Apple TV 4K First impressions (on 4K HDR Bravia with LCD display)!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Michelasso, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Michelasso macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #1
    So, I have eventally bought an Apple TV 4K (just the 32 GB since the 64GB is MIA. Nowhere to be found!) and this is my initial feeling, using it with my Sony Bravia KD-49XD8099 Android TV with a 4K HDR IPS 10 bit panel:


    ATV 4K Settings:
    • Format: 4K SDR 60Hz
    • HDMI Output: YCbCr 4:4:4 - I could choose RGB High or Low but I honestly didn't notice any difference
    • Match Content: Range & Frame rate - to switch automatically to HDR when needed
    • Surround Sound: Best Quality Available - I have a Yamaha RX-v483 with 5.1 physical channels. Support up to 7.1
    The first impression is that in SDR the image generally looks darker than on my Android TV with the same picture settings. So much that I disabled the Light Sensor, otherwise previously enabled to reduce the "fog effects" even in SDR. I am not sure if it is a placebo effect.

    It takes a bit of time to start a video because of the range matching (none if always in HDR or SDR). The ugliest thing was that each time the infamous HDMI banner was appearing. But fortunately Sony, in the last Android update, must have introduced the option to disable the banner for good.


    Netflix:
    • It looks great in SDR (with the light sensor disabled as mentioned).
    • In HDR series like "The OA" still show their entire ugliness
    • I am not sure how it works, but if I set the ATV 4K always in HDR, some Netflix shows get advertised as Dolby Vision instead of HDR. In SDR there is no mention that a show is in HDR.
    • The audio seems slightly improved, but again it can be a placebo effect

    Amazon Prime Video (yes, it's there!):

    • The main page is similar to Android TV. Much faster - one can easily scroll between the shows - but maybe less complete - the management of the content watched is absent for example
    • The video player uses the standard tvOS interface. Which is glorious. I can change audio and subtitles languages on the fly (impossible in Android TV). Skip 10s back and forward with a click. Jump forward and backward selecting the position with the remote touchpad.
    • The image in both HDR and SDR is great. With black bars (and not gray as in the TV) in non 16:9 videos
    • It reaches UHD resolution quite immediately
    • The audio never stutters.
    • I do see 5.1 channels using the "Straight" mode in my AVR (there has been reports that it plays only "2.1 audio"), but not in all TV shows/movies. In Android TV it seems to be always 5.1
    • The lip sync, at least in a show I watched yesterday, was still broken. In Android I can fix it jumping backward and forward. Not so in the ATV 4K.


    MEDIA PLAYERS:

    Infuse 5:
    • There is a month of free trial for the Pro version and it is.. amazing. The Pro version costs £14.99/€16.99. Othewise there are annual and monthly subscriptions.
    • It supports NFS/SMB/SSH/FTP/WebDAV (as Kodi does)
    • It builds all libraries for movies and TV shows (as Kodi does)
    • It supports the subtitles, but only from OpenSubtitles
    • It plays nearly all video formats. vp9.2 is not supported in ATV 4K and sometime it plays the video downloaded from YouTube as well. Hmm.. Pieces of videos. Not reliable for vp9.2 (and no automatic HDR either).
    • It supports Hi-Res audio, up to DTS-HD, with its own codecs (but paying a royalty and thus the high price). And it sounds amazing. Honestly in a video I jumped when an iron gate ( [​IMG] ) was opening
    • Never a buffering as long as both the ATV 4K and NFS server (my MacBook Pro) are wired. With my MBP connected via WiFi (even at more than 300Mbps) it was a mess. But I suspect something is wrong with the network services and WiFi in macOS at this point.
    • Anyway, it's a must buy

    Plex:
    • A mess as in Android TV. With the server transcoding and transcoding and then transcoding. It might be ok for people with powerful CPUs for the servers, but it becomes unusable for 4K content using an i5 CPU like mine

    Kodi:
    • After an initial mess up with the provisioning profiles, since I was selecting a virtual Apple TV instead of my own device in Xcode, I managed to install and run it. It's a pleasure for the eyes (and my nerves)! It loads in a second or so into its 4K interface!! Audio passthrough is working, but not so the HDR matching. My HDR videos play in SDR.


    APPS SUPPORTED:

    It depends on the Country. In Italy it is missing quite some popular apps. TIMvision, Infinity, Mediaset and so on. Android TV on that side is much better. In UK there are more apps supported (and now the Apple TV app as well). USA has plenty.

    So my conclusion is that in terms of quality of image it is worth it. And so it is in terms of audio passthrough (which has the DTS broken on Android TV for Bravia). In terms of network and CPU performances there is no contest, with the ATV 4K obviously being the clear winner. It integrates well with my Bravia 49XD8099. In terms of apps it's good to still have Android TV as a backup, to cover the apps missing. Still, I do not regret the purchase at all! The apps I need are there, especially, finally, a great and fast media player!
     
  2. archer75 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    Plex is flawless on my android shield tv. It direct plays on my shield, no transcoding. It doesn't fully support 4k/HDR yet on the ATV but it still transcodes fine on my end.

    Infuse is the best option on the ATV but not my favorite in general. I'll use plex on every other device with great results. I'll use plex for my tv shows on the ATV but infuse for movies. Unless I want atmos, then I switch to my shield.

    Kodi is the most overrated program on the planet, IMO.

    Netflix shows dolby vision when a show is available in dolby vision. I leave the ATV set in SDR but with the match option turned on. If your TV supports Dolby vision then you should always see dolby vision from netflix if the show has it.
     
  3. Michelasso thread starter macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #3
    Well, yeah. About Plex I had to write that "it too often transcodes on Android TV on Bravia" (with the audio limited by HDMI ARC and the DTS passthrough broken). Which is one of the reasons why I bought the ATV 4K after all. I have recently bought a new Yamaha AVR, I want hi-res audio! :)

    About Kodi.. Why overrated? It does the job! In my tests it's the only free media player that direct plays all formats. Plex, of which I was a fan, doesn't. All the others I tested were a pain. In both Apple TV 4K and Android TV. Crashes for starting (VLC is unbelievable. I can't even select the SMB resources that it quits to the main screen). And even having a powerful CPU, when it transcodes HEVC videos it makes the image more compressed, also losing the HDR when present. The ugliest thing is that Plex v5.10.x was working with more videos than the latest releases. Sometime I even get server error with videos that were playing just fine in 5.10.x.

    Still, my favorite in Infuse Pro indeed. The only thing is that I can't synch the library when watching my stuff with Plex in the Chromecast in the kitchen (or well, I could building the libraries via DLNA I suppose).
     
  4. Macalicious2011 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Thanks for the thorough write-up. Are you happy with the purchase and how are you finding the image quality compared with Android TV?
     
  5. Michelasso thread starter macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #5
    I find it great, honestly. I thought it was a placebo effect, but I am more and more convinced that the HDR vision improved. And no grey horizontal bars instead of black bars, for starting. They are deep black. You may need to change the Picture Settings in your Bravia. At least I did and it didn't take much. The ATV also has a Color Bars picture to use for calibration.

    Ah, I strongly suggest to use the ATV 4K in SDR and then enable the Range matching to automatically switch to HDR when needed. Otherwise, at least on my TV, the GUI in HDR gets too washed. I can fix it raising the Colours to 70, but it isn't ideal (also because I use an AVR and that setting is for HDMI ARC, so it would stick with the PS4 as well).
     
  6. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #6
    FANTASTIC review. Thank you buddy!!!
    Something that i'm finding very interesting is that TWO of my new films - Hampstead and Paris Can Wait which having been on sale on iTunes for a few weeks now are NOT even available on BLURAY with Paris Can Wait not even listed!!! I'm finding that with several films that I bought last year and in 2016 - Before We Go (Chris Evans - INCREDIBLE FILM) not even on DVD, same with Summer of 8 and This Sumer Feeling.
    I find that very interesting as it looks as though 4K BluRay is truly dead. Having these films not even launching on BluRay really paints a picture.
    PS Those in the UK keep your eyes open for Talk Talk's new 1GB speed broadband. We have it in York. It's the fastest in the country and something that will upset everyone - it's £21 a month including line rental AND TRULY UNLIMITED DOWNLOADS!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully many more urban areas will get this :)
    I'm thinking the ATV 4K connected via ethernet with 1000MB broadband will be a rather nice experience :) 10K 120fps anyone ;) ;) ;)
     
  7. Michelasso thread starter macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #7
    You wish. maybe in the Apple TV 6th generation, since the ATV 4K is limited by the HDMI 2.0. Not to mention that it would need a much beefier CPU. :D

    Unfortunately i did some tests with UHD HDR 60fps demos that play just fine with Sony's Video in the TV and with the ATV 4K I see some, although minor, frame rate drops (in both Infuse and Kodi). I am not sure if the ATV 4K has an ASIC co-processor for video decoding like the Bravia do. In any case the one on Bravia is quite powerful. Too bad the Bravia's SoCs are a piece of junk.

    PS: I am glad you liked my review! Thanks. :)
     
  8. priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #8
    That may be the reason why Apple does not support UHD@60Hz playback in it’s native video player.
    At least I have not been able to play any 60fps UHD clip over Home Sharing.
     
  9. Michelasso thread starter macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #9
    Oh, that's interesting. Then sorry for asking, but how do you enable it for movies/videos? In the ATV 4K I do have access to my iTunes music stored in my MBP, I tried to add a video library in iTunes, but it does nothing.
     
  10. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #10
    Hi Priltv 8 - So what happens when I film at 60fps in 4K on my iPhone X? When I AirPLay to the ATV is this sending out at 1080p and then the ATV is upscaling to 4K?
    Looks amazing anyway and I guess if that prevents buffering as this HEVC uncompressed file is huge :) (400mbps in size per minute!!!). Tempted to film in 1080p which uses h264.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 24, 2017 ---
    Haha yes, ATV 6 in say 2 years time will have HDMI 2.1 and WOW that could be very interesting indeed!!!
     
  11. priitv8, Dec 24, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017

    priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #11
    iTunes ingests the clip finely. Provided it is in mp4 container and has AVC or HEVC encoded video. QuickTime has its own quirk with HEVC - fourCC needs to be set to ‘hvc1’ to be recognised as such. Many encoders will set it to ‘hev1’ and QT won’t recognise that.
    All Apple media players build on QT.
    I used the Sony 4K HDR Camp demo video, readily available on UHD demo sites. That clip is presented in 60fps.
    I get the following resposnse on aTV:
    D1C5A6EA-34A4-4573-AD0E-36A38962D84E.jpeg
    I do not know exactly how AirPlay handles 4K content, but I presume it will be transcoded to lower framerate. Santa won’t bring me iPX this year, so I have no way to test myself ;)
     
  12. McScooby macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    Location:
    The Paps of Glenn Close, Scotland.
    #12
    Off Topic - It amazes me how these nuggets are still in business, you buy :apple: to protect your data, & then get involved with prob the biggest ISP out there with such blatant disregard for you or your data with their breaches, £21/mth is way too expensive, even if they paid the customer, still too expensive!:eek:
     
  13. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #13
    I know but sadly in the UK, there's only Talk Talk, BT or Virgin. Virgin doesn't work well in streets with many customers, BT not good. Doesn't leave much.
     
  14. Michelasso, Dec 24, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017

    Michelasso thread starter macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #14
    Awww!! I see it now! That's because I tried to add the wrong folders, with no mp4 videos at all, only mkv. Yes, it did add few clips, now. "Sony 4K HDR Camp" included, which I had already. It gets added, it plays in my MBP with macOS High Sierra but not in the ATV 4K. Sony 4K Triluminos demo, which is 30 fps (but no HDR), instead plays just fine.

    It's quite disappointing, actually. I hated already quickTime in the Mac for this.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone!!
     
  15. priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #15
    What exactly? That there is no love towards MKV from Apple? :D
     
  16. Michelasso thread starter macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #16
    Yup. Indeed. Totally! What's not to love about mkv?! The Android part in our Bravia is what it is, but at least Video plays just everything!

    Oh well, it's good to have Android TV as a backup, in case. :rolleyes:
     
  17. x-evil-x macrumors 68040

    x-evil-x

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #17
    why is Kodi overrated? what other program can you use to watch basically anything ever produced? Hmm. Lets not go into the moral code of people using this either. why is it overrated otherwise?
     
  18. priitv8, Dec 26, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017

    priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #18
    Dunno. Probably because it is commonly associated with pirating, studios may not love it either. Or maybe just because it is open community thing and not "industry standard". Look how long did it take Sony to start supporting it. Sony has also lots at stake on movie production side.
    Incidentally, I also don't see much where it is better than MP4. Hence I normally just repack all MKV-s into iTunes-friendly MP4. Most have suitable codecs anyway.
    Lossless audio is a bit different story, but not inherently in MP4 design, just it's implementation rules.
     
  19. Michelasso thread starter macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #19
    Well, from that point of view I consider it overrated as well. Sure, one can access in a way or another any media that has been shared in the internet. But the quality is usually awful. It takes ages to access anything. It gets stuck. But as a media player is great. Although the Siri Remote driver is a bit clunky. But it may depend on the skin as well.

    @priitv8 The industry has no issues "stealing" stuff from the public domain, though. Look at Java in Android. But Google supports mkv indeed. Let's look at all the pieces of open source SW included in macOS. The Apache HTTP server for example. It's there. Or looking at XNU kernel source codes I have found plenty of modules with GNU or other Open Source licences.

    Then what about commercial SW? We have got HEVC support only in macOS High Sierra. And my MBP 13" (early 2015, so nearly 3 years ago) did have partial HEVC acceleration HW. Now it works with some videos indeed. I would say Apple is a bit too slow and/or stubborn in the video department. Like the ATV 4K. I was surprised it didn't come out last year. Apple lost a train for being the one always ahead on new technologies. And honestly.. For €200 Apple could add a piece of HW for VP9.2 HW acceleration.. Either that or they should start their own video clips service. I am a bit tired of the YouTube monopoly. Maybe Amazon?
     
  20. x-evil-x macrumors 68040

    x-evil-x

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #20
    I prefer popcorn time nowadays
     
  21. Michelasso thread starter macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #21
    I checked it once few days ago. Wasn't it discontinued? I only get the page in github (which has been updated last time 5 months ago). All other links in google fail to load. Is there an alive version you know of? Just out of curiosity.
     
  22. priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #22
    Popcorn is a bad idea, because it builds on torrent technology. While watching anything, you are actually distributing the same content yourself.
     
  23. Michelasso thread starter macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #23
    Legal issues apart, why would that be bad? Assuming one has enough upload bandwidth, sure (I have 20 Mbps upload).
     
  24. priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #24
    It’s exactly these legal issues. Depends on what you’re watching, of course :)
    But there are other options that won’t make you a distributor, just a dumb downloader ;)
     
  25. x-evil-x macrumors 68040

    x-evil-x

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #25
    mine still works fine on my appletv. I have it with iPa store. use a vpn with it.
     

Share This Page