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Alternative to Apple TV that supports HD Audio?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by cmm, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. cmm
    macrumors 6502a

    Hi, what would you suggest for an alternative to the Apple TV that supports HD Audio (e.g. DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD). My AVR can handle these, so passthrough is fine...

    I would prefer not to build my own htpc because of the cost (I can justify the cost of each component other than the case, which seems to be about $100 for a good htpc case), so I'm looking for something under $250...

  2. macrumors 6502


    good thread.
    i wuld like to know this as-well.

    NO hd audio codes is a bummer.
    id rather take 720p all the time & have HD audio, than have 1080p & dolby digital/dts :mad:
  3. Ksh
    macrumors member

    Interesting :)

    I don't know anyone but lets see if some mate does!

    WD Live TV supports DTS apart from Dolby Digiral but not the actual HD formats.Afaik only Ps3 activates these ones on my Onkyo A/V hehe
  4. macrumors regular

  5. macrumors newbie

    Dune is great, also check out the Popcorn Hour stuff. It is certainly not in the 99$ ATV budget range though. More like 200-300$ for their higher tier stuff

    Also check out http://www.mediasmartserver.net for reviews and whatnot

    hope this helps and good luck

    I personally just ordered the Netgear NTV-550 from Staples for $99. Has HD passthru and is tiny :) http://www.staples.com/Netgear-NTV550-HD-Media-Player/product_927671

    p.s. Of course, in getting HD passthru for cheap, you may have to sacrifice some features ( Netflix, Amazon instant and Airplay etc ) since anything in ATV price range wont have it all.
  6. macrumors regular

    The popcornhour A200 is currently out of stock, but costs about 150 and according to it's specs page it has audio pass through for truehd and dtshd
  7. macrumors regular

    why not ps3? netflix, amazon, vudu, blu ray, dlna.......
  8. macrumors newbie

    I thought ps3 was my solution too BUT alas..

    1. No bitstreaming of HD audio (don't know about the slim)
    2. If you want HD audio you have to manually convert movie audio tracks to LPCM
    3. Only suports 1080p24 for blu ray (which means flicker for mkv's)

    Don't get me wrong, I love my ps3 :)
  9. macrumors newbie

    An HD Audio ATV "compatible" way can be to encode DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD in ALAC.
    Unfortunately, you do not get 6 channels playback though, at least with ATV.
  10. knux11, Sep 25, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012

    macrumors regular

    the slim resolves 1 and 2. not sure about 3. maybe find someone to swap yours with?
  11. macrumors 65816

    Seriously?!! Why?

    Most listeners (with good hearing) can't tell the difference under controlled conditions (blind tests). People often get confused because they compare HD and DD/DTS tracks which are mixed differently, plus often the HD track is louder, so they THINK they hear a noticeable difference.

    As far as the 720p vs. 1080p, it's true, it may not matter if you are watching a 42" screen from 7' or more, but on a 60" screen from 7' someone with good eyesight should be able to tell the difference.

    Anyway, the reality is that lossless audio is far less useful in real life than a lot of other things, such as App Store capability, for instance. :rolleyes:
  12. macrumors 6502a

    I am with you on that. I have a modest home entertainment setup (a 5.1 setup). I'm very pleased with the quality of the AC3 passthrough Apple use already, and it is compatible with all the receivers on the market.

    But if you have a very good setup, and want to enjoy the HD audio, why can't you just go and get the BD movie from the selves, take the disc out of the case and insert it into your BD player. Are you overlooking the obvious solution here?
  13. macrumors 6502


    I, myself, have a nice Pioneer Elite / Klipsch 5.1 setup at the house.
    I can always tell when something is NOT lossless audio.
    It just sounds compressed and muddled (if thats the right word)
    For lossless, its like an open highway where all the words are clear and everything sounds more 'open'

    Most people cant see a difference from 720p to 1080p, I can see the difference.
    Most people think audio is secondary, but I think audio is more important.

    Different strokes for different folks.
    One of the main reasons I will NOT buy any movies off of iTunes or VUDU (besides the free digital copies coming from bluray purchases) is due to NO lossless audio.

    VUDU is trying with Dolby Digital Plus, but thats crap too.
    Lossless is where its at. Lossless is basically HD Audio to match your HD picture........how could you not want to hear it!!??

    A movie theater is all about the sound, oh how beautiful it sounds there. Thats what I want at home also......LOSSLESS AUDIO.

    Also remember that the crummy optical cable most people use on their home theater systems cant handle lossless audio. Imagine how many people actually have decent setups, which are lossless audio compatable, yet they use an optical cable thinking they are getting the best audio from their bluray players LOL.
  14. macrumors 6502

    I'm sorry, but someone has to interject. This is the biggest bunch of garbage I've read in a long time. If you're running 1080p content through some worthless garbage television from Wal-Mart and powering your 5.1 system using a receiver you bought with your HTIB, than yes, I'll give it to you, it's almost impossible to tell any significant difference between those audio and video formats. On the other hand, if you're running quality equipment, those differences become significant. The problem lies with the equipment and the source material, not the audio and video formats.



    you my friend are running an optimum system. And so am I. I have an Emotiva Amp, Processor, and DAC, feeding 4 Boston Acoustics A360s, a BA center channel & a Sub. If you can't tell a difference between lossless and Dolby Digital there's a problem. Like I said, it's the equipment, not the formats.
  15. macrumors 65816


    LOL is right....;)

    An Emotiva owner and big box store speakers owners (Klipsch/Boston Acoustics) shouting that they can hear differences. Of course. :rolleyes:

    These are the same uninformed claims people make about separates, or DACs, or "the need for power." Most of the time they just parrot whatever the salesman told them before they parted with their $$$.

    Search for ABX tests, there are aplenty around. Even in controlled environment the vast majority of people cannot tell the difference between 320kbps and lossless in a double blind, level matched test (just like they can't tell the difference between separates and a mainstream receiver).

    But it's hard to convince the ignorant, who will always claim that THEY can hear the difference (most likely because the HD version was mixed hot and the comparison was not level matched).

    For the record, my main AV system is considerably better that either of the above.... :D Nananana.... :rolleyes:

    And no, I cannot reliably tell the difference between 320kbps MOG streams and my lossless versions (in more informal blind tests than true ABX), particularly since there are so many other variables in home testing.
  16. macrumors newbie

    Really ?? Should have done my research! I just might sell the "spaceship" and get me a slim lol.

    For all the rest arguing over lossless and lossy, I mean come on... If somebody wants to see the DTS-HD and TRUE HD led light up on their system it's their right, especially if you pay for that privilege.

    It's true, most cannot tell the difference, but then again, most cannot tell the difference between having tessellation on or off in a game, but the few that care spend hundreds of dollars for gaming rigs and gfx cards.

    I myself spent 6 days trying to get my minidisplay port to send HD audio to my receiver and got it to work yest under Bootcamp, with PowerDVD. After A-B'ing between DTS-ES and DTS-HD on Star Wars IV, I can honestly say that I could not tell the difference. Thats just me
  17. macrumors 6502

    As though Klipsch and Boston don't make reference equipment. Are you this delusional? I mean Bowers and paradigm make good stuff, yet it's still sold in big boxed stores. What about Mordaunt-Short, Kef, and Mirage, saw those in a big boxed store recently. Must be bad according to your logic. Only MacUser2007 homemade basement speakers sound great, everything else is futile. By the way, Marantz owns BA, Marantz is run by Ken Ishiwata, the new A series and M series were German engineered and acoustically tuned by Ishiwata himself. Best bang for the buck out there right now by far.

    Remember, I'm not the one making the egregious claim that a Zenith HTIB from Wal-Mart is all I need for my audio enjoyment. You are. Like I said, if you can't tell the difference between compressed 20-year-old technology (DolbyDigital) and a lossless audio track, than I can't help you. Only a trained physician can. And I would seek his help immediately. Could be permanent. :eek:

    Downloaded one on the app store (ABXTester). plugged it into my so-called inferior big boxed store waste of money system and got 100%. :rolleyes: Yes, using your computer speakers can be somewhat daunting, I would suggest you upgrade.

    I'm ignorant? Using your theory, I should go to Wal-Mart purchase the cheapest crap from China, sell my Sharp Elite TV, all my audio equipment, and simply enjoy the great serenity of a Sceptry or Hisense TV. Your nuts!!!!

    Sure it is, in your fantasy driven world anything is possible. :rolleyes:
  18. macrumors 6502


    Ive been looking at getting an Emotiva, but with the kids in the house (9 & 3 year old), Ill never get to use it lol.
    I have a kick ass Klipsch Rf series all around the living room.
    I went from Polks to the Klipsch as i LOVE the horn based tweeters.

    If someone cant tell the difference from lossless to lossy then they have horrible hearing, horrible equipment or want to think their Sears setup is the best around and they dont need lossless.

    Dont worry about that guy above.
    He has the common mentality of a woman walking into Best Buy.......buy whatever the sales guy tells you to lol.

    I want to upgrade my SC27 to a newer model, but I cant ring myself to get rid of the powerhouse.
    I LOVE THE ICE AMP inside.
    Sure I dont 'need' 140 wpc, but i like to have the headroom.....plus @ 80-100wpc my system is super clear while some people's 100wpc amp is distorting @ 55wpc lol
  19. knux11, Sep 25, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012

    macrumors regular

    yep, i have a launch 60gb and 2 slims. i remember reading about it when the slims were first released, couldn't tell you now, but there was a hardware change that enabled the bitstream thing.

    regarding the sound thing yall are arguing about, to say you can't hear the difference, well i feel sorry for you.

    maybe it's a factor other than the fact that one is "HD AUDIO" and the other is not, but when I first started watching blu rays the audio difference was bigger than the visual one to me. My dad, completely unprovoked, in another state and obviously with different equipment, said the same. I'm nowhere near technically knowledgeable enough to tell you why, but to me everything's punchier, more distinct, and enveloping. The only movie i've watched on both apple tv and blu ray is the dark knight, which i watched on atv just 2 days ago, and like another poster stated, "muddier" comes to mind.

    Personally, I like the visual clarity of Full HD, but i enjoy the sound more. Without the sound i'd prolly be ok watching upscaled DVD's/ATV.

    oh, and meant to say, the original ps3 does play hd audio, it just converts it before sending the signal out. you'd still hear exactly the same sound, just your receiver won't be doing the work, so no "DTS-HD" lighting up on it.
  20. macUser2007, Sep 25, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    Dude, you must love beer too, because that's the level of your "kick ass" speakers -- the rfs, like many of the Klipsch speakers have a terrible impedance dip right at the most audible band (2-4kHz) which is definitely audible and coloring the sound reproduction, as opposed to the difference between HD formats and DTS/DD, which if mixed the same and level matched, should not have a readily audible difference.

    Horns are very efficient and are thus great for large venus, such as movie theaters, but they are not all that transparent and that's why are not used in most home theaters. But yes, they do sell them to beer-chugging fat guys at Best Buy, 'cause they come cheap and go loud. :rolleyes:

    While Class D amps are great in general (efficient, cool running and potentially compact -- although not the Elites, since they have to cater to the mass market which buys amps by the pound), the Pioneer room eq scheme is old and does not do any sub eq, which is where you really need the room eq generally. And you need a much more sophisticated room eq system to tame those rfs, anyway....

    Yeah, well, women do have better hearing in general and retain better high frequency recognition later in life. Which means that if anyone can hear the difference between HD and DTS/DD in a proper ABX test, it'd be most likely a woman.

    I am not sure why I am even wasting my time arguing audio in a forum like this, but the bottom line is that there isn't much of a difference and it shouldn't matter if ATV passes HD audio or just DTS/DD. (And yes, you may hear a clear difference, but that's because the mixes may be different and many of the HD ones run even hotter than the lossy versions, which has little to do with audio quality).

    Cheers and enjoy your Klipsch/BA "kick ass" equipment.
  21. macrumors regular

    Sounds like one side is arguing "scientific/lab differences" while the other is arguing differences in personal experience.

    Both sides could potentially be right, as it sounds like macuser2007 is saying it's not the codec/sound format (or whatever) that's making the difference, but if you hear a difference, it's from something else.

    May be true, but i'm sure the average user doesn't care.

    Play one=muddy, play another=awesome, and the choice is easy. That works for most people, regardless of the reason, and there's really nothing wrong with that.
  22. macrumors 65816

    More often than not it's play another=louder/hotter. Not in good mixes, but often enough.

    It's basically the audio equivalent of turning up the contrast/brightness of the TV sets in Best Buy to levels that make your eyeballs bleed, because they know that this is what the average Joe will be drawn to and end up buying.

    And I am not saying that there is anything wrong with HD sound, I am just noting that it's more of a marketing tool (which, as we see, works) and that statements asserting that it's more important than Netflix and image quality are misinformed.
  23. macrumors regular

    i understand what you're saying.

    I'm just saying as long as the end user is happy with it, the rest of it doesn't really matter.
  24. macrumors 6502


    The Free Lossless Audio Codec is a compression algorithm, without any loss of quality (lossless) audio compression. This codec is the abbreviation used FLAC. It is an open source project started by Josh Coalson. FLAC achieves a compression of 30 to 50 percent.
    FLAC is supported by most popular media players like MediaMonkey, Winamp, XMMS, Media Player Classic, Rhythmbox, Foobar2000, Windows Media Player after installing K-lite mega codec pack, VLC media player and Songbird. To FLAC files into iTunes, one must do so through other programs such as Fluke.
  25. macrumors 6502


    100% agreed :)

    What are you talking about?
    Lossless audio is where its at.
    If you cant tell the difference, then you have inferior equipment.
    You are the 1st person Ive ever heard in any forum say that lossless is only here as a marketing tool.
    Blurays with lossless audio are THE REASON to buy bluray over dvd.

    Stop it with your lies. Nobody is being convinced by the crap you spew, youre only making yourself look like even more of a fool than you did earlier in this thread.

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