Going off the reservation today.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by shacky, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. shacky macrumors regular

    shacky

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    #1
    I love Apple products. I also love my AppleTV. But, there are a couple features I want and can't get. I need an app for Slingbox streaming and I would really like an Xfinity TVGo app. I would also like IHeartRadio and Amazon Video but those 2 are not dealbreakers.

    So, today I will receive and setup a new android TV box. I ordered the Minix Neo X8-H Plus. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RCUJSZO?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

    I believe it will have all the features I want and more. I plan on keeping both my AppleTV and this new android box. If anyone is interested, I can give you my impressions of it compared to the ATV4 in the coming days.
     
  2. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a

    Snoopy4

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #2
    I'm curious to know how it goes. I'm really hating right now on this multi ecosystem environment. It feels like Beta vs VHS again, but this time there is about zero chance of a winner. All the ecosystems just need to link up with UV and Disneys content lockers, problem solved, at least as far as access to the media goes. The current situation is crap for the consumer.

    I'm a bit frustrated on several fronts with Apple in this arena, but still holding out a bit of hope. They are absolutely behind the power curve. They could have (and should) been using H.265 with 1080p for improved video and feeding us 7.1 audio (DTS-MA, DolbyTrue HD, and Atmos) with the roll out of ATV4, but seem to be content with compromise. Deliver a better 1080p product, which for right now is more important than 4K. Then bridge to 4K later, yet let the device do 4K for early adopters. Offer the closest product you possibly can to BD, which they aren't doing.

    They called ATV4 the future of TV stepping into the Videophile arena essentially with a DVD player with better picture quality (yet not the best) while forgetting the sound environment has moved on. They should be embarrassed. Like I said, I hold out hope for a change to this. They have until Christmas. If nothing changes I'm punching out myself. I'll still use their iPad and iPhone devices, because they work so damn well, but I'll be punching out of the ecosystem. I'm at a point where I wish they'd just launch an iTunes app for other TV type devices like Roku or NVIDIA Shield. Their file format is just fine for Apple devices, but I really need something far more robust in the home.
     
  3. twobelowpar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    #3
    Similar situation here. I foresee myself slowly moving from iTunes to Vudu as it becomes so much easier to grow a digital collection. The audio is actually a lot better on my Roku/Vudu than ATV/iTunes. With Vudu, my volume can sit at 20 for the whole movie. With iTunes, it's at 40 and it's sometimes too loud and sometimes not loud enough.
     
  4. Albert2000 macrumors newbie

    Albert2000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    #4
    It is all about the applications and which ones will become available. I am a classical music buff and am still waiting for the "Digital Concert Hall" and "Medici TV" to have dedicated Apple TV applications. Both are on iOS but need to be on Apple TV. I understand that the "Live Stream" application is now available and it streams live jazz from Jazz from Lincoln Center.
     
  5. shacky thread starter macrumors regular

    shacky

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    #5
    Thanks for the tip. I just installed Digital Concert hall on my iPhone. Really nice! Am listening to a concert now. I like all kinds of music, including classical. I checked and there is an app for android so I will install it there, too. The nice thing about android (I think, anyway) is that if it is in the playstore, it will probably let me install it on my TV box. We will see.
     
  6. shacky thread starter macrumors regular

    shacky

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    #6
    I've been spending some time with my Android TV box. It's been interesting.

    The Good
    The box has usb ports and multiple audio out ports as well as a SD card slot. If you have a video you want to watch, just put it on a usb stick or sd card and pop it in. Most android apps work on it. So, iHeart Radio for instance is a breeze to install. One of the apps I wanted was Sling player. (Think Slingbox.) It works quite well. Kodi came preinstalled and works nicely. It allows all of the repositories to be added on easily. The device comes with a pre-installed GUI that works fairly well. You can use it to do the normal media activities and easily get out of it if you want to get to standard android features. The one I bought came with an "air mouse" which is pretty cool. It has a mini keyboard on the back and the mouse part is kind of like a Wii. On the other hand, you really have to have this remote because using the device without it would be damn near impossible.

    The Bad
    I have messed around with android devices over the years and I would have thought the OS was better by now. It really hasn't changed much and can be frustrating compared to iOS. In the case of this particular device, you long for the streamlined, beautiful, simple, interface that is Apple. Two of the apps I wanted were Amazon video and Xfinity TVGo. I have spent many hours on these two apps and finally got Amazon to work. BUT, only in low-def. I believe that Amazon simply will not allow their app to work in high-def except for their devices and Sony devices. Not sure about Roku. TVGo is a no-go. Xfinity is successfully blocking any big screen use of their app. For the tech geek who likes to mess around and look for different app versions and side load them and test them etc. This device can be fun and challenging. For someone who just wants everything to work-you may go mad trying to get different stuff working.

    To be honest, the android tv box has made me appreciate the ATV4 more! It's so sweet to push the mic button and say "open Pandora." I will probably keep the android box, if nothing else, it's a good Sling player and I like the additional audio options like Amazon music and iHeart. Also, the ability to pop in a usb stick or sd card with video files is a great feature.
     
  7. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a

    Snoopy4

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #7
    Almost forgot about iHeart Radio. That would be huge for us. Radio reception around here is a mess due to terrain and every local station is on that app.
     
  8. inkahauts macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    #8

    The swings in audio volume have more to do with less compression and more dynamic range being used in the appletv and the fact the roku and vudu app is likely compressing and destroying the dynamic range which is the opposite of what movies where meant to have. Good sound quality will have a very dynamic range depending on the scene of the movie.
     
  9. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a

    Snoopy4

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #9
    There are no swings, he’s talking about over all level using ATV which all of us have experienced using a halfway decent sound system. The bit stream is being manipulated and the level is being artificially suppressed, not that Apple ever cared about audio quality. There is no dynamic range and that's the problem with ATV:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...ith-full-enabled.1951471/page-3#post-22565953
     
  10. shacky thread starter macrumors regular

    shacky

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    #10
    Another chapter to this story. (Yes, I know no one really cares, but who knows, maybe someone will learn from something I write here.)

    After thinking long and hard about the Minex android TV box I had installed, I decided that there were some serious downsides to it. 1. I didn't love the interface which resulted in a lot of back and forth between the underlying android system and the media face plate. 2. Twice, the Play Store would not complete downloads. The first time, I was able to fix it, the second time, no. 3. While I finally got Amazon Video working, it was only in standard definition.

    So, I decided to return it. As usual, Amazon was awesome about taking care of the return. And I ordered a Fire TV. Here's why;
    It appears frustrating but true that you are not going to get everything on one device anytime soon. The Fire TV only cost $89 and will give me HD Amazon Video and will run Slingbox player. Additionally, I can pick up iHeartRadio and Amazon music. I see that Kodi is easily installed, but that's not a big motivator for me. It has microsd card support and Alexa. We have an Amazon Echo and I have to tell you, it's awesome. To have Alexa built in to a TV box sounds pretty awesome.

    So, for half the money of the Minix, I get a FireTV that I believe gives me more.

    Next up in this riveting tale. My take on the Fire TV!
     
  11. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #11
    Keep them coming! I know I find it interesting to see personal use stories of other options.
     
  12. Supermacguy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    #12
    Very informative. FWIW I use the TVGo app on my iPad and I can AirPlay it to my AppleTV no problem.
     
  13. shacky thread starter macrumors regular

    shacky

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    #14
    That's interesting. TVGo app works great on my iPad, but every time I try to airplay it, I get a content notice that I can't do that. Glad it works for you.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 26, 2016 ---
    I saw this and found it interesting. But, its Windows 10 based. If a person wanted a Windows box, there are lots of options. Who knows, though, at the end of the day a Windows box may be the best solution. I don't see a lot of difference between the $400 Minex NGC-1 and this $189 Dell. http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...ws computer&qid=1456505305&ref_=sr_1_3&sr=8-3
     
  14. Scarpad macrumors 68000

    Scarpad

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ma
    #15
    I just sold my Apple TV 4 I just did not like how they are dragging their feet getting apps, plus I wasn't in love with the interface which was basically the same as the previous version, plus I need Vudu I considered the Android tv route but I really don't want a box I have to fiddle with, same for the nvidea SHield. The fire TV would be good if it had Vudu it doesn't so it looks like a Roku 4 would be my only choice I'm not enamored of the UI either but it has pretty much all the options
     
  15. satcomer, Feb 27, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016

    satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #16
    You problem is your living a old movie saying "There only can be one"!

    The Last time I heard most TVs have move that one HDMI ports or you can use a external HDMI switch to have all three devices!
     
  16. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a

    Snoopy4

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #17
    That's a pain in the a... Though. The idea of this technology is to simplify your life, not make it more complex. Especially in secondary rooms. We found a work around for our house, went out and got new BD players. It was time and they were even cheaper than a Roku. They all have Amazon, Vudu, Netflix and an option for Hulu should we use it. Sad to say, but AppleTV is taking a back seat. With disc to digital through Vudu I'm almost doubled up on the digital copies in both ecosystems, easy to do at a buck a pop. It will still take time to get it all together, but deals can always be found on Amazon for a BD with a digital copy for a few bucks if it's not disc to digital eligible.
     
  17. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #18
    You consider more than one HDMI port on a TV bad for people? :confused:
     
  18. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a

    Snoopy4

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #19
    No, it's just a pain swapping back and forth to access various media devices. It's akin to thumbing through a BD catalog. You have to remember which movies are on what service.

    I'm in the "Apple needs to build an iTunes app that can port to a TV, ROKU or BD player crowd". Now that would be something.
     
  19. shacky, Feb 28, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016

    shacky thread starter macrumors regular

    shacky

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    #20
    I think you're both right. On the one hand, switching from one hdmi connected device to another is not that big of a deal. But, I think many of us, me included, had hoped that the new Apple TV with an app store would be "the future of television." And, it can be, but not without apps for things like HD Amazon Instant video, iHeart Radio, live tv streaming options and more. I guess I thought if the app existed in the ios app store, then it would likely get ported over, but we are finding that to not be true.

    Many years ago, I was in a job that really required me to have a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). At the time, you may recall, Palm Pilot was the industry leader. For several years, I had to carry a cell phone and a Palm Pilot because one device just couldn't do it all. It took several years for cell phones to be able to eliminate the need for a separate PDA. (The iPhone introduction was probably the biggest shakeup in that regard.) I think that's where we are now with TV boxes. Perhaps we will get to a single box doing it all, but not yet.
     
  20. twobelowpar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    #21
    Disc to digital (and access to more digital HD codes) is why I'm phasing into Vudu. I'll always redeem an iTunes code first but I'm constantly growing my Vudu library now too. If it weren't for iTunes Extras (and sharing my library with my parents), I'd probably go all-in on Vudu and leave iTunes behind.
     
  21. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #22
    We made the decision to go all in with Apple TV 4 on 8 TV's. We feel it has the best chance of being that 1 box to do everything we need. We might have to give up on having "everything" we could wish for but instead figure out what is most important and what we can not (or prefer not) live without.

    For us we were paying > $70 per month for 2x DVR's and 2x STB Clients. That then covered only 4 TV's. And one of our 8 TV's we needed live tv on was only able to get Live TV via a indoor Antenna. The other three we only had Apple TV's.
    So now we have all 8 TV's with the exact same UI and Content. Also, we only have 1 Remote for each TV with CEC support.

    Live TV is extremely important to us which was a must. No compromise on this. We chose to go with the Channels App with 2x HDHomeRun Prime Device which gives us 6 Turners to share over our network between 8 TV's. Some may disagree but we are extremely happy with the UI that is similar to all of our other Apps. Icon's for each live channel instead of text type UI. So, your comment about Live TV streaming Option. Maybe you have not looked into this. We use this on multiple TV's for hours per day. Just like we did before when using STB Boxes from our TV Provider which is Verizon FIOS.

    For On Demand TV we mostly use Hulu with no commercials. We also have Netflix, HBO Now and Showtime.
    To replace the DVR. Again, Hulu handles most of it. But we also joined the HDHomeRun DVR "BETA" where we mainly use the Channels App to watch our recordings (integrated with live tv). I would not recommend the DVR Solution for those that just want things to work. We know the solution will be great when it is complete so it is ok for us to work thru things now. And also we wanted to start saving money and also all TV's now have access to everything.

    The only App I would like to see is Amazon Prime Video because I pay for it. But it is really a low priority when compared to everything else. I have on occasion used Airplay and it works very well. Also, my 4K VIZIO has the Amazon App. Again, low priority. For me I am now getting so much more then before and I have the 1 box solution you are talking about.
     
  22. shacky thread starter macrumors regular

    shacky

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    #23
    d21Mike,

    Sounds like you have a great setup. (8 TV's?! Holy crap!) The HDHomerun Prime device does sound like a nice bit of tech, but, as I understand it, you still have to have cable. I cut the cord a couple years ago and want to stay 100% streaming. Unfortunately, where I live, OTA options don't exist either as we just can't pick up anything solid. I have the same Hulu subscription (love the no commercials) and CBS All Access. We aren't really heavy TV watchers. So, the ATV4 fills most of our needs. But, I am disapointed that there isn't more attention to music on the ATV4. Just Pandora? Most people will have the ATV connected to their home sound system. Where's iHeart, Rhapsody, Spotify, and all the others? Anyway, my FireTV comes tomorrow. I'm anxious to try it out.

    One little side story. A couple years ago, my Charter cable bill climbed to over $200 a month. Of course, that included phone, internet, and a cable tv package with all the channels. When it made that jump of twenty some dollars to $205 or whatever it was, I called and asked about how to get it down a bit as I had done many times in year previous, basically they said they could get it back to where it was but I would get fewer channels. I hung up, ordered an Ooma telephone device, called them back and cancelled everything but internet. I'm saving almost $1700 a year on my Charter bill now. They have sent me some great offers since (that happens when they want you back.) I'm used to streaming now and don't really want to go back to cable.
     
  23. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #24
    I also have CBS All Access but too much commercials so I record CBS Now.
    I assume you do not like Apple Music? Now has over 10 million subscribers. It is on Apple TV. I thought I read the iHeart Radio was coming to Apple TV. But I am not a big music fan so not up to speed on it.
    My daughter is on Charter Cable in Virginia. She had Internet only for $40 (going up to $50) plus DirectTV for $160 dropping to $120. She is dropping Directv and added the lowest cost TV package to Charter Internet. When you have 2 services (TV, Internet) then both are cheaper then just 1. She is getting the lowest cost TV for about $30 per month and a $2 charge for the CableCard. So, you may want to check out the options when you go for the VERY lowest cost as add-on to Internet. We like live tv for News and Sports and the main reason.
    My Son is on TWC with the Starter TV Package. It cost $10 extra + $2.75 for the cable card. Similar to OTA but without Antenna problems.
    My Son gets about 20-25 channels and my daughter gets about 120. In both cases they get local network channels.
    All three of us on HDHomeRun Prime with Channels. Only my daughter and I on HDHomeRun DVR Beta. My son not invested in doing Beta Testing.

    To clarify the HDHomeRun also has OTA Devices (not just Prime). HDHomeRun Connect or HDHomeRun Extend. If interested check out https://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/.
     
  24. tanfan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    #25
    Couldn't agree more. They can lock us in with other proprietary crap if they want but, not with my movie purchases...if digital is where this is all going we need UV.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 29, 2016 ---
    Apple TV is a great choice. You just have to commit to only having the channels they want you to have. Some say it's like being in prison but, honestly, if you never try to leave, you never run into the wall.
     

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