The Fire TV box Gen 3 I use in the living room generally does its job well. The older Gen 1 I use in the bedroom also does pretty well and still gets the occasional updates other than Android version) just fine.
Typically I normalize my video rips into H.264/AVC video. Making the audio carry an AAC-LE stereo track and passing through surround; and sometimes adding AC-3 because of surround sound constraints on the platform. Because if you can’t play H.264 and AAC at this point: you should just go home or be recycled.
Lacking H.265/HEAC is a more understandable at this time. But currently the only devices I really use that lack hardware decoders for that are my Gen 1 Fire TV from 2014 and my Kepler era GPU from 2013. Anything else ain’t getting used for video anything anyhow.
A quick little test using Noucome; episode one, chapter one.
The baseline is about 4.18 GB per episode at around 18~20 Mbit input reported by VLC’s stats. Drop the DTS master audio for the regular DTS, and you arrive at about 3.8 GB per episode. The amount of bits is also a bit excessive when you consider the show has a stereo audio :P. Feeding it through my usual HandBrake settings the video gets taken down to about 5 Mbit/s which is plenty for a 1080p source in that codec.
Encoding a few tests, creating AAC and AC3 at 160 Kbit/s both take about equally long as just passing through the regular DTS. Because the video codec is really where the ~5 min gets spent in x264. Using my old desktop’s 2.1 logitech speakers I can’t telly any difference. The file deltas are about 60M for AAC/AC3 versus 90M for DTS passthrough. Not enough to care about that much.
Using my usual HandBrake settings for H.265 HEVC, which aims to achieve comparable quality to my H.264 AVC configuration, my old ass desktop’s encoding time for the short clip virtually doubled but the size drops from about 60M to 35M.
And then there’s the given case when the per-episode file sizes are only about 4 GB, they’re small enough that I don’t really need to give a flying hoop. The 3 TB drive for that part of my media server is only about 43% full, and by the time it is filled up I’ll probably be able to get an 8 or 12 TB drive for the same price point as when I bought my 3 TB. Which in turn cost about as much as the 1 TB drive it had replaced, lol.