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ehart
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Audio out on ultra?

Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:43 pm

Hi, I have an Ultra on order - will be trying Playstation Vue in place of my current cable subscription.

I am also interested in using the roku to play music through my high-end old-school 2-channel stereo.

Does the USB port allow music to go OUT as well as in? If so I could use an external DAC.

Other ideas?

By the way, I notice some Shield users here, would that be a better choice?

Thanks

Eric
 
twiceover
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Re: Audio out on ultra?

Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:59 pm

Only the 2016 edition of the Ultra had Optical audio out.  The current version is HDMI only.  The USB can be used to play files only, it has no other use such as audio adapters.
 
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atc98092
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Re: Audio out on ultra?

Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:21 pm

I have my doubts the Shield would be any better for higher quality audio. I'm not certain if it has any analog out jacks, and I also doubt the USB jack can output audio. Using HDMI I believe it will support high bitrate audio tracks, but I've never really looked into that part as I only use mine for video. It does support bitstreaming all of the lossless audio codecs used for movies, including Atmos and DTS:X. 
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.
 
ehart
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Re: Audio out on ultra?

Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:15 pm

Thank you for these replies.

Would it be crazy to buy the older ultra that offers the optical port? They are still available on Amazon. They get about 1 star lower rating than the newer ones though, in part because of HDCP errors.

Does the older unit get all the same software upgrades as the latest model does? If so, perhaps those problems have been fixed.

Don't know if it matters but I do not intend to do 4k anytime soon.

Thanks again
 
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atc98092
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Re: Audio out on ultra?

Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:09 pm

I have the 4640 Ultra, and just recently received the OS 9 update. It currently is not connected to a 4K TV, just a Panasonic 1080 plasma. It's also connected to an HDMI 1.4 AVR. With the previous OS I would see an occasional HDCP error message, but it was pretty rare. Since I received OS 9, I haven't seen any HDCP errors. I'm perfectly happy with my Ultra, and have no reservations recommending the 4640 version, especially if you need the optical out. The only reason it's not on my 4K TV anymore is because I bought the Shield for its support of lossless audio bit-streaming. But since the Shield doesn't support YouTube HDR, I use my Roku TV if there's something I want to watch there. 
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.
 
Miami Son
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Re: Audio out on ultra?

Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:47 am

atc98092 wrote:
I have the 4640 Ultra, and just recently received the OS 9 update. It currently is not connected to a 4K TV, just a Panasonic 1080 plasma. It's also connected to an HDMI 1.4 AVR. With the previous OS I would see an occasional HDCP error message, but it was pretty rare. Since I received OS 9, I haven't seen any HDCP errors. I'm perfectly happy with my Ultra, and have no reservations recommending the 4640 version, especially if you need the optical out. The only reason it's not on my 4K TV anymore is because I bought the Shield for its support of lossless audio bit-streaming. But since the Shield doesn't support YouTube HDR, I use my Roku TV if there's something I want to watch there. 

Hey Dan, as you know, I got an older Ultra mainly on your recommendation. Would there be any advantage for audio in having it connected via optical to my Onkyo amp instead of just HDMI? My amp supports everything I can throw at it over either one. Just curious. Thanks.
 
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atc98092
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Re: Audio out on ultra?

Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:24 am

Miami Son wrote:
atc98092 wrote:
I have the 4640 Ultra, and just recently received the OS 9 update. It currently is not connected to a 4K TV, just a Panasonic 1080 plasma. It's also connected to an HDMI 1.4 AVR. With the previous OS I would see an occasional HDCP error message, but it was pretty rare. Since I received OS 9, I haven't seen any HDCP errors. I'm perfectly happy with my Ultra, and have no reservations recommending the 4640 version, especially if you need the optical out. The only reason it's not on my 4K TV anymore is because I bought the Shield for its support of lossless audio bit-streaming. But since the Shield doesn't support YouTube HDR, I use my Roku TV if there's something I want to watch there. 


Hey Dan, as you know, I got an older Ultra mainly on your recommendation. Would there be any advantage for audio in having it connected via optical to my Onkyo amp instead of just HDMI? My amp supports everything I can throw at it over either one. Just curious. Thanks.

Just the opposite. HDMI will offer the highest potential audio quality over optical. You won't get Dolby Atmos from the streaming sites over optical to my understanding. Of course, that's not the lossless version of Atmos, but still. :)
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.
 
Miami Son
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Re: Audio out on ultra?

Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:36 pm

atc98092 wrote:
Miami Son wrote:
Hey Dan, as you know, I got an older Ultra mainly on your recommendation. Would there be any advantage for audio in having it connected via optical to my Onkyo amp instead of just HDMI? My amp supports everything I can throw at it over either one. Just curious. Thanks.

Just the opposite. HDMI will offer the highest potential audio quality over optical. You won't get Dolby Atmos from the streaming sites over optical to my understanding. Of course, that's not the lossless version of Atmos, but still. :)

Ok, thanks again, Dan. You really are an asset to this community and I surely appreciate the time and effort you put into it. :)
 
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Bravo Family
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Re: Audio out on ultra? - Time for for some Myth Busting about TOS Link Optical Audio

Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:41 pm

Just an FYI, we have a Yamaha Brand AVR that features THX Select, that we bought new last year.  We have no problems getting Atmos using the Optical Out / TOS Link connected directly from our Roku Ultra 4640X to our Yamaha Brand AVR.

HDMI has unfortunately caused the audio market to move backwards because the best connections from a hardware perspective are always going to be compartmentalized connections that fulfill specific purposes.

What is and isn't recognized for audio format is strictly dependent upon the combination of what both an accessory device, whether a Roku Player, 4k Blu-ray Player, or any other device connected through the optimal cable, and what the receiving device such as an AVR are both capable of recognizing and/or decoding.

Audio over HDMI is in no way, nearly as clear as it is when used with a high grade fiber optic TOS Link optical cable because it is mechanically impossible for any cable that is carrying more than one type of signal, even if it is an extremely high grade cable, to not have some degradation.  Video signals are in many ways, more complex than audio signals, and thusly do not lose much in the way of using HDMI as the choice of connective technologies for video; however the same cannot be said for audio.  Additionally, HDMI cables provide a signal that is 100% electric, and are therefore subject to interference; however Optical Cables are exactly that, "Optical" and are not subject to significant interference because their signal is based on light.

Optical Audio via a TOS Link connection directly from the source, in our case the Roku 4640X, to our Yamaha THX Select AVR, has provided the most consistent and highest quality of audio.  We've had no problems receiving content from services that support various Dolby standards that include Dolby Digital+.  The Yamaha AVR that we do have did cost close to $1,500.00 and was a special order because we only buy Yamaha Brand AVR's with the THX Select certification that are difficult to find, and it has been a great experience with the 4640X Roku that we use, and specifically selected because it has an Optical Audio Out in 2016.  We originally used our Roku 4640X Ultra with a receiver that we bought in 2015 that is also a Yamaha with THX Select, and again, we had no problems whatsoever having any Dolby standards recognized by it via having our Roku 4640X Ultra connected to it.

Results did vary slightly with some services, but that was expected because different services host different qualities of content and use different protocols and compression methods for streaming.  In short, if we read the fine print for a service, a given piece of content, and for services like Netflix that require independent configuration of Audio that can vary slightly depending on the content being viewed, every time Dolby came up, Dolby audio was both detected and played correctly at the appropriate standards that include Dolby Digital+ and Dolby Atmos by both of our Yamaha AVR's.
- Bravo Family
 
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atc98092
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Re: Audio out on ultra?

Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:29 pm

That's great to get verification that DD+/Atmos works over optical. I had read conflicting information, so always good to hear it from someone with experience.
.
You have a very valid point about optical not being affected by electrical interference. But of course the issue with optical is bandwidth. That's why the lossless audio codecs won't pass over optical, hence the need for HDMI audio. From your other post you appear to have extensive knowledge in this area, so I won't delve into areas that I don't feel I have sufficient knowledge to debate. I appreciate your input.  :D
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.
 
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Bravo Family
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Re: Audio out on ultra? - More Myth Busting about TOS Link Optical Audio

Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:31 am

Over the summer we upgraded our 4k Blu Ray player in the living area to a Panasonic Model # DP-UB820-K that is connected to our newer Yamaha THX Select AVR via Optical Audio TOS Link, and the two have never had any communication problems for audio because both Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio that are both considered "Lossless Codecs" work just fine.

Prior to upgrading, we were using a Sony Model # UBP-X700 that we're now using with our older Yamaha THX Select AVR via Coaxial Audio, and didn't have any problems using those same codecs.

A minor side note:  One of the things we love, and kind of hate (yes, it's that kind of relationship) about the higher end Yamaha AVR's, is that there is a menu in them for some of the source inputs where it is possible to choose whether a video input uses one of the Coaxial SP/DIF or one of the Optical TOS Link inputs for audio.  This can be a bit of a nightmare when upgrading equipment because it is easy to have to go to the back of the home theater with all of the OCD style, neatly routed cables, and figure out which port option has to be disconnected, then which port option has to be newly connected, and which specific audio input ports are part of the options associated with that specific video input in the on screen menu of the AVR itself.  There are times when having to deal with this actually leads to it being a necessary step to do some rerouting of the cables, and is often a tedious process; however it is rewarding upon finishing whatever steps are necessary because it's a "set it, and forget it" kind of deal.  This is one of the many reasons we keep buying some of the highest end Yamaha AVR's available because without that flexibility that many other AVR manufacturer's don't offer, we simply wouldn't get the most out of our equipment.

We haven't observed any content on the Roku offering anything except for DTS (by way of the Roku 4640X's settings menu only) , Dolby Digital+, and Dolby Atmos.  To be fair, we haven't bothered looking for a DTS Stream for any apps and services that we use on our Roku 4640X; however Dolby Digital+ & Dolby Atmos, like you said, are not considered to be lossless.

When we do watch Blu Rays, it is for that exact reason of being lossless codecs we actually prefer Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio over the other available audio codecs that include Dolby Atmos.  In short, we completely agree that the lossless codecs are the best available.

The catch is, we still use both Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio (that we prefer over Dolby; especially for StarGate that was one of the first films mastered in a DTS standard, and is such a classic movie that never gets old) over both TOS Link Optical on our newest Yamaha THX Select AVR with the Panasonic Model # DP-UB820-K Blu Ray Player, and via Coax SP/DIF on our older Yamaha THX Select AVR with the Sony Model # UBP-X700 Blu Ray Player that we moved to the master bedroom to replace a Blu Ray player one of us had been using for nearly 10 years, and finally just died.

Anyway, lossless codecs will work over both an Optical TOS Link cable, and a Coaxial SP/DIF cable as long as the combination of both the AVR, and the connected accessory, in this case the two different Blu Ray players we just mentioned, are able to work with the codecs, so it's not an issue of bandwidth or ability related to the cables, but rather an issue of what each piece of equipment is capable of recognizing for the audio codecs that are supposed to be sent/received by each piece of equipment.

Hope this info helps clear up some of the myths that seem to be evolving about TOS Link, and even Coaxial SP/DIF.  Independent connections that serve singular purposes will almost always provide better quality than multifunction connections, and that's an aspect of engineering that will probably never change.
- Bravo Family
 
ddevonb
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Re: Audio out on ultra?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:54 pm

To hook to old school analog audio, just use an HDMI device like this one.

 
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