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Old 12-19-2013, 06:42 AM   #1
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Streaming

There are a number of current threads that deal with various parts ofthe change from cable or satellite contract tv, to the various means of obtaining streaming TV, whether on the TV itself, PC's, or mobile devices. Not just a matter of cost, as in "Free", but convenience.

It seems to me that the tidal wave of choices is passing me by, as every time a new piece of software or hardware comes on the scene, there is reason to buy... and something new to understand about how it works.

Some examples
... how does one "throw" a movie on to a TV screen? Can you do it from your PC? or just from a Phone? Does the TV have to be a "Smart TV" or can the "throw" go through a media player?
... does the hardware have to match, to work, and if so, does that limit the flexibility of choices... ie. Apple to Apple... Google to Google.
... what is Plex? Try the wiki definition...
... "developer mode"... for the geeks among us, but is the way to avoid obsolescence... worthwhile learning?
... how do all the connections work? My tablet can control the Roku, but has an interface that allows easy searches and more information.
... how much bandwidth? Slow down the computer? What if there are two streaming movies at the same time?
... how many people can sign on to Netflix, Amazon or Hulu at the same time? Can your next door neighbor or your kids still use your account if you give him the password?
... each "new" piece of hardware has its own peculiairity... my Sony player is already obsolete, and there no support or automatic update. Some of the newer media players have dropped in price to less than $25... will they survive?
...apparently, some of the newer "Smart" TV's have limitations. Is this the time to buy? or is this unintended obsolescence?
...can a wireless USB receiver be used to transfer pictures, videos, music etc, from a computer to a USB enabled media player...eliminating the wired USB connection?

I know some of the answers, but believe that we can share some of this information, and perhaps help a little bit in planning for the future, both to learn, and to save some money along the way. Would you share your own experience and help to sort through what may be the big evolution in how we receive entertainment, news and sports?

Perhaps we could keep this to discussion, and limiting favorite YouTube videos except as a link.

Thread started as a result of the interest in this one by Midpack.
DQOTD: What do streaming boxes do that AirPlay itself can't?
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:53 AM   #2
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Tossing out my newest discovery... My older Roku, has a recent update... "Search" making it much easier to drill down and find specifics... like where to locate a movie, by just entering the title. It shows what channels the movie is on, whether it's free or pay... including the freebies that are on the Pay channels.
It also has a selection menu for TV shows, Movies and News. I found the "News" choices to be excellent... with some channels offering continuous breaking news to get caught up in about 10 minutes, and a Free Speech section for channels with points of view.
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:00 AM   #3
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Good questions, and I'm sure there are detailed answers for each.

For flexibility, I use a duo-core notebook to attach to my network. It sits on top of the cabinet. There are more elegant solutions, but I always use what is lying around. I don't use any other devices (playstation, etc.). The notebook attaches to HDMI on my TV. Anything that I can pull into the PC notebook goes on the screen. Sound goes through HDMI also. This is not perfect solution, but it is free in that I purchased nothing else.

I invested in a dual channel wireless router so that I could stream 5GHz from router to notebook. This works well in close proximity. At far end of house I installed another router. This is 2GHz only.

We have 3-5 notebooks wireless connected. We also have two tablets, and this is the preferred device for myself and daughter. Neither one of us minds the hiccups and glitches that can occur.

EDIT: We have Netflix.

I'm looking at chromecast as possible addition. Another intriguing thing is an antenna so that I can dump the comcrap TV hopefully.

You are right, it is bewildering. Too many choices, but it is pushing our economy, isn't it?
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:14 AM   #4
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Every family needs a teenager!

But......my challenge is that I don't even understand what you're talking about so far. How or where do we go to get a basic knowledge or demonstration of new products as they come out. Yes, I have a computer, buy on the internet, and bought a tablet that I don't use. I even have a smart phone and use that fairly well.

I don't know what Roku is......I have wireless but never play with my router, I have netflex but I have no idea what any other products stream movies or tv shows to my tv set free. I pay a ton to cable.......don't feel I have a choice and I can afford it..

Now......my DW parents know far less then I do. I've thought of hiring a tech teenager and pay for a few hours of instruction. I'd like to hear from some of our members that are being left behind......and, get some ideas from those of you that are keeping up with everything. I truly believe I'm as educated as most individuals in their 60's........and all my friends, like DW and myself really need some help!
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:33 AM   #5
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I am 60 and my family's teenager now, as the teens grew up...

If you're near a Best Buy or other computer store, hang out in the aisles. People who have tech love to wax on about their gear.

You have Netflix, and can access that through your notebook or other computer.

I think to start you need to know what TV you have.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:01 AM   #6
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We went OTA for tv signals 3.5 years ago and stream the rest of what we want through either Netflix, Utube, Hulu, Google Play, Crackle or the television network apps.

We have had 2 people signed into the same Netflix account watching separate movies. Not sure how many more you can go.

We tie up our tablets to our "dumb" tv through hdmi cables to "sling" the movies to it.
I understand that you can use ChromeCast to do the same thing wirelessly and it works with IOS devices and the Chrome brower on Windows software.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:09 AM   #7
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Spent this morning goofing around... found this neat App... YouMP34 that opens up a new world for watching, and DOWNLOADING stuff from YouTube...
Haven't explored it all yet, but it has a great search... intuitive... like I searched for the song "The folks who live on the hill by Mel Torme"... and only had to enter "The folks who" to bring up all of the versions on YouTube... The pic below speaks for itself... you can download your choice... which means that any music can be downloaded as an MP3, or full movies downloaded etc,etc.
The YouTube selections are almost unlimited.

Now, one more thing... Apps are not only for tablets and phones... You can download and save and use the apps on your regular computer... (need minimum of 4MB RAM). The name of the program to do this is BlueStacks...
So far, for me, it works great... so I can use any of the apps on my computer...

Both downloads are free...

Will be interested in other's opinions of this..
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:28 AM   #8
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We have had 2 people signed into the same Netflix account watching separate movies. Not sure how many more you can go.
I called and asked about this because I went to one DVD out and could no longer watch Netflix in another room if the kids had something on in the family room.

The rep told me that you are allowed as many separate online viewers logged in as you pay for DVDs out at a time.

We just bought a cheap lap top with an HDMI port to surf the web using our big screen TV as a monitor. I looked at the smart sticks on Amazon but many of the reviews were kind of sketchy.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:12 AM   #9
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We're pretty much an all Apple household. 3 iMacs, 3 iPads (each kid), 1 Macbook and a 3rd Gen Apple TV all connected to the internet via Comcast Cable and an Apple Airport Express. We gave up cable 6 months ago and went with Streaming Netflix and a Mohu Leaf antenna ($35) for OTA TV. We're only 5 miles from the local network antennas so our HD reception of OTA signals is excellent. We get over 40 channels including all 4 major networks and several PBS stations. The only thing I'm missing is the Food Network and ESPN. The few times I wanted to watch a sporting event I couldn't get OTA, I used www.livetv.ru to watch the game on one our 27" iMacs. Seems an acceptable alternative to $1200/year cable subscription.

We have a 30MB internet connection which in reality is only 17-22MB. Have yet to see 30MB and have only 1 Airport Express as a router. It does b/g/n and seems to meet all our needs with strong signal strength throughout the house. We have 5 different users on the Netflix streaming account and haven't seen a limitation on how many users can watch at the same time. We have at least 3 videos streaming to different devices at the same time without any problem. Of course this would be based on your internet bandwidth. 30MB service seems to do the trick for us. It's $50/month, but I remember 10 years ago it was $50/month for 1.5MB service so I guess we're making progress.

As for streaming to the big screen TV (50" Plasma); we can use airplay via the Apple TV, but only one of the iMacs and 2 of the iPads are new enough to support airplay and we never have much use for that. Mostly just stream movies/TV shows via Netflix app on the Apple TV.

It's taken years to get to this point and I'm just about done with even trying to keep up with the technology update cycle. I'm hoping we can get excellent utility out of this set up for at least 5 more years. The 6 month update cycle gets expensive for an early retiree.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:33 PM   #10
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Good questions, and I'm sure there are detailed answers for each.

For flexibility, I use a duo-core notebook to attach to my network. It sits on top of the cabinet. There are more elegant solutions, but I always use what is lying around. I don't use any other devices (playstation, etc.). The notebook attaches to HDMI on my TV. Anything that I can pull into the PC notebook goes on the screen. Sound goes through HDMI also. This is not perfect solution, but it is free in that I purchased nothing else.

....
I'm also leaning to a laptop/netbook/tablet just connected to the TV with HDMI. In my limited experience, I think this is the simplest and most flexible.

For reference, we've got a couple TVs with ROKU boxes, one 'Smart TV' - no cable, but good OTA being close enough to Chicago.

A recent experience is what has me leaning to computer connected through HDMI - DW wanted to watch some classic Christmas movies, and I found them on youtube (surprised there seemed to be no copyright issues, the Alastair Sim in "Christmas Carol Scrooge", and "It's a Wonderful Life"), so we tried watching them through the 'Smart TV'. The interface is klunky compared to a computer, and worse, it hung up 2 hours in, and there was no way to grab the 'scrub bar' to advance it t the 2 hour point (at least I couldn't find it). The >> button takes you to the next video, not the next chapter (ooops, go back several steps), and the > and < buttons take you back/forth 20 seconds at a time. That's great for backing up to a missed phrase, but I ended up pushing it a few hundred times to get to the 2 hour point!

Bottom line - I can get all our streaming content on a computer, Netflix, Amazon Prime (had the trial a while back), Youtube, any TV shows that allow on-line watching (I discovered that DW uses this to catch missed episode, and has little interest in a DVR because of this). The interface on the computer is soooooo much better than the separate devices, and we already know it, and we aren't slaves to upgrades on those devices (ROKU still does not support 'profiles' on their Netflix app, but my Vizio Smart-TV does). And anything you can see on the computer can be on the TV, no limits (that I know of).

I'd kind of like to do this wirelessly, but I don't want to be tied to any propitiatory interface. Chromecast seems limited?

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:41 PM   #11
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Spent this morning goofing around... found this neat App... YouMP34 that opens up a new world for watching, and DOWNLOADING stuff from YouTube...
I think youtube fights these download apps. It may not be strictly legal, but if you don't care about that, then DL while you can. You might find that app is 'broken' later.


Quote:
Now, one more thing... Apps are not only for tablets and phones... You can download and save and use the apps on your regular computer... (need minimum of 4MB RAM). The name of the program to do this is BlueStacks...
So far, for me, it works great... so I can use any of the apps on my computer...
I've looked at BlueStacks and I ended up scratching my head figuring out how to get it installed. Or maybe it had so many limitations I gave up - I can't recall, but I never did get it to work on DW's MacBook Pro.

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:20 PM   #12
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One other aspect of the situation that I haven't seen brought up:

A few years ago I set up a home network and attached all the devices to it. If I had to do it again, exactly the same way, I wouldn't know how to start. A lot of this stuff is of the "set it and forget it" type. You go through the learning process, set up the product, then forget how it's done because there's no repetition to reinforce the learning.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:27 PM   #13
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Regarding streaming from You tube: As of yesterday Youtube has an official Roku channel. Just tried it out - select and add Youtube (big red box) from the Roku channel store. Enter generated code at your computer. Use.

The hourglass symbol on the righthand side of the Youtube channel on Roku shows all the things you have clicked on on Youtube - click one and it starts streaming on your tv. You acn also stream your favorites and other stuff - I never really got into saving stuff or making channels or labling favorites on Youtube, so others may have more functionality.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:47 PM   #14
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Regarding streaming from You tube: As of yesterday Youtube has an official Roku channel.
This requires the latest Roku 3.
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:00 PM   #15
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I'd kind of like to do this wirelessly, but I don't want to be tied to any propitiatory interface. Chromecast seems limited?

-ERD50
I am not sure if this answers your question, but our kids bought a wireless keyboard and mouse. They sit in the couch and use the TV as a monitor without any cables running from the TV to the couch.
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:02 PM   #16
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If you don't have Roku 3 but want to see YouTube on an older Roku, you can Google "Roku YouTube Workaround" or CNet or this website for instructuons...
Youtube on Roku
There are many other website with instructions... Just have to follow the instructions to the letter... Youtube will be inside the Channel "Video Buzz".
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:38 PM   #17
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imoldernu - I think your questions depend on the specific combination of components, and I only know what our system is capable of. We have an older Imac (2008), 2 iPads, 2 iPhones, Apple Airport Express router, a networked receiver (Integra DHC-80.1), an older Pioneer plasma, a blue ray player, and Apple TV. I used to stream netflix through the blue ray or Integra. Now I stream through AppleTV. I run apple tv through its remote or the iPad app. Apple TV can stream netflix also, but I haven't streamed anything but Apple stuff through Apple TV so far. I don't think streaming video from netflix/apple slows down my computer, because I believe receiver is the network device doing the streaming. I havent been at the computer while streaming, but I can play around on the net with my ipad while streaming with no problem. (I'm not sure, but I think the streamed content comes in to the system in a few minutes and then the movie starts). My iMac is not hardwired into the system and has no problem streaming photos and audio from its hard drive/itunes through Apple TV wirelessly. I'm not sure how the Apple tv purchase video is routed, whether it comes through the iMac first or if Apple TV grabs it without the iMac. In anycase the video streaming is very smooth also.
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:13 PM   #18
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I'm not much good on the speed factor... My comcast is supposed to be over 10Kb/s with a burst speed of 20Kb/s. I don't notice a slowdown with two media players working... It looks to me as if the normal speed for that shows on Netflix is about 3Kb/s and it seems to operate without buffering.

If on DLS, the situation may be different, as I think the max download is about 3.5Kb/s so there could be some slow down there...

I hope someone smarter than me can explain this.. It's a little bit over mmy head.
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:45 PM   #19
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I'm not much good on the speed factor... My comcast is supposed to be over 10Kb/s with a burst speed of 20Kb/s. I don't notice a slowdown with two media players working... It looks to me as if the normal speed for that shows on Netflix is about 3Kb/s and it seems to operate without buffering.

If on DLS, the situation may be different, as I think the max download is about 3.5Kb/s so there could be some slow down there...

I hope someone smarter than me can explain this.. It's a little bit over mmy head.
10kb/s? Did you mean 10mb/s? I have 12 mbs DSL line and my netflix can stream it fine with a bit of buffering. I can watch their super HD programs without problem.

mbs = mega bits per second. 8 bits = 1 character worth of data if you were to type an e-mail to someone.
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:05 PM   #20
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I am not sure if this answers your question, but our kids bought a wireless keyboard and mouse. They sit in the couch and use the TV as a monitor without any cables running from the TV to the couch.
Definitely need a wireless keyboard.
I purchased a K400 logitech, since it has a built-in trackpad.
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