Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku or Android TV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by hgrimberg, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. hgrimberg, Oct 7, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015

    hgrimberg macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #1
    I want to make my HDTV a Smart Tv, so I am hesitant on what to buy. There are many options like Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku or Android TV, etc. But which one is the most hackable? Which one is the best considering I dont buy movies from itunes and most likely will never do?
     
  2. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #2
    Why is hackable so important? To me the one with the best App Store. I am expecting the Apple TV to have the best App Store because of the success of the iPad/iPhone App Store. I would expect anything that you would normally want to Hack in will be a App. Example Plex has already said they are working on an App for the ATV. I do not use Plex but a lot of people seem to like it. My point is there will be many many more. And I think soon.
     
  3. n0ctrnlr3d macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    #3
    Apple TV hands down. Music, tv, movie options right there and Apple device mirroring/second screen allows all items to be stream including iOS/OS gaming/other media.
     
  4. hgrimberg thread starter macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #4
    I only pay for Netflex. I dont want to pay for anything else that is why I want to be able to root/jailbreak the stream device. Apart from the ability to play itunes movies and play mirrored games, isnt Chromecast or Roku the same as Apple TV?
     
  5. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #5
    if you're not buying from itunes, I think the Roku is a better bet for you. Chromecast is far more limited, and for a few dollars more than a Chromecast you can jump to a Roku Stick.
     
  6. hank moody macrumors 6502

    hank moody

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2015
    #6
  7. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #7
    I would suggest you check out the Nvidia Shield TV. There are a few reviews and certainly Youtube.

    As well, Roku 4 should be coming out and Roku is a serious contender. The ATV remains, even with its very late but new bells and whistles nothing more than a front end for iTunes. If you are NOT into iTunes rentals and purchases, then certainly the door is wide open. If you are into Amazon Prime, you might consider Amazon Fire TV (after it gets 1or 2 more firmware updates).

    Also, remember that you might have multiple devices that overlap in services, apps and such and some are better performers than others. My TV is a smart TV and I don't use any of the extras on it as my Blue Ray player, TiVo, AVR and now Nvidia Shield TV covers everything. What I will say is that the Nvidia gives my Blue Ray player a run for its money on playback. While the Nvidia includes PLEX, I was quickly able to sideload Kodi (XBMC). Since you mention Netflix, the Nvidia offering does an excellent job (for me) and also lets me play my network and direct attached media files.

    Panasonic 65" VT50 plasma tv
    Oppo 103 Blue Ray player
    TiVo Roamio
    Marantz 1604 AVR
    Mac Mini quad 2.0 - linux+Kodi (OSX will not pass through/handle HD audio streams thus Linux install)

    I'll be clear about one thing - I don't like the way any of the main screens look for all the devices as I prefer one that I can do must customization. However, they are good enough.
     
  8. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #8
    I think I can tell you why the OP wants something that is hackable.

    He does not want to pay for anything and is more interested in how he can pirate Movies and TV shows. The Apple TV will not be the right tool for him.
     
  9. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #9
    Chromecast is not the same. It is a whole separate category on it's own. Chromecast has no UI, has no independent functionality, and is totally useless without a phone/tablet/PC driving it. Chromecast is just a streaming receiver of sorts - an app gives it a url to stream from, and it streams it. That's it. Apps have to specifically support it.

    On the flip side, proper set-top boxes such as AppleTV, FireTV, Roku, or anything that runs AndroidTV, have an actual UI and have independent functionality. Each has tradeoffs, each has something the others don't have.

    Imo, AppleTV will have the best UI and will have a solid app store. FireTV will be the cheapest option. Roku has the most content right now, but that won't be the case for long. AndroidTV will have a solid app store.

    As for hackable - this is the wrong forum for worrying about trying to "not pay for anything else." If you aren't technologically sophisticated enough to figure out the answer to your question on your own, then I don't think pirating content is a good way to go for you.
     
  10. hgrimberg thread starter macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #10
    I just want to pay for Netflix and if there is a rare foreign film I want to watch, I want to find it in Popcorn. I suspect that there is no original Popcorn app for Apple TV and therefore, not for the iphone either so buying the Chromecast stick if I own an iphone wont allow me to stream from Popcorn. So I guess the options for me are the ones that run android like Roku and others. In terms of movies image quality, are all these streamers running Android, the same and only depend on the content you are streaming? Which one is the best option?
     
  11. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #11
    The Nvidea Shield, that natively supports Kodi, would probably be your best option.
     
  12. hgrimberg, Oct 10, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2015

    hgrimberg thread starter macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
  13. hgrimberg thread starter macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
  14. hgrimberg thread starter macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #14
    I checked how the Nvidia shield is but I am not a gamer, so is it better in terms of video quality on streaming movies in comparison with the rest or is it just better on playing video games?
     
  15. a7thton macrumors member

    a7thton

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #15
    This is an Apple forum, so you're going to get a ton of people saying Apple TV.

    However, the Roku 3 is what you want.

    It supports every mainstream app (Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, SHO, ABC, PBS, Vudu, Youtube, etc.) and has a great remote.

    You can side-load apps too. Just google around for it.

    The Roku 4 is coming soon, but that just adds 4k, basically, so I'd skip it unless you *need* 4k.
     
  16. hgrimberg thread starter macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #16
    Thank you for your help. I own a very basic HDTV with no 4K, so I guess Roku 4 will be useless without a 4K TV set.
    In terms of video quality, it doesnt matter what streamer you have, right?
     
  17. a7thton macrumors member

    a7thton

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #17
    No, they all support 1080p at this point.
     
  18. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #18
    It is "hackable", which is what your initial post requested. You can "sideload" apps or root it. That makes it more flexible than most of your other options. It also has a beast of a processor and 3gb RAM, which gives it the ability to play HD rips smoothly with Kodi (direct access to network drives).

    I have one, I haven't rooted it, but I have sideloaded Amazon Underground games and Google Drive on it. I mainly wanted it for 4K, but it has a lot of possibilities if you are into "hacking".

    I still don't think there is one player that does it all. Maybe the next AppleTV will fill that void with their App Store ( if you don't want 4K), but that still remains to be seen.
     
  19. hgrimberg thread starter macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #19
    What do you mean by HD rips and by "sideload amazon underground games"?
    I am not a gamer, I am in my forties, so I will only use it to watch movies. Is Roku also rootable? I think that the reason Nvidia shield is so much more expensove is because of its video card, but is this only good for playing games? Is it worth to buy it if you dont play games?
     
  20. a7thton macrumors member

    a7thton

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #20
    I can't see how it is a better choice, when compared to a Roku 3/4, Fire TV, or ATV, given the Shield's price and (low-priority) developer support. Assuming you just want to stream content, of course.
     
  21. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #21
    Sideloading gives you the ability to install many apps that are not natively available on the machine. As an example, I can install Google Drive or Dropbox and play media files that way. You don't need to run Plex on a computer or transcode them to play them back, like you can do with a Roku. Because it has a powerful processor, it has no issues handling 20GB HD MKV rips or showing large jpegs that are on a network drive without transcoding. It can also handle DD+ that Netflix uses for audio.

    For me, the big draw is Kodi. You can download it on a computer to see if you like it or not, but Kodi chokes on my 2010 Mac Mini when I play back large mkvs and the Nvidia plays them back without a problem. Also, the mini can't pass through higher rez audio formats and the Shield can. You can also "Cast" to it or Airplay audio to it using Airpin Lite or Kodi.

    Personally, I rarely ever play games, so I didn't get it for that purpose. I bought it mainly for its 4k @ 60hz specs since it was the only machine with that ability at the time. The Roku may be a better option depending on what you really want to do. You can install some apps that are not in the app store on the Roku, as well. However, I believe it may be more limited than AndroidTV in that respect.

    Right now, out of the box, I think the 4k Roku may be the best all around, future proof, machine if you don't care about games, sideloading or Apple media/integration. However, I will probably continue with a 3 box solution (I also have a Roku and AppleTV) to fill all of my needs. My main purpose for Roku is Amazon Prime and it may not ever be available on the AppleTV or AndroidTV.
     
  22. Scarpad macrumors 68000

    Scarpad

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ma
    #22
    Even after all this time with the original ATV and its A5 chip, it still delivers the best image on my Plasma tv for Streamed vids from ITunes, Netflix, Plex via Airdrop, Hulu, I've compared between the Fire TV and Roku 3. Hands down its the best image, that's why I'm going with the Update
     
  23. hgrimberg thread starter macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #23
    But why do you think that the image quality depends on the device/streamer and not on the content itself? So, Apple Tv will stream a Netflix movie with better video quality than a Roku or Android TV will?
    And, apart from that, Apple TV is jailbreakable, then, what else can you do with it after jailbreaking it?
     
  24. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #24
    As far as I know, only the gen2 AppleTV (720p) is jailbreakable (though I haven't looked into it in a while). It will run Kodi, but it is a much, much slower experience compared to running it on the Shield.

    Also, the AndroidTV looks better than any of the AppleTVs because it can handle 4k from sources like Youtube and Netflix and my own HD files look and sound better because you don't have to convert or transcode them.

    I have an AppleTV2 with ATVFlash installed and it will play files from a network drive and it runs a bit faster than Kodi on that platform, but I would not recommend going that route at this point.
     
  25. hgrimberg thread starter macrumors 6502

    hgrimberg

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #25
    Kodi is the new Napster for movies?
     

Share This Page