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Old 01-21-2011, 12:21 PM
 
Location: SW MO
1,629 posts, read 3,403,739 times
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Hi! I'm looking for advice and/or recommendations on devices for watching Instant Videos, etc. through my TV or computers.

We are currently with Netflix but we haven't ever used their instant watch features. I know we can watch them on our computers but we want to be able to watch on our TV's so we are considering buying a streaming device.

We're looking for reasonable price and simplicity of use but not losing any functions. The two we've heard of are Roku XD for $79.95 and Apple TV for about $100 (or less at Amazon).

We'd love to know if any of you have any experience with these or others and if you have any recommendations, warnings, suggestions...

Okay, I'm done. Speak!
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:12 PM
 
Location: sowf jawja
1,940 posts, read 8,601,855 times
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i don't own a roku, but i have used one, and its very simple. you can also use it for hulu plus, amazon, and a few other providers.

the base model device is $60.

many gaming devices such as the xbox 360, PS3, and nintendo wii support streaming netflix. xbox will require a subscription to xbox live gold.


another option is a windows7 media PC; that is what i'm using for netflix, hulu, etc. . . using Windows Media Center.

you can get a mini-itx system for less than $400 from lenovo, asrock, acer, zotac, etc . . .
the benefit with that type of system is the ability to add TV tuners and use it as your DVR, and various media libraries like CD's, DVD's, blu-ray (w/ 3rd party software), FM radio, etc . . . .
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:59 PM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,581 posts, read 12,023,565 times
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We have a subscription with Netflix, and use a ROKU box on our main TV (Living room, large NON HDMI)
and also use my laptop (Home Office, fairly large screen, can connect to HDMI).

What you need to look for is that, whatever box you finally decide on, you can then use *ANY* TV,
including the older (non HDMI) units.
The more versatile the unit, the easier it would be to connect it.
We have a very good (large old TV) unit that would have been useless for Netflix,
if it was not for the fact that the ROKU box will connect to any TV.
So check the features, and compare them to what you would like it to do, then go from there.

In usage:
Watching Netflix on my laptop is different then watching via ROKU (Getting to the moment to watch ...)
If you are looking for a specific movie, you have to jump thru different hoops to get to the movie (if available).
So just a matter of getting used to of how.

On the ROKU, it was a bit of a hassle to get it connected.
You have to be either *on-line* to get the info to add to get *legal*, or better yet,
call the help desk at NETFLIX, and just read off what you are seeing.
The Lady at the help desk can input info faster then you can read off the info.
If your computer is not a laptop and not in the same room,
you will be running from one end of the house to the other to get all going !!!

On the ROKU, they give you this *spiel* that there is a lot of free stuff ...
As usual, not easy to determine what is free and what is NOT !!!
When you ask them (e-mail), not much help there either.
I have heard/read that their support *stinks*.
So far I have had no problems.
ROKU does have a good thing and that is that you can *hard wire* or go Wireless.
If you have a marginal internet connection,
watching two movies or more at the same time,
on different units, will be a problem.
I think you can use up to six access points ??
Ours is marginal, so only one movie at a time, which is OK for us.

Why did we go ROKU, even when there may be better ones ?
Price advantage, and *good enough* for what we were looking for.

Check out ALL the units available, and read up on the reviews !!!
I would like to hear the experiences form other people also ??!!

Google for this as a start:
how to stream movies over internet

Last but not least.
The support with NETFLIX was very good !!!
Kudos to the Lady who helped us !!!

Oh .... We did have a subscription with a Satellite provider and dropped that.
Saved $70.- a month
Hmmm ... we really should use some of those savings, and get a faster internet connection ???

Last edited by irman; 01-22-2011 at 01:08 PM..
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:59 PM
 
Location: SW MO
1,629 posts, read 3,403,739 times
Reputation: 1061
Quote:
Originally Posted by southgeorgia View Post
i don't own a roku, but i have used one, and its very simple. you can also use it for hulu plus, amazon, and a few other providers.

the base model device is $60.

many gaming devices such as the xbox 360, PS3, and nintendo wii support streaming netflix. xbox will require a subscription to xbox live gold.


another option is a windows7 media PC; that is what i'm using for netflix, hulu, etc. . . using Windows Media Center.

you can get a mini-itx system for less than $400 from lenovo, asrock, acer, zotac, etc . . .
the benefit with that type of system is the ability to add TV tuners and use it as your DVR, and various media libraries like CD's, DVD's, blu-ray (w/ 3rd party software), FM radio, etc . . . .
Thank you, southgeorgia! I'm glad to hear a Roku is easy to use. We're thinking of the $80 model because it has a play back button...or whatever its called. (Rewind thingy)

I also have a Windows7 media PC so its nice to know I can use my Windows Media Center, too. We're not gamers so we won't be using any of those systems. Haa! What a funny thought! Teehee!

Quote:
Originally Posted by irman View Post
We have a subscription with Netflix, and use a ROKU box on our main TV (Living room, large NON HDMI)
and also use my laptop (Home Office, fairly large screen, can connect to HDMI).

What you need to look for is that, whatever box you finally decide on, you can then use *ANY* TV,
including the older (non HDMI) units.
The more versatile the unit, the easier it would be to connect it.
We have a very good (large old TV) unit that would have been useless for Netflix,
if it was not for the fact that the ROKU box will connect to any TV.
So check the features, and compare them to what you would like it to do, then go from there.

In usage:
Watching Netflix on my laptop is different then watching via ROKU (Getting to the moment to watch ...)
If you are looking for a specific movie, you have to jump thru different hoops to get to the movie (if available).
So just a matter of getting used to of how.

On the ROKU, it was a bit of a hassle to get it connected.
You have to be either *on-line* to get the info to add to get *legal*, or better yet,
call the help desk at NETFLIX, and just read off what you are seeing.
The Lady at the help desk can input info faster then you can read off the info.
If your computer is not a laptop and not in the same room,
you will be running from one end of the house to the other to get all going !!!

On the ROKU, they give you this *spiel* that there is a lot of free stuff ...
As usual, not easy to determine what is free and what is NOT !!!
When you ask them (e-mail), not much help there either.
I have heard/read that their support *stinks*.
So far I have had no problems.
ROKU does have a good thing and that is that you can *hard wire* or go Wireless.
If you have a marginal internet connection,
watching two movies or more at the same time,
on different units, will be a problem.
I think you can use up to six access points ??
Ours is marginal, so only one movie at a time, which is OK for us.

Why did we go ROKU, even when there may be better ones ?
Price advantage, and *good enough* for what we were looking for.

Check out ALL the units available, and read up on the reviews !!!
I would like to hear the experiences form other people also ??!!

Google for this as a start:
how to stream movies over internet

Last but not least.
The support with NETFLIX was very good !!!
Kudos to the Lady who helped us !!!

Oh .... We did have a subscription with a Satellite provider and dropped that.
Saved $70.- a month
Hmmm ... we really should use some of those savings, and get a faster internet connection ???
Wow...you touched on all my questions, irman! Thank you! I will Google that but it is beginning to sound like Roku might just be the way to go. I like that it will allow for other programs even though we have no intention of changing right now.

I love that you have dropped your satellite provider, too! That's how much we'll save when we do that, too. It's ridiculous! I would definitely check into what it would cost to upgrade your internet. We get ours from CenturyLink, our phone service provider and recently learned that they would automatically upgrade us to 10 meg if we signed up for a 5 year commitment. The guy even told me that there was no fee if we left before 5 years was up! Haha! It's true! He said it was a new thing.

We actually left them within a couple of months and went over to a local cable company but came back to them 3 months later, when the cable company failed to perform as promised. Anyway, I went right back on that plan. They never blinked an eye when we left so I know it's true what he said. Anyway, just call and ask...you might be surprised to hear it is so reasonable!

Thanks again to both of you! I'm "off" to give you both kudos!
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:49 AM
 
Location: HoCo, MD
4,998 posts, read 8,868,835 times
Reputation: 5804
I simply use networked TV's or Blu-ray players. If you don't already have a blu-ray player, that may be an option (you can find sales for them at around $100 - just make sure they offer Netflix streaming). A bit more money than the RoKu, but you also get dual use out of them.

Not sure how the Roku/AppleTV devices work. But I remember when Netflix first came out with the streaming option, and you had to use a Netflix provided DVD in your device - you did have the option of selecting movies that are not part of your queue (new releases etc.). However, while you no longer need that DVD with these streaming ready devices, the one's I've used only gets you access to your queue. It may or may not be a big deal, but I thought being able to browse the new releases was nice.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:58 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,581 posts, read 12,023,565 times
Reputation: 4534
One more thing about a *Netflix* account.

I know ... a bit off topic, but also related ... no ???

When you do use Netflix on the ROKU box, you get this icon type list of movies, patterned after the *preferences* you have listed on your Netflix account.

I agree, there are umpteen movies on there now, but if you are looking for some more, then go this way:
Use the *search* feature, and go at it like you would search for something on the internet.

Example:
We take care of our grand-son during the day, and he loves movies of *Thomas the Train*.
Looking at the *regular* list of available movies on the *choose what you want to look at* screen .... no Thomas the Train movies ... !!!
Hmmm ... so we entered *Thomas*, and after a few more characters input, we found 10 (yes ten) Thomas the Train movies !!!
These movies are about 12 green ones a piece. That is over a hundred dollars for the series. Need I say more ?????

It even works (albeit a bit awkward), for looking for a certain *genre* of movies you may like ... (which may be not listed ...)
The wife likes *chick-flicks*, you know, the ones also called tear jerkers ...?
So we put in one of the titles which is a tear jerker.
Then we got more titles .... Uhuh ... and I have to sit thru those tear jerkers ...Oh well ...
I am thinking more and more about *upping* my internet speed !!!

I really wonder how many movies Netflix actually may have *in stock* ???

Question about *Blu-ray* players (I do not have one)
Do they *operate* like a ROKU box, or laptop unit, in order to find a movie ?

The ultimate *thingy* that is unparalleled in convenience is the pause button.
The wife calls it the stop and go button.
The perfect thing to pause and make a sandwich or visit the library ....

Last edited by irman; 01-23-2011 at 10:10 AM..
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:47 PM
 
Location: sowf jawja
1,940 posts, read 8,601,855 times
Reputation: 1051
Quote:
Originally Posted by macroy View Post

Not sure how the Roku/AppleTV devices work. . . . . . the one's I've used only gets you access to your queue.

roku updated their software to allow searching. i believe the xbox and ps3 allow searching also.

my-in laws bought a blu-ray player w/ netflix last month, and it does not allow searching.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:01 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
3,683 posts, read 8,952,331 times
Reputation: 2999
Quote:
Originally Posted by southgeorgia View Post
my-in laws bought a blu-ray player w/ netflix last month, and it does not allow searching.
From what I've heard, the Netflix streaming clients all suck when it comes to browsing. Personally I have used the clients in a Sony Bravia Internet enabled TV, a Sony Playstation 3, and several Blu-Ray players and that's proven to be true. What most people do is set go online with a web browser and add shows/movies to their instant queue, and then access the instant queue from the streaming device.

I also read somewhere that there were actually several UIs for the PS3 client, because Netflix wanted to try out several versions and see which one people preferred.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Texas State Fair
8,564 posts, read 10,222,558 times
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After reading irman's post on Roku and Google for this as a start: how to stream movies over internet, I did just that. I read up on streaming movies, then I studied up on Roku and ordered the XD/S. It was the top of the line but offers an ability for 1080p which my flat panel supports. Not that I expect it in many cases but kind of like paying it forward, hopefully I'll be ready. I expect delivery tomorrow. The XD/S also has a USB port for your own input.

I also found a Roku Forum and a Roku Channel Database, click for links. And even a Roku Radio which can play over your PC.

I've already canceled the movies on TWCable and will cancel the TWTv altogether once I'm up and running with the Roku. Check the forum for a wealth of commentary and the database to see if you find what you want.
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:05 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,581 posts, read 12,023,565 times
Reputation: 4534
Quote:
Originally Posted by tofurkey View Post
I also found a Roku Forum and a Roku Channel Database, click for links. And even a Roku Radio which can play over your PC.
Thanks for the links .
Now I know what is free or not.

One more thing about the Netflix account.

You can *hook-up*, up to 6 units in your house, but only watch two units at the same time, providing you have enough bandwidth on your internet connection. You need at least a 1.5M connection that has minimal line drag.
Keep in mind that your internet connection tells you that you have a download speed of *up to* .....
So check what it is when you download some large files. If you are under .3M you need to upgrade in order to watch two movies at the same time.

Another good thing is that when you travel, and you have a laptop, make sure your account on Netflix includes your laptop.
Just hook up to WIFI and watch all the movies you want while away form home.
I have even done it using my cellphone connection ... while traveling in the car ....
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