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Apple TV vs Roku 1/2/3 vs Chromecast vs others?
Old 11-27-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
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Apple TV vs Roku 1/2/3 vs Chromecast vs others?

We don't have any of them, but I note from another thread many here do. I don't want to be on the hook for more subscription channels, and I'm not sure what free channels are included aside from youtube (too low res for an HDTV?). And it's not clear to me if they're compelling enough (better integration between TV-Internet-other yet to come?) to jump on board yet. And finally, since we have mixed ecosystems in our house Win/Apple/Android - that compounds our problem. What am I missing?
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:28 PM   #2
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I don't know much about AppleTV, but we have Roku (+Plex) and WDTV Live boxes running on our TVs. They work well at streaming content to the TV. but my impression is that the free channels aren't all that worthwhile. We'll hunt through the free stuff for some old schlocky movies on occasion, but mostly end up streaming Netflix to the TVs.

There's good content on Hulu for free (not bothering with Hulu+), but we have to watch that on our PCs as we haven't found a good way to stream that to our TVs through any of our set-top devices. I believe that Hulu discourages streaming of their free service to drive folks toward Hulu+, but we refuse to bite. Netflix is enough of a monthly expense.

The short answer is: Buy one of the Internet TV devices if you need a streaming mechanism, but not as a stand-alone source of content.
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:46 PM   #3
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We have Chromecast. IMO for $35 it is a no-brainer. I use it for YouTube (used it to project America's Cup races on my HDTV and the resolution was superb). Netflix is also supported as are most webpages using Chrome.

Only thing I don't like is that I can't cast an Amazon Instant Video in a Chrome browers using Chromecast so if I want to do that I just hook it up via a hardwire.
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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So one of the big appeals is subscribing to and streaming Netflix instead of paying for cable/satellite premium movie channels? We don't have any premium movie channels, but I could see where Netflix might provide better choice and cost...
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
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I would consider that if I had good OTA reception. Unfortunately I need my cable (Dish in my case) to get my locals so the incremental cost for additional channels is low.
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #6
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Love AppleTV and with our $8 a month Hulu+ subscription, we'll probably be dropping cable soon. We don't watch cable anymore. We just need to switch our alarm system to cellphone so we can drop the digital phone which is part of our package.

But you do need a 6Mbps download speed on your Internet connection to get full 1080i HD content. Lower speed still delivers 720p HD content which is not bad at all.
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #7
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Netflix and Hulu Plus are about all a person needs unless one is really into sports, or just has to be able to watch the new movies as soon as possible. I have a Roku and really enjoy it. It always works and has a huge number of channels, most of them of no interest, but the other day I got a great recipe for tiramisu from the Italian cooking channel.

If you are into the Apple ecosystem the great thing about Apple TV is that you can use Airplay to send what ever is on your computer to the TV, IIRC.

One more point, there are a number of films and shows that are not available via streaming, so you may want to consider the Netflix 1 disk at a time plan. It sort of fills things out and really gives cable TV the final kick to the curb.
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #8
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If something like Apple TV or a Roku box had a good, integrated OTA tuner and DVR, I'd be all over it.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:00 PM   #9
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If something like Apple TV or a Roku box had a good, integrated OTA tuner and DVR, I'd be all over it.
Well, we don't need a DVR, because most of the programming we watch OTA is available via Hulu+. In fact, most of what we watch on Hulu+ is OTA programming that we watch later at our convenience.

There is at least a year's worth of programming available - often far more.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:00 PM   #10
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If something like Apple TV or a Roku box had a good, integrated OTA tuner and DVR, I'd be all over it.
Have you looked at a Tivo box? I think it may get you 2/3rds there or perhaps more.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:03 PM   #11
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Have you looked at a Tivo box? I think it may get you 2/3rds there or perhaps more.
The problem with TiVo is a relatively high equipment cost ($200+) *and* something like a $15 monthly fee. Plus, the only version they make for OTA is a very low end box with little storage. (The more spacious units are dedicated to cable users.)
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:10 PM   #12
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If something like Apple TV or a Roku box had a good, integrated OTA tuner and DVR, I'd be all over it.
That's why I've hesitated. When the internet devices can fully replace cable/satellite/DVR we'd be all over it. If we can stream programming anytime after original airing, we wouldn't even miss the DVR. I don't get having Apple TV or Roku AND cable/satellite (though maybe Netflix streaming is a good alternative to cable premium movie channels) - but I may misunderstand.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:17 PM   #13
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I have all three, but I don't use them. I forget how to use the controls so I don't bother.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:36 PM   #14
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The problem with TiVo is a relatively high equipment cost ($200+) *and* something like a $15 monthly fee. Plus, the only version they make for OTA is a very low end box with little storage. (The more spacious units are dedicated to cable users.)
A Hulu+ account is half that monthly fee. And you can watch the programming anywhere you have an Internet connection - iPad, laptop, anyone's home TV who has an AppleTV or other compatible device. You aren't restricted to the box connected to your TV at home. And you don't have to set it up to program either.

We use this "portability" feature often.

The HD programming delivered by Hulu+ looks fantastic on the iPad with Retina display.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
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If something like Apple TV or a Roku box had a good, integrated OTA tuner and DVR, I'd be all over it.
MythTV, Open Source DVR has been mentioned here in the past and is something that I hope to get some real experience with some day (haven't made the time pre-ER).

There are folks who sell prebuilt/configured systems: Commercial MythTV System - MythTV Official Wiki

I have no experience with any of this...yet.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:26 PM   #16
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A drawback of Roku, I once read in a review, was that it had some advert or other on-screen garbage that took up the bottom 1/3 of the screen, and which was either difficult or impossible to delete. Can anyone with Roku confirm/deny/elaborate?
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:46 PM   #17
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Just checked - we have a Roku3 puck and I see no ads. Big fan of Roku3 - remote works via WiFi, so no aiming and creeping up on the tv to have it work, remote has headphone jack for silent viewing, Netflix and Hulu @ $16 total give us way way more tv than is healthy.

The Roku takes up a hockey-puck worth of space, uses a miniscule amount of electricity, works without tweaking, and if you feel the desire you can use a Iphone or android app to control it. We find no need for a DVR with the Roku - the programs are pretty much all out there waiting to be beamed to your set whenever you want. Oh - another cool thing - the series you watched starting 1/2 way through the second season? Netflix and Hulu mostly have all the episodes starting from the Pilot forward.

No Dish, no DirecTv, no problem.
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:10 PM   #18
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Doesn't Hulu and Hulu+ have ads? I'm spoiled by my DVR - I can't stand commercials. As cheap as I am, I think I'd rather pay $65/month for my Dish and DVR shows and skip commercials than get it free and have to watch comercials.
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:23 PM   #19
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We have Apple TV, but we haven't used it since last winter. Don't have much time for tv except for winter. I think I'll fire up Apple tv tonight and see if it still works. Besides tv shows and movies, I like it for streaming photos and music
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:29 PM   #20
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Doesn't Hulu and Hulu+ have ads? I'm spoiled by my DVR - I can't stand commercials. As cheap as I am, I think I'd rather pay $65/month for my Dish and DVR shows and skip commercials than get it free and have to watch comercials.
Hulu does have ads, which are distasteful, but also has a lot of normal type tv series programing. I tend to watch more Netflix, SWMBO more Hulu.
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