The New Apple TV 4k and Plex

My latest video looks at how the new Apple TV 4k works with Plex.

The new box wasn’t out at the time I produced my Plex box shoot-out video that I published last week and lots of viewers asked if the new one would do any better. So this weekend I picked one up at a local Apple store to find out!

My testing methodology involves seeing how well a player can handle 4k Blu Ray ripped media. These video files are typically very high bit rate (some exceeding 100 megabits per second), are encoded with h.265 HEVC, and usually have a lossless audio track with Dolby TrueHD / ATMOS or DTS-X.

One of the problems the Apple TV historically has with Plex is that it internally transcodes all audio into lossless LPCM before passing it off to an audio receiver. While this doesn’t present much of a problem for the type of ATMOS content found on Netflix, Disney+, etc. it is an issue for Plex as the Apple TV’s internal encoder does not work with lossless audio found on Blu Ray media.

As you’ll see in the video the new player continues doing this LPCM encoding and therefore Plex has the same issues on this new box that it had on the older one. Plex is also having to transcode the audio before it sends it over to the Apple TV further complicating matters.

So the 2019 Nvidia Shield TV still remains the box to get for Plex enthusiasts as it supports passing both video and audio directly to a home theater receiver.

The Apple TV does though offer some benefits over its competitors when it comes to regular streaming and games which is a topic we’ll cover in my full review of the device later this week!