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What's the deal with Roku PQ?


C.S.
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I'm putting this here instead of the Roku section, because I don't want this to be taken as a request for support. (It's really just a rant with a question mark.)

The question is why does everything in my library look worse on a Roku than on any other device? I'm talking about direct play here - no transcoding involved. I should say I haven't tested the high-end Rokus. I think the most expensive one I've seen is the Roku Premiere.

By "worse" I mean not as detailed, generally dull looking, and it's especially bad in dark scenes - the blockiness is truly depressing. It's as if the Rokus are designed to take the incoming video and re-encode it, badly. That's crazy, right? I must be wrong. There's no reason to take a perfectly good file and re-do the whole thing. Just play it. Just play the dang file.

Here I am taking the time to ensure I have the best quality media, and Roku is like Forget all that! We'll just make all new video on the spot!

??????

Maybe that's not what's happening, but it sure looks like it. Am I crazy?

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Happy2Play

Sorry without specific context it is hard to say.  Direct play for me looks the same on the Roku as it does in the browser or any other device.  Direct play should be presenting the media as is or possibly streaming it through the server.

Can you provide a server log of a specific example.

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Thanks for trying to help, but like I said this isn't really a request for support, just for information. I don't own a Roku, but I have friends and family who do, and it's when I'm at their places I notice the stark difference in quality. (And I make sure it's on direct play every time, right before I go through every picture setting in the TV menu.)

But if you don't see it, you don't see it. The best I can do is suggest you try something high bitrate, something dark and foggy. Look for the transitions from light to dark. The opening scene to The Lighthouse (2019) is good. The shot where the camera is looking over their shoulders as the lighthouse emerges from the fog - look at their jackets as the smoke/fog moves past. On every Roku I've seen, there are clear jagged lines between the dark jacket and the light fog, whereas on any androidTV box there's just a smooth transition. (The file I'm looking at is in the 20 mbit range. Low bitrate versions will likely have an inherent problem with that scene.)

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If you're certain it direct plays then it's something that would have to be taken up with Roku, e.g. reviewing your Roku settings and/or reporting an issue to them. But it's best to look at an example. Thanks.

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For sure I don't mean to insinuate that it's a problem with Emby, or that it might be anything you can fix. Really I'm just wondering if anyone is seeing what I see.

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I notice that the UI rendering on Roku is not quite as good but I do not notice any difference in video quality.  Are ALL other factors the same in the comparison you are making?

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You would want to get a 4K Roku TV model if this is a concern. The Roku STB and sticks have to work with what they are given and have two settings for video: one is on the TV and the other one on the Roku. Whereas the Roku TV has one setting for Video. That is the difference. If  you try this same test on a Roku TV it should look superior or at least equivalent. Roku STB/Stick output everything at 60fps. 24fps has the 2/3 pulldown. etc. But on Roku TV.. it is different.

 

You need a 4K Roku TV or a 4K TV with a 4k Roku STB or Stick to get the 1080P UI otherwise all you will see is the 720P UI. To get the best experience with Emby on Roku you must have a 4K Roku TV with all the latest technologies. It is the TV manufacturer responsible for footing the bill on things like DolbyVision,etc. That is how Roku TV can support this while normal Roku STB/Stick cannot.

 

I have mentioned before that the 720P UI crushes blacks into total black. Much too dark is our UI with 720p in regards to some overlays. But that isn't playing video it is how the Roku fits our dithered gradient fade and downscales it and turns it even darker... We do not account for that presently.

Edited by speechles
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19 minutes ago, ebr said:

I notice that the UI rendering on Roku is not quite as good but I do not notice any difference in video quality.  Are ALL other factors the same in the comparison you are making?

Well I admit I can't be sure if I'm aware of all other factors. All I can be sure of is that I'm direct playing the same files, albeit on different TVs. I'll have to borrow a Roku and take some screenshots on my TV (actual photos of the screen, because I guess there's no other way to show you what I see). I'll do a head-to-head Roku v androidTV.

To be continued...

Oh and the UI, yes, that bothers me too. Maybe if I owned a Roku I would just get used to it, but yeah that's another thing that makes me suspect maybe Rokus are just bad in their bones.

3 minutes ago, speechles said:

You would want to get a Roku TV model of Roku if this is a concern. The Roku STB and sticks have to work with what they are given and have 2 settings one for the TV and one for that Roku. Whereas the Roku TV has TV settings for Video. That is it. If  you try this same test on a Roku TV it should look superior or at least equivalent. Roku STB/Stick output everything at 60fps. 24fps has the 2/3 pulldown. etc. But on Roku TV.. it is different.

I've definitely seen these issues on Roku TVs as well as the STBs, not sure if I've seen any sticks. One thing I haven't tried is an androidTV box into a Roku TV. That would be interesting, and certainly a clear indicator of something rotten in Denmark if it turns out the android continues to look better. I'll try it and report back.

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