You Asked: streaming inequality, Dragon showdown, and holy g…

You Asked is our series where our TV expert Caleb Dennison answers your frequently asked or practical questions that we think can be of great help to our readers. In this installment, we’ll explore whether it matters what you use to stream Netflix (or any other streaming service) and whether we’re at a time when you really need to buy a new TV. Must wait. What about Hisense U8K vs TCL Q7? And will there be more Nakamachi Dragon comparisons?

Let’s do it.

quality streams

App selection on the Apple TV 4K home screen.
apple tv 4k Zeke Jones /

John Gola writes: Does it matter what device one uses to watch a streaming service like Netflix? I have fiber optic TV service, a Panasonic 4K BluRay player, and an LG C3 TV. All offer Netflix. The sound is fed to a Denon AVR. Will the picture and sound quality be the same? Does it depend only on internet speed?

Thanks, John. I’m glad you asked. There couldn’t be a better time for your question. Our recent Sony X95L vs TCL QM8 comparison addresses this issue. In it, I show how the Max app on a Sony TV appears to be problematic, and the YouTube app on a TCL TV appears to be problematic in terms of picture quality.

But this is really just the tip of the iceberg. What I’ve been slowly learning over the past few years is that many, if not all, of the most popular streaming apps behave extremely differently from platform to platform. So, for example, the Netflix app on LG’s webOS may behave dramatically different from the Netflix app on Roku, which is different from Netflix on Google TV or Chromecast with Google TV, and so on.

I don’t even know about all the issues, but some include certain platforms that limit color bit depth to 4:2:0 – which means more color banding just because you’re viewing on that platform. It’s also true that some platforms refuse to allow buffering in favor of better picture quality, even if you Salary As for 4K, you may not get it because the internet connection is too slow. Some platforms may render 24 frames-per-second (fps) content at 30 fps, no matter your opinion.

The problem is widespread, and there is no single streaming platform or device that is perfect. They all have issues. And, no, I haven’t created a database to track or cross-reference all this, but it’s a good idea.

What I can tell you is that I have decided to choose Apple TV 4K as my personal, preferred streaming OS and streaming device. This is one that has the least questions and adequate control. It comes with the least number of headaches, and for that, I’m willing to pay extra. It’s not perfect, but it has the fewest errors, and, sadly, I think that’s where we are right now in terms of streaming. Choose the lesser evil. And for me, that’s Apple TV 4K. I love using Google TV, but it seems I can’t rely on it.

TV Recommendations

A view of a Japanese courtyard seen from inside a house is displayed on the Hisense U8K.
Hisense U8K. Chris Hagen/

The next question is from Tyler, the Creator, who wrote: I’m on my way to choose between the Hisense 55-inch U8K or the TCL 55-inchQ7. I mostly watch TV during dinner time and on weekends. We love watching Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, Paramount Plus, and ESPN+ for softball and cornhole. Our viewing angle is not direct, but at a distance of 6 to 10 feet from the TV mounted on the wall. i have samsung Model Code: UN55H6350 with Samsung’s 2.1 soundbar and subwoofer combo. The TV is in a room with a large window in which the sun is only visible when it is setting in the sky. I’m considering connecting the Nintendo Switch OLED as well. I use an Xfinity Flexbox and a Roku Ultra box for streaming.

Judging from this usage, I want to say choose Hisense U8K. In terms of picture quality and to some extent sound, this is the better performing TV of the two you listed. And since you won’t be using the onboard Google TV interface for anything other than selecting the desired input for your Roku or Xfinity Box, I’m comfortable with that suggestion. My main complaint is that Hisense’s OS gets slow after a few years of updates. This may change, but I haven’t had a chance to test it. So until I do that, that’s the only thing I keep in mind.

Aerial view of the horizon at night on a Sony A95L.
Sony A95L Caleb Dennison/

Along similar lines, Basim Obeida wrote: If budget is not a concern, which TV model is better to buy considering the use of streaming content (Netflix, Disney+, etc.) and casual console playing (PlayStation 5 to be precise)? Please note that space allows a maximum of 65 or 75 inches. Video quality is important, but I’m not a “nerd-nerd” and the room is semi-dark so brightness isn’t a problem. I just watched episode 6 of You Asked, and following your advice, this is the most information I was able to provide you to help me.

You gave me just enough information to answer. You’re watching a 65- or 75-inch TV, cost is no issue, you stream Netflix and maybe play some PS5, and heavy brightness isn’t an issue.

Given those considerations, especially the cost-without-commodity thing? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Sony A95L will probably be the best TV to buy in terms of picture quality and overall performance. Now, please understand that I have not reviewed that TV yet. I will do so soon, Sony has assured me. So, if you want to wait for that review to be sure, this is definitely a safe, smart play. But, unless Sony really messes up something, which it has no history of doing, last year’s A95K is a good sign that the A95L is going to be an absolutely excellent TV, and in some small ways even slightly better than it. A95K. However, if you can still get the A95K? Maybe I’ll get it and save some money. This is if and only if you don’t mind going 65-inches. If you want to expand a bit and get 77-inchers, you’ll have to wait until the A95L comes out.

I would also strongly consider the LG G3 OLED or the Samsung S95C QD-OLED, as both are very strong TVs, each with their own small advantages. But, yes, if you want to limit me to just one and tell me cost is no object, I’d say get the 77-inch Sony A95L when it comes out. It has all the makings of the best TV of the year.

Nakamichi Dragon vs Sony A9 showdown?

Soundbar component of the Nakamichi Dragon Surround System.
Nakamichi Dragon Zeke Jones /

Mohammad Arafat says: Hello Caleb. Love from India. ,Love again!) Can we compare Dragon vs Sonos 300 vs Sony A9-SW5?

I regret to say that the answer, at the moment, is no. I am really sorry. I think this is a very good idea. And if I had the Sony HT-A9 here to compare, I would have done that already. But Sony wanted my HT-A9 back, so I returned it after I finished the review. Maybe I should have tried harder to keep it. That’s my fault. But, not only do I no longer have Sony’s HT-A9, even though I asked them to send me one again, I also no longer have the Nakamichi Dragon. I had to send it back to Nakamichi, which was kind of disappointing. But at the same time, it was very big and heavy and I didn’t really have room for it to stick so… it’s bittersweet. However, if I had to make a heated comment on it? I’d say Nakamichi for movies and Sony for music, and the SW5 is okay, but it can’t hold a candle to the dual Nakamichi sub. It’s just based on memory.

Holy Grail TV FOMO

LG G3 OLED TV on a stand, showing a mountain view on the screen.
lg g3 Zeke Jones /

John Speaker writes: It feels like there’s a lot of innovation on the horizon. [That includes] G3 Brighter than OLEDs, Mini-LED/Quantum Color [going] From good to great, and even in larger screen formats next year. If you have a multi-big screen family, does it seem like a bad time to invest in a holy grail TV for the main viewing area of ​​the house?

Well, John, I hope this helps you know that you are not alone with these feelings. I get this question all the time because this concern is always there. But in a way, your answer is: This worry will never go away. With consumer technology there will always be a worry that the next new version coming out will be so much better that it would be smart to wait to buy. Because the worry is that what you buy now will become obsolete, right?

here’s the thing. I don’t think I can remember any year when a new version of a TV made the previous version obsolete. Or even less desirable! The introduction of QD-OLED was one of the big moments in TV technology, and while it was new and impressive, it didn’t render OLED obsolete before long. Same with the LG G3 – MLA made things brighter, and that’s exciting, but how much is it necessary for most people? It’s not like that. The G3 didn’t make anything obsolete. Heck, some people thought that mini-LEDs would make regular LEDs obsolete and clearly that hasn’t happened.

So, you will not move towards obsolescence. What’s really happening is that you’re worried that you won’t have the latest and greatest. And I got it. But it will always be true. There will always be a slight upgrade from the previous year. So, don’t try to wait for things to be stable – because they will always be changing. Buy when you want to buy. Buy when you can. And do what you can to deny yourself the urge to experience FOMO.

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