March 9, 2018

Here’s the plain truth: if you want to take full advantage of your 4K HDR TV with one set-top box, it’s nearly impossible. The set-top box market for anyone with a 4K HDR TV is full of compromises at every turn. You want Dolby Vision? Get an Apple TV 4K. Want Dolby Atmos? Apple doesn’t support it yet, so go with a Roku Ultra — but beware that doesn’t support Dolby Vision. If you’re planning on watching YouTube in 4K, don’t get that Apple TV, it doesn’t support that either. You want something that supports Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and YouTube in 4K? Get a Chromecast Ultra, but you won’t get an actual remote with it.

You see, this is the land of compromise, where you can’t have it all, unless you buy it all. There is no box that can give you everything you want from your TV. And with HDR formats still being built out, this likely won’t be the last set-top box you’ll buy in the next five years, if you want to keep up with the content. Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) will likely end up as the format for 4K HDR streaming, and no set-top box supports it right now, so don’t get too attached to any of these options.

But if you’re looking for a set-top box to supplement the smart TV options that came with your new high-end TV, there are a number of good options to choose from. The first thing you have to decide is whether you care about Dolby Vision (and does your TV support it) and Dolby Atmos, the current format kings of video and audio, respectively. Some may care about one more than the other, but if you must have both of them, your options are going to be limited.

While you may not get everything you want in a single box, you will get something great to go along with the built-in options on your 4K HDR TV.

Read More: