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Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen Review (vs. 1st Gen): An Excellent but Minor Streaming Upgrade

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On September 20, 2023, Amazon announced the latest Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen to be available by the end of the month. I was quite excited about it, pre-ordered immediately, and got mine on the first day. This brief review is from my month-long experience with the new streaming device.

Here's the bottom line: In most cases, as a streaming device, it's virtually the same as the previous version, which has been among the best. The "Ambient Experience" extras are mostly gimmicks, at least for now.

So, if you're in the market for a 4K streaming stick to add to your 4K-capable but "dumb" or not-smart-enough TV, the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen is an easy recommendation, even at the comparatively high cost of $59.99. (You can expect discounts during the holidays). Already rocking the previous version? There's no need to upgrade.

Dong's note: I first published this post as a preview on September 20, 2023, and updated it to an in-depth review on October 28 after an extensive real-world trial.

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen includes everything to run any TV smart
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen includes everything to make any TV extra smart right out of the box. It shares the same power adapter as the 4K Max 1st Gen, but you can also use most standard USB adapters for the job.

Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen (2023): Topping the top is a challenge

Two years ago, the original Fire TV Stick 4K Max was quite phenomenal. It proved to be the best representative of Amazon's Fire TV platform by adding the "smart" notion to any TV that's not already a Fire TV. (And Fire TV's only worthy rival is Google TV, represented by the Chrome Cast.)

I bought a few over the subsequent years, and all of them have been great. They allow for a consistent experience across our TVs of different brands, and we had one to bring on our trips to quickly turn any TV at destinations into our own.

The original 4K Max (1st Gen) has been an excellent experience. Now, the new 4K Max 2nd Gen is entirely new hardware. You won't get it simply by updating the previous Max to the latest firmware. But generally, it's hard to improve upon something already great. As a streaming device, the new and more powerful hardware doesn't have much more than the previous version, if any.

The table below shows the differences between the two generations in hardware specs.

Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023) vs. Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2021): Hardware specifications

Fire TV Stick 4K Max
2nd Gen
(2023)
Fire TV Stick 4K Max
1st Gen
(2021)
Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen 2023Fire TV Stick 4K Max
ResolutionUp to 4K UHD at 60 fpsUp to 4K UHD at 60 fps
Processor
(CPU)
4x ARM Cortex - A55 up to 2.0 GHzMediatek MT8696 + MT7921LS
Quad-Core 1.8 GHz
Graphic Processor
(GPU)
GE9215 up to 850 MHzIMG GE9215 750MHz
Architecture32-bit
Memory (RAM)2GB DDR42GB DDR4
Flash
(internal storage)
16GB8GB
Operating SystemFire OS 8
(Android 11)
Fire OS 7
(Android 9)
Wi-Fi StandardWi-Fi 6E
802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
Wi-Fi 6
802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
Dimensions3.9 x 1.18 x 0.55 inches
(9.9 x 3 mm x 1.4 cm)
4.25 x 1.18 x 0.55 inches
(10.8 x 3 x 1.4 cm)
ColorsBlack
Audio SupportDolby MAT transcoding, 
AC3 (Dolby Digital),
EAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus),
Atmos (DDP+JOC)
AC4 (Atmos),
Dolby TrueHD (Atmos) passthrough,
DTS passthrough,
DTS-HD passthrough,
MPEG-H passthrough,
AAC Profile (AAC LC),
MPEG-4 HE AAC Profile (AAC+),
MPEG-4 HE AACv2 Profile (enhanced AAC+),
AAC ELD (enhanced low delay AAC),
xHE-AAC (enhanced HE-AAC),
FLAC,
MIDI,
MP3,
Vorbis,
PCM/Wave,
AMR-NB,
Opus
Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC),
AC3 (Dolby Digital),
eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus),
AAC-LC,
HE-AACv1 (AAC+),
HE-AACv2 (enhanced AAC+),
FLAC,
MIDI,
MP3,
Vorbis,
PCM/Wave,
AMR-NB,
Opus
Video DecodingDolby Vision,
H.265 (HEVC),
H.264,
H.263,
VP8,
VP9,
MPEG-2,
MPEG-4,
AV1
HDR VideoHDR10
HDR10+
HLG
Dolby Vision
DMRPlayReady 3.3,
WideVine V16.3 L1 & L3,
Fairplay V5.9.21
PlayReady 3.3,
WideVine L1 V14.1.2,
HDCP 2.2,
Fairplay
BluetoothBluetooth 5.2 + BLEBluetooth 5.0
Ethernet10/100 Mbps with external dongle
(not included)
Wi-FiTri-band 2x2 Wi-Fi 6E
(802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax/axe)
Dual-band 2x2 Wi-Fi 6
(802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax)
Max OpenGL versionOpenGL ES 3.2OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0/3.2
RemoteAlexa Voice Remote
(3rd Gen with Live TV + App buttons)
Alexa Voice Remote
(3rd Gen with Live TV + App buttons)
Voice Command for Dialog InputYes
USB PoweredYes
Micro USB
Live View Picture-in-PictureYes
Release DateOctober 7, 2021September 29021
Suggested Price
(at launch)
$59.99$55
Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen vs. Fire TV Stick 4K Max 1st Gen: Hardware specifications
Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen vs. the 1st Gen (right)
Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen vs. the 1st Gen (right): The former is slightly shorter and now with rounded corners. Their remotes are largely the same except for the re-arrangement of the volume rocker, which requires a bit of getting used to.

Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023): A very similar streaming stick, but still no USB-C

As you can note from the table above, the most significant difference—in terms of real-world usage—the new 4K Max has from the previous version is the doubled internal storage space. That means it can store more apps and app-related data. The rest of the improvements are rather minor.

For example, the support for Wi-Fi 6E won't add anything since Wi-Fi 6 is already more than fast enough. The stick won't need more than 100Mbps anyway—its Ethernet adapter uses the legacy 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet standard.

Secondly, while a faster CPU will only help, the device uses a higher version of the OS, which is more demanding and cancels out the extra processing power. Most importantly, it still uses the 32-bit architecture, meaning it'll be stuck at 2GB of RAM—it can't run lots of apps at once.

But, as a streaming stick, it has little use for multitasking. The fact is, there's only so much you can and want to do with it.

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen has one USB port for power, and, to my disappointment, it still uses a legacy Micro USB port instead of the now-universally supported USB-C. While I understand why—Amazon wants the user to reuse their existing dongle, such as the Ethernet adapter—the lack of USB-C support means you will need a second cable type around.

The streamer includes a micro USB cable, and you should use it. Other cables of the same standard might not work. By the way, similar to the case of the previous version, the new streamer can power from a TV's USB port, despite the fact it might nag you to use the included power adapter.

The new 4K Max's remote is largely the same as the one of the predecessor. Amazon says the new Alexa voice command is now improved—you can speak to it more naturally than giving a "command" in a specific syntax. However, with the latest firmware, you can do the same with the old 4K Max or any voice-activated Fire TV stick.

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen is compact with rounded cornerThe Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen uses Micro USB port
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen has a slightly new and curvy look, but it still uses the legacy micro USB port.

So, to add novelty to the new hardware, Amazon introduces a new feature entirely, the Ambient Experience, which has little to do with the stick's primary function as a media streamer.

Ambient Experience: Cool, but gimmicky, at least for now

Previously available exclusively on the Fire TV Omni QLED Series, Ambient Experience is a feature that makes use of the TV screen when you, well, don't need to use it. It's like a screensaver for a computer. Specifically, you can use the screen to display other stuff.

Amazon has a lot of ambition with the new features and promises that users will someday be able to use it to create AI-based images via voice commands. For example, you can say, "Alexa, create an image of that notoriously handsome Dong Ngo from Dong Knows Tech," and then watch with great anticipation how the masterpiece is being completed in real-time on the screen. But that won't happen until the end of this year or even early next—or at all if you know how truly handsome Dong Ngo is—but you catch my drift.

For now, you can use the feature to display different background images—similar to the Netgear Meural without a subscription—and motion graphics, such as a moving ocean with looping waves or a pod of dolphins frolicking around under the water.

Additionally, there are also widgets for different tasks, for now, including:

  • Alexa Weather
  • Calendar and Reminders
  • Cookpad Recipe of the Day
  • Live TV
  • Music and Audio
  • Smart Home Favorites
  • Sticky Notes
  • What Should I Watch
  • What to Eat
  • Your Amazon Deliveries (of course!)

Depending on the widgets, you can display up to seven on the screen at a time and move between them using the remote. Or you can call up a particular one via voice commands.

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen has a new Ambient Experience featureFire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen's new Ambient Experience feature in action
You can activate the Ambient Experience via voice command or the setting button on the remote. While the motion graphics backgrounds are cool, the widgets are limited in what they can do.

I tried Ambient Experience and found it a bit unnecessary. The motion graphics were quite fun and great, but it got old fast, and the widgets were very limited in their functionalities.

For example, you can quickly create a sticky note via voice command, but it's impossible to edit it—if you want to edit a word in the middle of the message, you can't get to that word without erasing all the text after it. Additionally, there's no way to maximize a widget to the entire screen. So, if you want to work on something, the motion graphics in the background become incredibly distracting.

This new feature is still in its infancy, and there's no doubt things will change—likely for the better—via firmware updates.

Still, in all, the Ambient Experience is simply an alternative to turning your TV off, which may be what you should do anyway unless you have a store or a place where media streaming is not the primary need. In that case, note that the streaming stick doesn't have deep control over a TV's power—no more than turning it on or off. As a result, when the Ambient Experience is running, and you set your TV to automatically turn itself off after idling for a period, it will turn off anyway.

Responsive performance, excellent third-party app support, the same experience

Like the case of the previous version, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen has excellent responsiveness—especially with the latest firmware.

In my testing, things moved along quickly, and most apps generally took less than a second to start. Some apps took a bit longer. YouTube TV, which is notoriously slow, took 3 seconds to start from cold, but it, too, launched instantly when already loaded in the background. Similar things can be said about Netflix and other streaming apps.

Speaking of apps, the Fire TV platform is among the best in supporting third-party apps. If you have a NAS server, you can install many apps to stream directly from them, such as Plex or VLC.

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen has the common Fire TV interfaceThe Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen features Wi-Fi 6E with the new 6GHz band support
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen shares the same user interface as other Fire TV Stick, and its support for Wi-Fi 6E makes no difference in performance.

Wi-Fi 6E makes no difference

As mentioned, the new streaming stick supports Wi-Fi 6E and can connect to a Wi-Fi network via the 6GHz band. I tested this out, and it made no difference. The device connected at around 450Mbps of sustained speeds at best from my 10Gbps fiber-optic line, hosted by a 10Gbps-cable Wi-Fi 7 router.

And when I connected it to a 5GHz network, the performance remained the same. But that's to be expected. As a media streamer, the device never needs more than 100Mbps bandwidth. Most of the time, it only uses less than half of that, even when handling 4K content.

I talked more about Internet speeds in this post, but the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a single-task device when it comes to bandwidth usage, and generally, content only needs the following when streaming:

  • 3 Megabits per second for DVD quality.
  • 5 Mbps for HD quality.
  • 25 Mbps for Blu-ray (4K) quality.
  • 80 Mbps for 8K video.

While it doesn't hurt to support the latest and greatest in Wi-Fi, that doesn't bring in any improvement, either. So don't get the new stick just because of the support for the 6GHz Wi-Fi band.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen in actionThe Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max in action
Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen vs. the 1st Gen (right): The streaming sticks can work by drawing power from a TV's USB port—applicable to most, not all, TVs—despite how the interface might nag you to use the included power adapter, which remains the same for both.

Before publishing this review, I used the new 4K Max 2nd Gen every day for a month and was happy with it. I proved to be an excellent add-on media streaming stick.

However, other than having to fumble around a bit with the remote control—it has a slightly different button layout than that of the 1st Gen—I saw no difference compared to the previous version, which I also used during the time. If it wasn't for the remote, I wouldn't have known which I was using at the time.

Again, unless you have use for the Embient Experience features, there's literally nothing about the new stick that stands out from its predecessor. Eventually, though, chances are Amazon will phase out the 4K Max 1st Gen. They are so similar there's no reason to maintain both. And hardware-wise, this 2nd Gen has more to keep going further into the streaming future.

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen's remote
Here's the Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen's remote. It has a different layout from that of the 1st Gen.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen's Rating

8.1 out of 10
Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen Box Content
Performance
8.5 out of 10
Features
8.5 out of 10
Design and Setup
8 out of 10
Value
7.5 out of 10

Pros

Compact design, responsive interface, well-design remote, fast app launching, and switching

Excellent support for third-party apps and local streaming

Stellar voice control, including dictation for dialogs

Wi-Fi 6E and Ambient Experience

Cons

No USB-C

Ambient Experience is limited and gimmicky (at launch)

No 8K support

Conclusion

As a standalone media streamer, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen is excellent, one of the best, and worthy of its $60 full price, though it never hurts to get it with a discount during Amazon's special sale events—that's a sure thing.

So, get it if you need a new media streaming stick today. It'll also make an easy gift for the holidays.

However, compared to the previous version, it's not a must-upgrade. That's because its "improvements," namely the support for Wi-Fi 6E, faster CPU, and more storage, make little difference in real-world usage if any at all.

And the supposedly new Ambient Experience proved to be more of a gimmick than anything for most homes. It's better to give your eyes some rest and turn that TV off!

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24 thoughts on “Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2nd Gen Review (vs. 1st Gen): An Excellent but Minor Streaming Upgrade”

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  1. I am not a typical FireTV device customer, though I’ve had several over the years. Currently the FireTV 4K Max Gen 1 is the newest and “fastest” FireTV device I have. The one thing I do that is not what typical users do is to put all of my media (CDs and downloaded music, purchased content downloaded or ripped from Blu-ray discs, photos, personal videos, etc… everything is stored on 3 multi-hard disk network file servers accessible from any room in the house. I have az Wi-Fi with 2 Gbps-5 Gbps connect speeds (not specified whether this is considered Wi-Fi 6 or 7, so I’m not sure about that designation. The wired network is 1 Gbps Ethernet. First… almost nothing plays reliably using Amazon’s 10/100 Ethernet adapter–CD quality stereo music is about all that works. (I also prefer the highest res sources for audio and video). Wi-Fi on the 4K Max plays about 80% of what is on my servers but none of the ripped Blu-ray movies in 4K play without horrific video stuttering and stalling and pausing. The Ethernet router and Wi-Fi router are in the same room with the 4K Max FireStick. When I use an Oppo BDP-203 disc player as the playback device, EVERYTHING on my hard discs plays without issues… it’s perfect. But the disc player has a barebones user interface and doesn’t keep track of content you have watched and not watched. And there’s no movie info downloaded as with most streaming apps. So I want to use the 4K Max to play everything as well as the disc player, but Amazon has hobbled the input speeds so terribly with the 10/100 Ethernet port limit and the Wi-Fi speed, while OK for streaming is nowhere near fast enough for anything ripped from Blu-ray discs that is higher res audio and video than you can get from “the usual” streaming sites. Some of the biggest movies (in file size) are 90 GB of data with playback speeds that I’ve seen as high as 125 Mbps. And THAT seems slow enough to work with Wi-Fi az output and Wi-Fi ax at the FireTV stick 4K Max with Wi-Fi, but in the real world, I can only play those high-bit-rate ripped movies on the disc player because of stuttering, lengthy pauses, and dropouts I get from the 4K Max. So I know my SYSTEM can play the highest res movies without problems, but the FireTV Stick 4K Max Gen 1 is simply not provided with fast enough Ethernet or Wi-Fi to be able to deal with that amount of data. If the movie is a 2 hour movie, the 4K Max will play it OK if the total file size is 50 GB or less. But above 50 MB file sizes (I use mkv files most of the time, but some avi and mp4 also) the 4K Max is just worthless. Even the $140 Cube is worthless for the larger files. I have an older FireTV Stick 4K (not Max) in another room, about 20 feet and a couple of walls from the Wi-Fi and Ethernet router. I have Ethernet over the AC wiring in our house, but even though it is made to work as 100 Mbps Ethernet on the house wiring, in real life, the supported Wi-Fi speed is probably not even 50 Mbps. Nothing I have on the hard discs plays on that earlier Stick (which is even slower than the 4K Max). The built-in media players in smart TVs are always worthless for my application, but I can install android media players on the FireTV stick and they work and offer the features I want (like tracking what has been watched, deleting things from the Library or from the hard disks or both. I tried a $200 Nvidia media player (no onboard storage) with much better specs than any FireTV stick and returned it 3 days later when it would not support playback of larger files either. I really don’t want to purchase an expensive hardware media player… I really don’t need a storage device media player. I just need a FAST hardware or software solution — the 4K Max Stick is frustratingly close. I’d have no problem even paying up for the $140 FireTV Cube if it was fast enough, but it’s no faster than the Max Stick. If I download media players to smart TVs, those are never fast enough either because the TVs still carry 10/100 ethernet and Wi-Fi is slower than the 4K Max Stick. I use the Nova Media Player for Android with the FireTV Stick 4K Max to play the “smaller” movies and TVs hows. It’s the best Android media player I’ve tried so far in terms of stability. However, I still have to reboot the FireTV stick about every 2nd or 3rd day to get Nova working right again. And, yes, that is BETTER than VLC for Android (a worthless mess, with no updates to fix problems) and the other 5 or 6 media player options that are all as bad as or worse than VLC. So maddening as Nova is, it can at least be usable for a day at a time or so. I’m frustrated! I need something with more through-put and input speed without paying $1000 or more for a “fast” hardware media player. I had a loaner Kaleidescape system here for a while and KNOW my system can transport high-res video and audio seamlessly via Ethernet and Wi-Fi (both worked without stalling or jerky motion in my system). But that system runs into 5 figures with the 20 GB of storage I have and even more for being able to use it in more than 1 room to play different content at the same time.

    Reply
    • In the best case scenario, no Wi-Fi connection can do more than Gig+, until Wi-Fi 7 which is still around 2Gbps at best for now.

      That’s to say you didn’t really know what you were talking about, which you already know.

      You need a streaming server that packages the contents correctly for the receiver. It’s never a good idea to play uncompressed data over a network. That’s like putting raw, or even pre-cooked, meat directly from the freezer to a dinner plate and expect it to be enjoyable.

      Reply
      • I neglected to mention that the hard disk storage systems all have an “auto” media playback feature that recognizes video file types and they are supposed to become streaming devices when you play video files (or music files). All 3 of the devices the hard disks are in have the media player fall-back for video files. They are sold as NAS devices with media playing as an anticipated use of the drive enclosures. The devices are operating in RAID mode so I have the data on 2 hard disks at the same time.

        If the Oppo Blu-ray disc player had problems with playback, I would agree with you that it’s not a good idea to play the raw data. I also neglected to say I’ve played the content over 1 Gbps Ethernet to my computer running VLC media player or JRiver Media Center software and EVERYTHING on the server plays flawlessly via that route as well. I only have trouble with the FireTV devices because their Wi-Fi, in spite of being “6” on the Gen1 4K Max Stick is still too slow to accept the data rates of the largest movie files. I have not tried Wi-Fi to the Oppo disc player… it has Gigabit Ethernet, but it is old enough now that the Wi-Fi is several generations slower than what is widely available today.

        Real life Ethernet speed to the computer is 750-800 Mbps. It NEVER hiccups on anything. I have 4K video in the computer but not very flexible HDR options (no Dolby Vision or HDR-10) so I would need to put a newer video board in the computer to give me decoding that matches the input video. I can run the computer to the TV via HDMI, but then I have to use Audio-Return on the TV to get the receiver to play the multichannel sound… to use that, you have to enable HDMI CEC (something explained very poorly in owner’s manuals!) and it just slows me down to make sure everything is ready for computer playback. I may be in denial, but once I find a device like FireTV that’s fast enough, my master plan should come together.

        Reply
        • I should also say that I had been using less expensive NAS drives without the media player claim and they were absolutely pathetic at trying to play video files. I had to off-load those earlier NAS devices (I had only been using them for documents and data, not for movies and TV shows) and switch to the ones I’m using now in order to get decent playback capabilities.

          Reply
        • Then likely your Wi-Fi is too slow. Or your streaming server was not configured correctly.

          Separate the 5GHz band and use it for the Fire Stick. Get a Synology Nas server and use a Plex server or Video Station with it. Bandwidth is not the issue in your case, it’s the application and implementation.

          I stream 4K movies locally with my original 4K Max on a daily basis with no problem. In fact I can do that, from my own server, even when I travel.

          You can take my word for it. Good luck!

          Reply
          • OK, I’ll look into it. One of the three NAS drives is Synology, about 9 months old. The other two are Netgear devices 2 to 2 1/2 years old. they have since stopped making. Both brands have medial player functionality and offer Plex apps that I have been avoiding, but it sounds like I may have to take that plunge.

          • You don’t really need Plex, but, if you want things to be easy, Plex helps. (The one-time cost for a pass is totally worth it). But you can use Media Station, Video Station, etc. And if you pay attention you can make things works — especially you already know how to use VLC. Hint: you can use DS Video app on the front end to call VLC when need be — it’s in the Settings.

            Again, I’ve been doing this for ages. I’ve run into issues, but bandwidth was never it as long as I could get 50Mbps or more (for 4K), which is quite easy these days.

          • Do you stream movie files as large as 90-100 GB for an approx. 2 hour movie with Plex?

          • A 2-hour 4K movie shouldn’t be larger than 20GB, Doug, else, the compression is wrong. But yes, you can stream 4K content from a file however large and it won’t need more than 100Mbps. Streaming is very different from data transferring.

          • The only time I’ve seen 2160p movies as small as 20 GB, they have come from streaming services with Dolby Digital Plus audio. That performs 6:1 compression on the lossless soundtrack present on UHD Blu-ray discs. On UHD Blu-ray discs, audio has 2:1 LOSSLESS compression. 6:1 audio compression goes all the way back to the DTS soundtracks on DVDs. Early digital Dolby for DVD was 12:1 compression. So not only are streamed movies limited to 6:1 compressed audio, there can be up to 11 channels mixed within that compressed audio. I can stream 20 GB movies with the NAS drives all day without a glitch. I’m only having trouble with the big/long movies with the largest file sizes. UHD Blu-ray discs come in 50, 66, and 100 GB sizes because 100 GB was required for the longest movies so they would not have to be split over 2 discs. I believe there is a movie that was so long it had to be put on 2 Blu-ray discs… possibly 1 of the extended Lord of the Rings movies. They would have needed even larger discs if x265 encoding hadn’t helped save space on the disc. 100 GB discs have data rates up to 144 Mbps. To playback the largest UHD Blu-ray movies in full UHD Blu-ray quality from a NAS, you need probably double that bandwidth on Ethernet or Wi-Fi just to make sure there’s “overhead” for other network activity. To get the longest UHD Blu-ray movies to be 30 GB in file size, 3:1 compression is required. Some of that comes from converting the lossless audio on the disc to lossy Dolby Digital Plus (6:1 compression) and the rest comes from additional video compression. So UHD Blu-ray discs have better audio and video than any streamed version of the same content. I think the “smallest” UHD Blu-ray disc movie I’ve put on the NAS is 42 GB… that’s without menus and extras and and with English, French, and Spanish subtitles and audio languages. From a streaming service, that movie is about 10-12 GB depending on which service is sending it.

          • You shouldn’t use the Blu-ray — raw format — as the base, Dough. Generally, you can compress a 10GB 4K content using MPEG-4 H.264 all the way down to about 120MB with good quality. So technically, a 50GB movie (a full dual-layer Blu-ray disk) can be compressed to about 600MB. Making a file smaller affects the quality, the idea here is that the quality is still good enough. In fact, in most cases, at 6 feet away from a 50-inch 4K screen, chances are you won’t notice the difference. That said, compressing it to 10GB or 20GB virtually makes no difference to most eyes — but you can pick the compression level that fits your need. In any case, let’s move on.

          • 20 GB 2160p movies are not “good enough”. As I said, the audio HAS to change from lossless to VERY lossy to get multi-channel sound to “fit” in the 20 GB. That alone makes small UHD movie and TV files crap. Compressing the Blu-ray video 3:1 or more to get into the 20 GB file brings INEVITABLE artifacts into images… contouring, loss of resolution, loss of color fidelity, and more. In fact, the compressed video to get the file size down to 20 GB will result in about 9-bits of resolution per color rather than the 10-bits present on discs. Blu-ray video is ALREADY compressed from YCbCr 4:4:4 to 4:2:0 which is ALREADY removing nearly half of the color data–which is fine, sort of, 4:2:2 would be a worthwhile image fidelity improvement in UHD Blu-ray. I hate over-compressed music and video when the video is well-produced and interesting. For an average comedy or drama movie… eh, 20 GB movie files are fine. But for big noisy movies, give me 100% Blu-ray quality. I have no problem seeing image defects, I was an imaging systems engineer for 35 years and spent lots of time analyzing image quality. Our equipment was used to create the first round of digital remasters of classic movies like Snow White and the company’s video processing was head and shoulders above anything else available at the time because of perceptual processing. 20 GB UHD movie video is like listening to amazingly well recorded music, like a symphony or rock with complex instrumentation and many interesting details as MP3 files… they suck, even at “high” MP3 data rates. So it’s not good enough for me. 20 GB may be good-enough for you, but if it’s something with great visuals, I need better quality. I’m also watching UHD content on an 85-inch display that is 8 feet away… which is still too far away to see all the detail in UHD video. To see all the video information in a UHD Blu-ray disc, you viewing distance has to be 1.5 times the height of the screen you are viewing. Screen height is .49 of the diagonal size of the TV or movie screen. So the height of a 65 inch TV (real size 64.5 inches) 5-feet 2is 31.6 inches. That means to see all the detail in UHD images, you have to sit 4 feet away. That’s uncomfortably close for a lot of people so it rarely happens in real life. For an 85-inch screen, the optimum viewing distance is 5-feet 2 1/2 inches. I sit 8 feet back so I COULD sit even closer to see more detail in UHD images, but like most people, sitting 6 feet from an 85-inch screen seems too close, physically even though optically, it is ideal. I’m not good with additional compression of audio and video of movies I paid UHD Blu-ray prices for (discs or digital downloads). If you are OK with 20 GB movies… that’s fine, but you can’t represent them as equivalent to unmolested UHD Blu-ray disc quality. If the movie isn’t a visual and sonic “10”, I’m usually good with 20 GB UHD file sizes for a movie also.

          • If that’s the case, streaming is not for you. You need to use a Blu-ray player. We’re talking about streaming here.

        • USB 2.0 can deliver 480mbps vs only 100 with the standard Amazon 100 ethernet adapter.

          I play my 4K UHD Blu-ray discs converted to MKV and those 4K video streams can peak at more than 100mbps (plus TrueHD Atmos can peak at > 10mbps). Like the original poster, wifi can’t deliver that when devices are behind 3 or 4 walls, furniture and TV etc.

          Reply
  2. The additional audio features seem like a pretty big change no?
    Dolby MAT transcoding means it should be able to play lossless audio without any data loss, right?
    And the new Bluetooth profiles, namely AAC-ELD should mean zero latency when watching shows using AirPods.

    Reply
    • Yes better hardware for sure, but if you look at it from the perspective of a typical home user, it’s the same as the 1st Gen, at least for now.

      Reply
    • Yes, I took the plunge primarily for the upgraded audio capabilities and storage. These can be pretty significant if using a receiver that has audio processing and can take advantage of the capabilities.

      On a non-related note, I was very confused why the new remote had two power buttons and only realized it was a watermark for the site when noticing the last picture of the remote that didn’t have two. Very glad that it wasn’t some Amazon tomfoolery.

      Reply

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