After reading many, many threads on the topic, I'm still unclear about whether full quality 4K playback through the Smart Hub app is achievable. I recently upgraded from a UN65JS9000 to a UN88JS9500 for my main screen and with the increased screen size, the resolution of 4K is significantly more relevant and noticeable.
The issue is the ever-encountered intermittent buffering, on some videos every 2-3 minutes, on others it will occur a few times randomly throughout the movie. Playback is configured to default to Direct Play. I will switch to Direct Streaming in some cases where embedded subtitles are required, however the issues persist even in Direct Play. Transcoding is obviously not a viable option for a number of reasons (processing speed, quality loss, etc.)
- Windows Server 2012 R2
- i7-920, X58, 48GB DDR3, GTS 250 1GB
- OS on Single Disk 7200RPM
- Videos on 12TB (6x2TB 7200RPM) RAID 0
- Plex DB on 8TB (8x2TB 7200RPM) RAID 10 (soon to be moved to 8x128GB SSD array, not sure if RAID 0 or 10)
- Intel Gigabit
- Samsung UN88JS9500
- Samsung UN65JS9000
- Samsung UN43J5200
- Web (Firefox, Edge, Chrome)
Media (Bitrate+Playback on JS9500):
- 1080p HEVC + AAC 5.1 (1.5-2Mbps): Flawless playback
- 1080p H264 + True HD 7.1 (20Mbps): Flawless playback
- 1080p H264 + DTS 5.1 (22.5Mbps): Flawless playback
- 1080p H-SBS H264 + DTS 5.1 (23Mbps): Flawless playback
- 4K H264 + DTS 5.1 (8Mbps): Plays fine, no issues, might have been a dropped/buffered frame or two
- 4K:10-bit HEVC + DTS 5.1 (49Mbps): Random buffering/stuttering 3-4x during movie (~40-50 minutes smooth playback)
- 4K:10-bit HEVC + DTS 7.1 (49Mbps): Smooth playback for at least 10 minutes (haven't watched the whole way through yet)
- 4K:10-bit HEVC + DTS 5.1 (65Mbps): Buffering/stuttering every 3-10 minutes (average of every 5 minutes)
- 4K:10-bit HEVC + DTS 7.1 (67Mbps): Buffering/stuttering every few minutes (average of every 5 minutes)
It would appear that the issues I am encountering are caused by high bitrate playback, which is logical. What I'm trying to understand is where the limit exists (what is causing it), what the limit is (what is the maximum quality I can playback without issues), and if the limit is a hard-limit or something that can be affected (can I optimize further, or expect improvement down the road to allow playback at higher quality), and ultimately if I have to put a PC back into the mix as the playback device if I want 4K 10 bit at 8 or 10+ audio channels (e.g. Atmos).
Ultimately, where I have a screen capable of 4K, 10-bit HDR, and 3D and a sound system capable of Atmos, I want to actually use these features when the media supports it. Is it ever going to be possible?