that it's not reasonable to expect that consumers should have to educate themselves about what products can and can't do. I couldn't disagree more. Consumers have to know what they're buying. If they don't understand something, ask.  It's not reasonable to lay this off on a manufacturer. It's part of the job of being an informed buyer. 

 


TBF, there is a limit.  ROKU, just like other  tech product companies, does not make it easy to find out a lot of information that one wishes to know.  It is intentional, of course.  While trying to do my due dilligence, I could not determine ahead of time: that the ROKU remote cannot control the volume of my AVR;  that the AVR OSD disappears on some ROKU channels, that "Auto detect"  will interfere with ARC; even with the ROKU is off; that ROKU does not always provide the full A/V that channels advertise (e.g. Netflix).

For many of these issues the information is on the boards, but the buyer often does not know what to ask regarding something that should ostensibly work.  But I would agree that buyers need to do the basic due dillegence first as many issues are actually easy to suss out. 

P.S Probably this is all off topic and should be spunoff. 

 

 

yawitz
Level 9

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@vodil wrote:


For many of these issues the information is on the boards, but the buyer often does not know what to ask regarding something that should ostensibly work. [Emphasis added]

Yes, this. The emergence of DD+ as an enhancement to DD, without it being called out by the vendor, is not something that an otherwise informed purchaser would think of investigating unless they followed the topic in detail.

Forums such as this one, and some reviewers, do some of the work that in past times you'd expect the vendor to do. Better than nothing, I suppose. Call me old-fashioned, but shifting the burden to the customer seems like a bad trend to me.

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lesmikesell
Level 13

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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While Dolby is to blame for creating the confusing and incompatible situation, I think all of the vendors involved are complicit and would prefer that you buy a new TV or audio component rather than educate you on how to make the incompatible device work.  And for what it's worth, you'd see a difference in a recent TV compared to one old enough to not recognize DD+ and convert it to DD 5.1 out the optical connection.

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Heyitsrick
Level 12

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@vodil wrote:

@Heyitsrick wrote:

@yawitz wrote:

The biggest issue I have with your comments here is (paraphrasing) that it's not reasonable to expect that consumers should have to educate themselves about what products can and can't do. I couldn't disagree more. Consumers have to know what they're buying. If they don't understand something, ask.  It's not reasonable to lay this off on a manufacturer. It's part of the job of being an informed buyer. 

 


TBF, there is a limit.  ROKU, just like other  tech product companies, does not make it easy to find out a lot of information that one wishes to know.  It is intentional, of course.  While trying to do my due dilligence, I could not determine ahead of time: that the ROKU remote cannot control the volume of my AVR;  that the AVR OSD disappears on some ROKU channels, that "Auto detect"  will interfere with ARC; even with the ROKU is off; that ROKU does not always provide the full A/V that channels advertise (e.g. Netflix).

For many of these issues the information is on the boards, but the buyer often does not know what to ask regarding something that should ostensibly work.  But I would agree that buyers need to do the basic due dillegence first as many issues are actually easy to suss out. 

P.S Probably this is all off topic and should be spunoff. 

 

 


I did a quick search and found this on Roku's website:

"Can I use my Roku enhanced remote to control other devices?

Your Roku enhanced remote is designed to control volume and power for your TV. It cannot directly control other devices connected to your TV, such as an audio/video receiver (AVR) or soundbar."

(italics mine)

Roku Remote / Controlling TV Audio 

I don't have the issues you're noting with my AVR, although I don't use the AVR's OSD on the TV. I can see the volume setting on my AVR from my viewing location.

I've never had any issues with Roku auto-detect interfering with ARC. And I'm not sure what you mean by not always providing the full A/V that channels advertise, such as Netflix. If you're talking about Atmos audio, you need the 2020 Roku Ultra to get Atmos from Netflix. 


 

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