Should I buy a Roku 4? 720 vs 1080 settings on a device by device basis

In considering purchasing the Roku 4 when it’s GA, I wanted to make sure I get the 1080p/i and 60 FPS benefits on Tablo, but also maintain a good experience on my other Rokus. Apologies if this has been discussed, I hadn’t yet come across it in scanning the threads.

I think the 2.2.2 release and Roku not playing nice with 60 FPS is well documented (at least within this community) as a Roku hardware limitation. Presumably the 4 overcomes this and can stream 60 FPS without issue.

My question: if I have other ‘legacy’ Roku devices (3, new 2, stick, LT) in play, and I set my Tablo setting to 1080P/60 FPS, can I use those individual device settings (set each to 720P/30 FPS) to ‘choke’ the bitrates on those devices, and not experience buffering issues across all of my non-Roku 4’s? I want to make sure before spending $130 on the Roku 4 that I don’t end up having to stay @ 720 or 30 FPS because of my weak links in the chain.

Edit: Just saw that @theuser86 may have answered in ‘Tablo on Android Phone’ thread (seems answer is ‘no’), but imagine alot of us considering buying the 4 this is an important variable. Renaming the subject to be a little more clear on the Roku 4 implications.

Unfortunately this is not possible. Let’s go through why.

  1. The new recording quality of 1080p 10 Mbps coming with the 2.2.5 firmware records 1080i 30 fps video as 1080p 30 fps, and 720 p 60 fps video as 720p 60 fps. 1080i 30 fps will never be recorded as 60 fps video. Also, there is no such thing as 1080i 60 fps source content. This is the same 1080p setting on the 2.2.2 firmware.
  2. The new recording quality of 1080p 8 Mbps records 1080i 30 fps video as 1080p 30 fps, and 720p 60 fps video as 1080p 30 fps. This is the same recording quality as the 1080p setting on firmware prior to 2.2.2. This will work on Roku devices provided there are no networking issues (i.e. slow WiFi).
  3. To have recordings at two different qualities for different devices this would require the Tablo to make 2 separate recordings on the Tablo, one at the higher quality and one at the lower quality. This would use 2 tuners, rather than only 1 tuner. So thus, this feature will likely never be implemented.
  4. The other option would be to record at the highest quality 1080p 10 Mbps and then re-encode the video on the fly (aka transcode) to a lower quality for older Roku devices. However, again this transcoding for playback would use another tuner. This could be done for local device such as the Roku, as it is currently done with remote playback when you set the ‘Remote Streaming Quality’ to anything less than ‘Full Quality’. But again, you are re-encoding the video on the fly which uses CPU power that takes up a tuner.
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Thanks for the thorough answers and education. Looking forward to demo’ing your point 2 when I update to 2.2.5 (joined the Tablo world right @ 2.2.2 release).

No problem. Are your currrent Roku’s having problems with the 1080p setting on the 2.2.2 firmware?

I personally use the 720p Roku / Chromecast quality with my Roku 3 4200 and Fire TV box.

I initially did have the buffering issue on my Roku 3 just after 2.2.2 upgrade (hard wired fully). I admittedly didn’t have much of a sample size (the football game I was watching) or give it much time, and within an hour of update I changed to 720 Roku/Chromecast setting on the Tablo. No issues since changing, and the quality is just fine, so I haven’t wanted to further tinker with 1080 until 2.2.5.

That’s reasonable.

You could try the regular 720p recording quality too, that’s a bit better quality than the 720p Roku / Chromecast quality.

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Didn’t realize that, I think I will give it a shot this afternoon.

Roku will be upgrading all of current release to OS 7 b6 the end of the month. Roku 4 supports wireless AC if your router does. Roku 4 has faster processor

You could try Tablo Ripper and burn to USB flash drive. Some of the community programs ight be able to record at lower quality for older Roku.

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I am considering getting a Roku 4 for my bedroom and keeping my wired Roku 3 on my main TV. My bedroom one has more problems with buffering since it is wireless.

I am curious if the new AppleTv will support the same video apps that the iPad/iPhone do. If so, I may go that route as well. I have to have both Crunchyroll and Funimation, and right now only the Roku supports it. I watch those two apps more than anything else right now, since new content comes out every week.

@theuser86, I changed the 720 Tablo setting to the higher quality, and so far so good. Successful test of my network/devices in going to higher bandwidth.

@beastman, tried Ripper yesterday, and really cool…threw my laptop onto Plex, and think I’ve found a my new favorite toy! Cord cutting continues to only improve.

Thanks all for the thoughts… Great to have this much information to guide the decision.

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