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hajime

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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1,217
Hello, I have not used streaming services before. If I could watch foreign TV programs via Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google TV, Roku, Samsung TV or Apple TV. Which is the best method and why?
 
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erihp

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2020
242
189
Hello, I have not used streaming services before. If I could watch foreign TV programs via Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google TV, Roku, Samsung TV or Apple TV. Which is the best method and why?
cost, ads, and platform support.

first you need to check if the streaming service you plan to use is supported on that device. most allow installation of third party apps, so there is almost always a way to play streams.

obviously some of devices are more expensive than others.

some streaming boxes have intrusive UIs with ads and can slow down with updates (or never get updates at all!)

if you use google home or alexa already those might be good options to keep you compatible with that ecosystem, but i would recommend the Apple TV.
 
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hajime

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
7,733
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Thanks. I don't use google home nor alexa. Certainly don't like ads.

Yes, I have already checked the streaming service supports those I listed before posting.

For Apple TV, do I have to buy the "Apple TV 4K" box or if I have a Mac or iPad, I just install an Apple TV app and it will get the job done?
 
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erihp

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2020
242
189
Thanks. I don't use google home nor alexa. Certainly don't like ads.

Yes, I have already checked the streaming service supports those I listed before posting.

For Apple TV, do I have to buy the "Apple TV 4K" box or if I have a Mac or iPad, I just install an Apple TV app and it will get the job done?
It's confusingly two different things. There is an Apple TV+ app on the Apple TV as well. That app just provides access to the Apple exclusive content. You cant use the Apple TV UI from your laptop/ipad.

Buy the hardware, itll come with a remote and UI is designed for sitting far away and integrating with iphone.

That said you may not even need the very latest model. You may be able to get a deal on a previous gen 4k model. From 2015 to today all ATV models all run the same TvOS and support all the same apps. though some of the latest games require the newer hardware.
 
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hajime

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
7,733
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Do you mean with that mac mini-like "Apple TV 4K" box, I connect it to a TV and watch streaming TV programs on the TV. However, if I want to watch on a MacBook Pro screen, I just use a browser to login to the service?
 

erihp

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2020
242
189
Do you mean with that mac mini-like "Apple TV 4K" box, I connect it to a TV and watch streaming TV programs on the TV. However, if I want to watch on a MacBook Pro screen, I just use a browser to login to the service?
Yes, though I would not be surprised if there are streaming providers with their own software clients you would download and install on the Mac as well.
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
Good info above, so I'm likely repeating...

AppleTV (the box) and AppleTV (the app) are about as night & day as iPhone (the box) and any one app available on iPhone. If you can install that same iPhone app on anything else- like say your smartTV- that other thing doesn't become an iPhone. AppleTV (box) can run many apps for all kinds of functionality. AppleTV (app) is basically like a boutique Netflix service with a relatively small amount of exclusive content.

Any AppleTV-like hardware from ANY of the players named will likely have mainstream streaming television apps. So if you check if any given hardware can run the apps that you want to run, no need locking in on an "AppleTV or bust" mentality. AppleTV (box) functions well and has a very good UI but the others also function well and the UIs are only the facilitators on screen for brief periods of time to help you start whatever media you want to watch. In other words, UI probably matters but you are only looking at it for relatively brief periods of time.

If your TV is a "smart TV" it probably has an App Store and may have the mix of streaming apps you want to watch. If so, you don't necessarily need new hardware at all.

AppleTV is an airplay playback device, so if you get something going on a Mac or iDevice, you can airplay it through AppleTV to your TV. However, some TVs can also receive Airplay... as can some Receivers. So AppleTV is not the only option for this kind of use.

AppleTV "just works" within Apple ecosystem... better than other choices. So if you've accumulated a number of videos from the iTunes Store, AppleTV is going to play Apple DRM'd content. Other choices will not.

As in all things (computing) technology, the most important driver of what you should buy is "what do you want to do with it?" If you can make a complete list of apps you want to be able to run, that will filter possibilities down to the 1 or 2 that are best fit. Then you can compare features & benefits & pricing of those two or so pieces of hardware to make a final decision.

Else, ask Apple people what hardware is best for you and you'll generally get blanket endorsements of Apple hardware... and negative spin about alternatives. However, ask Fire people... or Roku people... or <other> the same question and you're likely to get very different answers.

I quite like my AppleTVs hooked to every TV in the home. But I'm an Apple person and thus am generally biased in favor of Apple options.
 
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Richard8655

macrumors 68000
Mar 11, 2009
1,876
1,329
Chicago suburbs
Hello, I have not used streaming services before. If I could watch foreign TV programs via Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google TV, Roku, Samsung TV or Apple TV. Which is the best method and why?
There are many foreign streaming services and many are my favorites (English language versions). For example from Germany, France, UK, Japan, etc. They run as apps to download on a streaming device, with Apple TV and Fire Stick as probably the more common platforms for compatibility.

As you mentioned, many of these apps are directly compatible to run on recent model smart TVs like from Sony and Samsung.
 

waw74

macrumors 601
May 27, 2008
4,676
944
There's AppleTV, AppleTV+, and Apple's TV app

AppleTV is the box

AppleTV+ is their streaming service, similar to Netflix or amazon prime. It's a paid subscription, but you may receive a free trial when you buy the box. There are quite a few really good shows... For all Mankind, reverence, morning show, silo, ted lasso.

the TV app, is one of the nice features of the appleTV box. It can consolidate most of the other streaming apps (Netflix being a major exception). You can search in the TV app, and it will tell you where you can watch and how much it will cost, so maybe rent from apple for $5, buy from apple or amazon for $19, or included with a peacock subscription. It also has an "up next" section that helps you keep track of shows, anything you watch on any of the supported services is automatically added to the up next section. When you finish an episode, it will put the next one there for you. Or if you're caught up, when the next episode drops, it shows up there. It's really convenient if you have a lot of services, since you only have to check one place to see what's new. When you select the show, it will launch the app for the service to actually watch the show

The TV app is also used to watch the shows from appleTV+, their shows will appear just like the ones on the other services, but it will play in the TV app instead of launching a new app.

The Siri Remote that comes with the appleTV box is also fairly nice, If your TV (and sound equipment if you have it) support HDMI-CEC, then you just need the siri remote, When you hit the power button on the remote, it will all turn on and the TV and audio gear will go to the correct channel. and you're able to control volume with the same remote. If you don't have HDMI-CEC it will still work using IR, but it's sometimes a little picky. It also has siri built into the remote, so just hit the button and say "Launch Netflix", "search YouTube for cat videos" or just "game of thrones"


list of siri commands from apple - https://support.apple.com/en-us/105019
 

Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Oct 13, 2020
1,230
969
I've Netflix native on my Sony Android TV and added the Apple TV+ App, both worked wonderfully and Apple TV+ has by a huge margin the best (clearest, balanced) 5.1 sound track and 4k picture via my AVR. I did add Paramount+ and Disney+ via the TV's google play store but their own software updates killed it's use.

I did have an Apple TV years ago but returned it as it did some unwanted sound processing of its own after the AVR side. I do wish Apple TV+ had more free content, especially since the recent monthly price rise.
 

hajime

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
7,733
1,217
I see there are two configurations for Apple TV 4K. One is 64GB WiFi and the other is 128GB WiFi + Ethernet. What is the extra RAM for? The streaming provider states that there is no recording function in the service they provide. I found this very inconvenience. With an Apple TV, can I record? Is it better to get the Ethernet version?
 

Alpha Centauri

macrumors 65816
Oct 13, 2020
1,230
969
I see there are two configurations for Apple TV 4K. One is 64GB WiFi and the other is 128GB WiFi + Ethernet. What is the extra RAM for? The streaming provider mentioned that there is no recording function in the service they provide. Is it better to get the Ethernet version?
That's storage and not RAM. I'm guessing it's relevant if you've much music, Apps and Games stored and supposedly there are 3rd party media players that enable local off line storage and viewing. I'm personally always a fan of a solid ethernet connection whenever possible so this bias would mean that (for me) a WiFi only model wouldn't be first choice.

Edit: these are only best guesses as I don't actually own an Apple TV.
 
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mallbritton

macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2006
1,063
362
I see there are two configurations for Apple TV 4K. One is 64GB WiFi and the other is 128GB WiFi + Ethernet. What is the extra RAM for? The streaming provider states that there is no recording function in the service they provide. I found this very inconvenience. With an Apple TV, can I record? Is it better to get the Ethernet version?
Here's the specs for the two versions of Apple TV: https://www.apple.com/apple-tv-4k/specs/.

The storage difference in the two is not RAM, but internal storage. Because apps and games are downloaded to the device, the more storage you have the more apps/games you can have downloaded.

The Apple TV device, itself, has no independent recording functions. That would be a feature of any apps you decide to install, such as YouTube TV which has a built in DVR feature.
 
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UnusedLoginID

macrumors 6502
Feb 28, 2012
343
290
I’m not sure the answers will help… everybody missed the “foreign TV programs” statement which is a separate discussion in itself. And the answer to that is “none”. No streaming service will give you the programs you see on a TV in a foreign country. I know from experience with TV programs from France and Brazil. Yes you can pay for TV5 or Globo International to stream in the US but these are programs made for international audience. They’re different programs than what you’d see in the given country. France has an app - I haven’t checked recently if it’s still up and running - that integrates the TF1, France2,… channels but you can only watch it in France. And now we can talk about VPN options which allow you to fool the provider to think you’re in a given country. VPNs when I tried them were slow (for video use), unreliable and costly. So here you go…!
 
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phrehdd

macrumors 601
Oct 25, 2008
4,311
1,311
Perhaps you should be investigating a VPN to get access to certain foreign sources for streaming. A streamer such as Apple TV may or may not work with such a set up and then you can try NVidia TV Shield pro and check out their forums if they are able to do that type of streaming.
 

hajime

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
7,733
1,217
When ordering Amazon Fire TV Stick, there is an option "Link device to your Amazon Account to simplify setup." to what they called Frustration-Free Setup. What is that? I don't use other Amazon device. If I don't enable it, what sort of frustration will I get during setup?

If I link it to my account and use VPN to watch foreign sources for streaming, will using Firestick with VPN also mess up the location settings of my local Amazon account?
 
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phrehdd

macrumors 601
Oct 25, 2008
4,311
1,311
When ordering Amazon Fire TV Stick, there is an option "Link device to your Amazon Account to simplify setup." to what they called Frustration-Free Setup. What is that? I don't use other Amazon device. If I don't enable it, what sort of frustration will I get during setup?

If I link it to my account and use VPN to watch foreign sources for streaming, will using Firestick with VPN also mess up the location settings of my local Amazon account?
I believe Firestick will likely want you to create an account you can associate with the device. Android devices make one get a Google account often and Apple TV well...we know that one. If you already have an account, then they simply add it as a device to that account much like Apple does with their Macs, iPhones, watches etc.

Most likely another could answer the second half better but here's a possibility - When you link to foreign sources via VPN, you might select a server that is accepted by that foreign site rather than a faster more local server such as one found inside your nation/state. This shouldn't impact your Amazon account. Also, when directly engaging Amazon, you might elect to not do it through VPN. Most VPN have the ability to turn off the VPN and re-connect and select servers. Just be aware, some sites do not accept IP addresses associated with VPN servers. They used to be the exception but I find more and more these days behaving this way.
 
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