Forum Thread

What offers better 4k quality? Dedicated streaming device (NVidia shield, roku 4) or integrated TV apps?

MarcintheCloud 19 13 November 18, 2015 at 05:09 PM
Hi folks,

I'm kind of scratching my head at this one. I bought one of the new Vizio M series 4k tv's. I'll invest in a nicer once when 4K becomes more widely adopted.

I also bought an NVidia shield streamer, mostly because I'm invested in the Google Play ecosystem and it's 4K compatible. Something tells me Google Play movies will get 4K support before Apple does, but ironically, Amazon beat them both to the punch.

Anyways, I realized after buying the Shield that it only does Netflix and Youtube in 4K, and is missing some of the other apps that deliver 4K content (Amazon, Ultraflix, etc).

I was thinking of also getting a Roku 4 to bridge the gap, but having 2 streamers sounds silly. I realized that the Vizio has those missing apps, but was wondering if the quality is any different than what I'd get on a Roku or Nvidia Shield TV?

I know a lot of you download and store 4k movies and stream them that way. On a different note, where do you get 4k content for download (legally)? I have always liked the idea of having my own dedicated server for movies.

Anyways, thanks for any advice!
Best,
Marc

12 Comments

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#2
it shouldn't make that much difference. 4k content is 4k content. Some devices could be more sluggish or have various quirks or issues, read reviews. 4k content debuted on integrated apps for drm / content control reasons, not because they're better than stb's.
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#3
Since you already have the Shield and the TV why don't you compare? I don't think the same content on one will be noticeably better than the other. The Shield is probably more flexible and probably has more horsepower than the TV I would guess.

I personally favor external boxes to built in TV stuff. The built in always seems to take longer to update, support new stuff, In the past it's been slower and sometimes the networking isnt great (Built in wifi). With 4k you need good networking to deal with the higher data requirements. Having 2 streaming boxes isn't unheard of but I would agree most people have 1 and maybe a chromecast.

As for downloading content I don't know of any places like that yet with a lot of content. The files are very big and we are still at the beginning of content being offered.
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#4
Thanks for the input folks. I'll definitely be doing some comparisons myself.
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#5
Nvidia Shield is better because of raw specs, a byproduct of the game-grade features. personally used droid boxes with very similar claims but I felt a bit dissapointed, so the 3 G ram will make a big difference whether you game or not. Another plus is it has the latest mu-mimo wifi capability (so as long as you have a router with it enabled or in the future like the Netgear Nighthawk x8) and decent Mbit speed. I have heard anecdotally from various people that the Nvidia shield gives the best output of 4k quality, hopefully they bridge the gap down the line for Nvidia, based on the popularity I'm guessing it makes sense, Im not a big fan of using TV-app integration just due to the lack of hardware. Ive heard of buffering issues people have had with their og devices and they get the Shield they just vanish or are few/far between.
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Last edited by zyzz8 November 19, 2015 at 04:56 PM
#6
My understanding is the integrated is better because it does not have to deal with the HDMI 2.0 issue and 60hz@4k. But from my understanding is that TV does not have true 120hz anyway.

With that being said, what apps are you missing on the nvidia box? I don't see why you would not b able to slideload the amazon app on to it like any other Android device.
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#7
There are plenty of ways to tell if you are streaming in 4k or not. Try to fire up a 4k stream from the TV's amazon app.

Quote from mrbobhcrhs View Post :
My understanding is the integrated is better because it does not have to deal with the HDMI 2.0 issue and 60hz@4k. But from my understanding is that TV does not have true 120hz anyway.

With that being said, what apps are you missing on the nvidia box? I don't see why you would not b able to slideload the amazon app on to it like any other Android device.
Amazon has effectively blocked access to the store even with sideloaded apps. Last I heard, in order to use it you needed a keyboard, which is a major PITA.
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Last edited by brbubba November 20, 2015 at 05:37 AM
#8
Quote from jkee View Post :
it shouldn't make that much difference. 4k content is 4k content. Some devices could be more sluggish or have various quirks or issues, read reviews. 4k content debuted on integrated apps for drm / content control reasons, not because they're better than stb's.
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#9
Quote from Gidaean View Post :
....
DRM is the reason 4k content showed up on integrated apps first. The specs of the ram and processor in any device are going to have a big impact, but it isn't always easy to find out what those are for a tv.

4k content is a lot more resource intensive, but in theory, you'd expect all mainstream devices marketed at handling it to be capable of the task. If any aren't it's going to be specific to a particular product, there isn't some universal truth here.

There still isn't that much 4k content and i'm not sure that there's any you can legally download for offline viewing... maybe on M-Go.

Gotta love how Vizio smart tv's watch you... even on content that's from an external source.
http://www.cnet.com/news/vizio-sm...-the-deal/
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Last edited by jkee November 20, 2015 at 11:12 PM
#10
Quote from jkee View Post :
DRM is the reason 4k content showed up on integrated apps first. The specs of the ram and processor in any device are going to have a big impact, but it isn't always easy to find out what those are for a tv.

4k content is a lot more resource intensive, but in theory, you'd expect all mainstream devices marketed at handling it to be capable of the task. If any aren't it's going to be specific to a particular product, there isn't some universal truth here.

There still isn't that much 4k content and i'm not sure that there's any you can legally download for offline viewing... maybe on M-Go.

Gotta love how Vizio smart tv's watch you... even on content that's from an external source.
http://www.cnet.com/news/vizio-sm...-the-deal/
I agree with your first, third and fourth paragraphs 100%.

For the second, you would expect they'd be the same, but I think you'd be wrong. Just look at HD- early streaming devices like Roku 1/2 have terrible streaming quality in HD compared to something with much more computational power like a PS3. Quality, powerful cpus, better video hardware and more optimized software makes a big difference between a mediocre viewing experience and a much better one. I suspect a lot of that power is coming into play with handling tricks to deal with the compression, doing more sophisticated interpolation, doing more buffering, etc.
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#11
Quote from brbubba View Post :
There are plenty of ways to tell if you are streaming in 4k or not. Try to fire up a 4k stream from the TV's amazon app.


Amazon has effectively blocked access to the store even with sideloaded apps. Last I heard, in order to use it you needed a keyboard, which is a major PITA.
I had had no issues slide loading apps on to my fire tv's. Some slideloaded apps I need a keyboard for as they are only designed for touch screens (IE comcast's / fios's aps), but A small bluetooth keyboard fixes that.
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....


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#12
I also have the same question. I have a Vizio M55-C2 series with Roku 4 and 250MB down and 21 MB up internet. I am very happy with Roku 4 but i was thinking of exchanging to the Nvidia Shield because it has 1GB ethernet compare to Roku 4 100MB ethernet. Will that make a difference streaming 4K content. When i do speedtest on my Roku 4 i get 95MB download. I wonder if Nvidia shield i will get higher 100MB so 4K streaming will look even better.
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#13
Quote from vmiranda View Post :
I also have the same question. I have a Vizio M55-C2 series with Roku 4 and 250MB down and 21 MB up internet. I am very happy with Roku 4 but i was thinking of exchanging to the Nvidia Shield because it has 1GB ethernet compare to Roku 4 100MB ethernet. Will that make a difference streaming 4K content. When i do speedtest on my Roku 4 i get 95MB download. I wonder if Nvidia shield i will get higher 100MB so 4K streaming will look even better.
It won't matter. 4k content from the net generally uses <20Mbps. 95 vs 100 is probably just protocol overhead. gigabit could use more than 100mbps, but the content just doesn't use that much bandwidth so it's any easy place for the mfg to save a little $.
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