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"Streaming Box" and ATMOS? (1 Viewer)

Demonyx

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Ok, quick question:

Devices
TCL 65R617 55" 4K Smart LED TV (2018)
Denon AVRS730H 7.2 Channel AV Receiver
Nvidia SHIELD TV Pro (2019)

Setup
Ethernet cable > Shield > HDMI > Denon Receiver > HDMI (ARC) > Speakers(audio)/TV(visual)

Question
So I stream through the shield and recently was in discussion how much I really like the Shield with a friend. He asked how was the audio. I said great because the Shield can handle Dolby/ATMOS. He said why should that matter?

My assumption was that all the steps in the chain would need ATMOS? Is that correct? He was seeming to imply that it only mattered that the receiver has it. I don't know enough to know the truth of it? Can anyone help me understand how all these device work together? Does it matter if all of the devices in the chain have ATMOS or only the outputting device?

Thanks,
D
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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All the devices in the chain need to *support* Atmos... so that the data stream gets passed properly. The actual decoding (and conversion to analog) only needs to happen in one device, eg. the AVR for most people.

Having said that, it shouldn't require much to simply pass the Atmos data, but of course, this industry sucks pretty badly (as seemingly usual), so needless quirks/issues/failures do (much too often) occur or get implemented/deployed by various makers/vendors/providers/etc, especially on the software side of all this HT tech...

Essentially, you need each device (and app and content provider) in the chain to *support* Atmos much like you need each to support 4K (at whatever framerate), whatever flavor of HDR (and Dolby Vision), whatever other sound formats, etc.

_Man_
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Oh, and BTW, there's more than one Atmos format (or perhaps, sub-format). And typically, the Atmos you get w/ streaming is a lossy variant and not the same as the lossless format provided on physical media. There's also other twists/variations like what Apple does w/ their ATV4K's output (that essentially involves partially decoded Atmos, LOL).

Yeah, it can get complicated... though thankfully, usually, you don't need to know/care about all that, except maybe if you're especially discerning of lossy vs lossless Atmos (and actually has the gear/setup to discern the diff) or if something goes wrong somewhere in your chain (as it sometimes inexplicably can).

_Man_
 

Demonyx

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_Man_

Thanks. To kick the dead horse a bit, is it ever possible that ATMOS can "pass though" a device that doesn't support it or does it absolutely stop at a step in the chain that does not have it?

Also, does the ARC connection hinder anything?
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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Well, yes and no. Something might not officially support it (according to maker/provider verbage) and yet still work just fine (as often enough the case w/ such things). We may have to get into case-by-case to know the specifics of why, etc, but more generally, at minimum, the HDMI spec(s) for Atmos needs to be supported.

I don't do ARC, but near as I can tell, you'd need eARC for lossless Atmos. Basic ARC seems to be able to do lossy Atmos (for streaming), but not lossless Atmos, which requires higher bandwidth, if nothing else -- of course, bandwidth for any audio format is quite small when compared to video, but still...

Also, relying on ARC is relying on one extra tech and introducing additional failure point -- and ARC usage does seem tricky and/or flaky enough to often be an issue for many...

_Man_
 

Demonyx

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I showed my friend this thread and he said that "pass through" means the signal gets carried through unprocessed and that all the ATMOS processing should be done at the AVR level. So that devices before the AVR don't need the ATMOS capability, just the ability to pass through the data stream unprocessed.

Thoughts?

 

ManW_TheUncool

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There's "pass-through", and then there's *real* pass-through.

Really depends on what the various devices actually do... because you're most likely *not* getting passive pass-through (at least) for HDMI, which means you need to make sure what comes out the other side is actually exactly what went in, if you need/want true pass-through (that likely involves active/powered repeating of the signal). Yes, I've ran into one HDMI 4-to-2 matrixed switcher/splitter (from a reasonably reputable brand for such) that didn't behave as expected/needed.

_Man_
 

JohnRice

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A little knowledge is dangerous. The streaming device needs to be capable of Atmos on the service in question. Your friend’s assumption that it just “passes” it is incorrect. Then it should be connected directly by hdmi to the receiver, which also has to be capable of Atmos. Then you’re done. The audio signal is complete. Other components don’t matter, unless of course your TV is the streaming device, but that’s not the situation you described.
 

DaveF

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Ok, quick question:

Devices
TCL 65R617 55" 4K Smart LED TV (2018)
Denon AVRS730H 7.2 Channel AV Receiver
Nvidia SHIELD TV Pro (2019)

Setup
Ethernet cable > Shield > HDMI > Denon Receiver > HDMI (ARC) > Speakers(audio)/TV(visual)

Question
So I stream through the shield and recently was in discussion how much I really like the Shield with a friend. He asked how was the audio. I said great because the Shield can handle Dolby/ATMOS. He said why should that matter?

My assumption was that all the steps in the chain would need ATMOS? Is that correct? He was seeming to imply that it only mattered that the receiver has it. I don't know enough to know the truth of it? Can anyone help me understand how all these device work together? Does it matter if all of the devices in the chain have ATMOS or only the outputting device?

Thanks,
D
What’s great about the Shield is it bitstreams audio, including the full Dolby TrueHD signal with the Atmos layer. This enables HTPC enthusiasts to enjoy Atmos. This is in marked contrast to AppleTV which does not support bitstreaming and so does not support Atmos for HTPC users.

I’ll leave it to others like John who understand the nuances of passthrough and Atmos support as to what’s needed technically for all this to work.
 

DaveF

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I think the Shield (2017) - the one I have - didn’t support Atmos widely for streaming services like Netflix. But I gather that Shield (2019) - which you have - is much better supported by the various streaming services.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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What’s great about the Shield is it bitstreams audio, including the full Dolby TrueHD signal with the Atmos layer.

As I understand it, most (maybe all?) currently commercially available video streams use (typically low bitrate) lossy audio (ie. DD or DD+ underlying) for Atmos, not Dolby TrueHD, which is lossless.

_Man_
 

JohnRice

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As I understand it, most (maybe all?) currently commercially available video streams use (typically low bitrate) lossy audio (ie. DD or DD+ underlying) for Atmos, not Dolby TrueHD, which is lossless.

_Man_
Dave was referring to playing back files from an HTPC, as opposed to streaming services, which are DD level Atmos, as opposed to TrueHD.
 

DaveF

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Right. My error.
 

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