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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jontalk
Level 7

Roku 3 vs Premiere +/Ultra audio question

I'm a long time Roku 3 owner who recently updated his TV to an LG OLED which as you know is 4K HDR. I have a complete 5.1 home theater system with a high end Marantz AVR which is the center for control. I've never been that happy with the audio coming through the Roku and now with the OLED TV its become more obvious. Can anyone tell me whether the Premiere + or Ultra has an improved audio processor? Obviously the 4K streaming will be a big advantage but I don't want to upgrade unless the audio is improved also. There's no live chat on the Roku site anymore and as you know support isn't the greatest anyway. Thanks.
Roku 3 - Power User (film maker)
Mill Valley, CA

Jonathan
LG OLED55B7A, Roku 3, Marantz SR-6005, Panasonic Blu Ray, Definitive Studio Monitor 450 (L/R), Definitive LCR 2000 (center), Definitive 10" sub-woofer, Definitive surrounds.
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7 Replies
atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku 3 vs Premiere +/Ultra audio question

In general, the Roku does not perform any audio processing. Unless you have it down-mixing to stereo, it just passed whatever audio codec is being sent. Depending on the streaming site, that is most common either standard Dolby Digital, or DD+. If you are streaming from a home media server, you could also have DTS audio. And a few sources might have PCM or FLAC. Again, the Roku just passes the audio though. I have my Ultra and 4 connected to Yamaha AVRs via HDMI, and have never noticed any audio difference on my local media compared to playing the physical disc.
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Since you would be connecting the Roku directly to the TV (for 4K HDR support, since your Marantz sounds like it doesn't support HDCP 2.2), any audio processing that might happen would likely be done by the TV, not the Roku. I have no idea if your TV will pass DD+ (or any other audio other than DD) back to the AVR without modification. Some TVs will not pass anything except DD out of an optical connection from an external source. Using ARC may or may not offer different output options. Since you don't state what is bothering you with the current audio, I can't offer much else in the way of suggestions. 
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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jontalk
Level 7

Re: Roku 3 vs Premiere +/Ultra audio question

"atc98092" wrote:
In general, the Roku does not perform any audio processing. Unless you have it down-mixing to stereo, it just passed whatever audio codec is being sent. Depending on the streaming site, that is most common either standard Dolby Digital, or DD+. If you are streaming from a home media server, you could also have DTS audio. And a few sources might have PCM or FLAC. Again, the Roku just passes the audio though. I have my Ultra and 4 connected to Yamaha AVRs via HDMI, and have never noticed any audio difference on my local media compared to playing the physical disc.
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Since you would be connecting the Roku directly to the TV (for 4K HDR support, since your Marantz sounds like it doesn't support HDCP 2.2), any audio processing that might happen would likely be done by the TV, not the Roku. I have no idea if your TV will pass DD+ (or any other audio other than DD) back to the AVR without modification. Some TVs will not pass anything except DD out of an optical connection from an external source. Using ARC may or may not offer different output options. Since you don't state what is bothering you with the current audio, I can't offer much else in the way of suggestions. 

First, I use a high speed WIRED network. The Roku 3 is plugged into the AVR along with the TV and Blu Ray player. The Marantz SR6005 supports ARC and HDCP as well as all surround formats except Atmos. When looking at the specs for the Roku 3 it states the audio support is digital while the Premiere Plus states 'Dolby Digital'. I use the ARC port on the LG OLED for connection to the Marantz which shows the surround format being used on the digital display. It seems clear the TV is passing the surround formats and since upgrading to the LG the audio improved slightly. The audio quality varies and when watching films on HBO GO the volume has to be cranked higher than with Netflix; why I'm not sure though I suspect it has to do with the HBO servers which aren't nearly as efficient as Netflix. Where the audio itself is concerned, some content is fine while others sound muddy via my Definitive monitors and surround speakers which are top notch. Obviously upgrading to the 4K version Roku should improve video though I'm wondering if audio would improve too as I said.

Roku 3 - Power User (film maker)
Mill Valley, CA

Jonathan
LG OLED55B7A, Roku 3, Marantz SR-6005, Panasonic Blu Ray, Definitive Studio Monitor 450 (L/R), Definitive LCR 2000 (center), Definitive 10" sub-woofer, Definitive surrounds.
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jontalk
Level 7

Re: Roku 3 vs Premiere +/Ultra audio question

Dan..just viewed the PDF Roku has posted that compares all devices including the Roku 3 and later generations. It appears you're correct with respect to it passing the audio codecs so its obvious upgrading to the Premiere + or UItra is strictly a features/video improvement. Since my AVR doesn't support 4K, and most content I view is HD it seems illogical at this point to upgrade unless I decide to upgrade the Marantz. Thanks for the feedback and glad to see there's someone more technical that views these posts. 
Roku 3 - Power User (film maker)
Mill Valley, CA

Jonathan
LG OLED55B7A, Roku 3, Marantz SR-6005, Panasonic Blu Ray, Definitive Studio Monitor 450 (L/R), Definitive LCR 2000 (center), Definitive 10" sub-woofer, Definitive surrounds.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku 3 vs Premiere +/Ultra audio question

Yeah, the TV will pass audio back through ARC, but some TVs will not pass multi-channel audio from an external source. If you upgraded to the Premiere +, you would need to connect it directly to the TV for 4K HDR support. So it's possible that you could only get 2 channel audio with that arrangement. 
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And in my opinion it's worth connecting it that way for HDR. I'm watching an HDR UHD movie I ripped to my server, and even though it's a pretty old movie (Close Encounters), the HDR improvement is noticeable. 
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If you aren't yet too concerned with streaming 4K/HDR (and there is some pretty impressive content on YouTube), and your 3 is providing what you need, I would agree that an update isn't necessary at this time. When that day comes, you'll want to update your AVR anyway, most likely.  Smiley Very Happy

EDIT: by the way, your wired connection might be slower than a wireless connection. Wired tops out at 100 Mbps (before overhead, so actually more like 90), while 802.11N and AC are capable of speeds far beyond that. But it's unlikely that you would encounter any issues with streaming speeds until you get into UHD material. I've seen my UHD rips bang against the wired limit, and steady streaming about 75 Mbps.
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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jontalk
Level 7

Re: Roku 3 vs Premiere +/Ultra audio question

Thanks again Dan..I don't use a media server program and while I do watch You Tube content most isn't UHD. Where the audio itself is concerned, watching "Real Time with Bill Maher" on HBO GO, one of my favs, the audio is perfect even with the AVR set to Dolby Digital Movie so I can use the center channel. Some films streamed are as good as DVD while others aren't. I suspect it has much to do with the source and quality which as you know varies significantly. Overall the audio quality on Vudu and Netflix is far superior to HBO movies. I'm going to stick with the Roku 3 for now and yeah, I'm aware of the speeds but my wired connection is rock solid. My router is dual band AC but I don't think the Roku 3 supports AC anyway Smiley Happy
Roku 3 - Power User (film maker)
Mill Valley, CA

Jonathan
LG OLED55B7A, Roku 3, Marantz SR-6005, Panasonic Blu Ray, Definitive Studio Monitor 450 (L/R), Definitive LCR 2000 (center), Definitive 10" sub-woofer, Definitive surrounds.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku 3 vs Premiere +/Ultra audio question

The 3 doesn't support AC, but it does support the 5 GHz band, so that alone can offer some improvement. And you are correct that when streaming, the source material can vary significantly in quality. YouTube has some really nice 4K HDR space videos recently. You might subscribe to their HDR channel to watch what's available. 
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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jontalk
Level 7

Re: Roku 3 vs Premiere +/Ultra audio question

I'm going to stick with my wired network for now since its been rock solid. I have an AC1200 router (Asus RT-AC56U) which is OK though sufficient since I only have one device using WiFi; my outdated Samsung Galaxy S3..I can see you laughing now but it still works like it did when new though WiFi speeds suffer due to the outdated OS and WiFi radio. Regardless, I appreciate the feedback and suggestions. 
Roku 3 - Power User (film maker)
Mill Valley, CA

Jonathan
LG OLED55B7A, Roku 3, Marantz SR-6005, Panasonic Blu Ray, Definitive Studio Monitor 450 (L/R), Definitive LCR 2000 (center), Definitive 10" sub-woofer, Definitive surrounds.
0 Kudos