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Mentor 1
Posts: 1,161
Registered: ‎09-10-2014

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p

@chip75

 

You are quite right Chip

 

Now TV would have to run a two speed service, the first one would have to cater for the current majority of customers who have (let's call it) a normal broadband service, although there are still areas in the UK that don't even get download spreeds of 2Mb.

 

And secondly, a high speed service capable of 10Mb and above for 1080p 5.1 (or even 7.1) users.

 

I am reasonably sure that as soon as Now TV see that the second option is commercially viable then they will make it happen.

 

 

UK Bob

Champion 5
Posts: 7,099
Registered: ‎17-10-2013

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p

There would be no issues streaming 5.1 at all.

 

A 'two-speed' service wouldn't be used as NOW TV (along with just about every other streaming service) already use adaptive streaming so the quality will automatically adjust to the bandwidth available. The audio component of the stream is only a small proportion anyway compared with the video component, there's hardly any extra overhead with 5.1 and it is backwards compatible and so will work regardless of whether the user is watching on a TV with mono speaker, TV with stereo speakers, soundbar or AV system.

 

There's still some paid-for streaming services that only provide stereo but the big hitters like Netflix, Amazon, Google Play, iTunes all support 5.1. NOW TV along with Sky Store don't and I suspect it's less a case of 'commercially viable' and more a case of 'commercial impact' on the Sky TV side of the business. 

 

There is the argument on the forum that NOW TV is a budget offering and that there isn't a demand, but while that makes more sense to me for the entertainment pass, it holds less sway when it comes to cinema.

 

'Film fanatics' have traditionally always been happy to spend money on the 'hobby' both in terms of buying films rather than renting or waiting for them to pop up on TV and also in terms of equipment purchases (larger TVs or projectors, AV equipment, higher end players etc) and I suspect it's those people (like me) who are disappointed in the lack of 5.1, especially when the VHS tapes I bought 25 years ago (and alas don't have any more) sported Dolby Surround/Dolby Pro Logic.

 

Regular 1
Posts: 160
Registered: ‎25-01-2014

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p

There wouldn't be a huge issue upgrading to 5.1 as audio isn't a huge difference in bandwidth requirements, but when you factor in the increase in video as well you'll have people who have content dipping in and out if they have slower connections (which happens with other services too), either it will start to buffer or drop down to the lower bitrate qualities. So some customer would lose video and sound quality if their connections dip. I know you can set the quality of the stream through the hidden bitrate menu, but how many customers do that?

 

"'Film fanatics' have traditionally always been happy to spend money on the 'hobby' both in terms of buying films rather than renting or waiting for them to pop up on TV and also in terms of equipment purchases (larger TVs or projectors, AV equipment, higher end players etc) and I suspect it's those people (like me) who are disappointed in the lack of 5.1, especially when the VHS tapes I bought 25 years ago (and alas don't have any more) sported Dolby Surround/Dolby Pro Logic."

 

But aren't those "film fanatics" buying Blu-rays and UHD BDs? Video quality aside, there's a huge difference between the streaming 5.1 and DTS Master Audio 5.1. But there isn't a huge difference between using your receiver's DTS Neo: 6, DTS Neo: X or Dolby Pro Logic 11x and what we'd get with streamed 5.1. Obviously the 5.1 would contain true 5.1, but the quality of that 5.1 wouldn't be anywhere near what we'd get from a high defintion physical purchase.

 

Would I like 1080p and 5.1? Of course I would (and I'm a cineaphile like you), but it might end up causing a lot of problems we don't currently have.

 

Champion 1
Posts: 6,213
Registered: ‎31-12-2013

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p

In order to provide 'discrete' multi-channel audio NOW TV would have to switch from AAC to Dolby Digital (encoded typically 448Kbps) or Dolby Digital Plus (if the Roku products support it), which can be encoded at less than 448Kbps due to its greater efficiency...

 

Either way... it could be done. And would be a most welcome addition to the 'on-demand' movie/cinema service Smiley Wink


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Champion 5
Posts: 7,099
Registered: ‎17-10-2013

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p

It wouldn't impact on service quality if they did offer 5.1, adaptive streaming automatically adjusts bit rates to suit. People who don't sustain a fast enough throughput for 1080p will get the best they can get. That's the way NOW TV already deliver the content, as do Netflix and Amazon etc. But Netflix and Amazon throw in 5.1 on a lot  of their content, NOW TV don't. The hidden bitrate menu has no effect on NOW TV streams, that menu is a legacy menu for when services used to provide different streams in different bit rates. It has no effect on adaptive streaming.

 

I'm not expecting 5.1 or 1080p anytime soon, but I do support users keeping the 'campaign' alive by posting about it now and then - that's what forums are for, if you don't ask you don't get etc.

 

 

Contributor 2
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎02-10-2016

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p

Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix, said in an interview to What Hi-Fi last year that:

 

“Relatively few people bother with the home theatre set up, [however,] what is compelling is what I call the ‘director’s intent’. I want to be able to capture the story that the director wanted to tell, and deliver it faithfully through to the audience. For me, on sound, that means the dynamic range. Often, and particularly for features, the dynamic range of sound is huge. What you see when it’s delivered to broadcast is that the range is materially compressed to make it digestible by a three-inch speaker at the back of a cheap television. That is a shame.”

 

Hunt went on to say:

 

“We’re actually going through a clean-up process at the moment of making sure we’ve got great audio masters for all of our content. We’re making sure that they’re level-normalised – today they’re not, they tend to be up and down by 3-6dB from normal.

 

We want to make sure that when you play any piece of content you don’t need to juggle the volume to get it comfortable. When you deliver the 5.1 to a capable receiver we want to deliver the full dynamic range that the director intended, along with the right metadata that you could choose to compress for your environment. When we deliver stereo to your tablet with tiny little drivers, we want to make sure we are not overloading it by delivering a massive dynamic range.

 

You could receive the appropriate audio that matches the device you’ve got. That’s still at the experimental level at this point, but I think that could deliver a meaningful improvement in quality to people with small speakers, where we’re currently overloading them, and the full sound system, where we’re currently not delivering the full dynamic range that the director intended. Sound needs to be scalable and adaptable for what the consumer’s got.

 

That’s what we intend to do in the next six months. It’s a gradual thing. We know what we need to do. We just need to pass through our library and fix it gradually. New stuff coming in already, we’re getting them level properly and building the metadata. It’s not a huge material effort but it will make a difference in quality.”

 

That is how on top of things Netflix is when compared to Now TV. Does Now TV even have a product officer? Who is he or she? We ought to campaign to them directly because this forum is a waste of our efforts. No-one in charge is answering our questions.

Community Administrator
Posts: 1,601
Registered: ‎22-10-2012

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p

Hi @Irf7

 

The details of our executives can be found here.

 

It's interesting you removed a piece of what was said in the interview, which expands on what I was asking before about actual usage. I'd still love to see some research though!

 

"Relatively few people bother with the home theatre set up. Some large percentage of people use the speakers in the television and that’s it. Delivering even 5.1 is an overkill. For those who don’t, it’s likely a bundled speaker bar that sits underneath the television pretending to be 5.1."

 

Sky Cinema have been making improvements across the board this year, which will be especially evident on the high-end Sky Q boxes. You can find details of this after the rebrand, also reported by What HiFi.

For NOW TV, this has obviously meant a smaller impact. I did note in that interview above, they were introducing some audio level normalisation. This is also interesting, as we removed ours to better match the cinema experience/director's intent.

 

You're likely correct that our CPO won't respond on these forums! (You never know Smiley Happy but I suspect the same can be said for Netflix's CPO on their forums too.) What I have done is passed your feedback along to our product and technology teams, who help make the decisions on what features will be supported in the future. We've got a lot in store, but - I'm sure you'll be disappointed to learn - for now there's no change on the 5.1 surround sound front.

I'll post back here if I learn of any change to this.

 

Thanks,

Jason

 

Elite 5
Posts: 4,694
Registered: ‎03-02-2013

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p


SeeMoreDigital wrote:

In order to provide 'discrete' multi-channel audio NOW TV would have to switch from AAC to Dolby Digital (encoded typically 448Kbps) or Dolby Digital Plus (if the Roku products support it), which can be encoded at less than 448Kbps due to its greater efficiency...

 

Either way... it could be done. And would be a most welcome addition to the 'on-demand' movie/cinema service Smiley Wink


 it would be even more efficient if they could use AAC 5.1, but not a lot of equipment supports that chromecast is one of the few pieces of equipment that I can think of  that can if the chromecast is connected to an AV receiver. AAC 5.1 is used by Google play when using chromecast Smiley Wink you also have to have a fairly new AV receiver to be able to do that as well. 

 

While the source audio on Freeview HD channels is sometimes AAC 5.1. It has to be transcodeed it Dolby Digital in most cases, so that it can be handled correctly.


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Contributor 2
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎02-10-2016

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p

I appreciate your replying to my post, Jason-C.

 

I have taken a gander at your link, though, there is quite a few executives that seem to overlap on the CPO front.

 

Reading the posts of my fellow commentators on this thread, one very much deduces many are massively clued up on what they're espousing, ergo, the passion they have vis-à-vis the 1080p and 5:1 Dolby Digital sound need. We are serious about cinema.

 

I accept, most Now TV consumers won't care about these things as they just want movie content, but Sky Cinema appeals to a coalition of movie buffs; those that are passé to us lot that are fanatics. We are just as important as the former, though, we are rightfully slightly more demanding.

 

Look, Now TV is answerable to its shareholders more than it is to me. But I'm just a fellow customer wanting Now TV to warrant its standing as a formidable movie streaming service. It is important to me and many of your clients.

 

 

Champion 1
Posts: 6,213
Registered: ‎31-12-2013

Re: 5.1 Sound and 1080p

[ Edited ]

commanda6 wrote:

...it would be even more efficient if they could use AAC 5.1, but not a lot of equipment supports that chromecast is one of the few pieces of equipment that I can think of  that can if the chromecast is connected to an AV receiver.


Sadly most, if not all surround sound receivers (even ones that support DAB+) are unable to decode multi-channel AAC audio when passed as a 'bit-stream' via HDMI (inc ARC) or via SPDIF Smiley Sad 

 


• If I've been helpful please press the THANKS button • If I've been really helpful please also press the ACCEPT SOLUTION button • Please note: I'm not a NOW TV employee, I'm a regular NOW TV customer just like you! •

NOW TV Box = Model no: Black box | Software: 7.5.3 Build: 4068-10 | NOW TV app: 3.10.49 • LG TV 1 = Model no: 43UH668V | Software: 04.30.70 | OS: webOS 3.31 • LG TV 2 = Model no: 32LN575V | Software: 04.28.14 | OS: NetCast •

All TV's = NOW TV app: 2.19.2 | Post Processing Features: All disabled  • Networking Spec = ISP: Virgin Media (75Mbps) | Devices connection type: Wired | IP address type: Fixed (device permitting) •