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Topic: Set Top Box purchase advice (Read 1777 times) previous topic - next topic

Set Top Box purchase advice

I'm looking to replace my old Apple TV :cane:  with something else. 

My old Apple TV has a limited number of apps for content (basically whatever Apple decides to add), so more variety would be nice. I have actually tried the newer 4th gen Apple TV, but that remote... Basically, after about 20 minutes of running through the setup and grabbing apps from the app store, I was fed up with the remote and had resorted to using my old one. After 30 minutes I boxed everything back up and back to the Apple store it went.

At this point I'm leaning towards a Roku, but with 7 or 8 different ones to choose from I'm not sure if spending some extra money for a higher end one would be worth it if the lower end/cost model would work just as well. I am also aware that there are other similar devices out there. Google has one and Amazon as well.

Anyone have any experience they'd care to share? Suggestions, comments? Thanks!

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #1
I have 4 Amazon FireTV boxes and one Amazon Cube. I like the cube because it is integrated with Alexa which is proving to be pretty darned handy. They have a good assortment of apps and it just works.

The latest FireTV does not have built in Ethernet. It requires a separate adapter if you want a wired connection. Costs $14.50 I think and I tried ordering one back in December but there was a 45 day wait for it so I canceled it and just used wireless which actually worked fine to my surprise.

I had one of the original Roku high end models and to be honest I just never cared for the interface. Looks a little cartoonish IMO.

So I have The FireTV boxes on all TV's and the Cube on my main TV. I also have a Google Chromecast device and I don't really care for it.
Mac OS 10.12 Sierra | Prinergy 7.5 | Adobe Creative Cloud 2017 | Two Luscher XPose 160 CTP units

Prepress: One who does precision guess work based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #2
I have a few tvs with roku built in. I feared the minimal remote at first but now its my favorite thing. OS is responsive, plays well with my media server, and has a decent app library, also easy to cast to. Some features are buried way deep in the menus which is frustrating to find.

I had a chrome stick for a while, dont bother. Id buy another roku.
"We the unwilling, trained by the unskilled, do the impossible for the ungrateful, ten minutes too late."

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #3
I went through several set top boxes before settling on the Roku. I bought a new smart tv that has most of my favorite apps built in, so I don't even really use it anymore, but of the various ones I tried out, the Roku was the best.
"I'm not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells."
– Richard Pryor

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #4
I just use the antenna on my house. My parents though have a newer Apple TV and like it, but I don't like theirs. The interface is awkward to me and I really don't like the remote. I've heard some really good things about the FireTV and Roku's from my coworkers though.

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #5
Time for me to pipe in. I have Rokus, from different years on all my TVs, and I love them. I also have an Apple TV 1st gen, don't like near as much. It's Ok. I tell everyone to get a Roku if they are looking.

Thanks Joe for the recommendation on the FireTV. Guess now I need to get me one of those, to try it out.

I also have PS4, PS3 and PSTV. I use the PS3 for DVDs. PS4 for gaming, and some Netflix watching along with Youtube on occasion. PSTV was a little bit of gaming. But I'm a PS fanboy, had to have it, since I have the PS1, PS2 and PSP already. Needed Wanted them all.

All my TVs are dumb, and will stay that way as long as I can find them that way.
Mac • Prinergy 8 • Preps 8 • RBA • Fusion Pro

"Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons!" - Homer J. Simpson

"Those who make you mad, control you."

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #6
I have 2 old WD TV live boxes but find the interface cluncky and wifi slow compared to ethernet. I believe they are discontinued and unavaialbe. While looking into Roku, I could not confirm they would see files on my media server and only talked about streaming online, which most of my TVs do built in.

For Roku users, how good its it for file formats and seeing a media server by itself.
Some versions I saw required an app running on the host Mac to stream to the device....

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #7
Was wondering if Roku was named after the number 6 in Japanese and it was!
so when you say Roku say it like your a Samurai  :laugh:

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #8
You speak Japanese Tracy? I took it in high school and college. Actually minored in it.

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #9
My Mom's Japanese, I lived there twice-3 years each time. (Navy Brat)
I can understand it more than I can speak it now.

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #10
For Roku users, how good its it for file formats and seeing a media server by itself.
Some versions I saw required an app running on the host Mac to stream to the device....
I use .mp4 and .mkv for video streaming, and I like Plex as a media player, but yes, Plex must be running on a server somewhere to feed it. This is true in most cases (that you need a server), but my Roku 3 does have a USB port and an SD card slot so you can add memory to it and play directly from one of these through the built-in Roku media player.

One plus on the Roku 3 - the remote is like a Wii controller in that it's motion sensitive so there's some neat games (like Angry Birds) you can download to it. Also, there's a headphone jack and volume control in the remote for watching late at night and not disturbing the family.
"I'm not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells."
– Richard Pryor

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
― Ernest Hemingway


Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #12
All the apps on my two LG smart TV's suck compared to the exact same apps on my FireTV boxes and Cube.

As far as playing Media files on the Roku, as I said I only have an old model, but I never had much luck doing that unless using Plex which is free kind of. On my old Roku you could use it just fine but versions that are out now for Android is only free if you only want to watch 2 minutes of content at a time. You have to pay to be able to watch it longer though the app isn't terribly expensive. Not sure if the Roku version is like that or not.

Amazon actually has some 4K content on it and it looks awesome on my 4K TV.
Mac OS 10.12 Sierra | Prinergy 7.5 | Adobe Creative Cloud 2017 | Two Luscher XPose 160 CTP units

Prepress: One who does precision guess work based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #13
All the apps on my two LG smart TV's suck compared to the exact same apps on my FireTV boxes and Cube.
True that, we don't use the apps on the TV anymore, we use the DVD player or the Firestick

Re: Set Top Box purchase advice

Reply #14
Also, there's a headphone jack and volume control in the remote for watching late at night and not disturbing the family.

This is one of the best features! Also a reason I use the PS4 at times to stream.
Mac • Prinergy 8 • Preps 8 • RBA • Fusion Pro

"Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons!" - Homer J. Simpson

"Those who make you mad, control you."