TV Thirdgen89GTA buys a $200 NVIDIA Shield Pro, and is immediately, and mostly, pissed off at it.


Thirdgen89GTA

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So, I decided to pickup a Shield Pro because frankly, I'm tired of powering up the gaming PC and dealing with weird quirks when I want to watch streaming things in Atmos/HDR blah blah. The gaming PC works decently well, and is sorted pretty good. But it sucks a lot of power down, and occasionally some apps pop-up which require getting the KB/Mouse out to fix. Mostly app "X" updated and now I have to click OK to agree to EULA, or sign in again...etc.

Why not use my Xbox? Because it will not pass-thru HD audio codecs. It decodes everything, then passes it as multi-channel PCM audio in 5.1 or 7.1. Atmos, and DTSX MA are object based, and the meta data is lost in that conversion.

So I looked around for a bit, did some research (not enough apparently!) and decided I needed the NVIDIA Shield Pro. I did look into actually building a low power PC to run Android TV x86, but it has some bugs that just won't fly with me, like no HD from Netflix/Hulu..etc. Or Lossless HD Codec pass through (Atmos, DTS-X MA...etc).

I opted for the Pro, over the regular due to again, lossless Audio codecs and HDR capability. This will largely be used for Plex, Netflix, Hulu, Tidal, etc..

The Shield Pro can do 4k, Atmos, and DTS-X MA pass-through along with other HD Audio codecs in Plex, Netflix, etc..... And for home, Plex HD Audio pass-thru is a fucking critical requirement. I considered waiting for the next version of the Shield Pro so it could have HDMI 2.1, but there aren't even RUMORs of a release date at the point.

So, first impressions out of the box, SMALLER than the pictures show. Its smaller than a 3.5" HD. So small in fact, that the size of the wall wart pissed me off.

The size of the wall-wart. Its massive for what is essentially a low power smart phone. First thing I thought when I pulled it out of the box. I had to re-arrange my power strip plugs to fit it, since it blocks 3 prong outlets on BOTH sides. I would rather a larger device with a built-in power supply. Also, the power supply is NOT a standard USB, or USB-C connector. So its proprietary. Hope your cats don't chew on cords.

Two. After initial configuration, I noticed ADs on the fucking Home Screen. This is a $200 device I PAID for. This would be like having ads on your phone's Home Screen. Shit needs to go. Looking into it. Nothing 'easy' in the settings. Looks like only option at this point is to run a different launcher. I'll be blocking the google ad URLs. I might turn on the packet capturing feature of my Router for the first time and look to see what URL's, ports, and protocols its using, then block them on the firewall. I have about 30 days to return this thing, and if I can't find a solution I can accept I'll return it. The ads take up the ENTIRE top half of my TV.
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Three, enough with the fucking channels and recommendation bullshit on the Home Screen. I don't give a shit what they all wanna recommend. I just want the apps I set as favorites to be ALL on the screen so I can pick it fast and go. Thankfully, THIS is something you an turn off on the Home Screen preferences. I turned off ALL the channels. This leaves me with my a tiny strip of pinned apps, and the fucking Ads. Fucking Ads.

Four, One of the reasons I bought this because I wanted HDR/Atmos and DTS-X Master Audio streaming without having to turn on the Gaming PC. I fired up Netflix and No Fucking Sound, and the display on my Home Theater was going nuts, constantly flashing in and out of Atmos. It didn't just WORK. So I visited the audio settings preferences, and tried manually enabling Atmos and other things vs the Auto mode. That did not work. Finally, turns out the stupid box doesn't know when to stop "processing" audio with Dolby shit when it actually gets a real Atmos signal in some streaming apps. Solution: Turn off "Dolby Processing" in advanced audio settings.

Five, I discovered a bug. If I'm playing something with Dolby Atmos in one app, then switch to another app and try to play Atmos content from the 2nd app, it fails to start. I had to go back and quit the first app, before I could play Atmos content in the 2nd app. Its annoying to have to juggle it.

Nvidia is getting a lot of backlash after this recent update. As they should. This is a premium streaming device aimed at audiophiles and gamers. Ads should NEVER appear on this crap. Its touted as the BEST streaming device on the market for the discerning audio/videophile.


So, now that I'm pissed off about having to spend about 1.5hrs setting it up and trying to fix stupid shit, what do I think about it?


Plex, just works. Full Quality, fast streaming, libraries load fast. When rapidly scrolling through library (just holding down button to fly from A to Z), poster art stops loading, but as soon as you stop scrolling the poster art pops in immediately, before you thumb lifts off the button even. So that's great.

Tidal Atmos is another reason I got this. And YEP. Listening to the Dune soundtrack and No Time to Die scores from Hans Zimmer now in Atmos. The Dune score, with its particularly atmospheric mixing is unreal, phenomenal. Sadly Tidal's selection is limited. And some of the other selections didn't make use of the rear/side speakers at all. This format would be KING for live concerts. Hans Zimmer's Prague show is probably the best example off how good it can be. Nightwish is another band that has a superior mixer on hand and their multi-channel audio while only DTS-X MA, is still presents a phenomenal sound stage. I really want them to go through and provide all of Hans Zimmer's scores in Atmos. Man of Steel, Gladiator, Rush, Interstellar, and Inception would be amazing.

Disney+ won't stream Atmos content if you aren't running in 4K HDR mode. Which is a joke, because the two formats aren't a tied together. So, if you have a nice home theater, hooked up to a 1080p TV, nope, no Atmos for you.

Not sure on the Apple TV app, but I figure I'll watch For All Mankind, and Foundation.
 

nytebyte

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Holy shit, Foundation.

I totally forgot about that show. o_O

Thanks for the reminder (and the review).
 
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Thirdgen89GTA

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Holy shit, Foundation.

I totally forgot about that show. o_O

Thanks for the reminder (and the review).
Literally that's ONE of the reasons I haven't watched Foundations yet lol. I wanted it in Atmos, and my XBO can't do that, nor will the computer web-version do it.
 
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Thirdgen89GTA

Thirdgen89GTA

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Digging through the Dolby Atmos albums on Tidal.

Queens Greatest Hits. Amazing mixing here. Feels just like you are in a studio. Maxell Audio style and they are performing a private set just for you.


added a few more Atmos albums to the library. Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory. John Williams live in concert. Moby’s Reprise.
 

Phalabala

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I'm curious where you read and/or found out the Xbox wasn't passing through Atmos? My Xbox One X has been passing through Atmos to my Anthem MRX 720 like a champ. I did finally give up on it as a BluRay player as I got tired of constantly replacing broken optical drives and moved to a Panasonic 820. I do have a shield pro in my AV rack because the Xbox Plex app is complete garbage. I don't use the Shield for music because android is retarded and downmixes audio to 48khz. I picked up a SMSL SU9 dac and I use Roon with it via a raspberry pi running ropieexl. Roon provides a nice common interface for my local highres audio as well as Tidal and for $460 this DAC is incredible.
 
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Thirdgen89GTA

Thirdgen89GTA

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I'm curious where you read and/or found out the Xbox wasn't passing through Atmos? My Xbox One X has been passing through Atmos to my Anthem MRX 720 like a champ. I did finally give up on it as a BluRay player as I got tired of constantly replacing broken optical drives and moved to a Panasonic 820. I do have a shield pro in my AV rack because the Xbox Plex app is complete garbage. I don't use the Shield for music because android is retarded and downmixes audio to 48khz. I picked up a SMSL SU9 dac and I use Roon with it via a raspberry pi running ropieexl. Roon provides a nice common interface for my local highres audio as well as Tidal and for $460 this DAC is incredible.
I had major issues when they first enabled bit-stream support to handle it, it was buggy with random audio popping and static. I haven't looked at it in a long time. Also, at the time, the only app that would pass-thru was the Bluray app, all others were forced to down mix to PCM 5.1 or 7.1 audio.

I enabled it tonight, seems to work, but honestly the apps are clunky and slow. Plex is horrid from a UI perspective, and Netflix and others laggy as hell. Also, for Plex, if the internet is not functioning, or XBL services, Plex cannot stream from an in-house Plex Server. Ran into that once on the last outage. Even though both server and client exist on the same subnet, without XBL services, Plex doesn't work.

We'll see how it goes.
 

Phalabala

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The one confusing thing for me using the xbox for atmos was the fact that you needed an additional app from the store to do it but it has always worked for all streaming services that supported Atmos for me.

We still do most media streaming via the xbox (Netflix, Prime, HBO Max, Disney+) and only use the shield for Plex and Crunchyroll. The crunchyroll app on shield is not without quirks either, most things end up changing resolution constantly by a pixel or two, almost shimmering. Super annoying but at least it is functional unlike the XBox app.

I'm kind of annoyed that i need so many devices at the moment as I want to add a new amplifier that is larger than my existing one (replacing Starke Sound AD4.320 with a Parasound A21+) but I'm out of space in the rack :(
 
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Thirdgen89GTA

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So, problems still abound, both Shield and Xbox.

On the shield, there was a Audio/video sync issue in Apple TV. On some wide angle panning shots, I could see a rubber band effect with the video. The app, or Shield was dropping frames to keep video in sync with audio. I tried switching the refresh rate from 59hz, to 60hz, this fixed some scenes, but then I noticed the same rubber band effect in other scenes. I can only assume that Foundations is using variable frame rate for some shots and the Shield is NOT handling it correctly.

I stopped the episode, and switched to the XBO.

The rubber band effect was gone, but 4x the audio completely dropped out, requiring that I stop and start playback again to get audio to sync back. I'm positive this is to due with the bit streaming and Dolby Atmos audio streams.

I'm going to give it one more day, after that, the Shield is going back in the box to get a refund. It doesn't live up to the promise and at $200 its not acceptable.
 

Phalabala

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Might try this? https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/shield/support/shield-tv/match-frame-rate/

I kind of wonder if these issues are a factor of either network hiccups or a partially faulty hdmi cable. Are you doing something silly like expecting eARC to work? I had all sorts of problems getting dropouts/black screen problems with 4K content. I tried about 6 different hdmi cables (including a SnapAV one my AV installer friend said "always" works for him) before I tried an active fiberoptic one that finally worked. My cable run was just long enough it was giving cables fits (like 5meters).
 

muskie

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I've had the complete opposite experience with my Shield and its by far the best streaming device I've ever known. One thing to note for the benefit of others is that the Pro and standard Shield are identical in terms of codecs and HDR. The difference comes down to USB and expandable storage mostly. I know it appears like that on marketing materials and even the box which shows a feature comparison, but the hardware is identical. HDR, Atmos, Lossless audio all work fine on my standard Shield.

I've got the standard cylindrical Shield. As far as audio, video, and apps I never have any issues or crashes except for Plex. Plex has been trash the last few years in my opinion in general, and I kind of keep it around because I'm too lazy to setup Kodi. 4K UHD Rips will not play in the Plex app on the Shield for me, no matter what. Just fail to load or buffer like hell. There is no reason they shouldn't be Direct Playing on the Shield. They play perfect straight streaming to the VLC app when browsing to the network share. Regular movies and TV shows are showing audio sync issues until I manually set a quality and force a transcode, then its perfectly fine.
 

Fish

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You know what fits your bill and costs less than the Shield?

The new Apple TV 4K. HDMI 2.1 as well.

:io:

The plug is a standard 2 prong plug that covers just the plug its using as well.
 
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Thirdgen89GTA

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You know what fits your bill and costs less than the Shield?

The new Apple TV 4K. HDMI 2.1 as well.

:io:

The plug is a standard 2 prong plug that covers just the plug its using as well.
Nope, doen't offer all the pass-thru options for all the HD Audio codecs.
 

Fish

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Nope, doen't offer all the pass-thru options for all the HD Audio codecs.
List of ATV4K+SuperHyperTurbo Codecs

HE-AAC (V1), AAC (up to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, FLAC, AIFF, and WAV; AC-3 (Dolby Digital 5.1), E-AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound), and Dolby Atmos

Shield Pro

AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3, WAVE, AMR, OGG Vorbis, FLAC, PCM, WMA, WMA-Pro, WMA-Lossless, DD+/DTS (pass-through),
Dolby Atmos (pass-through), Dolby TrueHD (pass-through), DTS-X, and DTS-HD (pass-through)


It’s not all of them, but how many different audio ways are you filling your files to?

I get it, I am the same way. I buy devices that check all or most of the boxes I want. In this case it’s audio vs no ads, no bugs, and just as good of a plex player, and cheaper.
 
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Thirdgen89GTA

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I have a ton of movies with DTS-HD Master Audio. Its actually the most common HD Audio Codec on Bluray. More common than TrueHD or Atmos. DTS:X is the rarest so far.
 

Phalabala

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so what are you going to roll with then instead? I don't worry TOO much about codecs as anything where I'd actually care about that I buy and playback on my panny UHD bluray player anyways but I've recently grabbed a few rips that are giving my combination of Plex and the Shield Pro fits.
 

Phalabala

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lol that is silly :) I don't have enough power left in my living room for a full on PC after all the amps :(
 
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Thirdgen89GTA

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lol that is silly :) I don't have enough power left in my living room for a full on PC after all the amps :(
I can game on the couch, or I can game on the 49” G9 @ 240hz.

gaming pc really doesn’t draw that much power. Maybe 50-70 watts. I don’t turn it on unless I’m gaming.

Plex server itself with all it’s drives idles around 140w
 

Fish

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I must have defective ears, not a killer enough sound system, or just realize Plex will do the one of few things why I chose it and transcode into what I have.
 
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Thirdgen89GTA

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I must have defective ears, not a killer enough sound system, or just realize Plex will do the one of few things why I chose it and transcode into what I have.
Plex will direct stream to compatible devices. If it cannot direct stream, it will down mix audio. Honestly, I've found the multi-channel down mixing to be crap. Stereo is okay, but too quiet, so the levels need to be boosted.

I want my HD Audio codecs, so, I choose to use a full PC over giving up HD Audio.
 

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