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What do you think is the best streaming device (Roku, apple TV, google tv, ect)

Discussion in 'Google TV General Discussion' started by Cristal Maldonado, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. Cristal Maldonado

    Cristal Maldonado New Member

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    I want to get a streaming device for christmas and I couldn't find this question asked recently (and there've been many new releases since then). I'd like to get one for $100 or less and am leaning toward the Vizio Co-Star because it runs Google TV. However, it's gotten some crappy reviews and I'd like to know if it's still a good choice.

    I'd also like to know what are the main differences between the Roku and Google TV devices in terms of streaming services and apps.

    Thanks

    [​IMG]
     
  2. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I own Roku, Google TV and Chromecast and have used Apple TV. Google TV is my favorite of the models I own and I also prefer it to Apple TV. Google TV is being replaced by Android TV which differs enough that you should look at it before making a choice. Roku is probably easiest to use although Apple TV is also very easy to use. Amazon Fire TV, very similar to what I expect Android TV will be is also worthy of consideration as it looks like a powerful, easy to use box.

    Nothing comes close to an all in one box solution in my opinion, although Google TV in conjunction with TiVo and a Windows PC does everything I need.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  3. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know where you would find a Vizio Co-Star with Google TV these days but I don't like it as well as other Google TV models I own. It has some unique design differences I don't like, IR control from the remote rather than the box and its own UI. I own one and do use it but the Sony models are much better for the way I use Google TV.
     
  4. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    As far as Roku, it has more dedicated apps for content than any other streaming box I am aware of. It does not include a browser and overall, I can access more content with Google TV. This morning I can't find anyway to watch the PGA Championship on Roku but I am watching it using Google TV. Google TV is more complicated to use and does require more effort to use as a result. Since Google TV is either discontinued or will likely soon be discontinued, not many would recommend a purchase but the facts are rather simple, if you want Google TV does, there are no other options yet and as far as I can tell, none are planned.

    With HDMI input and overlay, Google TV brings a traditional TV source and merges it with internet TV access. By using a network PC and DLNA server, content accessible by a PC can be viewed using the same Google TV HDMI output into the same HDTV HDMI input.

    If simple internet streaming is all that is needed, Roku or Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV, I would think Amazon Fire TV is best. Just make sure whatever you choose can access what you want.
     
  5. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    In further elaborating on what ChrisG8 just mentioned - be aware that Google TV boxes are on Flash 10.2 and the Chrome 11 browser (the current version of Chrome is Chrome 36). So if you have a 'must-see' web site you can go to their site and see what their system requirements are for viewing the videos before you make a purchase decision. However be aware that even if a web site works now - there is always the danger that they can update their Flash and/or browser requirements in the future breaking GTV functionality.

    For example if you plan to stream PBS videos - it won't work directly with Google TV because they recently updated their web site to Flash 10.3. You would need to use a PC along with a PlayOn subscription to access PBS videos with Google TV. Also be aware that the TV Network web sites block GTV - but you can access many of the TV networks with the PC/PlayOn workaround. Google TV has been discontinued and the boxes aren't likely to be receiving any more updates. There is no way for GTV users to update the browser and Flash on the GTV devices.

    Adobe discontinued support of Flash on Smart TV platforms - so it's a certainty that the GTV boxes will never support anything above Flash 10.2.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  6. Carlszone

    Carlszone Well-Known Member

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    Hi folks, welcome from Virginia

    As far as streaming devices go, NONE of them are up to par w/a simple entertainment PC. I am still trying to get over all the bullshit I've been told about streaming limitations I could expect using a PC. Pure unadulterated bullshit!!!

    I've only recently come to realize after a full year of using a PC, and I mean any PC, be it Windows, Linux or Apple! The PC w/a WiFI adaptor or a fun filled day of hiding the tower which so offends most modern device users is the ultimate way to go.

    I've tried every device except the Asus Cube which I deemed unworthy of my time.

    The Logitech Revue was the best GTV device ever. Some are still plugging away on it even w/all its flaws due to the relatively short life span of all these devices. I'm still using one of the original K700 Logitech Revue keyboards to post this message.

    The GS-7 in its heyday along w/the GS-8 (a model that only added the voice remote, may the originators of this model burn in hell for the waste of our time & money!) were the next best stand alone full internet access devices on the GTV frontier. They were the highlights of GTV after Logitech bailed out.

    The Vizio Co-Star started off w/high acclaim from Amazon reviewers. But the returns and defective units caused even the most loyal GTV adherents to wonder if we had reached a new low in Research & Development quality assurance standards. It made the Vizio enthusiasts sound like a bunch of rabid dogs in their unswerving loyalty to a company that would produce and continue to send new units to already unsatisfied first time users. Shame on yer house Vizio!!!

    Then the cappa!

    Hisense & Netgear came out w/devices that their Customer Service Representatives rarely knew existed. And after a few months failure they all denied knowledge of the products.

    Since I've deep sixed my GS-7 I have enjoyed full streaming in the best resolution since I was on WebTV. An entertainment computer can be built according to your own exact specifications. Whatever OS you chose, with any browser you care to add on. Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Youtube will stream on any out of the way PC better than any GTV or Android device or crappy USB stick on the market including that over-rated Chromecast piece of corporate turd that only seeks to add advertising revenue to Google's coffers in the long term.

    Note: I mentioned PCs. No distinction is made in either the manufacture of such devices or the companies you might entrust to assist you. I couldn't care less. But this remnant of GTV enthusiasts cannot be taken seriously. Hell, many of them have bought into the Amazon Fire TV, I think it's called. Let's see how long it takes Amazon to bail outta that one. Maybe longer than Google???

    Waiver:

    Members of this group should feel free to ignore all the above. Listen to my warnings, or just make yer own decision. Google TV and the future Android TV is DEAD!!! At no time were animals or Google TV employees, members of their staff or the few extant advocates of this dying platform harmed in any way during the stating of the facts articulated herein.

    I **** you Not!!!

    But as always, to each his own...

    Thank you for yer time...

    Your friend as always

    Carl
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  7. pmcd

    pmcd Active Member

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    The streamer you get depends on what you want to stream. If you only want to subscribe to premium sites then you have to pick a streamer that gets you those sites. If you also want to stream local content then the whole game changes. It's quite difficult to find a streamer that is both good at local and internet streaming. Probably the best for something like that would be an Intel NUC i3 running win8 and Plex/XBMC. There are similar systems around but that one will do everything. Not cheap though. Same goes for a Mac Mini but unless you run windows 8 on it ( which you can) you lose out on some premium sites and are forced to access them via a browser. That's really a matter of taste. I prefer apps to using a browser but many prefer a browser. A computer will do much more than any media player though there is some maintenance though not much if you don't keep adding junk.

    GTV and Amazon's Fire TV both have very good Plex clients. Since GTV is essentially frozen in time I would go for the Fire TV. Really quite nice. If iTunes is important then you have to go with a PC or an Apple TV which can also run Plex via Plex Connect, but that is a bit of a hack ( nice one though). If you also happen to have fairly recent iOS devices then the ATV3 becomes very interesting.

    The Roku3 is another option.

    Android TV is futureware so no one knows whether or not it will be interesting. Given their past history I wouldn't bet the farm on Google for this nor would I even give them a 2nd thought.

    If you are a gamer then there are the games' consoles.

    There really is no optimal answer given that you haven't said what you want out of a streamer and whether or not cost is an important issue.

    Philip
     
  8. revue5

    revue5 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    What is the best streaming device? Today? By Christmas? Good question… mainly, depends on how you like to control it and if you subscribe to cable/satellite, streaming services and your needs for local stream/playback…. etc.

    As you see, most users here use several devices, in some cases, simultaneously & I don’t think this going to change in the foreseeable future. So, if this going to be your first streaming device, it may not be the last :D

    Anyway, it seems mainstream interest is more toward “Internet Streaming Devices” and the manufacturers now trying to keep it simple (& add apps). Maybe by Christmas, few new ones hit the market (e.g., Android TV by Google). So follow-up here, things may change by then ;)

    i'd say,
    Internet Streaming Device:
    w/ simple remote: Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV
    w/ ios/android device: Chromecast or Apple TV

    Media Player (w/cable/satellite integration, local stream/playback, internet streaming & web browsing):
    w/ keyboard/controller: Google TV

    Media Player (w/cable/satellite integration, local stream/playback, internet streaming, web browsing & more native apps):
    w/ android/ios device: Google TV+Chromecast


    For Apps comparison, see this chart
    (just ignore BBcodes links, the new forum under construction..)
     
  9. Carlszone

    Carlszone Well-Known Member

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  10. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    It would help if you said what you wanted to be able to do with the device, browse? play games? stream? which channels? etc... What are the one or two things you want to know it does well?

    But given what you did say, I guess I'd have to recommend going with a Roku.

    Personally, I retired my Roku to guest TV a long time ago, but it all depends what you want out of the device.
     
  11. Carlszone

    Carlszone Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Revue 5

    Thank you for that honest appraisal of the streaming devices that are currently on the market. I personally wish that folks would stop resorting to these devices. The demise of the present streaming market might bring us back to full PCs as the source of our internet system. Back in the days before RF remotes existed it made sense to try and imitate an entertainment model based on remote controlled internet devices.

    But what we got were the worst of Microsoft, AOL, Google, Roku, Apple and lastly, Amazon.

    Look, I'm trying to be fair here. These devices just don't last long enough for users to recoup the loses in their monetary expenditures. When Roku jumped from a recently purchased all encompassing, best model ever streaming device, they were already planning the next level for a device that would leave their most loyal customers stranded between the new technology and trying to just break even on their newly acquired purchase. Roku, w/there team of lawyers put paid to that ambition!
     
  12. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    Hardware is the new Software. It's not surprising that the goal device manufacturers is to obsolete their old box every year or two. They sure aren't going to make any money selling software upgrades.

    I had an HTPC at one point in time. It was neither future proof nor cheap, and having to spend more time rebooting and installing upgrades than actually doing something with the box isn't very productive.

    I could capture live video with it from my DVR, which was pretty cool, but the device (even when the PC was off) became a point of failure that would occasionally cut off video from my DVR.

    I bought a presentation mouse for it that was more expensive than some of these streaming boxes, but even though it used RF rather than IR, it was often unreliable.

    It wasn't worth the hassle. Which in a nutshell was the problem with my HTPC and I removed it long ago from my A/V rack because other devices had replaced it.

    There are so many personal decisions involved. For instance, I don't have a problem keeping a PC running, but many do. Some don't need IR compatibility, but I use a universal remote control system where it's the best way to integrate a device in to my A/V system. Some like to use a tablet or phone as a remote, some don't.

    It goes on and on, and ultimately the best streaming device is a very personal decision.
     
  13. jonathankonrad

    jonathankonrad New Member

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    Like everyone here, I've been using streaming devices or building HTPCs for years. Also, like everyone here, I recognize that the "best" option is heavily dependent on a persons needs and their comfort level with technology.

    I enjoy building HTPCs and tweaking them to be just right. However, they are more expensive both to build and to run. If you like to tinker, this is a great field to jump in to. If you want to plug in and forget, just avoid it. They cost more than we admit to our spouses.

    As for a simple streaming stick, it's difficult to go wrong. Netflix, Youtube, and Plex work on anything and work well. GTV is now at a dead end, but I just picked up a cube for the downstairs TV and it streams Netflix, Plex, and podcasts in HD. Looks good and easily switches between cable and streaming. The lack of profiles in the Netflix app keep me from recommending it, but if your use case is simple, it will easily be worth the $60.00.

    I hate to say it, but if you have iOS devices then just get an AppleTV. The hardware is old and really not worth the price, but my wife and son have iOS devices and this thing just works. They use it all day long to keep music flowing in our home.

    My last piece of advice is, when you purchase something stop looking. There is always something better and cheaper. Figure out what your needs are, then purchase a device that meets them and learn that device. If it takes three button presses to do what you want, you will not care unless you read that another device does it with one.
     
  14. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    You shouldn't have to hate to recommend the Apple TV. It's a nice box that serves the adherents to the iTunes "eco-system" well. It has a slowly but ever expanding library of Apps, and for anyone that owns an iPad or iPod, it's implementation of AirPlay is something the rest of the world is still trying to catch up with.

    Unfortunately, even AirPlay is no panacea. Just because you can stream something to your iPad, that doesn't mean you'll be able to AirPlay it to your ATV because some providers don't want it.

    So, it all comes back to, what do you need out of a streamer?
     
  15. pmcd

    pmcd Active Member

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    I do think you are being a bit rough here. My Roku 2, 3 continue to run just fine with family. So we are talking years of use for $80 or so players as opposed to the $400+ tag for an HTPC which has been losing premium site access via XBMC as sites introduce new DRM models. That leaves win 8 and its apps or access via a browser which is not everyone's cup of tea.

    The I/o control of HTPC's has been anything but smooth sailing. No real standards with dongles left and right. Maintenance is not bad if you keep it simple.

    Even my Google TV gave me a couple of years of use and I will find someone who can continue with it.

    The price of say an Amazon Fire TV at $100, on sale now for $84, makes it pretty hard to justify an HTPC unless you want to record and skip ads. You can even run Firefox with that dreaded Flash if that is what you need. It fits in well with the Amazon environment, is silent and requires no maintenance. Nice remote and also works fine with the Harmony remotes ( either ir with flirc, or just use a newer Hub based Harmony remote).

    The Apple TV is also well worth its price. No fan, no external power transformer and AirPlay just works.

    In my mind there are three players worth looking into: Roku, Apple, Amazon.
    An HTPC like a NUC or Mac Mini is appealing but unless you are also going to use it as a computer these are simply too expensive as dedicated media players.

    Then there are those games' consoles which actually do most of the streaming.

    Philip
     

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