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Old 03-20-2015, 03:33 PM   #41
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Not when it comes to hardware. With Apple, I'm limited to what they decide to offer, which often does not fit my needs/budget. That is what drove me to Linux, I was able to buy a $289 netbook in 2009, when Apple had only the $2000+ 'air', IIRC. I found I liked Linux, so I stuck with it.

-ERD50
The chips in the Apple notebook are likely more expensive -- Intel charges more for them -- than the one in that laptop.

Sure you can get a good $500-600 laptop which can run Windows or Linux.

Then you find Apple charging close to $2000 for a 15-inch laptop. Well the components are not the same, from the screen to the build quality.

That said, I bought an HP laptop for $700 which has a decent 1080p touch screen and then a year later, got a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display for $2000.

They both have their merits, though the MacBook Pro also has faster processor and SSD and 16 GB of RAM.
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:18 PM   #42
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One problem with really cheap commodity hardware is that there is very little profit in making it. This leads to bad behavior like manufacturers trying to make some money by bundling in awful or even malicious software (like Lenovo did with Superfish).
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:59 PM   #43
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The chips in the Apple notebook are likely more expensive -- Intel charges more for them -- than the one in that laptop.

Sure you can get a good $500-600 laptop which can run Windows or Linux.

Then you find Apple charging close to $2000 for a 15-inch laptop. Well the components are not the same, from the screen to the build quality.

That said, I bought an HP laptop for $700 which has a decent 1080p touch screen and then a year later, got a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display for $2000.

They both have their merits, though the MacBook Pro also has faster processor and SSD and 16 GB of RAM.
I don't disagree at all. But sometimes, a low cost, basic unit is 'good enough' for what I want - and Apple doesn't really have a 'value line'. But at that higher price point, the Apple products generally do have some higher end components and build quality to them. Not so sure about CPU though, you need to carefully compare something like the passmark scores on the specific model CPU. There is a wide range of performance among i3, i5, and i7, with many examples of i3s with higher scores than i5s - devil's in the details.

For another example, the laptop that I use as my 'desktop' 99% of the time is a Lenovo 17" monitor unit that I bought for $570 on Amazon about 1 year ago. It absolutly is not as full featured or as slick as a MacBook Pro, no question about it - but I wanted a 17" monitor and plenty of memory (it was 6GB - 4/2, I bumped it to 12GB - 4/8 myself for another $67). I've been very happy with it, and the cheapest 17" MacBook would have cost far more - oh, wait a minute - Apple doesn't even make a 17" any more.

I just like having more choice than Apple usually offers. But if their offerings fit what you want, that's great.


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One problem with really cheap commodity hardware is that there is very little profit in making it. This leads to bad behavior like manufacturers trying to make some money by bundling in awful or even malicious software (like Lenovo did with Superfish).
Well, that gets wiped and Ubuntu/Xubuntu installed over it, so if that bundled software that I'll never see lowers my price, I'm OK with that. I've looked into laptops w/o an OS installed, and there don't seem to be any bargains. First of all, they aren't mainstream enough for them to push with/compete with discounts, and apparently the makers get enough $ to at least partially (fully?) offset the cost of Windows.


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Old 03-20-2015, 06:23 PM   #44
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OK, I got curious about the CPU. This mac, though just 13" is about what I could have bought at the time.

MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.4 13" Late 2013 Specs (Retina Late 2013 13", ME864LL/A*, MacBookPro11,1, A1502, 2678) @ EveryMac.com


Intel Core i3-4000M 2.4 GHz Processor (passmark 3429 ) My Lenovo

Intel Core i5-4258U @ 2.40GHz 4163

So yes, faster processor, but only by ~ 22%:

4163/3429 = 4163 ∕ 3429
≈ 1.2140566

I find memory is more important for me for performance than the CPU speed, I thought 6GB would be enough, but I did upgrade to 12GB which has been great (I just never hit much swap anymore).

But that MacBook RAM is not upgrade-able :

Quote:
*4 GB or 8 GB of RAM is onboard by default, but it could be upgraded to 16 GB at the time of purchase at additional cost. RAM*cannot*be upgraded later.
I didn't see prices for that config on that page, but I'm guessing that 16GB from 4GB base would bring the price way up from the original $1299. Probably double my less than $700 with 12GB (and 17" screen!).

Again, not trying to sway anyone from Apple, they are good products and a good choice in many cases - and this is not an apple-to-Apple comparison, but that's just it - they don't have things at this price range to compare to, so they lost me as a customer for computers at least. But their business seems to be doing just fine w/o me, so that's OK too.

-ERD50
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Old 03-20-2015, 06:42 PM   #45
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Yeah the soldered RAM is regrettable but it's the tradeoff for a thinner design.

Battery isn't swappable either.

I looked up RAM upgrades for my HP a few months ago and it wasn't cheap. I know you can upgrade yourself but the case isn't easily opened.

Hope it will run Win10 with 8GB of RAM. It's sluggish waking from sleep, won't fully redraw windows after waking up.
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:50 AM   #46
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What people often forget with Apple products is that they have resale value.
I paid $1100 for my macbook air, 3 years ago.
I could sell it easily for $700. So total cost for 3 years is $400.

A comparable PC laptop would've cost $700 or so and it'd be worth $200 or so.

YMMV but resale is important and I've done this many times. After buying my dell laptop for $1400, sold it for $75, 4 years later.
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:59 AM   #47
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What people often forget with Apple products is that they have resale value.
I paid $1100 for my macbook air, 3 years ago.
I could sell it easily for $700. So total cost for 3 years is $400.

A comparable PC laptop would've cost $700 or so and it'd be worth $200 or so.

YMMV but resale is important and I've done this many times. After buying my dell laptop for $1400, sold it for $75, 4 years later.
Good point! Don't assume your older Apple products are worthless.
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:56 AM   #48
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FWIW - Amazon Prime Video is working very well for me with AppleTV if I use the "Amazon Instant Video" app on my iPad and set up Airplay to the AppleTV. This works much, much better than from a laptop using Airplay from a web browser like Safari.

It's still indirect (since it requires a device in addition to the AppleTV), but works so seamlessly I don't notice. So this is probably the "workaround" that Amazon has intended users to use all along, as this allows Amazon to work outside of the Apple iTunes system.

I think when I first tried the app, the movie I was trying to play was restricted to only playing in a web browser (a restriction imposted by the content provider) and the Instant Video app couldn't play it. So I hadn't tried the app for a while.
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Old 03-21-2016, 07:55 AM   #49
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I heard today of another new entrant to the streaming service field. Sony has launched its "Vue" service. $50/ mo. for around 60 stations. Currently requires a Sony PlayStation for streaming, but soon to be available on other devices. Looks like competition in this category is heating up.

I've been test driving "Vue" this week (on a one week free trial) as a possible substitute for my current U-verse TV service. They have three levels of programming. I chose the middle level: 70 channels for $35/month. But, no local Channels. It has almost all the channels we ever watched on our 300 channel U-verse service.

I streamed Vue through an Amazon Fire Stick. It worked well, but took a while to switch stations. I suspected that it was a memory issue, since the Fire Stick has very small amount of memory. So, I upgraded and got an Amazon Fire TV shipped to me overnight. Hooked it up and, wow, what a difference. All the channels loaded with very little delay.

Quality of the picture is excellent, even though I'm using the Fire TV wirelessly over Wifi. I still plan on running a network cable to the Fire TV, which should provide an even better signal.

My plan is to ditch U-verse after I decide on an OTA solution. My current thought is to buy a 4 tuner Tablo for OTA channels, which will also stream through the Fire TV. $299 plus the cost of a hard drive to store the programming.

I should be able to save over $100 per month as compared to my current deal with U-verse.

Anybody else out there using Tablo? If so, I'd sure be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:06 PM   #50
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If we could get the Food Network at a reasonable price, DW would be so happy. That's the one thing about not having cable that she really wants. I record a few OTA cooking shows for now with the PVR, that helps, but I guess it's not THE Food Network.

-ERD50
Has she taken a look at the cooking/foodie channels on Roku? There must be a bazillion of them (mostly free). On demand by subject (although there is a live chef-type channel from Brazil, if you understand Portuguese). We make sure we're not hungry when we browse the shows.

_B
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:49 PM   #51
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.......Apple can offer a low cost bundle that might be of interest to younger folks who aren't current subscribers.....
If my kids (young adults) and their friends are any kind of barometer for this I don't like Apple's chances. They don't want to pay anything for content.

Ron
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:11 PM   #52
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I've been test driving "Vue" this week (on a one week free trial) as a possible substitute for my current U-verse TV service. They have three levels of programming. I chose the middle level: 70 channels for $35/month. But, no local Channels. It has almost all the channels we ever watched on our 300 channel U-verse service.

I streamed Vue through an Amazon Fire Stick. It worked well, but took a while to switch stations. I suspected that it was a memory issue, since the Fire Stick has very small amount of memory. So, I upgraded and got an Amazon Fire TV shipped to me overnight. Hooked it up and, wow, what a difference. All the channels loaded with very little delay.

Quality of the picture is excellent, even though I'm using the Fire TV wirelessly over Wifi. I still plan on running a network cable to the Fire TV, which should provide an even better signal.

My plan is to ditch U-verse after I decide on an OTA solution. My current thought is to buy a 4 tuner Tablo for OTA channels, which will also stream through the Fire TV. $299 plus the cost of a hard drive to store the programming.

I should be able to save over $100 per month as compared to my current deal with U-verse.

Anybody else out there using Tablo? If so, I'd sure be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.
Didn't know they had a 4 tuner unit. Looked it up on Amazon. Reviews are quite mixed. http://www.amazon.com/Tablo-HDTV-Ant.../dp/B00MWLZR0I

I would like 4 tuners. Right now I have a computer hooked up to my TV and use it to record, using Media Center. Works great but would like additional tuners. Everyone seems to want to air their best shows at the same time on Sunday night.

The cost of internet by itself is up to $75.00 a month now with Cox. Soon it will cost just as much as a TV package used to.
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:27 AM   #53
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The cost of internet by itself is up to $75.00 a month now with Cox. Soon it will cost just as much as a TV package used to.
Very possible. Although mine is less than half that at the moment. But when it does get to $100/mo down the road, I may just go with OTA channels and my limited data with my phone service. I don't have internet service at my vacation condo and I do fine with phone data service only. I don't use it as much as I do with my home internet, just check emails and a few sites. Which is probably a good thing as I don't get sucked into staying inside sitting on the sofa.

I'm simply not going to let the cable companies hold me hostage to high monthly cost on something that is not necessary for my life. Now when I get to the point I'm too old to get outside and do things, I will have no choice. But as of now I do.
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Old 03-22-2016, 09:12 AM   #54
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Didn't know they had a 4 tuner unit. Looked it up on Amazon. Reviews are quite mixed. http://www.amazon.com/Tablo-HDTV-Ant.../dp/B00MWLZR0I

I noticed the mixed reviews too. That's why I was hoping that someone on this forum would chime in on their experience. I'd hate to drop $400 on equipment and find out that their DVR service sucks and DW is pissed because her favorite shows didn't record. But, on the other hand, I'm about ready to take the leap so that I can start saving over $100 per month on the dang cable bill.


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Old 03-23-2016, 02:40 PM   #55
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I noticed the mixed reviews too. That's why I was hoping that someone on this forum would chime in on their experience. I'd hate to drop $400 on equipment and find out that their DVR service sucks and DW is pissed because her favorite shows didn't record. But, on the other hand, I'm about ready to take the leap so that I can start saving over $100 per month on the dang cable bill.


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We've had a 2-tuner Tablo for about nine months and it's mostly used by DW. This replaced a Windows Media Center PC that we were using as DVR for local channels. I would have been happy to completely ditch local programming, but DW likes to watch local evening news when she wakes up in the morning. We're using the Roku app and haven't had any recent issues. I gauge how well it works based on feedback from DW. When we initially had the Tablo/Roku setup, DW would occasionally complain that it wasn't working. About 4 months ago (and after firmware/app updates) I realized I haven't heard any complaints. I asked her if it's been working ok and she said yes. At this point, it's working seamlessly for us, for which I am very grateful.

I occasionally use it from my iPad and I think their iOS support is better. I'm looking forward to their Apple TV app, since I want to eventually ditch the Rokus and standardize on Apple TVs in our house.

I also don't subscribe to their programming guide. This means I can only manually program DVR recordings, which for our usage is sufficient. Keep in mind that the amount of content we watch on the Tablo is small, so there might be minor annoyances that would bother a heavy user vs us. For example, sometimes it seems to take awhile for the app to sync/display the program guide.

But at this point I'm very happy with the Tablo. It's the first solution I found that allowed me to ditch the PC and most importantly, it works, which means DW is happy.

If you want any more details, let me know.
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:47 PM   #56
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I noticed the mixed reviews too. That's why I was hoping that someone on this forum would chime in on their experience. I'd hate to drop $400 on equipment and find out that their DVR service sucks and DW is pissed because her favorite shows didn't record. But, on the other hand, I'm about ready to take the leap so that I can start saving over $100 per month on the dang cable bill.


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The most liked and simplist DVR for recording OTA channels is the Tivo Roamio. They offer it once or twice a year with lifetime subscription for guide for either $299 or $399. I can't remember which. They had on Amazon about two months ago for this price with lifetime subscription. Otherwise, if you just buy it without lifetime subscription, you pay $15 a month for it. ($180 a year)

http://www.amazon.com/TiVo-Roamio-St...t_sims?ie=UTF8

There's also the Channel Master, but it only has two tuners, and you have to add a hard drive. Reviews are a bit better.
http://www.amazon.com/Channel-Master...ster+dvr&psc=1
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:11 AM   #57
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Ditto on the Tivo Roamio (Basic or OTA), and the sale price with lifetime has been $299 on Amazon, shipped. So use that as a benchmark for what to pay for a good DVR (4 tuners, 500GB drive).
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:32 PM   #58
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If a TiVo plus lifetime service is available for $299, that would appear to be a great deal. However, I'm concerned as to how TiVo actually works. If I have more than one TV, do I need multiple TiVos? One TiVo for each TV? With Tablo, I can stream to multiple TVs with just a single DVR.
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:15 PM   #59
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If a TiVo plus lifetime service is available for $299, that would appear to be a great deal. However, I'm concerned as to how TiVo actually works. If I have more than one TV, do I need multiple TiVos? One TiVo for each TV? With Tablo, I can stream to multiple TVs with just a single DVR.
Yes the least expensive Tivo Roamio is usually for just one TV. I believe you can hook up a Tivo Mini with it. That cost another $100 and $6.00 a month extra for programming or $150 lifetime subscription. (so basically $250 more)
But you can also access it on-line and on mobile.
https://www.tivo.com/quick-links/wel...ond-the-basics


The Tablo is cheaper if you have multiple TV's you need to hook up, but the Tivo interface is really good and probably very stable. On the other hand, the cheapest Roamio comes with a small hard drive 500 gb, but I understand you can change out the drive, but would need to check into that as far as how it is done.

Do you have a spare computer with Windows 7 that your not using any more? If so, you can buy a HD Home Run Tuner and with Windows Media Center with DVR and guide available on Windows 7, you will have another DVR.
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:08 AM   #60
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Do you have a spare computer with Windows 7 that your not using any more? If so, you can buy a HD Home Run Tuner and with Windows Media Center with DVR and guide available on Windows 7, you will have another DVR.

I would go with Tablo instead of Windows Media Center. I was happy to ditch my Windows Media Center. Plus, Microsoft removed it from Windows 10 so eventually you might start having problems because it's not supported anymore.
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