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MetalDave
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The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:22 pm

Hello, Roku team!

I am a mid-to-high end home theater buff.  I take this moniker to mean that I enjoy using products and solutions in my home theater setup that will provide maximum quality without breaking the bank.  To put it another way: will my family see a difference for the investment in the gear?  The intended audience of fellow users will understand this measure of quality versus cost.

To that end, 7.1 lossless audio (including the TrueHD and DTS-MA formats and the burgeoning of ATMOS and other advanced formats) in the home theater is important to me. Even the casual viewer can appreciate the effect of the rear channels and high fidelity in the home theater experience.  as a result, investing in the capability to play these formats has been a worthwhile investment. 

Therefore, I am compelled to ask: why has the Roku platform yet to support the pass through of lossless audio formats via HDMI to the AV receiver?

As I understand it, this has been a top feature request for a few years now.  I would feel better recommending and considering the Roku platform with just a little more understanding of the reasoning behind this feature omission.  Is this a licensing issue (which the passthrough concept would seem to imply a bypass)? Is this a technical issue with the hardware?  Is this a software issue (wherein Roku has yet to dedicate the resources to make this a reality)?

In my mind, it has to be one of those three.  I've seen much speculation from other users throughout the web (so, please, no need to add further conjecture in this thread fellow users).  One the same token, there is a commensurate amount of demand for the feature from customers willing to pay for it (if there is, indeed, additional cost involved). 

As many others have already said, the Roku interface is wonderful and my preferred method to access content.  I believe it is the most universally open and accepted platform. That said, this is a shortcoming that, ultimately, leads customers to invest in another platform to address this long-standing issue.  Like many others, I feel this is a less than desirable option for a variety of reasons.

Roku Team, please give us some insight as to the perceived and actual challenges providing this much requested feature.  Is there a development roadmap where this feature exists?  Is it completely off the table (as recent releases would seem to imply)?

To my fellow users: no need to second the motion. I believe the good folks already know we want this feature.  I'd like to see this thread used for a dialogue from the development team to the user community, so let's give them a chance to respond (before letting this degrade into a tirade of, "me, too.").  Likewise, if someone has already received an official response to this same question, please feel free to share.

Thank you in advance!

- Dave
 
mikebdoss
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

I've never once seen anyone from Roku reply to a thread like this, but good luck in asking. 
 
ngs428
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:25 pm

I like this post. I have been one that has requested this feature for years. Nothing has come of it. So do like I did and buy a Nvidia Shield. You won't regret it. True it is $200, but it can do all of what you are asking for and it does it well.

I did buy a premier plus just because I do like Roku too. It has had numerous issues and my replacement unit from Roku is on its way to me. But it is not my go to unit to play lossless audio.
 
Nebo1ss
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:45 am

The answer to your question is simple they will not pay the Dolby Tax. If they provide this feature they will have to pay Dolby a license fee for every unit sold irrespective of if the feature is used or not.
 
scottypie1234
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:14 am

Simple marketplace economics: Too much cost for too little return.

Roku is targeted to a mass TV-watching audience, not to audiophiles. Audiophiles such as yourself probably would be better served looking elsewhere.
 
MetalDave
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:15 pm

scottypie1234 wrote:
Roku is targeted to a mass TV-watching audience, not to audiophiles. Audiophiles such as yourself probably would be better served looking elsewhere.

Actually, Roku offers a variety of models at different price points to address the different consumer levels, wants, and needs. That would seem to dispute that statement.


Nebo1ss wrote:
If they provide this feature they will have to pay Dolby a license fee for every unit sold irrespective of if the feature is used or not.

If the issue is cost of license, there would/could be a model that accounts for that. Again, this is speculation. We'd be best served by someone at Roku telling us the actual reason (hence the purpose of this thread).
 
scottypie1234
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:27 pm

MetalDave wrote:
scottypie1234 wrote:
Roku is targeted to a mass TV-watching audience, not to audiophiles. Audiophiles such as yourself probably would be better served looking elsewhere.

Actually, Roku offers a variety of models at different price points to address the different consumer levels, wants, and needs. That would seem to dispute that statement.



Those different models, consumer levels, wants and needs are a very tight group. What you're seeking is something that would appeal to a limited audience at a price point that wouldn't make sense for a company built on selling a low-cost product to a wide range of consumers.
 
MetalDave
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:32 am

scottypie1234 wrote:
MetalDave wrote:
scottypie1234 wrote:
Roku is targeted to a mass TV-watching audience, not to audiophiles. Audiophiles such as yourself probably would be better served looking elsewhere.
Actually, Roku offers a variety of models at different price points to address the different consumer levels, wants, and needs. That would seem to dispute that statement.
Those different models, consumer levels, wants and needs are a very tight group. What you're seeking is something that would appeal to a limited audience at a price point that wouldn't make sense for a company built on selling a low-cost product to a wide range of consumers.


While an interesting debate on the marketing of consumer products, I'd like to keep this particular thread on topic and see if the Roku team concurs with that possible reasoning or some other. From what my research shows, this has been a longstanding feature request, and it wouldn't take much for them to poll their existing user base to get justifiable (or non-justifiable) numbers. Maybe they've already done just that (or not). I'm interested to know.
 
mikebdoss
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:38 am

If the Roku team wants to chime in, they'll chime in, regardless of what other conversations are happening. You don't have to keep derailing any point that someone brings up. 

As someone who's been on these boards for 7 years, I'll repeat that Roku staff rarely comments on these types of threads (or feature requests, in general). Also, Scottypie is right - The Roku rarely adds features that appeal to a small subset of users - the boxes are made specifically for the mass consumer set. 
 
MetalDave
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:35 am

 
mikebdoss wrote:
You don't have to keep derailing any point that someone brings up.

I believe taking the conversation off-topic is more "derailing." Perhaps that is one possible reason these questions have previously gone unanswered? In my experience, staying on topic is the best way to achieve the desired results. The Roku Forum rules directly address this etiquette as well.

mikebdoss wrote:
If the Roku team wants to chime in, they'll chime in, regardless of what other conversations are happening.

mikebdoss wrote:
I'll repeat that Roku staff rarely comments on these types of threads (or feature requests, in general).

Likewise, I appreciate your respective input regarding the low expectations for this thread, but I think a fresh approach cannot hurt (especially if the results of previous attempts were less than successful).
 
Dakotah
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:32 am

I've been asking for HD audio playback in every quarterly request thread for years now. I could speculate as to why it has not happened...but speculation is all it would be. I have toyed with getting a shield...but wince at the thought of getting involved with another media-device ecosystem. I have 5 roku devices in my house, and would GLADLY pay a premium cost for one "Ultra +" Roku with HD audio passthrough for my theater room.
 
visionxorb
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:57 pm

If Licensing is the problem, easy solution I would think is to have it a feature that is shipped disabled and is a paid feature that you add to your roku account. If you pay the $20 fee or something its activated for the rokus on your account.
 
mikebdoss
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:36 pm

visionxorb wrote:
If Licensing is the problem, easy solution I would think is to have it a feature that is shipped disabled and is a paid feature that you add to your roku account. If you pay the $20 fee or something its activated for the rokus on your account.

A lot of licensing agreements are based on the number of units that sell that are capable, not just whether it's activated.
 
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atc98092
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:19 am

I agree that it would have to be a specific model with the feature, as licensing most likely has to apply to every copy of that model. Personally, I would pay a reasonable extra amount for a box with such support, which is why I'm posting to this thread. I want Roku to know that it's a feature that some of us would really support, even if it meant buying another box.
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
 
Nebo1ss
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Re: The Reason Roku Does Not Support Lossless Audio Playback

Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:28 am

Well perhaps the answer would be to include it in the ULTRA only. I am pretty sure it is already the only ROKU box that converts DD+ to DD for older receivers and that was certainly a licensing issue.

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