Confused about streaming boxes

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by MacBH928, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. MacBH928 macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    #1
    Hello,

    I have a WDTV now but I wonder if I can replace it with an Android box or Roku but I am confused between the boxes and the sticks. They seem very similar. I know I dont want Amazon Fire because I dont want to be locked in the Amazon ecosystem and same goes for Apple TV.

    Can some one clear the confusion for me on which product I should buy?
     
  2. ggibson913 macrumors 6502a

    ggibson913

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2006
    #2
    If I had to buy one today, I would go for the Roku 3. It simply is the best one out at the moment.
     
  3. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #3
    Given those conditions, I would get the Roku.

    My personal preference is the AppleTV, but I have iOS devices and iTunes that make Airplay the central reason for preferring it.

    Roku (I have an older 2xs version) has Vudu and Amazon on board, so it may be the better option if you don't use iTunes or iOS devices. I rarely use mine since I typically stick to Netflix and Apple's movie service.
     
  4. MacBH928 thread starter macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    #4

    I am more interested in running YouTube and it will be great if it can run stuff like Plex.

    Plus whats the difference between the stick and the box? Is the GUI fast? does forwarding and rewinding stutter or is it smooth?


    thanks
     
  5. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #5
    The main difference, in my opinion, is that the sticks lack Ethernet so you have to go wireless with them. Roku has a page that compares the devices:

    https://www.roku.com/products/compare
     
  6. coops macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #6
    Keep that old WD TV box handy - it's the VLC of media streaming boxes, playing all formats and handling subtitles without complaint.

    I keep my WD TV box connected just in case, but do love PLEX...so

    I have ended up with my main box being a Minix x8-h, an Android box ( get the newer 'plus' version which. Has the faster wifi and ethernet it should have had in the first place....). My Plex media server is running on a Synology NAS drive, and streams all data/ media to the Minix box, which can support pretty much all formats ( unlike Roku for instance). As the Minix supports pretty much all formats there is no need for any transcoding on the NAS side of things.

    NOTE - due to using subtitles very frequently, i actually use an app called 'Serenity' on the Minix instead of the Plex client. serenity is an android plex client which does a far better job of supporting subtitles and dts audio with srt subtitles and the like ( use Serenity with MX Player as its external player which can be made to play dts very easily).

    Ps the Minix also supports apple airplay for 'throwing' stuff from an ipad to your tv etc, and obviously does youtube etc.

    Pps make sure you get the wireless minix air mouse with it, mine came 'free' with the box. The box comes with a basic infra red remote... The air mouse comes in far handier and is wireless not IR and rechargeable
     
  7. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #7
    I personally own an apple tv and an amazon stick. My dad owns a roku 3 and I have played around with some other random options. My Amazon stick is fine and you are not completely locked in to amazon video. You can still download the netflix app and play their videos, etc. With that said, they clearly did make the stick with an emphasis on their content. I like mine for a small and potentially portable device but wouldn't recommend one to somebody because I think their are better solutions.

    I love my apple tv but there are clearly downsides. At this point, if apple doesn't have the app then you can't watch it or you need to airplay it. This isn't a big deal to me, but I have several apple devices from which I can airplay.

    The roku is a great device and is clearly the frontrunner if you want something that is just going to work and play whatever you want it to. It has an app for about anything you would want and can play it natively.

    The only reason I chose the apple tv over the roku and the only reason I would recommend others to do it would be the ability to airplay. Otherwise, i believe the roku is your best bet.

    PS: As someone said above, the only real difference between the box and the stick is the lack of ports. The amazon stick i have plugs into the HDMI and has a mini usb for its power. No ethernet port or aux sound port. If you are going to be wireless then it probably won't make a difference but it a wired connection is an option then I would go with the box.
     
  8. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    #8
    This is not true at all. You can still use the Fire TV even if you are not a Prime member. It allows for installation of apps not available in the Amazon store.

    What are your requirements in a streaming box?
     
  9. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    I have an Apple TV, Roku 3, and Chromecast.

    Of these, the Roku 3 is the most well rounded device and is the one I would recommend to someone who only wanted to purchase one.

    It has the best selection of apps (e.g. in the UK it has apps for all the major UK-based broadcasters, something neither Apple TV or Chromecast has). I suppose the quality of the app selection will vary geographically so this is something worth checking on where you live.

    It has a hardware remote & ethernet port (Chromecast doesn't).

    It can play back from USB drives (neither Apple TV nor Chromecast can do this).

    It can directly play back content from NAS-based servers (e.g. via Plex). Apple TV can't do this without a hack.

    Having said all that, I'm considering getting rid of my Roku. This is because I've just bought a Samsung Smart TV which has pretty much all the apps that interest me and does pretty much everything else my Roku 3 does.

    I'm keeping my Apple TV & Chromecast because they each have a unique feature that my TV does not have (Airplay and Google Cast).
     
  10. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    Am I right in thinking this is running full Android, rather than Google's recently announced Android TV platform (http://www.android.com/tv/)?

    If you have a box running full Android, can you play from any streaming app on the Play store or do you get a curated selection of apps?

    Is the interface and controls clunky (with it being based on full Android rather than Android TV)?

    Can it act as a Google Cast receiver?

    Is the performance as an Airplay receiver worse or less stable than Apple TV?
     
  11. coops macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #11
    seems fine - the app is pre installed and hasn't been an issue
     
  12. MacBH928 thread starter macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    #12



    Thanks a lot of your replies.

    My main reason to purchase a media-box is that I want to put video files on an HDD , connect it to the box, and watch it on my TV. Unfortunately Apple TV will not allow you to do this. My second concern is that I would like to see YouTube on TV.

    If Roku would support AirPLay then it would be perfect.


    I don't benefit from streaming because all of Amazon Video, Netflix, and HBO GO are not supported in the country I am in. And even though I live in a complete Apple ecosystem, I choose not to use iTunes store for video because it has DRM.

    Note: Will there be a Roku 4 soon? The 3 has been out for 2 years now and I wonder if its update time?
     
  13. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #13
    My personal favorite is roku for the simple fact it has every single channel.
     
  14. theone09 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #14
    Have you ever tried VideoStream to cast your local movies on the google web store? You can cast most of your local movies files (AVI, mkv, mpg4, etc ...) to your chromecast. it looks like PLEX, but you don't need any server. Your movie files are converted on the fly. It's very cool. Try it out.
     

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