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HDMI streaming sticks as audio streamers or 44.1 to 48 kHz upsampling quality


Jan 3, 2023
The most budget audio streamer option is an HDMI streaming stick. The cheapest of them fluctuates around $30.
However, there is a problem. All known HDMI sticks upsample everything to 48kHz. Yes, connecting USB DAC to some of them is possible, but it complicates things and increases the price.
So, the main question here is this: how big of an issue is this upsampling? Can you hear it?
To answer this question I bought an HDMI capture device, which can be connected to a PC via USB so that the audio stream can be captured and analyzed in its digital form.
Two of the devices under test didn't have HDMI: Wiim Mini and Hisense Android TV, so I had to use a digital Toslink connection Creative Sound Blaster G3.
Test signals were generated by REW, 1 kHz tone at 44.1 and 48 kHz and 16 bit.

Here are my results:
StreamerPlayerSample Rate, kHzTHD, dBN, dBTHD+N, dBTHD+N loss, dB44.1->48 cost, dB
Source fileREW44.1-107.1-98.4-97.80
Source fileREW48-97.1-137.2-97.10
Google TV HDPlex44.1-109-78.9-78.918.919.5
Google TV HDPlex48-97.7-139.7-97.7-0.6
Google TV HDBubbleUPnP44.1-101.6-95.9-94.92.91
Google TV HDBubbleUPnP48-95.2-137.7-95.21.9
Google TV HDVLC44.1-102.9-89.9-
Google TV HDVLC48-94.5-91-89.47.7
Fire TV 4kPlex44.1-90.7-70.5-70.527.31.4
Fire TV 4kPlex48-90.1-71.3-71.225.9
Fire TV 4kBubbleUPnP44.1-89.8-71.2-
Fire TV 4kBubbleUPnP48-89.8-71.3-71.225.9
Roku TVPlex44.1-105.2-96.7-
Roku TVPlex48-95.5-136.8-95.51.6
Roku TVXCast44.1-104.9-96.4-95.820.2
Roku TVXCast48-95.3-138.9-95.31.8
Wiim MiniWiim app44.1-107.2-98.4-97.800
Wiim MiniWiim app48-97.1-135.2-97.10
Wiim MiniBubbleUPnP44.1-107.2-98.4-97.80-0.2
Wiim MiniBubbleUPnP48-96.9-133.1-96.90.2
Hisense Android TVPlex44.1-101.9-78.7-78.719.114.7
Hisense Android TVPlex48-94.1-130.8-94.13
Hisense Android TVUAPP upsample44.1-95.3-94.2-
Hisense Android TVUAPP44.1-92.1-93.4-
Hisense Android TVUAPP48-92.1-130.3-92.15
Hisense Android TVBubbleUPnP44.1-97.1-94.2-92.45.41
Hisense Android TVBubbleUPnP48-92.7-130.1-92.74.4

BubbleUPnP was used as a DLNA UPnP controller, Plex as a local player, UAPP as both a DLNA UPnP controller and local player (with the same results), VLC as a Chromecast controller, XCast as a controller for Roku.

And here are the winners:
Best streamersBest playerTHD+N loss, dB
Wiim MiniWiim app0
Roku TVPlex1.65
Google TV HDBubbleUPnP2.4
Hisense Android TVBubbleUPnP4.9
Fire TV 4kBubbleUPnP26.25

Wiim Mini is included for comparison, as it's not an HDMI streamer. It seems to be bit perfect in the tested scenarios.
For almost all other scenarios 44.1 had lower quality than 48 kHz test, the median difference is around 1 dB. However, Plex on Android TV has some serious issues, making THD+N worse by 15/20 dB.

Even though all HDMI streamers degraded audio quality, the difference in 1 - 5 dB of THD+N is impossible to perceive at around -90 dB level IMHO. Fire TV showed the worst results, but maybe even that is not very audible on most systems. My conclusion is that the source, player, EQ, DAC, speakers and their placement, listening room and listener's hearing play a much bigger role than 44.1 -> 48 kHz upsampling.

Versions of the DUTs:
Google TV HD, Kernel 5.4.180-android12-9-g7b1240a30d10
Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire OS
Hisense Android TV, V0006.01.00A.L025, Android 9, Kernel 4.9.118+, Build PTMR.190127.037, Chromecast version: 1.61.329909
Roku Streaming Stick 4K, Model: 3820X, Software Version: 11.5.0 build 4312-CU

BubbleUPnP (arm64-v8a)
Wiim Home
Roku Plex
Roku XCast 1.0 build 1
VLC for Android 3.5.3. 2022-11-03
REW 5.20.13

All measurements in REW mdat format are attached (I had to split the measurements file into 44.1 and 48 kHz parts, as the attachment file size limit seems to be around 3 MB here).


  • HDMI-Audio-Streamers-44.mdat.zip
    2.8 MB · Views: 55
  • HDMI-Audio-Streamers-48.mdat.zip
    2.6 MB · Views: 50
Last edited:


Oct 13, 2021
does this mean we don't need dedicated and that we can enjoy video along with sound while using a firestick as a steamer ?


Active Member
Jul 13, 2023
That's interesting, thanks!

I'm trying to understand each configuration. If you say: Google TV HD and player BubbleUPNP, then you mean that you have installed Bubble on GTV and used it as player/DLNA renderer? Or do you have Bubble on phone and use it as server/controller? If the latter, then what is the player on GTV, Chromecast?

BubbleUPNP has its own resampler, was it used? Resampler has high/very high options, have you checked them?
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