Why would I want a Roku?

Discussion in 'Streaming and Digital Media' started by Ronald Epstein, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I am an Apple TV owner.

    However, I have yet to upgrade my 720p model for the 1080p version.

    That goes to show you how much I really stream content on my display.

    I know I don't want to pay for services like Netflix. Had the service for a few
    months and then found that there wasn't much for me to watch.

    You see, I mostly buy Blu-rays for recent films.

    ...which brings me back to ROKU.

    I plan on eventually upgrading my Apple TV to the 1080p version.

    However, I am wondering what the ROKU 3 brings to the table that perhaps
    is better (or at least compliments) the Apple TV that I already own. I know it
    has 1080p capability.

    ...and note, my new plasma display is a Smart TV so it has a ton of streaming
    capabilities.

    I guess I am wondering if it has enough interesting FREE streaming content
    and a pleasing enough interface that it is worth purchasing.
     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I've pondered the same question and I came up with even fewer answers because most of the streaming services I care about are already on devices I own (game consoles, tablets), so the answer became a pretty resounding "not much"
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Sam,

    Watched a few YouTube videos that pointed out differences between
    Apple TV and Roku. They both have their plusses and minuses.

    I guess, as a Blu-ray fanatic, I don't have much interest in streamed content.

    I just need to upgrade either the Apple TV to a 1080p device or buy a Roku 3.
     
  4. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    The sad fact...

    If you want more "free" content...you need a dedicated computer. Hulu(mainly, but there are others) is free on a PC. HuluPlus is why I've never bought/used a streaming device...nor cared about apps in anything. Besides that, many network websites will only work via a real PC...which would get you around having to use Netflix/Vudu/Hulu in the first place.

    Before you update your ATV, seriously consider a $250-ish VESA mount HTPC from Lenovo/Acer. (lots of early adopters of these are selling their HDMI 1.3 to buy NVidia 3D 1.4)

    http://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-IdeaCentre-H505s-Desktop-Black/dp/B00ASHH59E/ref=sr_1_11?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1386789117&sr=1-11&keywords=lenovo+ideacentre+q190 (just an example)
     
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Aaah, Schan, I have pondered for years about getting an HTPC.

    ...but I have a new Tivo unit that I absolutely love so I don't need anything
    to record television content.

    What I do need is something to access and reply to email on my television
    with (including access to web browsing) instead of having to get up from the
    couch and go into my office.

    For awhile, my Logitech Revue sort of met those needs. But now that Logitech
    has long abandoned it, the device is totally worthless for just about anything --
    including simply surfing the Internet.
     
  6. Adam Gregorich

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    Warner Archive Instant is the reason I have been tempted....
     
  7. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Does Tivo have "network sharing"? I assume they do...and I doubt that works via an ATV or Roku like it does over a PC.

    That would simplify that as well(Directv over "shared network" is a breeze and why I bought extra Lenovo Ideacentre's for the extra bedrooms instead of contacting Directv for more STB...which would cost, each, $10 more per month)

    You don't need a Roku for Warner Archive Instant. Matter of fact...easier to use on a computer than via "the app"...which I tried once at a friends house.
     
  8. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    By the way, I should also add-in my disdain for apps in general over one thing...

    I live in a pathetically challenged high-speed internet area. WAI allows me to download buffer movies so I can watch later. Like right now, I've reached my high-speed capacity for the month on VZW(technically they don't cap you, I just continue to pay extra when I reach my 12g...which is ridiculously expensive...which means it gets "shut off" at 11.9g on my end), T-Mobile and Wild Blue.

    So if I want to watch anything...apps on a Roku/ATV/BD/TV would be useless for me. I tend to have(based on how many guests per month) 6-9 days a month of no high-speed internet.

    By the way, I pay $300/month for 28g of high-speed...(can't get cable...and haven't had a landline in 10 years. I've been "cellular" for everything)
     
  9. Adam Gregorich

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  10. Lee Smith

    Lee Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Rolu 3. I primarily use it for sports. I have the NHL & Baseball packages so that I can watch the Red Sox & Bruins when I'm not in Maine.

    I do not have the Roku 3 in my home theater room. I use a Roku stick attached to my OPPO.

    I cannot compare the Roku with Apple TV as I have never had any Apple products.

    I find that the Roku's 1080P is OK but do not stream movies so I cannot comment on their quality.

    One thing that the Roku doesn't do well is accessing shared media on your lan. It can do it but it is really a streaming device,
     
  11. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    I love my Roku. I use it for Amazon Prime, Vudu, Twit.tv content, such as The Tech Guy and Windows Weekly Podcast shows, hulu plus, The Blaze, TED, Disney, Crackle, PBS, Crunchroll. Why not browse the channels yourself, and see if there's much you would watch.

    http://www.roku.com/channels/#!browse/most-watched
     
  12. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Do you use Amazon Prime? Roku can stream that (although the iOS app can now stream from iPad or iPhone to an appleTV by airplay.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    How do you mean? TiVo can stream on a LAN to other TiVo devices. And it now supports streaming to an iOS device over the internet (but performance is poor, in my experience.)It doesn't support streaming to or from a PC. But there is some software to make that possible to some extent.
     
  14. Mark-P

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    You do if you want to stream Warner Archive Instant in 1080p. Currently Roku is the only way to stream WAI in high definition. Via the web browser it is only SD. That needs to change before I will subscribe to their service. They've been promising that HD streaming will be available on other devices in the future, but so far no dice.
     
  15. I know you buy most of the films you watch on Blu, but do you occasionally rent? If you rent through Vudu on the Roku you can get 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus sound, which is a step up from what you might get on iTunes...
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I use Roku 3 and my Roku Stick to stream HD content from Warner Archive Instant. I try to watch at least five presentations a month that aren't on BD yet. I've been watching Bogart and Cagney films in 1080p lately that aren't on BD. I also have the latest Apple TV in both of my HT setups.
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    What's the difference between Roku 3 and Roku 2? I'm helping family cut the cable, and I don't have a feel for the benefit on spending $99 or $79 on these devices.
     
  18. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Quicker streaming
    Angy Birds
    Headphone jack in the remote(this could conceivably take care of "problem 2" in drawbacks...depending how far away the remote works)
    Dual Band WiFi

    Major drawback to the 3...
    HDMI only, so if you want music in Zone 2, you have to have a digital zoning AVR...which renders either Roku pointless anyway(cause pretty much every AVR that does digital zoning has networking/apps anyway). Not to mention many AVR will flake out if you try to listen to audio over HDMI and the TV is turned off.
     
  19. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    I bought a Roku 2 to stream Netflix in my bedroom to my oldest HDTV [32" Sony 720p]. It does the job, but I'm also not someone who is heavily networked for my media. That may come when we buy a house and set up a dedicated HT room, since I'm seriously considering going dual projector passive 3D via HTPC. For now, the Roku is perfect for what I want, and the headphone jack in the remote works well for the bedroom (though the packaged headphones are garbage; I plug in my earpods from my iPhone 5).
     
  20. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Have you tried the remote plugged into a sound source? (be it a sound bar, stereo receiver...alarm clock...)

    I'm curious as to how good the audio is turned up for line level. (although I'm sure that would burn up the batteries)
     

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