Sonos Beam vs. Sonos Ray: Which soundbar is best for you? | Digital Trends

Sonos Beam vs. Sonos Ray: Which soundbar is best for you? | Digital Trends

When it comes to wireless speakers, Sonos consistently lands on best-of lists for performance and reliability, including our own best speaker list.

Sonos has been around for more than two decades. While the company originally cemented its reputation with its Wi-Fi-connected hi-fi speakers, it has also branched out into subwoofers and, yes, soundbars so that you can invest in some sweet, room-filling sound for your much-loved living room TV. When it comes to the company’s soundbars, two of the most popular options are the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) and the company’s most affordable soundbar, the Sonos Ray.

Which Sonos soundbar is right for you? We’ve compared both models, weighing in on key criteria like design, sound quality, and price, to help you determine which of the two Sonos devices is best for you, your needs, and your budget.

Design

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The Sonos Beam is available in black and white finishes and measures 25.6 inches wide, 2.7 inches tall, and 3.9 inches from front to back, and weighs 6.2 pounds. Swapping the fabric grille of the previous Beam generation for the tougher plastic covering found on the Sonos Arc, the Beam is equipped with four elliptical midwoofers, three passive radiators, and a single center-facing tweeter. In terms of power and performance, the Beam uses five Class-D amplifiers to run the show, meaning it has a fair bit of power.

The Sonos Ray also comes in black and white and is clearly the smaller soundbar of the two, measuring 22 inches wide, 2.79 inches tall, and 3.74 inches from front to back, and weighing 4.29 pounds. A plastic grille covers the entire front of the soundbar, with flared edges adding a sharp but stylish look to the chassis. In terms of audio peripherals, the Ray features two high-performance midwoofers, a single tweeter, and four Class-D amps to power everything.

The Beam and the Ray can be controlled with the Sonos app, but each soundbar also features a set of top-facing buttons for playback controls and track skipping. Both the Beam and Ray are relatively compact and can also be placed on top of a stand or wall-mounted.

While the design category may not be as much of a factor for certain buyers, the Sonos Beam definitely looks like the stronger soundbar, but it’s not like the Ray pales in comparison — it’s just the smaller of the two. But with the additional speakers and power for the extra dollars, this one kind of comes down to your pocketbook and the power you need for the space you have, so we’re calling it a draw — you’ll be good whichever one you decide on.

Winner: Tie

Connections and controls

In terms of actual inputs, the Sonos Beam and Sonos Ray are similar, except for one major category: the audio connection between the soundbar and your TV.

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) has a DC power port, an Ethernet port, a Join button, and an HDMI ARC/eARC port. The Ray has the same power and Ethernet connections and a Join button, but instead of HDMI ARC/eARC, the Ray is equipped with a digital optical connection.

In the grand scheme of things, the Ray’s digital optical connection will still provide a solid signal path from your TV to the soundbar but will deliver less overall bandwidth, which translates to no hi-res playback or Dolby Atmos (more on that later).

Both the Sonos Beam and Ray can be controlled with the Sonos app and your TV remote. And while they are comparable in many ways, one of the standout control differences is that the Ray doesn’t have a mic built-in, which means it doesn’t support the Google Assistant, Alexa, or Sonos Voice controls that the Beam does. That’s not necessarily a huge deal if you add at least one voice-enabled Sonos speaker to your setup, like a pair of Sonos Ones as part of a surround configuration or even an Echo or Google Home device, which will bring voice control to the Ray setup. All that fuss, however, is what’s holding the Ray back from being the more complete package that the Beam is.

Winner: Sonos Beam

Setup

Setting up any Sonos component is a relatively straightforward task that only requires the Sonos S2 app (for iOS and Android devices), power, and a Wi-Fi connection. However, if this is the first Sonos speaker you’ve ever purchased, you’ll be tasked with creating a free Sonos account before setting up your soundbar.

Similar to other Sonos hardware, once you’ve downloaded the app, confirmed your credentials, and plugged in either your Beam or Ray, the Sonos app will automatically begin searching for new devices on your home network. Once your soundbar is plugged into your TV, you’ll also be asked to program your TV remote to work with the soundbar (with instructions provided in the app).

Over the years, Sonos has always worked a little more efficiently with iOS devices, and if you’re setting up your Beam or Ray with an iPhone or iPad, you’ll be able to use Sonos Trueplay to calibrate the soundbar based on its listening environment (Trueplay isn’t available for Android devices).

Winner: Tie

Sound quality

Sonos Ray seen stacked on top of a Sonos Beam Gen 2.
The Sonos Ray stacked on top of a Sonos Beam (Gen 2). Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

From the ground up, the Sonos Beam is engineered to deliver a bigger and more immersive home-theater-style sound. Like the Sonos Arc, the Beam’s HDMI ARC/eARC connection gifts the soundbar with much higher bandwidth. This is why the Beam is capable of decoding a number of hi-res audio formats, including Dolby Atmos.

And that’s the other big perk of the Beam: Atmos compatibility. Keep in mind that, unlike the Arc, which is equipped with top-firing drivers, the Beam’s main driver array focuses more on ear-level surround listening, with Atmos virtualization as a secondary consideration. But if you’ve been wanting a soundbar that can unpack some of the gravitas that is an Atmos-encoded movie or song, you could do worse than the Sonos Beam.

Beyond the Atmos accolades, though, the Beam sounds incredible — even without a dedicated subwoofer. The low end is bold but not overbearing, and the mids and highs come through sharp and clear. Ultimately, the total soundstage isn’t as wide as the kind of coverage you’ll get with bigger bars like the Arc, but for around $450 less, the Beam is certainly a much more cost-friendly alternative to a traditional surround system.

So how exactly does the Sonos Ray stack up against the Beam? Well, as the lack of passive radiators, fewer drivers, and fewer amplifiers may suggest, the Ray is the softer-hitting soundbar of the two. In fact, price-wise, the Ray really belongs more in an entry-level soundbar category rather than the mid-sized tier of the Beam.

Sure, the Ray is smaller, but while it’s only outfitted with a digital optical connection (which removes any chance of hi-res playback or Atmos), it’s not a weak soundbar. Thanks in part to the flared ends of the front grille, the Ray is able to create a much bigger soundstage than looks would lead one to believe. And while bass, mids, and treble are all a bit reduced when compared to the Beam, the Ray’s sound is still rock-solid and on-par with something like Sonos’ One lineup.

When buying a Sonos product, you’re also investing in a world of expansion options. Whether you want to add additional speakers to a second room or want to group two speakers and a subwoofer with your Beam or Ray to create a full surround system, how you choose to add components is entirely up to you.

If your budget allows it, we’d actually recommend adding the Sonos Sub Mini to your Sonos Ray to up your bass game in your living room.

Winner: Sonos Beam

Price

The Sonos Beam retails for $429 and includes a one-year limited warranty. The Sonos Ray sells for $279 and also comes with a one-year warranty.

Throughout the year, you may find that both soundbars drop in price, and if you’re interested in bundling multiple Sonos items together, the company sells the Beam and Ray as part of several different speaker packages.

Winner: Sonos Ray

The verdict

Sonos Beam Gen 2.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

For only $150 more than the Sonos Ray, the Sonos Beam is the bigger and better Sonos soundbar, hands down, and is built to deliver a more robust home-theater experience for small- to medium-sized rooms. If you can stomach the extra cost, this is your pick.

This isn’t to say that the Sonos Ray is a bad soundbar. In fact, if you’re working with a limited amount of space and simply want to bypass the tinny output of your TV speakers, the Sonos Ray is one of the best entry-level soundbars on the market.

But alas, one soundbar must take home the grand prize.

Winner: Sonos Beam

Editors’ Recommendations






How to program an RCA universal remote | Digital Trends

How to program an RCA universal remote | Digital Trends

Keeping up with the bevy of remotes in your audiovisual stockpile is never an easy feat, especially when you need three of them (or more) just to be able to watch a show on Netflix or a Blu-ray movie. Fortunately, there’s an inexpensive way to consolidate your remote control count (and/or replace a lost remote), with an RCA universal remote. The company makes several universal remotes that you can program for use with TVs, DVD players, VCRs, cable boxes, and the latest streaming devices such as Apple TV and Roku.

RCA’s universal remotes are simple to operate, reasonably priced, and a relative breeze to program. There are a couple of ways to set them up, depending on the remote you’ve bought. To help you through the programming process, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide.


Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Before you get started

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to make sure your universal remote has fresh batteries in it and that the components and devices you want to sync are properly hooked up. All set? Now it’s time to link your RCA universal remote control to the hardware. There’s more than one way to do that, and we’ve covered the easiest methods below.

The auto-program method

The easiest and fastest way to begin syncing your devices with your universal remote control is to with the auto program method.

Step 1: Turn on the component or device you want to set up, such as your TV, Blu-ray player, streaming device, etc. In this example, we’ll go with the TV.

Step 2: Press and release the TV button. The RCA universal remote’s On/Off button will light up and should remain lit.

Step 3: Now, simultaneously press and hold the TV button and the On/off button. The illuminated On/Off button will turn off. After a moment, however, it should turn back on.

Step 4: Release both buttons after the On/Off button relights. It should remain on.

Step 5: Now, press and release the Play button on your RCA remote. If the TV (or component that you are programming) does not turn off after five seconds, continue to hit the Play button every five seconds until the TV turns off. The remote is searching through possible codes for your TV.

Step 6: When the TV turns off, your remote has found the right code. Next, press and release the Reverse button. Wait to see if the TV turns back on, and press it every three seconds until it does.

Step 7: Press and release the Stop button once more to save the programming for the device in your remote’s memory.

Step 8: Repeat steps 1 through 7 for each additional device you wish to pair with your remote. Some RCA universal remotes can accommodate up to eight devices.

Be aware that you might cause issues with the syncing mechanism if you press incorrect buttons. There’s certainly a learning curve that involves some trial and error to set up your remote successfully. If you come to a point where you need to start over, all you’ll need to do is restart the hardware, take out the remote batteries, put them back in, and go through the steps once more.


David Becker/Getty Images

Finding RCA universal remote codes

Your RCA remote will come with a special codebook that can help you input various codes for countless devices manually. If you’ve lost the booklet or thrown it away, you can follow the next steps to find your RCA universal remote codes.

Step 1: Go to the RCA Accessories website.

Step 2: Open up the battery panel on the back of your universal remote.

Step 3: Find the paper sticker on the back of the battery panel. Enter the given revision number in the box on the RCA website.

Here is where to find the revision number for your RCA universal remote on the RCA accessories website.

.

Step 4: Then put in the device brand and type in the adjacent drop-down menus.

Step 5: Your device codes will display below. It is normal to have multiple. We will guide you in how to use them in the next section.

How to connect an RCA remote to a TV with a code

Now that you have your code(s), let’s discuss how to program a current TV to your new RCA universal remote. Again, these steps apply if you’re setting up the remote with another device.

Step 1: Go to the TV section of the codebook, find your TV brand, and circle all the available codes. Or, use the codes you found in the section above. You’ll likely have multiple codes.

Step 2: Power on your TV.

Step 3: Hold down the TV button on your universal remote until you see the power button light up.

Step 4: Keep holding the TV button while you input the first code. (Note that the codes will be four to five digits long, depending on the remote’s model.) One of the codes for a Samsung TV, for example, is 10812.

Step 5: Once you’ve entered the device code, keep holding the TV button. If the power button is still illuminated, that indicates you’ve entered the correct code correctly. Let go of the TV button and start testing device commands. If everything is working properly, commands for power, volume, and the menu should now control your TV.

Step 6: If the power button blinks four times, that signals that the device code you entered was incorrect. Go back through steps 2 to 4 for the next available code.

If after all this, the RCA universal remote just isn’t doing it for you, there are several other universal remotes on the market you can try, such as the GE 33709, which is a great bare-bones option that is compatible with many AV devices.

Editors’ Recommendations






How to clean your TV screen | Digital Trends

How to clean your TV screen | Digital Trends

Fingerprints, sneeze debris, and other gross human and animal fluids are never fun to look at, especially when they’re plastered on to your TV screen. Allowing gunk to buildup over time could shorten the lifespan of your QLED or OLED, which means it’s about time we taught you how to clean your precious panel.

Fortunately, the process isn’t too difficult, and you can get all the cleaning supplies you need for less than $30 in most cases. So are you ready to make your TV shine like it did the day you un-boxed it? Let’s get cleaning!

Cleaning the display

Follow these steps to perform a safe and effective general cleaning of the display:

Step 1: The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off your television and make sure it has a chance to cool down.

Step 2: Wait until it’s no longer warm before proceeding with the following steps. Failure to do so could cause some damage.

Step 3: When it’s cool to the touch, dust the screen to remove any dirt particles, then wipe it over with your soft, lint-free cloth to remove any residual dust.

Step 4: If you can’t see any visible smudges after you’re done dusting, stop here.

Sometimes you may need a deeper clean

If your screen is still covered in muck, it’s time to mix up a batch of cleaning solution.

Step 1: Mix the isopropyl alcohol with water in a measuring cup, ensuring the solution is equal parts water and alcohol. If you don’t have a measuring cup, try using a shot glass to measure quantities before mixing. In any case, just make sure you’re not overdoing it with the alcohol — the resulting solution shouldn’t be more than half alcohol or it could tarnish the display.

Step 2: Dip your cloth into your freshly mixed solution and wring it out to remove excess moisture. You want the cleaning cloth to be damp, not wet.

Step 3: Gently wipe the damp cloth across your display.

Step 4: Use the second lint-free cloth to dry your display. Don’t leave any moisture on it — you’ll want it to be completely dry before turning the TV back on.


Daniel Jędzura/123RF

Cleaning an older tube TV screen

We can’t just ignore the OG hardware. If you’ve still got an older tube-style TV hanging around the house and it simply refuses to die, here’s a quick how-to for getting the smudges and dust off of your old giant. Luckily, you’ll be able to use some household cleaners you probably have hanging around.

Step 1: Unplug your TV. If it was on for a while before you unplugged, give it time to cool down.

Step 2: Once the TV has settled down to room temperature, grab the microfiber cloth and wipe away any dust on the tube TV’s screen. Once the dust has cleared, you may still have fingerprints and other gunk to contend with.

Step 3: To clear the rest of the mess, you can use the same solution you put together to clean your high-end TV. If you’re lacking the materials to create this concoction, you can use a regular glass cleaner instead. This is because most older tube TVs actually have glass screens.

Important note: Do not under any circumstances use regular glass cleaner to clean an HDTV. The harsh chemicals used in the cleaner will damage the TV screen.

Tube TV screen

Photo by Aleks Dorohovich on Unsplash

Additional tips

  • If your TV’s bezel makes it difficult to clean the corners and near the edges of the display, use a cotton swab dampened with your solution to get to the hard-to-reach areas.
  • Make sure you’re using the right chemical. Don’t use ethyl alcohol, acetone, toluene, ethyl acid, ammonia, or methyl chloride — only isopropyl alcohol.
  • Always use a clean cloth, as hard particles can get trapped in cloth fibers and leave unwanted scratches.
  • Ensure your cleaning cloth is damp, not wet. You don’t want drops running down your display with each wipe.
  • Do not use Windex or other glass cleaners! Such solutions generally contain ammonia and will hurt your TV screen.
  • Do not use paper towels; they leave behind tiny bits of paper that can mess up your display.

Now that your TV is like new, why not give your earbuds a cleaning?

Editors’ Recommendations






How to clean your AirPods: Tips, tricks, and tools | Digital Trends

How to clean your AirPods: Tips, tricks, and tools | Digital Trends

AirPods , for all of their amazing sound and features, can get quite dirty. Lint, smudges, sweat, and wax tend to build up over time in and on your AirPods, making it a good idea to clean them regularly.

However, before you break out the soap and water, take heed: these delicate devices need to be cleaned in a particular way to avoid damage to them. The proper method for cleaning AirPods isn’t the same as other earbuds or headphones. In this article, we’ll walk you through the proper cleaning techniques for AirPods (especially the eartips), and AirPods Max (in particular, the cushions and headband), so you can have your cans looking and sounding like new.

Further reading
* How to clean your AirPods case
* Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them
* AirPods tips and tricks


Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

How to clean your AirPods or AirPods Pro

Follow these simple steps to clean the housing and speaker mesh on your AirPods or AirPods Pro.

Step 1: Slightly dampen a soft, lint-free cloth.

Step 2: Wipe the body clean while avoiding the speaker mesh.

Step 3: Use a dry cotton swab to clean the microphone and speaker meshes.

Step 4: Let them dry before placing them in the charging case or your ears.

AirPods Pro laying on the back of a phone.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to clean the eartips of your AirPods Pro

Here’s how to safely clean the eartips on your AirPods Pro.

Step 1: If any water has accumulated in the eartip, tap the AirPod on a soft, dry, lint-free cloth with the eartip opening facing downward.

Step 2: Pull the eartips off of each AirPod and rinse each tip with water. Again, do not use soap or other household cleaners.

Step 3: Wipe each eartip with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. Wait for the tips to completely dry before reattaching to each AirPod.

Step 4: Click the eartips back on each AirPod. The eartips are oval-shaped, so be sure to align them correctly before you click them back on.

Before you know it, your AirPods will look as good as new. The most important thing to remember is to use as little liquid as possible. Now, go forth with the cleanest AirPods Pro on the block.

The Apple AirPods Max on a surface, viewed from the side.

Riley Young / Digital Trends

How to clean your AirPods Max

First off, never run your AirPods Max under water. Instead, wipe the body with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.

If your AirPods Max were exposed to something that might cause stains, like soap, shampoos, or lotions, then wipe them clean with a cloth slightly dampened with fresh water. Then, dry them with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. Do not attempt to use them until they are completely dry.

Apple Airpods Max.

Apple

How to clean the cushions and headband of your AirPods Max

Here’s how to clean the cushions and headband on your AirPods Max.

Step 1: In a clean container, mix 1 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent and 1 cup of fresh water.

Step 2: Remove the cushions from the ear cups by gently pulling them off.

Step 3: Dip a lint-free cloth into the soapy water solution, wring it out, and rub the cloth on the cushions and headband for a minute each. Tip: Hold your AirPods Max upside down while you clean to prevent liquid from flowing into the headband attachment point.

Step 4: Dry the cushions and headband with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to remove any excess moisture.

Step 5: Lay your AirPods Max flat to dry for at least 24 hours before reattaching and using the cushions.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean ear wax out of AirPods?

To clean the ear wax out of your AirPods, try wiping or dabbing them with a damp microfiber cloth, then drying them off with a lint-free cloth. Alternatively, try swiping around the ear tip with a damp cotton swab to remove ear wax from your AirPods.

Why is there so much earwax in my AirPods?

The reason there is so much earwax in your AirPods is that the headphones go fairly deep into your ear canal, where that kind of thing builds up. Instead of your body naturally dispelling some of the wax out of your ear canal, it instead ends up in your AirPod. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to clean your AirPods:

  1. Pull the eartips off of each AirPod and rinse each tip with water. Again, do not use soap or other household cleaners.
  2. Wipe each eartip with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. Wait for the tips to completely dry before reattaching to each AirPod.
  3. Click the eartips back on each AirPod. The eartips are oval-shaped, so be sure to align them correctly before you click them back on.

How do you get deep stains out of AirPods?

To get deep stains out of your AirPods, try the following:

  1. Slightly dampen a soft, lint-free cloth.
  2. Wipe the body clean while avoiding the speaker mesh.
  3. Use a dry cotton swab to clean the microphone and speaker meshes.
  4. Let them dry before placing them in the charging case or your ears.

Editors’ Recommendations






Sony vs. Samsung: Whose TV belongs in your living room? | Digital Trends

Sony vs. Samsung: Whose TV belongs in your living room? | Digital Trends

For years now, Sony and Samsung have been two of the fiercest competitors in the world of TVs. Each manufacturer prioritizes all the integral elements that go into a world-class display, including resolution, backlighting, picture upscaling, and the smart TV experience. Both brands also produce TVs in many different sizes, ranging from 32-inch sets that are great for bedrooms to monolithic 85-inch-plus models that might be a squeeze for even the biggest living rooms.

Sony and Samsung TVs have a lot in common, but there are also a few key areas where these TV titans differ. This is why we’ve compared both brands to help you decide which is best for you.

Design

Samsung S95C Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

Both Sony and Samsung make some of the best-looking TVs, even before you start considering picture quality. Whether you’re going tabletop or wall-mounted, razor-thin bezels and incredibly small depth measurements are shared between Sony and Samsung — although the latter goes a bit more gung-ho in that regard.

Take the Samsung S95C OLED, for example: As the company’s flagship model, the S95C is part of Samsung’s Infinity One Design, eliminating the perimeter bezel around the screen for an enhanced, distraction-free viewing experience. And without the stand, the 65-inch version of this TV is only 0.4 inches from front to back! You won’t find any HDMI ports on the S95C either because they’re all housed in the separate slim One Connect Box.

Sony TVs are pretty thin, too, though. The flagship 65-inch XR A95L QD-OLED is only 1-3/8 inches without the stand. Razor-thin bezels complement the screen, and unlike the centered S95C stand, the A95L comes with two feet that attach to either side of the set. This allows the bottom of the A95L to be suspended mere centimeters from the top of your TV stand.

An image of a bird on the Sony A95L QD-OLED.
Sony A95L QD-OLED Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

Chassis-wise, Sony and Samsung tend to favor industrial grays and matte-black shell colors. For models without Samsung’s Slim One Connect, you’ll find HDMI ports and other connections on the back and sides of Sony and Samsung sets (depending on the model).

Generally speaking, Sony sets are a bit bulkier than Samsung’s TV lineup. Do keep in mind, though, that as you start looking at mid-range and entry-level models from both brands, bezel size and overall depth tend to increase.

Display

Picture of a bird on a Sony A95L QD-OLED.
Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

When it comes to resolution, Samsung and Sony’s TVs have got you covered. Both companies produce 4K and 8K models, along with some 1080p and 720p options (mostly smaller sizes). While 4K tends to be the average TV pixel count these days, it doesn’t hurt to invest in an 8K set — although your options for 8K content are still rather limited.

As far as actual panels and lighting goes, Sony and Samsung produce a few different types of sets. On the bottom rung, both brands make traditional LED-LCDs with either edge-lit or full-array backlighting. In the midrange and premium tiers, you’ll find QLEDs, LED-LCDs, QLEDs with mini-LED lighting, and QD-OLEDs.

Sony and Samsung’s more advanced LED and QLED models utilize features like local dimming to control the backlighting of these sets more effectively. This all but eliminates light blooming and haloing during darker scenes while delivering improved contrast levels overall.

Models like the Sony XR X93L and the Samsung QN90C are also some of the brightest TVs on the market, which bodes well for those of us watching movies and shows in brightly-lit rooms.

QD-OLEDs are currently only made by Sony and Samsung, and this newer TV tech is only in its second generation. Combining self-emissive OLED pixels with quantum dots for enhanced colors, bright brights, and pure blacks, models like the Samsung S95C and Sony A95L are some of the best TVs money can buy.

Colors, upscaling, and motion

The Samsung QN90C ron a media stand with white speakers.
Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

Samsung’s Neural Quantum Processor and Sony’s Cognitive Processor XR are the picture engines responsible for frame-by-frame optimization. Whether you’re watching a brand-new Ultra HD movie or old home videos, Samsung and Sony TVs are designed to deliver as much color and detail as possible.

HDR performance is just as integral as a solid picture engine, though. Fortunately, Sony and Samsung TVs are class-leading when it comes to HDR decoding. Both brands support popular formats like HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. Samsung TVs do have a leg-up when it comes to HDR10+ support, though, as Sony TVs do not.

Sony and Samsung are also terrific at 4K and 8K upscaling. Even if you’re watching an ancient DVD, both brands use AI-driven upscaling tools to make even the grandest lo-fi images look more like Ultra HD.

For the most part, Sony and Samsung refresh rates are capped at 120Hz native, but we’re starting to see models capable of 144Hz (for compatible PC connections). If you’re a big sports fan or you love playing video games, features like Samsung’s Motion Xcelerator add an extra digital boost to that 120Hz baseline.

Certain midrange models and most entry-level Sony and Samsung sets are capped at 60Hz.

Sound quality

There’s no hiding that most TVs aren’t very good at delivering pulse-pounding audio. That being said, Sony and Samsung TVs have some pretty genius sound optimizations.

Both brands support several different audio codecs, including surround virtualization formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Then there’s Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+, a feature you’ll find on some of the company’s high-end models. With actuators behind the panel, this tech allows compatible Sony TVs to produce sound from the center of the screen. That’s on top of two built-in subwoofers.

If you’re the kind of person who always needs a separate audio system to go with your TV (we get it!), certain Samsung TVs include a feature called Q-Symphony. This allows the TV speakers to work in unison with compatible Samsung soundbars to deliver an immense soundstage for your movies, shows, and games.

Smart TV and user interface

NFL Sunday Ticket on Google TV.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Behind the scenes (and all the picture and sound processing tools), Sony and Samsung TVs have easy-to-navigate user interfaces and smart TV platforms.

For Sony, the OS of choice is usually Google TV, although you’ll still find a couple of models that use Android TV instead. Over in Samsung Land, the Tizen OS runs the show.

If you spend a lot of time streaming movies and shows from apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video, Google TV offers one of the most intuitive Home Screen experiences. By keeping tabs on your viewing habits, Google TV will recommend content to you. You’ll also be able to take advantage of Chromecast for beaming media from your smartphone or tablet to your TV.

Many Google TV-powered Sony have Google Assistant built in too. Not only will you be able to use the digital companion to search for movies and control your smart home equipment, but you can also see live views from your Google Nest security cams on your TV!

Samsung’s Tizen may not deliver movie and show recommendations, but the OS supports an immense app library, screen sharing between compatible devices, and voice assistant support for Samsung’s Bixby, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Additionally, several Sony and Samsung TVs support Apple AirPlay 2 and Apple HomeKit.

Gaming

A PlayStation 5 connected to a TV, showing the Sony Pictures Core interface.
Sony

Video games are everywhere, so ensuring your TV can handle everything a next-gen console or souped-up gaming PC can throw at it is important. Luckily, Sony and Samsung TVs include a number of gaming optimizations and picture presets.

The HDMI 2.1 standard is one of the best ways to ensure your TV will give you solid gaming performance. Faster refresh rates, less input lag, and better bandwidth are just a few of HDMI 2.1’s laurels, and, luckily, several Sony and Samsung sets include HDMI 2.1 inputs.

Many Samsung TVs include a built-in Game Bar. Think of this as a dashboard for all your gameplay and picture settings, allowing you to adjust features like HDR and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) in a pinch. That’s on top of an automatic Game Mode that is activated whenever you turn on a next-gen console.

With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you’ll also be able to play Xbox games on your Samsung TV, without even having the system connected!

If you’re the proud owner of a PlayStation 5, pairing your console with a Sony TV is one of the best things you’ll ever do. Thanks to features like Auto HDR Tone Mapping, an automatic Game Mode, and PS Remote Play support, your PS5 gameplay will look and feel near-perfect.

You’ll also find other gaming optimizations, such as AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync, supported by both Sony and Samsung TVs.

Remote control

The Samsung SolarCell TV remote.

This category can be difficult to judge based on whether or not you like your TV remotes to have a lot of buttons or very few. Samsung remotes tend to represent the latter.

Most mid- and top-tier Samsung TVs come packaged with a sleek-looking Bluetooth remote that handles all the essentials, including volume controls, channel up/down, power, and a home button that fires up the smart TV menu. If you’re into loading apps up with voice commands, there’s even a built-in mic for doing so.

Certain Samsung TVs now come with SolarCell remotes. When placed in a well-lit environment with the solar panel facing up, the SolarCell re-ups your remote battery. You can also charge SolarCell remotes with a USB-C cable.

While minimalist and comfortable to pick up, one thing we’ve noticed with this lineup of remotes is that the Bluetooth can get a little wonky occasionally, resulting in an “un-paired” remote (especially when the battery level is low). Fortunately, re-pairing is as simple as holding a few buttons down, but we thought we’d mention this little inconvenience.

Sony remotes are certainly more button-packed. On mid- and top-tier models, you’ll find pretty much anything you would expect from a modern TV remote, including numbers, volume controls, a home button for smart TV functions, jump-to-app buttons like Netflix and YouTube, and a mic button for voice commands. Sony remotes also have a more traditional TV remote appearance compared to Samsung’s more futuristic design.

The Sony X900F remote.
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

The one minor bummer for both brands: no backlighting. It’s never fun to pick at buttons in the dark, and neither Samsung nor Sony has a button on their remotes for illuminating buttons.

Of course, there’s a battlefield of the best TV brands to choose from, but hopefully, you’ve learned enough about some of the strengths and weaknesses of both Samsung and Sony TVs to make a more informed choice.

Editors’ Recommendations






You Asked: Dolby Music, universal remotes, and VR home theater | Digital Trends

You Asked: Dolby Music, universal remotes, and VR home theater | Digital Trends

In this installment of You Asked: How can you determine if you’re getting 4K or HDR on your TV? Why is Dolby Atmos music so hard to get? Are there any decent Universal remotes anymore?

Remote shortcuts for input formats

Digital Trends

John Engstrom writes: Just got a Sony X90L and was wondering how to get the TV to show me the resolution and the format of the input signal (HDMI or streaming app). Is there a button on the remote that will show me that info, or possibly somewhere in the menu? I haven’t found it yet, but it seems like it has to be there somewhere.


You would think that button or menu item exists because those kinds of buttons and info screens used to be fairly common! But to the best of my knowledge, it does not. At least not on Sony TVs. And honestly, anecdotally, I feel like most TV manufacturers have stopped making that kind of information available — or if they do, it’s buried deep in a menu somewhere.

As with all things tech, though, there sometimes are hacks we can use to figure it out. Or at least give ourselves some assurances that we’re getting the signal we want. One of them involves having an AV receiver that reads the EDID — that’s short for extended display identification data — and provides that info. Or you could spend thousands on devices like the ones Murideo makes for video professionals. I’m assuming you’re not interested in any of that.

So, for the format — SDR, HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision — the best way to find out what you’re getting is to click the Wrench icon on your Sony remote, then click Picture and sound, scroll down to Picture and click that and then look in the upper right. If it’s HDR, it will say HDR; if it is Dolby Vision, it will say so up there. If it’s SDR, it will say nothing.

As for resolution, I don’t have anything for you there. If you’re on YouTube, you can check the resolution and even force it to the one you want by clicking up, then on the settings cog icon, and selecting the resolution. Then, there are the stats for the nerds section, which is also available on YouTube TV and can be accessed if you scroll down a bit further. This will tell you the resolution, the codec in use, the color space, your connection speed, etc.

Sometimes, apps will give you some control over the default video resolution you get. For instance, you can sign into your Netflix account on its website, click Account, click on your Profile icon, then scroll down to Playback settings, and choose High (as opposed to Auto). This makes it so you may get some buffering at first, but Netflix will play at the highest available quality. (Assuming you have the plan that supports 4K.) It’s not a great idea if you have bandwidth caps. And often, 1080p HDR can be indiscernible from 4K HDR when all other factors are equal. But I digress — each streaming service is different.

But this reminds me of something I really like about LG’s TVs: They have a graphic that pops up when you start watching content that tells you quite clearly what the format is, even if it doesn’t tell you the resolution. TCL does so, too.

Anyway, I hope that is of some help. I’ve reached out to Sony to find out if it will share any secret tips on how to access this info on its modern TVs. I’ll update this post if I get a response.

Why is it so hard to get Atmos music

An information chyron showing a song title and album information shown on the bottle left of a TV.
Digital Trends

Richie writes: I recently bought an Onkyo AVR and some new ceiling speakers, and I thought I could be up and running with Dolby Atmos music. But it wasn’t that easy. I thought because my receiver has Tidal built in, it would work easily. But, no. I have a Roku Ultra with the Tidal app, and it won’t work. Long story short, I had to buy an Apple TV in order to get Dolby Atmos music to work! Why is it so hard to get Dolby Atmos music to work? Especially since Dolby Atmos support seems to be everywhere! I feel like with phone “casting” and Airplay, it should be easy.

What’s the deal with Atmos music being so hard to listen to?


What can I say but I know, right? It’s kind of ridiculous. Apple, Tidal, and Amazon Music Unlimited all offer Atmos Music as a feature. You would think any device with apps for those services would offer the full suite of features. But they don’t. Not even close. I can understand if, say, the Tidal app in an AV receiver is just not powerful enough to be coded to coordinate with Tidal in a way that authorizes and receives the Atmos Music encoded stream. OK. But, when you’re talking about Roku and Google TV/Android TV platforms, where the devices that run those platforms are super powerful, I think it should be a no-brainer.

I think the reason why, say, the Tidal app on Roku doesn’t work for Atmos music is probably a little different from why the Tidal App on an Amazon Fire TV Cube might not work. I can also see Amazon keeping its best features for its own hardware. But at the end of the day, as consumers, we don’t care, right?

This is one more reason I recommend the Apple TV box. It is, consistently, the one device and platform where the most amount of stuff just works. It requires the least amount of workarounds. It’s just the safest bet. And I think all that counts for a lot in the consumer electronics market. (It’s also not that much more expensive than the other manufacturers’ top products.) If you can get Atmos music over Wi-Fi using the Sonos app controlling a Sonos Atmos sound system, but you can’t get the same experience using a Samsung Atmos soundbar with a Samsung TV without jumping through a bunch of hoops — well, I can understand why folks might pay more for Sonos. I think folks are willing to pay a premium for fewer hoops, fewer questions, and fewer frustrations.

Anyway, I’m sorry getting Dolby Atmos music is hard. And I think it is dumb when getting Dolby Atmos for movies and TVs is, at least relatively speaking, so incredibly easy now. It’s stupid, and I hate it, too.

Is VR the home theater of the future?

A man sits on a couch wearing an Apple Vision Pro using it as a home theater device.
Apple

Chad asks: What are the pros and cons of using an Apple Vision Pro as a home movie theater instead of buying a large projector, Dolby surround sound, etc? Is it possible that this is the home theater of the future? Can this approach be cheaper and better quality than what the traditional home movie theater offers?


I think the Apple Vision Pro will provide amazing picture quality. I mean, if the pixel density is right, we’re talking about close-range video where no light intensity is lost over long distances and perfectly controlled ambient light levels. In other words, total darkness. So, the Vision Pro could offer the ultimate HDR video experience. And through noise-canceling, computational audio-enabled Apple Airpods Pro or AirPods Max, we already know we can get an incredible Dolby Atmos and spatial audio experience. The quality will probably be outstanding.

Here’s the thing, though. This is the one thing that will prevent the Apple Vision Pro from ever meaningfully competing with a home entertainment space. That little Apple Vision Pro home theater? It’s a theater for one. You’re all by yourself.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying content on your own! In fact, it sounds awesome in some instances. But, just like watching a big sporting event with friends or in a crowd is often more exciting and, to some, more meaningful than watching alone, so too is watching movies and TV. There’s something awesome about experiencing a movie together with friends or family. Speaking personally, some of my favorite life memories come from those shared experiences.

Apple Vision Pro will never be able to fully replace those shared experiences. Sure, maybe you can look to your left and right and see avatars or even real-life representations of your friends or family. Maybe you’ll even be able to hear them if Apple integrates voice audio among participants — I’m betting it’ll do just that. But that kind of experience will never be the same or as meaningful as observing the same space together.

So, a supplement to a conventional home entertainment rig? For sure. A replacement? No chance.

Universal remotes

A Yio remote held in hand.
Digital Trends

Ben writes: Are there any universal remotes you recommend to control all the devices in a setup, such as an AVR, TV, Blu-Ray player, and Apple TV? I seem to recall them being fairly popular a couple of years ago, even being capable of controlling smart TVs and smart devices like the Apple TV 4K. In your opinion, is there any good way to get around the rigamarole of juggling 3 different remotes just to watch one show, or is that a lost battle?


Frankly, I am not aware of any decent universal remotes. However, there is a Kickstarter project by Martin Borzak, which he calls Yio. Please note that I am not endorsing this until I have vetted it further.

Nobody has swooped in to fill the void that Logitech left when the Harmony universal remotes were discontinued. Yes, some killer remotes are available for integrated systems, like those made by Control4, Savant, Crestron, etc. But consumer-level remotes like the Harmony brand no longer exist. I mean, Wirecutter’s top pick is the Sofabaton, and that’s number one out of two remotes, which I think tells us plenty.

Why did Logitech get out of Universal Remotes? I’ll ask. Logitech has headquarters across the river from me for its UE division. But I suspect it is because sales declined as HDMI CEC implementation — even though it is buggy and problematic — allows us to control multiple devices with one remote. I can control a TV, Blu-ray player, Apple TV, and even some PS5 features with one remote just through HDMI CEC.

I think this pushed universal remotes to the margins. Once again, we enthusiasts find the big-box consumer electronics space a very lonely one indeed. Which, if I had to guess, is why Marton Borzak is doing his thing.

TVs with built-in Dolby Atmos speakers

The rear panel speakers on an LG C3 OLED TV.
LG C3 OLED Speakers Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

Jaimi Martinez Gomez writes: I went to a store, and the guy at the store told me that the LG C3 has Dolby Atmos Built speakers, and when I heard it, it didn’t sound precisely as Dolby Atmos. I just want to know if they are telling me the truth or if there’s any TV with Dolby Atmos built-in speakers.

Because I also had the opportunity to try the A80L and the acoustic surface audio was amazing, but I think that it isn’t Dolby Atmos either.


Here’s the deal: Dolby has decided to license the Dolby Atmos name to technologies that, in my opinion, do not really deliver what I think most folks familiar with Dolby Atmos are expecting. I love Dolby. I love the people there. I love Dolby Atmos. I love Dolby Atmos Music. I have some really awesome things to say about Dolby Flex Connect in a post coming out soon.

But (and I understand this is maybe a smart business decision) I hate, hate, hate that Dolby Atmos as a technology and brand has been so watered down to the point that a TV with some tiny, dinky speakers that don’t really deliver anything remotely close to high-quality sound is getting the Dolby Atmos badge. I mean, call it Dolby Audio or something else. Dolby is still a flex in the audio world. You can convey this TV has better than average sound quality by saying it has Dolby on-board sound. You don’t have to use Dolby Atmos for that.

If it were up to me — and Dolby is probably just fine with it not being up to me — I would not slap the Dolby Atmos badge on any TV outside of just advertising that it supports Dolby Atmos. Saying the speakers built into any TV deliver a meaningful Dolby Atmos experience is, I think, disingenuous and weakens the brand.

Editors’ Recommendations






How to fix a scratched disc — DVDs, CDs, video games saved | Digital Trends

How to fix a scratched disc — DVDs, CDs, video games saved | Digital Trends

While DVDs and CDs are slowly becoming obsolete, many of us still own hard copies of our all-time favorite films and albums. Unfortunately, discs are prone to scratches, chips, and general dirt buildup, often rendering them useless. However, there are way to fix a scratched disc and get it working again. Read on to see what disc repair methods we recommend.

What you should know before you begin

It’s important to note that the methods outlined below will not work with Blu-rays. Those discs use a harder coating that’s more difficult to scratch and damage, which is good, but the downside to this is that once it does scratch, it typically becomes unusable and has to be replaced. Minor damage may be corrected with a microfiber cloth, but the data density and layers prevent any of the options featured here from working particularly well or even being advisable for a Blu-ray. Error-correction features on the best Blu-ray players may help them to ignore scratches, of course.

Important: There are all sorts of ways you can damage a disc, but it’s important to identify how deep a scratch is or what caused the disc to malfunction before proceeding. The first trick is to confirm that the problem is actually with the disc. This is usually done by trying to play the disc in another device that has a disc drive or inserting another disc into the original drive that gave you issues.

Disc tips before you start

Although we cover different methods for cleaning and resurfacing your discs, it’s important to remember a few key rules if you want to save yourself a headache while going through the process.

  • Wash and dry your hands before handling your discs.
  • The best way to clean your discs is to start at the center and work your way outward in a straight line. This allows for a better grip while cleaning and lets you avoid damaging any of the data printed onto the polycarbonate layer below.
  • Tray-loading drives may be more likely to read a damaged or scratched disc than slot-loading drives.
  • Data is stored close to the top layer of the disc, meaning scratches and dents on the label can cause read errors too.

Methods for repairing your disc 

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Image used with permission by copyright holder

A

may be geared toward household cleaning, but it’s also surprisingly useful when it comes to restoring the proper finish to optical discs. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is made from melamine foam, the same kind used for sound and heat insulation. It takes advantage of the unique properties of the material rather than chemicals to clean surfaces. The idea is that the foam acts as an abrasive, like sandpaper, and may smooth out the outer layer of a disc and result in a smooth surface to read from.

Here’s how to use one to clean your disc:

  1. Do not wet the Magic Eraser like normal. Use it dry.
  2. Lightly rub the eraser in straight lines from the disc’s center outwards.
  3. Continue this process until you go around the entire disc.

Expensive machines

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Unless you want to spend $500 or more on a professional resurfacing machine, it’s best just to avoid this option altogether. While these high-end devices are great for people who need to clean and fix hundreds of discs a month, they’re prohibitively expensive to buy and often require an upkeep cost that quickly exceeds the cost of simply replacing a few scratched DVDs. The less expensive versions, which you may see on clearance shelves for $10 or $20, tend to do more harm than good, often scratching recoverable discs beyond repair or simply dousing them in chemicals that only further damage their exterior. However, it’s common to find these machines at rental stores that sell used discs and they’ll often let you use theirs for a nominal fee.

Oil-based products

Scratched disc
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This is where things start to get messy. If you’ve reached this point in our guide, that probably means no other method has worked. If you can get a single computer to read a copy of the disc, you can burn a replacement copy on a new disc so that you don’t have to worry about scratches on the old disc. If the scratching is too severe on the data side of the disc, it may have permanently damaged the outer reflective layer. In this case, you may be able to get one more use out of the disc by replacing the material with something comparable to read the working portion of the disc again.

You can use several different materials at this point, some effective, and some born from rumors and common misconceptions. Chapstick, toothpaste, peanut butter, shoe polish, window cleaner, petroleum jelly, banana peels, and some other materials are purported to work for repairing a scratched disc, but they all have one commonality: Oil. The oils in these substances will help fill in some of the gaps left from scratching, even after they’ve been wiped clean. These oils provide a path for the laser to travel straight to the data and back.

Heat

Desk lamp
Lifx

Again, if you really care about your disc and want to save it, you’ve probably already taken it to a professional by this point. Nonetheless, if you’re still committed to watching your scratched disc, you could try slightly heating it. Polycarbonate has a very low melting point and becomes very malleable with only a bit of warmth. A desk lamp will do just fine, and you can just hold the disc through the ring in the middle up to the bulb. You don’t need to bend or flatten it, either — we’re just hoping that a little bit of heat will correct any minor scratches in the imprinted data and make the disc easier to read.

If you don’t succeed …

The sad fact is that while each of the above methods has a chance to work, it’s just as likely that they won’t. Generally, once you’ve damaged a disc enough that it won’t play, you’re out of luck. Unless you need some coasters and don’t mind the scratched-up, silvery look, your discs could be headed to the recycling bin.

If after reading this guide you still want to expand your film collection, consult our guide to the best Blu-Ray movies, or go digital with the best movies on Netflix. And think about this: The Netflix option is permanently scratch-resistant.

Editors’ Recommendations






Best AV receivers 2024: top sound for your home theater | Digital Trends

Best AV receivers 2024: top sound for your home theater | Digital Trends

Soundbars are certainly an improvement over built-in TV speakers, but nothing beats a wired and calibrated surround sound system. And if you’re all about that cinematic audio, you’ll need a solid AV receiver to run the show.

AV receivers serve many functions, but the most important one is powering your home theater speakers. A receiver can also be used as a connection hub for all your AV components. That’s everything from streaming devices and Blu-ray players to game consoles. If you can connect it to your TV with an HDMI cable, it can connect to an AV receiver.

Not all receivers are created equal. For instance, some are more suited for music, while others are better for movies. This is why we’ve put together this list of the best AV receivers — to help you decide which models best suit your wants and needs.


Image used with permission by copyright holder

Marantz SR8015

The best well-rounded AV receiver

Pros

  • Excellent features for music as well as movies
  • Supports up to 11.2 surround sound
  • Support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, HDR, and many other formats
  • 8K video support
  • 140W per channel

Cons

  • May be too much for those looking for something simpler

This is a pricey option, but Marantz made sure to improve upon past AV receivers by covering otherwise empty bases from prior models. The SR8015 is equipped with an array of AV technologies to make it fit in any home theater environment. Starting with all things audio, it’s got Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS:X Pro, IMAX Enhanced, Auro 3D, plus the ability to connect a turntable for some vinyl playback or to stream from the likes of Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, and via AirPlay 2 devices, among others. You also get access to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, plus the ability to do multiroom setups through HEOS.

It’s compatible with hi-res audio files and lossless formats that go up to 24-bit/192 kHz, and you can stream them to the receiver from a USB or network storage drive. The 11.2 channel system can run in 7.2.4 or 9.2.2 configurations when using all the channels. You can also keep some free-to-play music in different zones, where you get up to two extra. There are 140 watts of output per channel, so Marantz built the SR8015 to handle just about any speaker arrangement you have in mind. The Audyssey MultEQ XT32 support only helps the cause further with its room-correction technology to compensate for acoustics inside.

On the video front, the SR8015 is no less capable. It brings in 8K video at 60Hz (including upscaling) to go with 4K/120Hz, HDR (HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dynamic HDR, Dolby Vision), and HDMI-eARC that lets you pass full resolution surround sound from your TV through to the receiver. There are 8 HDMI inputs, plus 3 outputs, including useful add-ons like a Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) to accommodate gamers who need them.

There’s a lot to work with here because Marantz left little to chance, and that bodes well for how long this receiver may last in the years to come.

Marantz SR8015

Marantz SR8015

The best well-rounded AV receiver

The Denon AVR-S770H.

Amazon

Denon AVR-S770H

The best all-rounder for digital and vinyl heads

Pros

  • Dedicated phono preamp
  • Six HDMI 2.1 inputs and 8K/60Hz eARC output
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Hi-res playback up to 24-bit/192kHz

Cons

  • No dedicated inputs for Zone 2
  • Not as powerful as higher-priced receivers

Analog components are experiencing a big resurgence. If you’re the proud owner of a record player, but you also have a ton of digital components to wire up, we recommend the Denon AVR-S770H. A 7.2 x 75 watts per channel setup, the S770H includes a dedicated phono preamp for connecting a turntable. That’s on top of six HDMI 2.1 inputs, an eARC output (up to 8K/60Hz), Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility.

When it comes to HDR and surround decoding, the S770H is one of the best options for less than $1,000. Supported formats include Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, as well as HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision HDR. While Wi-Fi isn’t required, connecting the S770H to the internet will also give you access to several music-streaming platforms, including Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, and SiriusXM. You’ll also be able to download the Denon HEOS app (for iOS and Android) to curate music, adjust receiver settings, and more.

If you’d like to add speakers to a second room of your home, the S770H can also be used as a dual-zone receiver. If you’re buying a receiver for Atmos or DTS:X, do keep in mind that the S770H uses either the Surround Back or height channels to power Zone 2. This means you won’t be able to run a full 7.1 configuration in Zone 1 (so no Atmos).

Last but not least, the S770H also supports hi-res music playback up to 24-bit/192kHz. While a higher-priced AV receiver will deliver even more ports and power, the Denon AVR-S770H offers a great combination of digital and analog connections for under $700.

Denon AVR-S770H 7.2-channel receiver

Denon AVR-S770H

The best all-rounder for digital and vinyl heads


Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sony STR-DH590

The best budget AV receiver

Pros

  • Affordable without giving up important features
  • Pure Direct audio enhancement mode
  • HDR support
  • 4K support

Cons

  • Limited number of HDMI ports

When it comes to AV receivers, reducing your budget invariably means reducing the number of features. The key is to preserve as many of the features that most people value. The Sony STR-DH590 manages to do this in a stellar fashion by supporting all of the latest audio and video formats, including 4K and HDR (HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision). It also comes with its own acoustic calibration circuitry, which takes the guesswork out of setting up your speakers to the right levels.

For utmost audio fidelity, the DH590 is equipped with Sony’s Pure Direct mode for the cleanest sound the receiver has to offer. It does so by disabling the DH590’s front display panel, eliminating unnecessary component noise from escaping into the mix of whatever content you’re consuming. Keep in mind that engaging Pure Direct also bypasses several of the receiver’s internal equalizers. It’s a great feature for listening to music through analog sources, but if you’re a fan of big cinema sound, it’s probably something we’d leave alone when watching a movie.

Although the DH590 has Bluetooth for direct music streaming from a compatible smartphone or tablet, the receiver isn’t internet-connected, so you won’t be able to stream music without a Bluetooth device. That being said, Sony’s high-res audio support kicks in when you’re beaming tunes to the receiver, which adds a little more belly and top-end to your sound.

In terms of main source connections, the Sony STR-DH590 only has four HDMI inputs. While you won’t be powering any rock concerts, it’s more than enough receiver for a very satisfying home theater experience.

Sony STR-DH590

Sony STR-DH590

The best budget AV receiver


Image used with permission by copyright holder

Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A

Best receiver for format support

Pros

  • Excellent format and file support
  • Vibration dampening
  • Seven HDMI ports, including support for HDMI 2.1
  • 5.1 wireless surround sound support

Cons

  • A bit more focused on audio than video

The 7.2 Aventage RX-A2A is more than capable as a powerhouse video system. Naturally, it has support for all of the latest AV technologies: 4K, HDR (HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, etc.), Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and HDCP 2.3. It’s also ready for HDMI-eARC and is compatible with hi-res audio files up to 32-bit/192 kHz.

HDMI 2.1 is also supported if you like to stay on the cutting edge of AV support for your entertainment system, and future updates will add support for things like 8K and the latest formats. Inside, you’ll find features like a high slew rate amplifier for more accurate audio response and low distortion, as well as advanced modes for movie optimization. Outside, the design includes an A.R.T. (Anti-Resonance Technology) wedge to help dampen nearby vibration and improve audio quality further. MusicCast features wireless 5.1 surround sound support also help if you like to play music on the system as well.

Don’t worry about a lack of connections, either. The Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A includes seven HDMI input options to handle any devices you may want to set up. There’s even compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant when you can’t find the remote.

Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A

Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A

Best receiver for format support

Denon AVR-A1H 8K A/V receiver.

Denon

Denon AVR-A1H

Best high-end AV receiver

Pros

  • 15.4 channels with 150 watts per speaker
  • The latest video and audio formats
  • Game-friendly capabilities
  • HEOS support for wireless setups
  • Voice assistant compatibility

Cons

  • May be too expensive for some home theaters

Denon’s upcoming high-end AV receiver packs every possible feature inside and is ready for years of channeling top-tier content for your system. The receiver, rated at 150 watts per channel, supports up to 15.4 channel setups for a variety of configurations for the best possible sound in your home theater.

While it’s probably easier to list what the AVR-A1H doesn’t support, here’s some of what it does: 8K resolution is a given, along with the latest DTS formats like DTS: X and DTS HD Master. Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos support are included, as is IMAX Enhanced, Auro 3D, 360 Reality Audio, and much more. HDR, HLF, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and other formats are supported for visual optimization, too. It also offers HEOS compatibility for wireless multiroom setups, while gamers will appreciate compatibility with Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM ). And like our Denon pick above, it also has a phono input to get your vinyl on.

There are seven HDMI in and three HDMI out ports to handle your entertainment system, along with 17 speaker terminals, four subwoofer out ports, USB, and more. Helpful modes allow you to do everything from sync bass to set a sleep timer or enter an ECO mode to save energy.

Of course, it’s expensive at $6,500, easily the highest price tag on our list. You’ll have to pay to get this much support and connection options, and not everyone will need it. But it’s ready to coordinate your home theater for the long haul and will deal with anything you throw at it, making it an easy recommendation for the best high-end option for massive-sized setups.

Denon AVR-A1H

Denon AVR-A1H

Best high-end AV receiver

The Denon AVR-X4800H receiver.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Denon AVR-X4800H

Best AV receiver for 8K

Pros

  • 8K ready, along with many other formats
  • Great gaming support
  • Varied connection support, including HDMI, composite, digital, and more
  • New computer-based calibration technology

Cons

  • Not everyone is interested in preparing for 8K yet

The above-mentioned Denon AVR-A1H, at over $6,000, is certainly not for everyone. But you can trim that price down a whole lot if you’re only interested in future-proofing a few key features in a slightly smaller setup while still getting an incredible amount of support. The Denon AVR-X4800H does just that, offering 8K support (plus upscaling) on all seven HDMI inputs and two of the three HDMI outputs. That also goes for game-friendly technology like VRR, ALLM, and QFT.

Outputs support up to nine simultaneous speakers or 11 channels in all, at 125W each, including four subwoofer outputs. There’s support for Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, IMAX Enhanced, DTS, Auro-3D, HEOS, direction connections like AirPlay 2, HDR 10+, and HLG, as well as 3D signal passthrough.

And if you have older connections to manage, there are also component and composite video inputs, five analog stereo RCA inputs, optical and coaxial digital inputs, plus phono. That’s a great recipe for longevity as you eventually upgrade your HDTV and other devices to the latest and greatest home theater tech. It even works with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands over things like volume and skipping tracks.

You’ll also have the ability to download an advanced speaker calibration program to PC or Mac and use it to minutely adjust your sound based on your own unique space. There are few other options so well-suited to bridging the past and the future as the AVR-X4800H, especially if you don’t mind planning on some serious investment in 8K and related formats.

Denon AVR-X4800H

Denon AVR-X4800H

Best AV receiver for 8K

Marantz Cinema 70s 8K AVR in black.

Marantz / Marantz

Marantz Cinema 70s

Best sleek and compact AV receiver

Pros

  • Slim design
  • Excellent HDR and surround codec support
  • Six HDMI 2.1 inputs and 8K/60Hz eARC output

Cons

  • Not as powerful as other models
  • Pricey

If you need an AV receiver but can’t stand the idea of a bulky piece of hardware, the Marantz Cinema 70s is an excellent alternative to big, boxy, and square. This 7.2 receiver may not be as powerful as some of the other models on our list (50 watts per channel), but in this case, less amplification translates to a slimmer product. Part of Marantz’s slimline family, the Cinema 70s is just over 4 inches tall.

Not only will the Cinema 70s look great in your entertainment center or AV rack, but it’s also got plenty of ports. This includes six HDMI 2.1 inputs, an eARC output (up to 8K/60Hz), USB, Bluetooth, and several other digital and analog connections. When connected to the internet, you’ll also be able to access music-streaming platforms like Spotify, Tidal, SiriusXM, and Pandora (HEOS app required).

The Cinema 70s is no straggler when it comes to hi-res playback either: With its PCM 24-bit/192kHz cap, you’ll be able to listen to detail-rich tracks and albums, making a Tidal subscription all the more alluring. That’s on top of next-level support for the leading picture and sound formats of today, including HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X.

The Cinema 70s even includes a powered second zone. Opting for this configuration will prevent you from being able to wire up a full Atmos system though. Zone 2 can borrow audio sources from Zone 1, but the receiver also supports dedicated sources for a second listening area, including analog inputs, USB, Bluetooth, and HEOS streaming services.

Marantz Cinema 70s

Marantz Cinema 70s

Best sleek and compact AV receiver


Image used with permission by copyright holder

Onkyo TX-NR5100

Best mid-range AV model

Pros

  • Great support for current standards and voice assistants
  • Gamer-friendly optimization
  • Good features for mid-range price

Cons

  • No 8K support
  • Wattage is low compared to high-end picks

Those who want support for the latest features and standards while still staying at mid-range prices will find a lot to love about this Onkyo model, which is also a great pick for gamers or those looking for an upgrade to their movie experience.

This seven-channel receiver offers 80 watts per channel into 8 ohms at 0.08% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) with two channels driven. Connections include four HDMI 2.1 ports in and two out (with HDCP 2.3 support), optical, coaxial, stereo RCA ports, USB ports, and dual subwoofer RCA ports, plus a headphone jack when gaming sessions need to stay quiet.

When we dig into more supported standards, this Onkyo model gets even more impressive: It’s compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X processing, Sonos Port, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Chromecast, Alexa, and Google Assistant. There’s built-in Wi-Fi and compatibility with ARC/eARC, too. HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) are also all supported, making this receiver very well-rounded for all kinds of optimization.

Like some of our other picks, the Onkyo TX-NR5100 also has a few features dedicated to gamers, including Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and Quick Frame Transport (QFT), which can help improve frame rate performance and cut down on issues relating to lag.

Onkyo TX-NR5100

Onkyo TX-NR5100

Best mid-range AV model

Frequently Asked Questions

Are some AV receivers better for music than movies?

No. Most receivers do very well for movies as well as music, with performance scaling up in tandem as you move into premium models. However, music can be more revealing of sound quality and character than movie soundtracks, and those who value music listening may find one brand more sonically satisfying than another.

Additionally, if music is is your main focus, you may want to consider just getting a stereo receiver or integrated amplifier instead.

Do all AV receivers support 4K? What about 8K?

All of the models we highlight support 4K and most also support HDR formats as well. These days, only particularly old receivers will lack 4K support.

While 8K is available in some form or another today, the technology is still new and rarely seen outside of some specialized broadcasts. However, as it becomes more common, we are seeing 8K support show up in more places, including several of our top receiver picks. Consider it a future-proofing option as 8K continues to appear more frequently.

Can I easily use an AV receiver with a turntable?

As long as it has a phono input, yes. If not, you’ll need a phono preamp to boost the usually-low signal from the turntable. Preamps can be quite affordable for entry-level models.

What external devices do you need to buy to connect to your receiver?

It’s helpful to think about this in terms of inputs and outputs. What devices do you want to input audio and video, and what components do you want that audio and video delivered to? The second question is answered automatically with an AV receiver: You’ll be outputting audio to speakers (which often come with many receiver packages) and video to a TV or similar display.

For inputs, that largely depends on what you have and what you want. You can connect consoles, Blu-ray players, laptops or PCs, set-top boxes, and a variety of other devices to a receiver. You will want to pay close attention to the ports on your devices and make sure your receiver supports the most effective way to receive AV data, such as eARC. There’s a lot more to discuss about the different types of setups an AV receiver can support, but this will help you get started.

What is the difference between an AV receiver and an amplifier?

Simply put, a receiver component can receive and process an audio signal, while an amplifier component optimizes the audio signal and sends it on to the speakers. AV receivers include both, so that’s not something you generally need to worry about. Some types of speakers do have their own amplifiers included but will need a receiver device to work.

How can you tell a good AV receiver from a bad one?

That’s a complicated question, depending on a myriad of factors like format support, connection standards, hardware components, processing technology, and a lot more.

For some time, the rate at which features were being added made buying any AV receiver a risky proposition if you didn’t want to be stuck with something that quickly went out of date. With 4K, HDR, HDMI, and HDCP seemingly having everything worked out for the 4K era, it’s much safer to buy a receiver now without worrying that you’ll quickly see the future pass you by. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X seem entrenched as the two major leaders in object-based surround sound

If you really want to dive in, one of the best places to start is our guide to everything you should know when buying an AV receiver.

Is an AV receiver good for gaming?

It can be, especially if you like gaming with surround sound for immersion. Look for support for all the latest standards before you buy, including Dolby Atmos, one of the newer HDMI standards like 2.0 or 2.1, and HDR compatibility. There are also features, like on our Denon AVR-X4700H pick, that add more benefits for gamers, like Variable Refresh Rate support and Auto Low Latency Mode. An AV receiver isn’t required for gaming, but it’s an important addition if you want true surround sound.

How do you test?

Collectively, the AV team at Digital Trends has been testing AV receivers for just over 40 years. Testing takes place both in a dedicated home theater lab at our headquarters in Portland, Oregon, as well as in our individual home theater spaces. That spans a wide variety of sourcing equipment able to handle the latest standards.

Connected speakers include a rotating cast of speakers, including many Dolby Atmos-enabled models. While we routinely run any given receiver’s auto setup routine to gauge its accuracy and user experience, we ultimately perform a manual calibration using an analog SPL meter, carefully choosing crossover points for connected speakers based on in-room measured low-frequency response. Surround speaker arrangements will vary between 7.2 and 5.2.4.

Receivers are tested for ease of use, with special attention paid to how easy it is to stream music to the receiver as well as direct-stream internet radio stations. We also pay attention to how clear on-screen guides and setup instructions will be for novice users.

Sound quality tests include analysis of dynamic expression, overall power, timbre, and tonality; speaker-to-speaker transitions of sound effects; and general soundstage quality.

Is it bad to leave an AV receiver on all the time?

It’s not the best habit, but it won’t do much harm. Today’s AV receivers are built to go into standby modes and use as little power as possible.

Does an AV receiver need ventilation?

Ventilation is important to keep the receiver from overheating. For example, Denon recommends that you give its receivers at least five inches of space on the top and two inches on the sides. If the amp inside overheats, it may automatically shut off to protect itself.

How many channels should an AV receiver have?

Since receivers can last a long time, it’s a good idea to get as many channels as you can so you have the option to upgrade to more surround sound in the future. We recommend at least a 7.1-channel system, even if you don’t currently use that many speakers.

Glossary

  • 4K: Higher resolution than HD (3840 X 2160). The latest standard for TVs and AV receiver models, although some are even going up to 8K these days.

  • Dolby Atmos: One of the two most popular object-based surround formats, Atmos adds height information so sound can seem to come from above and all around you.

  • DSD: Direct-Stream Digital. A hi-res audio file format alternative to .WAV, .AIFF, and others that aims to reduce distortion.

  • DTS:X: The other most popular object-based audio format, DTS:X can be more flexible than Dolby Atmos when it comes to where speakers are placed and how many of them there are.

  • HDCP 2.2: A form of copy protection, this version is required in order to play 4K content.

  • HDMI 2.0a: While it isn’t the newest version of HDMI, this version is the first that allows HDR signals and 4K content at up to 60 frames per second.

  • HDMI 2.1: HDMI 2.1 supports higher frame rates and up to 8K resolution, among other improvements, and is the latest standard for AV connections.

  • HDMI eARC: eARC — or “enhanced audio return channel” —  is an upgrade to the standard HDMI ARC interface. The tech was designed to allow one-cable transmission of audio and information to and from the TV to simplify home theater setups, but the eARC upgrade also adds full support for hi-res surround sound formats.

  • HDR: High Dynamic Range, offers better contrast and more color volume than standard dynamic range. Considered by some a bigger visual improvement than 4K resolution. Even if you want a stereo receiver, HDR is still an important perk for your image quality.

  • VRR: Variable Refresh Rate. This technology can adjust the refresh rate of a display so it matches the output of a gaming console like an Xbox or PlayStation. If you have a newer console in your home theater, VRR on both your TV and receiver will help eliminate tearing and other problems.

  • THD: Total Harmonic Distortion. This measurement is typically expressed as a percentage, such as 0.008%. It shows how much harmonic distortion is created by devices like receivers. Lower THD is better for audio accuracy, and high-quality receivers will have low THD numbers.

  • Denon HEOS: Denon Home Entertainment Operating System. This was originally a wireless standard offered by Denon to support wireless audio connections between speakers in different rooms. It has developed into a platform now known as “Denon Home” but HEOS devices are still compatible with it and Denon Home still works with the HEOS app.

  • HLG: Hybrid Log Gamma. This is a signal used by some broadcasters to enable HDR optimization more efficiently. It combines HDR and SDR coding into a signal that can be sent to any TV without worrying as much about compatibility.

  • QFT: Quick Frame Transport. This technology increases the frame rate to help cut down on display latency, or those small delays between visual data being generated in a device and actually being displayed on your TV. It’s another technology that gamers will appreciate in a TV and accompanying receiver.

  • ALLM: Auto Low Latency Mode. This mode detects when you are using a connected gaming device, and switches to a separate game mode to help optimize visual data and cut down on latency.

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How to delete a Netflix profile on a PC, mobile device, or TV | Digital Trends

How to delete a Netflix profile on a PC, mobile device, or TV | Digital Trends

If you’ve got a household full of Netflix viewers with radically different tastes in what they like to watch on the world’s biggest streaming service, then it’s likely that you’ve created separate profiles for everyone. Doing this is not only a great way to let the almighty Netflix algorithm curate choices better-suited to everyone individually, but it’s also a great way to allow parents to set viewing restrictions to protect impressionable youngsters from watching stuff they shouldn’t.

But kids grow up and leave the nest, roommates come and go, and sometimes you need to delete a Netflix profile or two to keep things neat and tidy. This can easily be done from a web browser, mobile device, TV, or streaming device. Here’s how.


Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

How to delete a Netflix profile from a web browser

Deleting a Netflix profile is almost as easy as creating one, and you can create up to five of them. But keep in mind that you cannot delete your primary profile this way. To do that, you’ll need to cancel your entire Netflix account. The following steps are for deleting profiles only.

Step 1: From a browser, sign in to your Netflix account.

Step 2: In the top right, select Manage Profiles.

Confirming the deletion of a Netflix profile.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Step 3: Select the profile you want to delete and scroll down to the bottom. Select Delete Profile. Confirm your choice by selecting Delete Profile again.

Step 4: Select Done to return to the profile selection screen.

How to delete a Netflix profile from a mobile device

It’s just as easy to shed some Netflix profiles from an app on your smartphone or tablet.

Step 1: Launch the Netflix app and sign in if you aren’t already.

Step 2: From the profile selection screen, in the top right corner, select Edit and then select the profile you’d like to delete — remember, it can’t be the primary profile.

Step 3: If you’re already in a profile, you can either quit the app and follow the last step’s instructions, or you can select the profile icon in the bottom right, then the three-line menu at the top right to access the Manage Profiles menu, where you can select the profile you want to delete.

Step 4: Once you’ve selected the profile you want to delete, scroll down to the bottom and select Delete Profile.

Step 5: Confirm your choice by selecting Delete.

How to delete a Netflix profile on your TV.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

How to delete a Netflix profile from a TV or streaming device

Deleting a Netflix profile is very similar no matter which way you do it, and doing it from your smart TV or connected streaming device is not much different. Here’s how to do it from an Apple TV.

Step 1: Launch the Netflix app and then scroll over to the profile you want to delete.

Step 2: Under the profile you’ll see a little pencil icon. Select it.

Step 3: Select Delete Profile and then confirm the choice.

How to delete a Netflix profile on your TV.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Step 4: It doesn’t matter if you’re using a Roku or Fire TV streaming device, you’ll still find all the same options for deleting a Netflix profile.

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How to download movies and shows from Amazon Prime Video | Digital Trends

How to download movies and shows from Amazon Prime Video | Digital Trends

The Amazon Prime Video app allows you to download movies and show episodes for offline viewing on your Android or iOS device or on a desktop Mac or Windows computer. That way, you can keep yourself entertained with Prime content when you’re away from a cellular or WiFi signal—like, say, when you’re on an airplane.

To download an Amazon Prime movie or show, follow these easy steps:

  1. Select the film or show that you want to download.
  2. Open the video details.
  3. Tap the gray “Download” button which is right below the “Play movie” button.

Read on as we explain each of these steps in detail, tell you how to manage your downloads, and give you a few tips and tricks for getting the best offline experience possible.

How to download movies and shows from Amazon Prime Video

Step 1: To download an Amazon Prime Video movie or show, of course, you need the Amazon Prime Video app. The Prime Video is available for Android phones, iPhones, Mac and Windows computers, and all types of tablets—and looks pretty identical on each one.

Once you’ve installed the app, open it up and sign in to your Amazon Prime account.



Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Next, select a film or show that you want to download, and open the video details. Note that not all Amazon Prime movies or TV shows are available for download, and you can only download content if you are in certain areas (the U.S., for example). If it’s a series, you can choose to download individual episodes or full seasons.

Also, prior to downloading, make sure to select the download quality (Good, Better, Best) you want your downloads to be — they will take up different amounts of data (more on that below).

Once you’ve chosen a movie or show, tap the Download button — for shows, you can also download individual episodes.

Step 3: To browse the films and shows you’ve previously downloaded to Prime Video, select the Downloads button on the bottom. Your downloaded titles will appear here. Tap the one you want for it to start playing. If it’s a series, tapping the title will open the list of episodes you’ve downloaded.

The Amazon Prime Video Mac desktop app, showing the Downloads folder.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Casting your content

The Prime Video app is available for mobile devices, tablets, and compatible Windows 10 and Mac computers. If you’re looking to get your downloaded movies and TV episodes onto a larger screen, you can do so by “casting” the content to your TV. Here’s how.

Step 1: Play the video you want to watch, and then look for the casting button in the top-right corner. The iOS and Android icons are slightly different, with each giving you access to their respective compatible devices. The example image below is from the Mac desktop app.

How to select the cast icon for casting from Amazon Prime Video app.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: The app will then check for devices that you can cast the video to, such as a Fire TV stick, AirPlay or Apple TV devices, Smart TVs, Chromecasts, and more.

Choosing the device or TV to cast to from Amazon Prime Video App.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

How much space do I need?

The amount of storage needed for a file depends on its quality. We downloaded the film Moonfall at the Best quality setting and it took up 1GB of storage on an iPhone, while at Better quality (the second-lowest), it took up 535MB. Alternately, season 1 of Upload, 10 episodes in all, took up 2.6GB when downloaded on Best quality.

Amazon Prime Video Mac app Home screen selection.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

What’s available?

According to Amazon, only select titles are available for download. When we browsed the Prime Video selections, it looked like every title available to Prime subscribers was downloadable. Most likely, you can count on all Amazon Originals being available for download. Note that you can only download videos while in the U.S. and U.S. territories if you have a U.S. Amazon account. More on this next.

The limitations of Amazon Prime Video downloads

While downloading content and media on Amazon Prime Video is incredibly convenient, there are some limitations. First, once you download a movie or show, you’ll have 30 days to watch it before it “expires,” aka gets deleted. And once you start watching a movie or episode, you’ll have 48 hours to complete it before it expires, meaning you’ll have to stream it or just download it again — if it’s still available, that is.

Travelers: If you’re going abroad, like outside the U.S. or the country where your Amazon Prime membership is, keep in mind that your downloaded titles might not play if you connect to the internet at your destination if they’re not also available in that region as well. Amazon Originals tend to be available everywhere, so those are probably safe, but the regionally distributed third-party titles might not play.

It’s also worth noting that you lose access to your downloaded titles if you cancel your Amazon Prime subscription.

How do I delete movies or full seasons of shows?

Step 1: To delete a film or full show, the process can be done in multiple ways. Always from the Downloads section, find the film/season you want to delete. The first way to delete something is to swipe left on the title, which will bring up a Red trash can icon. Tapping this again will confirm the film deletion and also delete all the episodes contained in the show you’ve selected.

How to delete a single titles from the Amazon Prime Video app with trash can swipe.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: The next way is to tap the Three vertical dots menu of the movie and then select Delete download. A full season of a show will not have these dots but rather a Small arrow. Tapping the show will bring you to all the show’s downloaded episodes you have. To delete them, read the next section.

How to delete a single title from Amazon Prime Video app with the dropdown menu.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do I delete single episodes of show?

Step 1: To delete single episodes of a show, go to Downloads, and select the show you want to be removed, which will bring up all the episodes you have. Tap the Edit button in the top-right corner.

How to select and delete whole seasons of a downloaded show on the Amazon Prime Video app.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Here, you can check off all the single episodes you want to delete and then hit the red Delete button. Alternately, you can also Select all, which will check off all the episodes in the season for you to delete.

How to select and delete whole seasons of a downloaded show on the Amazon Prime Video app.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Which streaming services offer offline downloads?

In addition to Prime Video, there are several other content-streaming services that give users the option of offline downloads.

Netflix: You can enjoy a number of Netflix movies and shows on the go with offline downloads. To perform a download, you’ll need to have the Netflix app installed on a compatible iOS, Android, or Amazon device, a Windows 10 computer, or a Chromebook. Search for content with the Download icon (arrow down) next to the title or filter your video search by titles that are available for download.

Hulu: Hulu (No Ads) subscribers have the option of downloading certain movies and TV shows for offline viewing. To do so, you’ll need to have a compatible Android or iOS device with the Hulu app installed. Launch the app, then search for content with the Download icon (arrow down) next to the video. Keep in mind that shows and movies from Premium Add-Ons and Live TV subscriptions are not available for download.

Disney+: There are hundreds of Disney+ movies and shows, and a number of them are available for offline downloading. And guess what? The best part is that every single Disney+ entry is available to download. Simply choose the title you want and tap the Download button, located to the right of the Play now button. Disney+ even allows you to choose your download quality if you’re finding yourself scrounging for storage space.

YouTube: For offline YouTube viewing, you’ll need to have a YouTube Premium subscription. For $12 a month (free for the first month), YouTube Premium gives you ad-free YouTube viewing, ad-free YouTube Music, and offline downloads. To take advantage of these perks, you’ll need to download and launch the YouTube app on your phone or tablet (no computer or laptop support at this time). Start watching a video on the app, then tap Download below the video player.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I download Amazon Prime movies to watch offline?

Yes, you can download most Amazon Prime movies and watch them offline. To download, simply open the “Video Details” of the show or movie you want to download, and press the “Download” button.

Why can’t I download movies on Amazon Prime?

If you can’t download movies on Amazon Prime, the first thing to do is to ensure you have the latest Amazon Prime video app version. If this doesn’t do the trick, the next thing to do is to clear all other movies in your download list and try again.

Where is the download tab on Prime Video?

On the mobile version of the Prime Video app, the download tab is at the bottom right hand of the screen, next to the “Find” button. Clicking on “Downloads” will take you to another screen that shows you a list of everything you’ve downloaded for offline use so far. Note that downloads expire after 30 days.

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