Vero 4K+ vs Nvidia Shield TV Pro for 4K HDR + TrueHD Atmos/DTS-X
#1
Hello all,

I'm looking for something to replace my Raspberry Pi 2, which is getting longer in the tooth since I got a 4K TV and an Atmos-enabled soundbar (unfortunately, my 4K TV doesn't support TrueHD Atmos rips).

My current setup is 4K TV + Soundbar + Raspberry Pi 2 running Kodi (with rtorrent AND transmission, as rtorrent has issues with large files) connected to a powered USB hub with a USB 3.0 4TB HDD. After I adquire the new box, the RPi2 will probably still be kept around as a torrent box, since it's probably far better at energy consumption than any of the alternatives. Everything is going through ethernet cables, including to the TV.

I'm currently trying to decide between the Vero 4K+ and the Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019, with the biggest plus of the Nvidia being that it is currently the only one that supports high bitrate TrueHD Atmos/DTS-X (the AI-upscaling and the gaming are also relevant, but I'm not sure I'd give an extra 100€ for them). But that support comes with using Plex Server + Plex Client, which I'd rather not - Kodi is much nicer, lighter and better in almost everything.

The thing is, I was analysing the 4K Atmos/DTS-X rips I already do have, and they all seem to be below the 10000kbps threshold that seems to be causing problems. The most I found while analysing them with MediaInfo was 8430kbps, in the ones I already have. I don't have any Remuxes, and am not (currently) interested in them (a month ago I was happy with downloading 720p rips which occupied 1.5GB max; I was shocked when I noticed for 4K I would have to use 5GB or more, and even worse when I saw that 4K HDR would go for 10-30GB.. and adding Atmos to that went from 30-50GB.. I'm really not looking forward to going to 50-80GB for Remuxes).

For reference, I'm mostly interested in the MCU movies, DCEU movies, Star Wars, some Disney/Pixar animation, the Matrix movies, the Potterverse and some action-packed movies like the Fast&Furious saga. I'll also throw in some reference 4K/TrueHD material, like Blade Runner (original and 2049), Godzilla: King of Monsters, etc.
I'm not sure I can say where I'm currently getting the rips, but I believe it's enough to mention it's from public trackers, not private ones.

My biggest questions are:
- should I expect to find high bitrate Atmos rips in the near future given my general interests?
- is the Nvidia Shield TV Pro really worth 100€ more if I'm not going to play games that much?
- am I painting myself into a corner if I drop 120€ into the Vero 4K+?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

PS: I will in the future invest in a proper 4K HDR player, most likely the PS5, but that's a few years down the line for me.
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#2
Audio dropouts occur with TrueHD tracks due to how Kodi's bitstream packer segments MAT MLP frames. In the last couple of years, 4K films have started using larger sizes than what Kodi could previously handle.

There's been some progress in improving this in the sense that a lot of crashes are now solved, but there are still dropouts in some cases. This is particularly noticeable with Disney tracks.

We (from an OSMC perspective) are keen to get it solved and have been working on the problem for some time, with success resolving the problem with Kodi v17.6.
But the changes made were not beneficial for v18.x/v19. We are not that familiar with the bitpacking code, so it's hard to understand some of the design choices that were made.

The bad news is that it affects a large number of Kodi platforms (including Shield and Vero 4K +), but the good news is that once it is fixed, it will be solved for all devices.

Sam
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#3
(2020-09-16, 20:33)Sam.Nazarko Wrote: Audio dropouts occur with TrueHD tracks due to how Kodi's bitstream packer segments MAT MLP frames. In the last couple of years, 4K films have started using larger sizes than what Kodi could previously handle.

There's been some progress in improving this in the sense that a lot of crashes are now solved, but there are still dropouts in some cases. This is particularly noticeable with Disney tracks.

We (from an OSMC perspective) are keen to get it solved and have been working on the problem for some time, with success resolving the problem with Kodi v17.6.
But the changes made were not beneficial for v18.x/v19. We are not that familiar with the bitpacking code, so it's hard to understand some of the design choices that were made.

The bad news is that it affects a large number of Kodi platforms (including Shield and Vero 4K +), but the good news is that once it is fixed, it will be solved for all devices.

Sam
But is the TrueHD issue only occurring with bitrates above 10000 kbps, or is it lower than that?

I don't have any TrueHD Disney ones yet, but I do have some MCU (Disney owned, so it should be similar). My rip of Black Panther, for instance, only reaches 7134 kbps. The one for Doctor Strange only goes up to 7317. And the one I have for Start Wars Episode VIII only reaches 5853.

Will these give me problems if I stick with Kodi?

By the way, I'm not saying they're great rips, and I'll maybe see a decent upgrade when I jump to proper 4K Blu-rays, but that's a few years down the line, and these are what I'll have access to in the time being.
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#4
(2020-09-16, 21:07)skryptus Wrote:
(2020-09-16, 20:33)Sam.Nazarko Wrote: Audio dropouts occur with TrueHD tracks due to how Kodi's bitstream packer segments MAT MLP frames. In the last couple of years, 4K films have started using larger sizes than what Kodi could previously handle.

There's been some progress in improving this in the sense that a lot of crashes are now solved, but there are still dropouts in some cases. This is particularly noticeable with Disney tracks.

We (from an OSMC perspective) are keen to get it solved and have been working on the problem for some time, with success resolving the problem with Kodi v17.6.
But the changes made were not beneficial for v18.x/v19. We are not that familiar with the bitpacking code, so it's hard to understand some of the design choices that were made.

The bad news is that it affects a large number of Kodi platforms (including Shield and Vero 4K +), but the good news is that once it is fixed, it will be solved for all devices.

Sam
But is the TrueHD issue only occurring with bitrates above 10000 kbps, or is it lower than that?

I don't have any TrueHD Disney ones yet, but I do have some MCU (Disney owned, so it should be similar). My rip of Black Panther, for instance, only reaches 7134 kbps. The one for Doctor Strange only goes up to 7317. And the one I have for Start Wars Episode VIII only reaches 5853.

Will these give me problems if I stick with Kodi?

By the way, I'm not saying they're great rips, and I'll maybe see a decent upgrade when I jump to proper 4K Blu-rays, but that's a few years down the line, and these are what I'll have access to in the time being.

I don't want to discuss piracy.

The issue has been observed on 4K UHD remuxes which are true to source. This means that the issue exists with direct from disc rips, and therefore is not a problem caused by transcoding. 
There is no specific bitrate that causes the problem. Generally it is observed with audio tracks exceeding 15Mbps. It is caused by larger than expected MLP frames and this occurs particularly with Disney content. I think Mazer Runner was one of the first films to exhibit this issue. 

It will no doubt get solved, but there is no firm ETA.
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#5
(2020-09-16, 19:03)skryptus Wrote: I'm currently trying to decide between the Vero 4K+ and the Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019, with the biggest plus of the Nvidia being that it is currently the only one that supports high bitrate TrueHD Atmos/DTS-X (the AI-upscaling and the gaming are also relevant, but I'm not sure I'd give an extra 100€ for them). But that support comes with using Plex Server + Plex Client, which I'd rather not - Kodi is much nicer, lighter and better in almost everything.

In addition to what @Sam.Nazarko already stated read the 2nd Paragraph on Post #1 of the START HERE sticky thread:
https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=252916

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#6
(2020-09-17, 08:32)wrxtasy Wrote:
(2020-09-16, 19:03)skryptus Wrote: I'm currently trying to decide between the Vero 4K+ and the Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019, with the biggest plus of the Nvidia being that it is currently the only one that supports high bitrate TrueHD Atmos/DTS-X (the AI-upscaling and the gaming are also relevant, but I'm not sure I'd give an extra 100€ for them). But that support comes with using Plex Server + Plex Client, which I'd rather not - Kodi is much nicer, lighter and better in almost everything.

In addition to what @Sam.Nazarko already stated read the 2nd Paragraph on Post #1 of the START HERE sticky thread:
https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=252916
I did, it was what fueled my research and this very thread. My question is, what's the threshold that triggers the issues? How high is "high bitrate"?

I've seen some threads (either in this forum or the OSMC one) mentioning 10Mbps, but I'd like to know where the limit is. I understand it's probably difficult to pinpoint an exact value, but a ballpark would help.

As it stands, I'll probably end up buying the Nvidia Shield Pro, to cover my bases. I do hate spending more money than I have to, as I might not ever get rips that would be a problem in the Vero 4K+, but I'd hate it even more if I found some movie I liked in a nice rip and couldn't watch it properly.
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#7
(2020-09-17, 00:40)Sam.Nazarko Wrote:
(2020-09-16, 21:07)skryptus Wrote:
(2020-09-16, 20:33)Sam.Nazarko Wrote: Audio dropouts occur with TrueHD tracks due to how Kodi's bitstream packer segments MAT MLP frames. In the last couple of years, 4K films have started using larger sizes than what Kodi could previously handle.

There's been some progress in improving this in the sense that a lot of crashes are now solved, but there are still dropouts in some cases. This is particularly noticeable with Disney tracks.

We (from an OSMC perspective) are keen to get it solved and have been working on the problem for some time, with success resolving the problem with Kodi v17.6.
But the changes made were not beneficial for v18.x/v19. We are not that familiar with the bitpacking code, so it's hard to understand some of the design choices that were made.

The bad news is that it affects a large number of Kodi platforms (including Shield and Vero 4K +), but the good news is that once it is fixed, it will be solved for all devices.

Sam
But is the TrueHD issue only occurring with bitrates above 10000 kbps, or is it lower than that?

I don't have any TrueHD Disney ones yet, but I do have some MCU (Disney owned, so it should be similar). My rip of Black Panther, for instance, only reaches 7134 kbps. The one for Doctor Strange only goes up to 7317. And the one I have for Start Wars Episode VIII only reaches 5853.

Will these give me problems if I stick with Kodi?

By the way, I'm not saying they're great rips, and I'll maybe see a decent upgrade when I jump to proper 4K Blu-rays, but that's a few years down the line, and these are what I'll have access to in the time being.

I don't want to discuss piracy.

The issue has been observed on 4K UHD remuxes which are true to source. This means that the issue exists with direct from disc rips, and therefore is not a problem caused by transcoding. 
There is no specific bitrate that causes the problem. Generally it is observed with audio tracks exceeding 15Mbps. It is caused by larger than expected MLP frames and this occurs particularly with Disney content. I think Mazer Runner was one of the first films to exhibit this issue. 

It will no doubt get solved, but there is no firm ETA.

@Sam.Nazarko - presumably the problem is only with the Dolby True HD wrapper and HDMI passthrough of True HD - so if you don't need Atmos you could transcode the True HD to FLAC 5.1/7.1 and they would play fine with no loss in quality (other than possibly a bit of metadata for downstream processing)? Or you could disable True HD bitstream/pass through and let the Vero 4K+ decode losslessly to PCM 5.1/7.1 on replay with the same quality ?
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#8
Audiophiles only take care of their green lamp ... while you are technically correct :-)
First decide what functions / features you expect from a system. Then decide for the hardware. Don't waste your money on crap.
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#9
(2020-09-17, 11:29)noggin Wrote:
(2020-09-17, 00:40)Sam.Nazarko Wrote:
(2020-09-16, 21:07)skryptus Wrote: But is the TrueHD issue only occurring with bitrates above 10000 kbps, or is it lower than that?

I don't have any TrueHD Disney ones yet, but I do have some MCU (Disney owned, so it should be similar). My rip of Black Panther, for instance, only reaches 7134 kbps. The one for Doctor Strange only goes up to 7317. And the one I have for Start Wars Episode VIII only reaches 5853.

Will these give me problems if I stick with Kodi?

By the way, I'm not saying they're great rips, and I'll maybe see a decent upgrade when I jump to proper 4K Blu-rays, but that's a few years down the line, and these are what I'll have access to in the time being.

I don't want to discuss piracy.

The issue has been observed on 4K UHD remuxes which are true to source. This means that the issue exists with direct from disc rips, and therefore is not a problem caused by transcoding. 
There is no specific bitrate that causes the problem. Generally it is observed with audio tracks exceeding 15Mbps. It is caused by larger than expected MLP frames and this occurs particularly with Disney content. I think Mazer Runner was one of the first films to exhibit this issue. 

It will no doubt get solved, but there is no firm ETA.

@Sam.Nazarko - presumably the problem is only with the Dolby True HD wrapper and HDMI passthrough of True HD - so if you don't need Atmos you could transcode the True HD to FLAC 5.1/7.1 and they would play fine with no loss in quality (other than possibly a bit of metadata for downstream processing)? Or you could disable True HD bitstream/pass through and let the Vero 4K+ decode losslessly to PCM 5.1/7.1 on replay with the same quality ?
You could indeed. But as @fritsch  says, a lot of users really want to see the passthrough lights on their AVR, which is why we've seen hacks to support passthrough with Live TV in the past..
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#10
(2020-09-17, 09:36)skryptus Wrote:
(2020-09-17, 08:32)wrxtasy Wrote:
(2020-09-16, 19:03)skryptus Wrote: I'm currently trying to decide between the Vero 4K+ and the Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019, with the biggest plus of the Nvidia being that it is currently the only one that supports high bitrate TrueHD Atmos/DTS-X (the AI-upscaling and the gaming are also relevant, but I'm not sure I'd give an extra 100€ for them). But that support comes with using Plex Server + Plex Client, which I'd rather not - Kodi is much nicer, lighter and better in almost everything.

In addition to what @Sam.Nazarko already stated read the 2nd Paragraph on Post #1 of the START HERE sticky thread:
https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=252916
How high is "high bitrate"?

We found the issues tend to occur around 15Mbps. But it's not an exact figure.
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#11
(2020-09-17, 19:14)Sam.Nazarko Wrote:
(2020-09-17, 11:29)noggin Wrote:
(2020-09-17, 00:40)Sam.Nazarko Wrote: I don't want to discuss piracy.

The issue has been observed on 4K UHD remuxes which are true to source. This means that the issue exists with direct from disc rips, and therefore is not a problem caused by transcoding. 
There is no specific bitrate that causes the problem. Generally it is observed with audio tracks exceeding 15Mbps. It is caused by larger than expected MLP frames and this occurs particularly with Disney content. I think Mazer Runner was one of the first films to exhibit this issue. 

It will no doubt get solved, but there is no firm ETA.

@Sam.Nazarko - presumably the problem is only with the Dolby True HD wrapper and HDMI passthrough of True HD - so if you don't need Atmos you could transcode the True HD to FLAC 5.1/7.1 and they would play fine with no loss in quality (other than possibly a bit of metadata for downstream processing)? Or you could disable True HD bitstream/pass through and let the Vero 4K+ decode losslessly to PCM 5.1/7.1 on replay with the same quality ?
You could indeed. But as @fritsch  says, a lot of users really want to see the passthrough lights on their AVR, which is why we've seen hacks to support passthrough with Live TV in the past..

Sigh.

I suspect they are faux-audiophiles. Real audiophiles would be feeding each PCM stream to their own bespoke DAC...
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