To Roku or not to Roku?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Cruise, Jan 20, 2014.

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  1. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Presently, my family watches Netflix on our HDTV by streaming the movies to my Win7 laptop (via WiFi) and connecting the laptop to the TV via HDMI cable. This works ok, but it's kind of a hassle having to bring my laptop to the family room and hookup the HDMI cable whenever someone wants to watch a move (typically about 3x a week); then I need to change inputs on the TV and the external speaker system.

    So I've been wondering if I should pop for a Roku 3 (which would set me back about $100). Would it circumvent the inconveniences mentioned above? What other benefits/conveniences would a Roku 3 bring?

    Thanks for any feedback.
     
  2. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    With a streaming device you would still need to change TV input (obviously); however I am not sure about your speakers. I imagine if the Roku is connected directly to your TV, the sound will come from the TV speakers.
     
  3. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    Moved Above Post to This Current Thread.
     
  4. Alexhousek

    Alexhousek Registered Member

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    I have been a Roku user for 4-5 years. Until just this past weekend, I've used the original Roku. Because my wife had $60 in rewards from BestBuy, we just replaced our original Roku with a Roku 2.

    In my opinion, you don't need a Roku 3 unless you intend to play games with your Roku. Games, along with a mouse-like pointer, are the only differences between the 2 and 3.

    I am glad that I upgraded from the original Roku to the Roku 2. The Roku 2 has many more channels to choose from (whether I'll use them or not is a different issue), and seems to be much faster.

    On the other hand, if I were honest, I'd say that I use my Roku maybe once a week. One of these days I'll bite the bullet and get rid of my cable/satellite TV and just use my Roku. Until then, it's kind of a luxury I really don't need.
     
  5. act8192

    act8192 Registered Member

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    By executive decision, we got one recently for the same reason (plus likely ditching cable). Roku app on a tablet or phone can control it and the GUI is simpler to use than the remote because of a neater listing and management of channels.
    ROKU 3 is considerably different from others. Faster computer, ethernet option, dual band WiFi...
    Feature comparison: http://shop.roku.com/

    ROKU, here, is connected to HDMI port on tv. Roku sends a signal to TV and doesn't care what happens after. What happens to the Audio path does not change. If currently sound goes through the amp it'll continue. Coordinating sources on TV and amplifier remains the same. If just TV sound is used, that will continue. It's just like switching any other input.
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    My "first love" in electronics was, and still is, audiophile-quality audio reproduction equipment so I can listen and "experience" good music (long live Rock!). So I have a really nice home theater surround sound audio setup using a nice Onkyo HT receiver connected via HDMI to my big screen TV.

    I really, I mean REALLY like Pandora. I used to stream it via my Blu-ray player, but it really was not an ideal setup (the BR player kept putting the TV to sleep making it impossible to interact with Pandora without waking up the TV every time).

    Sam's recently had a $89 deal for the Roku 3 so I bit. It has wireless, but I have 1Gbit/sec Ethernet running out to the HT system, so I went that route, connecting the Roku to a spare HDMI input on the HT receiver.

    Still learning Roku but playing Pandora through it is fantastic - easy - and worth the $89.
     
  7. stapp

    stapp Global Moderator

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    They seem pretty upfront about all the info they collect from you.

    http://www.roku.com/about/privacy

     
  8. Bob D

    Bob D Registered Member

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    Do it.
    Bought a Roku 2 box a year ago (<$60 @ big box store).
    Absolutely love it. Got tired of paying $78/mo to cable co. (for pretty basic service), and nothing was ever on.
    Downside: no local channels, so you'll need antenna.
    Bad over the air signal here, so I downgraded cable to bare bones basic (for $10.50/mo).
    Sooo many free channels, you can find just about anything that suits your fav genre. Do check out the "unofficial" Roku channel listing.
    http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/tips-and-tricks-for-optimizing-your-roku/
    Wish I bought it years ago.
    Addendum:
    I have HDMI cable to TV, and yes, sound comes through TV.
    Also have RCA cables from Roku box to Video input on stereo amp for stereo sound quality when desired (it's nice with Pandora).
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  9. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Firstly, thanks to all for the feedback. Secondly, my external amp/speakers are connected to the output of my DirecTV receiver, not the TV (is that a mistake?). Thirdly, we are not even thinking about replacing DirecTV with Roku as we cannot install an antenna and we watch the local channels and sports channels daily. The primary purpose for which I'm contemplating a Roku is to replace my existing laptop in order to receive streaming Netflix movies. So in that regard (only), how would a Roku improve my current situation?

    Cruise
     
  10. FreddyFreeloader

    FreddyFreeloader Registered Member

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    Roku has over 1000 channels, too.
     
  11. Bob D

    Bob D Registered Member

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    A lot depends on your TV inputs / outputs.
    I don't output from TV vol. to amp. When both TV speakers and stereo's speakers are on, audio between the two sounds "out of phase".
    It's either TV's speaker OR stereo.
    If possible, I would suggest audio from sat. box and Roku both output to separate aux / video amp. inputs. (You'll need an HDMI cable for the Roku to TV connection, and RCA cables for Roku to amp.)
    And as a bonus w/ Roku, you'll have for free dozens of channels, hundreds of movies.
    (Sorry, but I've become a fanboy / local poster child of Roku)
     
  12. ZeroDay

    ZeroDay Registered Member

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    Excuse my ignorance, but what be the benefits, if any on buying a roku 3 over an Apple tv box?
     
  13. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Thanks guys, but what would Roku do better (or more conveniently) than my laptop - with respect to streaming Netflix to TV?

    Cruise
     
  14. FreddyFreeloader

    FreddyFreeloader Registered Member

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    Go to the Roku website and compare the channels they have vs what you can get on the web. Roku has lots of exclusive content.
    Bty - anyone pronounce it Rock-U? Yeah, I know what the developer means by Roku, but Rock-U just has a ring to it! :D
     
  15. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Hey Cruise, in your situation it would be a matter of convenience more than anything else. Most importantly, you wouldn't be 'losing' your laptop to the TV whenever you or a member of your family wanted to stream a movie (that's huge for me)! Also, by using Roku to stream Neflix you avoid having to mess with going to full-screen and hiding the taskbar on the laptop (which I presume you now do). Unlike your laptop the tiny Roku need not be removed from the TV's location (unless you need to connect it to another TV), so it's more or less a 'permanent' installation that easily fits any space. Finally, there's the Roku remote allowing you total Netflix (+ much more) functionality so you wouldn't have to get up to use your laptop to search/select Netflix's offerings. In terms of Netflix video/audio quality you wouldn't realize any difference. Btw, you can save about $40 by getting a Roku 2 refurb, which should serve your needs just fine.

    TS
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  16. kjdemuth

    kjdemuth Registered Member

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    Chromecast works pretty good for streaming netflix for me. You can also "cast" things from your android phone or laptop to play on your TV. Only $35 at the moment I think. Check it out.
     
  17. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Thanks very much Shadow, your reply has convinced me that a Roku would be much more convenient than using my laptop for Netflix!

    I just have two questions. Wouldn't the Roku 3's faster processor provide for 'smoother' movies? You suggested that I can save $40 by buying a Roku 2; where can I buy a Roku 2 for about $60?

    Cruise
     
  18. act8192

    act8192 Registered Member

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    It really is more convenient. Especially if you have to keep unplugging the power or mouse or a hub.
    Regarding what to get and why, this writeup from last March might be useful (youtube is in currently)
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...-it-good-enough-to-make-you-upgrade/index.htm
    I read someplace that navigating through masses of icons (most useless) is quicker. "Smooth" movies - I don't know. Internet speed controls that for the most part. I think it has a big buffer - I watched a plot of bursts in the router with breaks in between and no stuttering of any movie, news or interviews.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  19. DX2

    DX2 Guest

    Just purchased a Roku2 a few weeks ago, i already have a NetFlix account. Very easy to install, setup and works great :)
     
  20. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Shopping at Costco last week I saw a Sony Blu-Ray player with WiFi on sale for less than the cost of a Roku! Since I could also use a BD player I thought this was a smarter purchase - not, it plays BDs very well but I'm finding its streaming ability to be 'iffy' (it often loses my network in the midst of watching a movie)! Going back to Costco for the Roku. ;)

    Cruise
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  21. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

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    If Roku 2 can do HDMI you wouldnt need to worry about speakers. It would be as simple as turning it on and switching to the appropriate input.
     
  22. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Today is the first time I read this thread, so let me add my two cents. The answer to your original question about replacing your computer with Roku, depends entirely up to you. Do you find it inconvenient to bring your laptop to your TV every time you need to watch a movie? If you do then it is worth it to buy a small box like Roku, that is at least easier to move around from TV to TV. Otherwise there is no difference in the quality of transmission between a PC or a Roku box.

    I use my PC to watch Amazon Prime while connected to TV and sometimes if I do not want to watch a movie but someone else in my household does, then I have to sacrifice my PC for the duration of the movie. Buying a dedicated streaming box frees your personal PC from this extra duty.

    If you plan on buying a Blu-ray player that can stream, then I would recommend you go to Amazon.com or some such website and read all the reviews before buying. Most of the time at Costco, they sell models that are not doing that good in the market, with heavy discounts, just to get rid of their inventories. However, sometime you get very good deals from Costco as well, you just need to be smart and do your homework before hand.

    One last thing that goes against PCs is that sometime vendors, especially Amazon Prime, refuses to play HD movies on PCs, you need to buy a compatible device, that includes Roku for Amazon prime, to stream HD movies to your TV. I can sometime get HD streaming on my PC from Amazon Prime, but sometime the movie will only run in SD for me. Why this happens, I am not entirely sure. I do not know what Netflix's policy is, so that might be a factor in your purchase.
     
  23. Sirwriter

    Sirwriter Registered Member

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    For starters, it would give you access to hundreds of channels unavailable to your laptop. Next, the Roku is on all the time, power consumption is almost nil. When you switch inputs on your TV remote, and choose the one Roku is on, it would instantly be on. The Roku 3 has an Ethernet jack as well as being Wi-Fi ready, The remote has jacks for earphones, The Roku has a much smaller footprint than your laptop. The Roku 3 comes with games unavailable to other streaming devices, and the remote is motion sensitive for those games. Additionally, in the next 18 months programs will be available to the Roku 3 that will NOT be available to the 2 or1. Lastly, your laptop is freed up again and you can use it for something else.

    Incidentally: I live about 65 miles from most transmitters for TV. A small exterior antenna with rotator and amplifier (for $59.00) placed in the attic, not outside, gave me every local channel as well as 14 others.

    I used a laptop on my TV for about 6 months before I borrowed a friend's for a weekend. The difference blew me away. No comparison.

    Btw...if you have access to a Sam's Club, they put them on sale periodically for $78.
     
  24. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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