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Vigil80
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A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:25 am

Using a PS3 for Netflix and other video entertainment is starting to feel like a drag. I'm thinking it's time for a new device.

Besides the fun factor, would there be any advantage to putting together, say, a Raspberry Pi dealie for the task? Or better to just grab some variety of Roku and be done with it? What do you do?

I should add I already have a RetroPie with the Kodi addon going, but I'm not sure if that's too much for one Pi, or if that's user friendly enough for anyone besides me. I don't think the lady of the house should be subjected to learning a clunky interface.
 
NTMBK
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:36 am

My personal TV box of choice is an Alienware X51 R2.
 
derFunkenstein
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:55 am

Raspberry Pi with Kodi doesn't make a ton of sense to me since Roku boxes do what you're looking for and have the bonus of not having to set it up. I have never really wanted a streaming box that has to be babysat so I've never spent much time besides a little experimentation on Kodi. Instead we've been using a 3rd-gen Apple TV since I can control it from my iPhone. My mother-in-law has an Android phone so we got her a Roku 3 and she controls it with her phone. I have good things to say about both.

But in this case the Roku wins because Apple has no $60 TV box anymore. Roku boxes can be controlled by both mobile OSes too.
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Chuckaluphagus
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:57 am

Vigil80 wrote:
What do you do?

I've used Tivos, Rokus, and Kodi over the past few years, and I like Roku the best. The interface is straightforward and aesthetically pleasing, and it's fast and responsive. If I just wanted to add a streaming box and not ever think about the hardware again, I'd get a Roku.

I saw something about the new Roku's playing better with over-the-air television broadcasts, but I don't have one of the newer devices.
 
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:44 pm

TiVo Bolt. Get a deal on a refurbished unit with lifetime service.
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Chrispy_
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:51 pm

Another vote for Roku, but the Nvidia Shield is also a great option.

Personally I run a 3770K and a GTX970 in a Grandia 04 hooked up to a wireless keyboard/mouse and a handful of XB360 gamepads. Nothing beats PC Master Race when it comes to big-screen gaming ;)
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DragonDaddyBear
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:01 pm

Roku, for sure. WAF (wife approval factor) is very high. I use it with a Plex server in lieu of a Kodi box.
 
derFunkenstein
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:03 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
Another vote for Roku, but the Nvidia Shield is also a great option.

I really like it but for a simple Netflix box it's kind of pricy. Mine gets more use with games than it does streaming, because at least when I got mine it didn't come with the remote.
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the
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:45 pm

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DancinJack
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:56 pm

Roku+Plex for the win. Even my parents can use it without incident.
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UberGerbil
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:06 pm

I watch stuff off the internet on the computer; the TV is strictly for OTA broadcasting and whatever local stuff I want stream or play (I still own DVDs and even rent them on occasion because there's stuff you can't get any other way).

A couple of years ago my elderly aunt wanted to watch Netflix on her TV (she'd already managed to get it working on her computer) and after a bit of research I set her up with a Roku box and she's quite happy with it (I discovered Roku had an app for the NFB so that was a nice albeit unexpected bonus). As I said, that was a couple of years ago and the landscape has changed since then, with Chromecast and Apple TV upgrades (and Roku just announced a new lineup also), but I think for folks who just want a simple 1080p "Netflix box" that just works without a lot of frippery and complexity, it's probably still the thing to beat.
 
DancinJack
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:14 pm

Unless you are trapped in the Apple ecosystem, it'd be really hard to reccomend the new Apple TV.
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:36 pm

DancinJack wrote:
Unless you are trapped in the Apple ecosystem, it'd be really hard to reccomend the new Apple TV.

The main benefit to me is integration with the iPhone. We use AirPlay daily and the remote integration is great.
We have a 2nd-newest generation in the media room hooked up to the projector as well as an older one on the little 42” Tv in the living room.
Choosing between Airplaying Apps or playing natively is a great option, as some things like Pandora are nice to be able to control more discreetly when one might switch a lot. Or you can use the built-in App. PS, using the IPhone as a remote gives you a scrub-bar. Not something you’d gunk would be useful, when when I’m using the Harmony or on another TV, I really miss it.
 
llisandro
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:31 pm

Definitely not a Pi, if you're upgrading because your current setup is showing its age. Bought a FireTV (+ Plex) when it was the most powerful offering, because hulu crashed a lot with our old Roku (2XS). No complaints here, but I think all the mainstream ones are powerful enough now.

Biggest selling point for the FireTV is (*I think*) it has the widest cross-platform voice search currently? Since we subscribe to Netflix/hulu/Amazon, it's nice just to voice-search for stuff.

What isn't nice is no volume control on the remote, which Shield and Apple have. Since all we do is stream, I can just use the Fire remote (HDMI-CEC) to turn on TV+Fire with one button press, but I still have to adjust the volume with a second remote, which is annoying. I have a Samsung Smart TV, and the Fire's interface is way better/faster so I never use the TV's builtin device. Sounds like the easiest thing it just to use a phone app to control it, but I like the instant control of the buttons. I'd probably go Shield if the Fire went up in smoke tomorrow.
 
UberGerbil
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:22 pm

llisandro wrote:
What isn't nice is no volume control on the remote, which Shield and Apple have. Since all we do is stream, I can just use the Fire remote (HDMI-CEC) to turn on TV+Fire with one button press, but I still have to adjust the volume with a second remote, which is annoying. I have a Samsung Smart TV, and the Fire's interface is way better/faster so I never use the TV's builtin device. Sounds like the easiest thing it just to use a phone app to control it, but I like the instant control of the buttons. I'd probably go Shield if the Fire went up in smoke tomorrow.

It looks like Roku added that feature in their latest update -- at least the Ars story I linked above mentions it specifically for the $49 "Stick" so you'd expect it would be in the more expensive models as well.
Ars wrote:
The Stick comes with a voice-control remote, which can also be used to control the TV's volume, assuming the TV is compatible.
 
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:29 pm

Not necessarily what you are asking for but I have gone with a Sony Android TV (XBR850) and love the interface.
I also have a shield on that TV and it mostly shares the interface.
Everything runs through the TV remote and wired to sound bar using ARC.
 
llisandro
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:50 pm

It looks like Roku added that feature in their latest update -- at least the Ars story I linked above mentions it specifically for the $49 "Stick" so you'd expect it would be in the more expensive models as well.

Cool, that's good to know! I was basing my comparison off of this site, which I don't necessarily trust (and it's older), which claimed the Ultra didn't support playback voice commands. IMO I'd avoid the cheap "sticks" and get the bigger units with beefier processors- all of my problems have been related to underpowered processors, and the next one I buy I want to be future-proof for 4K.
 
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:30 pm

First choice is an overpowered but fairly efficient HTPC (see signature)... second would be a Roku. They aren't perfect but if you get a recent model they are fast and the interface is convenient. We have a Roku 3 (for my wife's grandparents, on their TV) and it works very well. My 4 year old daughter has mastered it with minimal effort. I prefer the PC myself, as I find it much easier and even faster to find shows, navigate lists of shows, skip through parts of shows (intros) and to do things other than watch TV shows.
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David
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:29 pm

I would just buy a BT remote for the PS3 and keep using it. If you're really wanting to change, go with a Roku.
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drwho
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:38 am

You could go for a minipc eg like a NUC but smaller and cheaper eg voyo mac mini .. I have one and now hardly ever switch my desktop on. I wanted this as its good for all the apps and ecosystems (w10+4gb) . I get to post in 43 in screen which is great for my eyes and as a plex player its overpowered. I even have it recording stuff as media centre.. so does it all and then some. approx £130 GBP . I dont use netflix amazon or hulu just Freeview and a few films stored locally.
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Re: A gerbil's tv box choice?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:42 am

For the best mix of functionality, simplicity, and price, the choice is easily the Roku Streaming Stick. It's what I use for 90% of my video entertainment. A Pi would be fine, but you'd probably need a keyboard to operate it instead of just a small remote. Obviously the added functionality of a computer is nice in the Pi, but if you really just want Netflix and other streaming services, its hard to go wrong with a Roku Streaming Stick.

Only caveat is if you travel a lot. Then you may consider an Amazon Fire Stick since you can use that with hotel wifi. Why Roku hasn't added that feature is something I just don't understand.
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