Roku Device Features, Settings & Updates

Help configuring Roku device settings, using Roku OS features such as screen mirroring, adjusting display type and audio settings, using Guest Mode, and assistance with software updates.
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hearrean1
Level 8

Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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I currently have an older (4 + years) Roku Ultra running in my home theater. Roku is now introducing the "Express 4K+" coming soon. This unit appears to be smaller & more compact, but for that reason, should I replace my Ultra with one or are there features/more power the newer Ultra has over this new Express? I realize my Ultra itself is outdated so I didn't know which to get to replace mine...

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hearrean1
Level 8

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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Thanks everyone; I believe I got my answer within these posts. It sounds like the newest Ultra is the way to go since, for the price, it supports Dolby Vision & Atmos & my older Ultra doesn't.

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StreamerUser
Level 16

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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RBBrittain
Level 7

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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I don't have a detailed comparison of the old Ultra vs. the new one, though the Walmart-exclusive Ultra LT appears to be similar to the old Ultra. The biggest features of the 2020 model Ultra that no other external Roku box has (not even the old Ultra & Express 4K+) are Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos -- the latter even from Netflix which is extremely picky about which devices get Atmos support. (The only other standalone streaming boxes that support Atmos on Netflix are up to twice the 2020 Ultra's price.)

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StreamerUser
Level 16

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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@RBBrittain wrote:

I don't have a detailed comparison of the old Ultra vs. the new one, though the Walmart-exclusive Ultra LT appears to be similar to the old Ultra. The biggest features of the 2020 model Ultra that no other external Roku box has (not even the old Ultra & Express 4K+) are Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos -- the latter even from Netflix which is extremely picky about which devices get Atmos support. (The only other standalone streaming boxes that support Atmos on Netflix are up to twice the 2020 Ultra's price.)


FYI, both the TS4K and the GCCWGTV ($40-50) support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos in NetFlix.

So you can get NetFlix DV/DA at half the price of the Ultra (of course, each device has other limitations, etc).

 

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RBBrittain
Level 7

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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TS4K? Doesn't ring a bell. And though the Chromecast with Google TV is supposed to allow Vision & Atmos, the last I checked its Netflix app didn't.

Netflix has a strict requirement for Atmos support in its apps that the device be capable of decoding DD+ Atmos internally, which in turn generally requires the device to either decode into MAT/PCM Atmos or re-encode back into DD+ Atmos. So far there are only four external streaming devices that fully qualify: Amazon Fire Cube (not Stick) 4K, Apple TV 4K, Nvidia Shield Pro from 2019 on... and the 2020 Roku Ultra.

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StreamerUser
Level 16

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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@RBBrittain wrote:

TS4K? Doesn't ring a bell. And though the Chromecast with Google TV is supposed to allow Vision & Atmos, the last I checked its Netflix app didn't.

Netflix has a strict requirement for Atmos support in its apps that the device be capable of decoding DD+ Atmos internally, which in turn generally requires the device to either decode into MAT/PCM Atmos or re-encode back into DD+ Atmos. So far there are only four external streaming devices that fully qualify: Amazon Fire Cube (not Stick) 4K, Apple TV 4K, Nvidia Shield Pro from 2019 on... and the 2020 Roku Ultra.


Tivo Stream 4K.  Might want to check the GCCWGTV again.  Again, both support NF DV/DA and have since last year:  TS4K since July, GCCWGTV since (release) last September , and both are $40-50.  The TS4K has a (supposed) Dolby decoder - the GCCWGTV (supposedly) doesnt.

Your information seems to be 7-10 months out of date.

NetFlix (and every other video provider) streams DD+/Atmos:  there is no "re-encoding back in DD+/Atmos" if it isnt decoded into into PCM MAT 2.x - its just passed through  (at least not on any sane device).

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hearrean1
Level 8

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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Thanks everyone; I believe I got my answer within these posts. It sounds like the newest Ultra is the way to go since, for the price, it supports Dolby Vision & Atmos & my older Ultra doesn't.

View solution in original post

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RBBrittain
Level 7

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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Re-encoding into DD+ Atmos is EXACTLY what most smart TVs do, especially to a regular ARC connection; so does the Fire Cube 4K. It is also one of the output options on the 2020 Roku Ultra, as well as current generation Nvidia Shields. Only the Apple TV 4K and (except as to discs) Xbox One & Series consoles generally *require* MAT/PCM Atmos output. Your own suggestion of no DD+ Atmos decoder on the Chromecast with Google TV itself suggests it does NOT support Atmos on Netflix, unless perhaps you sideload a Netflix app from another Android TV device that supports Atmos on Netflix (like the Shield).

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StreamerUser
Level 16

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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@RBBrittain wrote:

Re-encoding into DD+ Atmos is EXACTLY what most smart TVs do, especially to a regular ARC connection; so does the Fire Cube 4K. It is also one of the output options on the 2020 Roku Ultra, as well as current generation Nvidia Shields. Only the Apple TV 4K and (except as to discs) Xbox One & Series consoles generally *require* MAT/PCM Atmos output. Your own suggestion of no DD+ Atmos decoder on the Chromecast with Google TV itself suggests it does NOT support Atmos on Netflix, unless perhaps you sideload a Netflix app from another Android TV device that supports Atmos on Netflix (like the Shield).


No, it isnt - with built-in Atmos-capable TV apps, its streamed as DD+/Atmos, and passed through via ARC/eARC - there is no "re-encoding" from DD+/Atmos to DD+/Atmos by the TV (thats nonsensical).  It certainly isnt re-encoded to MAT 2.0/Atmos over ARC (it doesnt have the bandwidth for that, even in max bandwidth common mode)

And while the 4800 can output DD+/Atmos , either via passthrough ("Auto passthrough") or re-encode (if necessary, via "Auto detect"), its actually not a user-configurable option (you cannot select it, its only available via the two "Auto" modes and only if EDID detected - the same is true for MAT 2.x/Atmos, sans passthrough support).

The ATV4K and XB1X/S and XBSX/S do not require PCM MAT 2.0/Atmos output - its an audio output option for EDID-detected Atmos-supporting connections.

Its not "my suggestion" as to what the GCCWGTV and the NetFlix app on it support in terms of Atmos - its extant reality.  Google themselves clearly states it has no Dolby decoder (passthrough only):

https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/3046409?hl=en#zippy=%2Cchromecast-with-google-tv

"Video and audio support: Support Dolby Vision, VP9 and HLG decode. Support HDR10 and HDR10+ wide color space. Support Dolby audio pass through mode"

(which is also supported by the fact that there are many threads and posts from legacy DD-only TV/AVR owners frustrated and angry over the fact)

As to NetFlix Atmos, its a pretty well documented feature for the GCCWGTV:

https://help.netflix.com/en/node/23924

Chromecast with Google TV

4K Ultra HD

Subtitles, alternate audio, 5.1 surround sound, Dolby Atmos

 

https://www.avsforum.com/threads/chromecast-with-google-tv-what-works-what-doesnt.3176600/

Service4kDVAtmosContinue Watching
Amazon PrimeYesYesYesNo
NetflixYesYesYesYes

 

The TS4K is stated as having Dolby decoding support:    https://www.tivo.com/products/stream-4k

"Audio Decoding
MEPG, AAC, HE-ACC, OGG, OGA, FLAC, ALAC, Ape, M4A, RM, MPEG-1 layer1/2,  MPEG-2 Layer II, Dolby Digital/Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, DTS, WMA, WMA Pro (WMV optional)"

..and confirmed NetFlix Atmos:

https://www.tivocommunity.com/community/index.php?threads/tivo-stream-4k-audio-output-issues-observa...

"Netflix: Dolby Atmos in Dolby Digital Plus <<< NEW in Firmware Update V9.0-4.1.6 (was DD+ only prior to update)"

Again, your information is 7-10 months out of date - both the GCCWGTV and TS4K support NetFlix Atmos - and they can be had for $40-50 each. If you had either/both of them, or read the specs/reviews/etc, you'd know that.

Finally, as to the (oft supposed) NF Atmos-level decoder requirement for Atmos support - either it never was a requirement, or they recently relaxed the requirement, or the GCCWGTV has a hidden/limited Dolby decoder only applicable/accessible by/to NetFlix.

 

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RBBrittain
Level 7

Re: Roku Ultra vs. the new Express 4K+

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@StreamerUser wrote:

No, it isnt - with built-in Atmos-capable TV apps, its streamed as DD+/Atmos, and passed through via ARC/eARC - there is no "re-encoding" from DD+/Atmos to DD+/Atmos by the TV (thats nonsensical).  It certainly isnt re-encoded to MAT 2.0/Atmos over ARC (it doesnt have the bandwidth for that, even in max bandwidth common mode)

No, it's NOT "nonsensical". In fact, re-encoding all kinds of Dolby codecs as a consistent form of DD+ -- with Atmos metadata added where necessary -- is a key tool smart TVs use in combating multiple issues with AVR/soundbar support over regular ARC. For one, re-encoding is how smart TVs deal with lipsync issues over regular ARC; decoding audio BEFORE separating it from the video minimizes lipsync issues. (Lipsync issues most typically occur with regular ARC & optical/coax because lags occur in decoding AFTER the audio is separated from the video; eARC has built-in lipsync correction tools but doesn't eliminate this issue completely.) For another, it significantly reduces the audio lag many AVR/soundbar decoders experience when changing channels on a STB that passes thru raw bitstreams or PCM. I saw BOTH of those issues in action when I first connected my previous TCL 4K Roku TV to my Vizio SB36512-F6 soundbar using "Auto passthrough"; on the default "Auto detect" it transcoded everything to a consistent DD+ which eliminated channel-changing lag *and* allowed the TV to perform the needed lipsync correction. From there it's child's play for the TV to decode the DD+ part of a DD+ Atmos stream, re-encode it using its consistent version of DD+, and insert the Atmos metadata from the original stream. (May have been the original intent of the Netflix decoding mandate you deny exists.) It's not exactly the same with my current Vizio M55Q7-H1, but it also appears to use this "transcoding trick".


And while the 4800 can output DD+/Atmos , either via passthrough ("Auto passthrough") or re-encode (if necessary, via "Auto detect"), its actually not a user-configurable option (you cannot select it, its only available via the two "Auto" modes and only if EDID detected - the same is true for MAT 2.x/Atmos, sans passthrough support).

WRONG! On my current setup, with the 4800 (connected to TV, then to soundbar via ARC) on "Auto detect" it actually outputs stereo PCM even when DD+ Atmos is available; I have to set it to "Dolby Digital Plus" to force it to output DD+ Atmos. Perhaps you missed that because that setting doesn't actually say "Atmos"? (Hopefully I won't need that after today when my Thenaudio SHARC is supposed to arrive, so I can effectively upgrade my soundbar to eARC which my TV supports.)


The ATV4K and XB1X/S and XBSX/S do not require PCM MAT 2.0/Atmos output - its an audio output option for EDID-detected Atmos-supporting connections.

MAT/PCM Atmos is the *ONLY* way the ATV 4K will output Atmos. And it's "an audio output option" on Xbox One & Series ONLY for 4K Blu-rays where bitstreaming TrueHD Atmos from disc is ALSO an option. For games (where the console MUST decode ALL compressed audio so it can mix it; only PCM can be mixed) and Netflix (thanks to the decoding mandate), MAT/PCM Atmos is the *ONLY* option.


Its not "my suggestion" as to what the GCCWGTV and the NetFlix app on it support in terms of Atmos - its extant reality.  Google themselves clearly states it has no Dolby decoder (passthrough only):

https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/3046409?hl=en#zippy=%2Cchromecast-with-google-tv

"Video and audio support: Support Dolby Vision, VP9 and HLG decode. Support HDR10 and HDR10+ wide color space. Support Dolby audio pass through mode"

(which is also supported by the fact that there are many threads and posts from legacy DD-only TV/AVR owners frustrated and angry over the fact)

Which, once again, only CONFIRMS why the "GCCWGTV" (as you continue to confusingly refer to the Chromecast with Google TV) CANNOT meet the Netflix decoding mandate for Atmos support. *IF* that has been relaxed, it's *ONLY* been recently (FAR LESS than "7-10 months", per NUMEROUS reports that Atmos did NOT work on the Chromecast with Google TV's Netflix app initially).

I've never really argued with you on the Tivo Stream 4K as I wasn't familiar with it till your previous reply (notice I didn't recognize your abbreviation there at all), but the Netflix support page you posted is the FIRST thing I've seen so far that suggests the Chromecast with Google TV *does* support Atmos on Netflix now. Given the NUMEROUS reports otherwise FAR LESS than "7-10 months" ago, I'm sure that was added just recently; assuming it's correct (it IS from Netflix after all), Netflix must have JUST relaxed its decoding mandate (which made more sense on smart TVs for the reasons I gave earlier; external streaming boxes can always readily pass thru DD+ Atmos via regular, non-ARC/eARC HDMI without running into lipsync issues).

Bottom line: All your nitpicking at my posts meant NOTHING to the OP. The OP decided, correctly IMO, that they needed the 4800 because the Express 4K+ (like their older Ultra) doesn't support Vision *or* Atmos. It also factored into why I bought a 4800 after replacing my TCL with a Vizio; in other ways the Vizio is a better TV, but Vizio's SmartCast platform (though much improved over the years) still doesn't quite live up to the versatility of Roku, and I certainly still wanted Vision & Atmos on Roku.

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