November 8, 2011 at 4:55 PM #732469HatfieldParticipant
I am just starting down the cable-cutting path, so this thread is well-timed for me.
I bought a Roku2 HS box and it’s OK but not great. Image quality varies greatly (I guess that’s to be expected) but a couple of the channels are just plain formatted incorrectly – the picture is zoomed in like eight times, so all you see is the upper left hand corner. Hulu+ works well. I’m still within the 30 day trial period and I haven’t decided whether to keep it or not.
I don’t have a DTV solution yet. I’d like to get one that does HiDef. The TiVo thing looks cool but I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars or pay a monthly fee. DVR functionality is nice but not a requirement, and I definitely do not want yet another PC. I want some sort of standalone box with a real remote.November 9, 2011 at 10:45 AM #732513afx114Participant
I’d cut the cord if I could get my LA Kings games without cable. I looked into NHL Gamecenter (it was just added in the latest AppleTV update) and the streaming samples I tried looked great. I could watch every game in the league all year for $150, which is less than a single month of paying for cable. But of course there is a catch. Gamecenter only plays out-of-market games. Being in the LA Kings market, all of their games would be blacked out! What the fuck’s the point then? I suppose it’s great if you live in a different city than your favorite team, but if you’re local and looking to cut the cord without losing live sports, forget about it.
There are so many entrenched interests in the cable/movie/music/media industries that it’s going to be many years before we can fully cut the cord, if ever. It’s looking like they’re going to slowly bleed us dry with shitty options until they can figure out a way to continue making money in the new world. They’re going down kicking and screaming the entire way.November 9, 2011 at 2:06 PM #732525SmellsFeeshyParticipant
I agree that sports are the major deal breaker when it comes to being able to cut the cord. Too many exclusive agreements and blackout contracts to be able to get by without cable all the time. I guess it’s fine if you don’t necessarily have to see every game/match/race but most hardcore fans aren’t willing to risk that.November 11, 2011 at 12:12 AM #732722stockstradrParticipant
We have our flat screen LCD hooked up to a Apple TV (latest gen), a WD TV Live Plus (latest gen), and a DISH Network HD DVR.
The Apple TV is vastly superior (due to great UI) for browsing family photos, or playing iTunes music / videos all of which must be shared through iTunes (on home server PC). Only thing better is a Mac Mini as your HTPC (but not many have the $600+ to burn for that)
We never stream pay movies on the Apple TV, because the per movie prices are outrageous, plus no 1080p.
NOTE: the Apple TV music browsing/playing UI is NOT the iTunes UI, but it has a bit of the iTunes functionality.
We find the TV Live Plus is best for browsing and viewing full HD videos in a wide variety of formats, via Homegroup Sharing, Windows 7 Media Server/Library, or true network shares (entire drives, or folders, etc) from a NAS device or home share PC. We sometimes steam movies from Netflix.
With the WD TV Live Plus, I literally dump the raw AVCHD 1080p X 30fps video files from our Canon HFS100 HD camcorder onto my network-shared video folder on our home server PC. Then I walk over to our flat screen and the WD TV Live Plus steams those in buttery-smooth quality at full high def. The Apple TV cannot do that.
NOTE: for worry free streaming speed, I have the TV Live Plus hard-wired (Cat 5e) into our home network. I recommend that if you plan to stream 1080p video.
Someone (not me) wrote a very good comparison review of those two devices on Amazon:
Get the Apple TV if:
* All (or at least most) of your music and videos are already in iTunes. The Apple TV will play everything that your iPhone, iPad, and iPod can play, but not much else. Photos can also be added into iTunes for browsing using Apple TV
* You can connect it to your home theater receiver or TV via HDMI. The Apple TV only has an HDMI video output. Optical audio output is also provided.
* You want to impress your friends by streaming and controlling your media from you iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch (AirPlay and the Apple Remote app)
* You only have a wireless network available to your home theater AND you don’t want to buy a USB WiFi adapter too.
* You want everything to “just work,” or you feel comfortable with Apple stuff and don’t want any new challenges in your life. The Apple TV is easier to use and has a simpler, sleeker interface.
* It also fun to browse 720p movie trailers through the great Apple TV user interface.
Get the WD TV Live Plus if:
* You need to connect your media streamer to your home theater rig via something other than HDMI (it can output to HDMI, Composite A/V, Component video, and digital optical audio).
* Your media is in a non-apple supported formats (MPEG-2 from DVD rips, .ts or .m2ts BD rips, AVIs, WMV, WMA, VOB, MKV, FLV, FLAC, OGG, etc.)
* You want to play 1080p high def video and new HD audio formats (DTS-HD, Dolby HD)
* You want to play media that is on USB hard disks, thumb drives, Windows media servers, or DLNA servers.
* You don’t mind paying extra for WiFi capability
* You don’t have (or need to play) protected media (m4v iTunes purchased videos, m4p protected audio, or other DRM protected media)
* You have a camcorder and want to dump its native format video onto your server PC’s shared hard drive and then browse and view those moviews (even in full 1080p HD) on your big screen LCD.
Be WARNED that the UI and the handheld remote suks on the WD media players
One other comment…
The Roku does have much higher user review ratings on Amazon than the WD TV Live Plus. Given a second chance, maybe I would try that Roku instead of the Western Digital media player.
NONE of the above mentioned devices (currently) can stream 1080p pay movies from sources like VUDU. For that you gotta get a streaming Blu-ray player (that supports Vudu) or Boxee, or PlayStation 3. I was very impressed with VUDU’s 1080p movies streamed on our Blu-ray player, but you gotta have FAST internet download speeds, and those movies are like $6 per stream.
And after all that rambling…
..what I really use MOST for my movie watching is RedBox – because it is by far the best value for movies “recently” released to DVD/Blu-ray, assuming you can put up with the 28 days delay on home video releases to RedboxNovember 12, 2011 at 11:56 AM #732795CardiffBaseballParticipant
I like my Roku2, but it’s clearly dependent on needs. For us, the I prefer the Roku2 Netflix experience as well as MLB.TV but I did take a look at the Apple on the review sites.
Some have vastly different needs, for instance I don’t use iTunes much as I have Android phones, but if you are in any way using Apple products, I would think AppleTV might be a better fit. I do have a couple of ipods laying around but they are collecting dust. I need to get back on itunes and start downloading podcasts again.November 14, 2011 at 8:02 AM #732887cvmomParticipant
I have playon.tv installed on my main PC. It streams all kinds of content via our Wii to our TV. We are admittedly not huge TV consumers, but we have yet to run out of things to watch. Playon is $40 a year, sure beats the cable bill.
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