WOF: Do you use a dedicated media streaming box?

By Jos ยท 47 replies
Aug 31, 2012
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  1. Nowadays there are more ways than ever to get online video on your TV, with a streaming media box war brewing between companies such as Apple, Boxee, Roku, Western Digital, a handful of Google TV partners. Each of them has...

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  2. mevans336

    mevans336 TS Enthusiast Posts: 161   +11

    I do, I use an AppleTV v3. Works great, even for the <I>occasional</B> download.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,173   +989

    My Samsung LED TV has Internet access for several "services", but I prefer the WD Live TV adapter.

    See this for the rationale.
  4. Randomthom

    Randomthom TS Enthusiast Posts: 50   +17

    I have a boxee connected to my NAS where I store all my dvds & blue rays as ripped iso files. Never have to get up off my arse to find the disc!

    Still annoyed that Netflix on Boxee STILL isn't supported in the UK though... FAIL!
  5. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,674   +990

    I swear by my Boxee, though to be honest it's still far from perfect and I wish it had more active support as it once did.
  6. mevans336

    mevans336 TS Enthusiast Posts: 161   +11

    Have you seen the Boxee app in the iPad? Freaking awesome.
  7. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 856   +121

    For years I used a PS3 to stream into the living room but they added cinavia drm and now I'm in the market for one. A comparison of the most popular models would be a nice article.
  8. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Guru Posts: 382   +89

    I've been using a Seagate FreeAgent Theater+ for a couple of years now, mainly streaming Netflix and Youtube, and movies from a drive hooked up to a pogoplug.
  9. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    I use my 360 for netflix and a HTPC with XBMC for the rest of my media viewing.
  10. I use my PS3. Works great connected fully to my network with Cat6 cables. Cinavia is a real pain in the a$$ though so I may build a cheap custom PC for streaming.

    My buddy has a popcorn hour and it's alright...
  11. mevans336

    mevans336 TS Enthusiast Posts: 161   +11

    The AppleTV v3, as far as I know, doesn't care about Cinavia.
  12. Tgard

    Tgard TS Booster Posts: 88   +26

    I find the easiest thing in my household is to drop files on a usb stick and plug it into the front of my blu-ray player. It plays .mp4's .avi's .mpg's .mkv's as well as dvds and blu-rays. All of these formats play with subtitles and my blu-ray player is already connected to surround sound etc.

    I have the option to use my xbox with a dvd, usb stick, external drive or over the network, and I keep my pc connected to my bigscreen all the time with a long hdmi cable, but only use it to stream if I have a pesky media file that doesn't seem to want to play regardless of the format or conversion, or to stream the occasional sports program. It's also good to use my tv as a second monitor on some occasions to share things instead of everyone crowding around the pc.

  13. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,674   +990

    @mevans336, I haven't. I will try it over the weekend, though the main use I give the Boxee Box is to stream from my PC/home network to my TV or Cinema screen seamlessly.

    From what I've read only the most recent Roku/WD devices come close to the Boxee and the Apple TV is only as good when hacked. On the other hand, the Boxee Box is a tad more expensive.
    spydercanopus likes this.
  14. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    I just have my PC within a wire's range of my TV and receiver. Have a TV tuner card in there and my logitech harmony even works with media center (and mysteriously worked with VLC media player with no setup). It's a bit of a hassle to drag media center over to the TV as the TV is basically just a 3rd monitor on my computer. And it's a hassle to have to switch sound output from the computer speakers to the receiver via the control panel. But it sure beats Directv's $90/month.
  15. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,472   +377

    I was considering on buying something like the current generation Mac Mini to handle ALL of my media needs. Specifically the Mac Mini because of the space constraints I have in my entertainment center as well as the power one of those little buggers can have. I ended up going the extra long HDMI cable route. At least the cable is mostly out of the way and has been run to minimize interference with foot traffic.

    Even after the effort I watch a a lot of things on my main screen, go figure.
  16. mevans336

    mevans336 TS Enthusiast Posts: 161   +11

    The Boxee App doesn't need a Boxee box. :)
  17. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    Use my PS3, if that can't play it I just switch to my PC directly hooked up to my TV, the PS3 is more of a convenience than anything else. Also use another i7 system to stream in other rooms of the house. And a third PC for the living-room/kitchen. The whole house can be connected to any PC at any time so media streamers aren't a necessity really.
  18. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TS Evangelist Posts: 646   +89

    At the moment my Bravia has built in Netflix support along with some other stuff such as Pandora BUT if it were up to me, I would have bought a television that did absolutely NOTHING but displays channels and display them well. I'd rather have a Media Streaming Box that specializes in streaming media do it for me properly rather than my TV do it a bit half assed, which it does.
  19. WaveZero

    WaveZero TS Enthusiast Posts: 42

    There is no way I would buy a dedicated media centre, unless it was one of those open source android ones where I can customise. I have a dedicated HTPC for my HDTV, I have a dedicated remote or I could use my tablet as a remote as well, works very good with XBMC.

    From what I can understand, a media box isn't all that great since as soon as a new format comes out you would have to start re-encoding your TV shows, while for a computer you still have the power for software decoding. For example, I haven't seen a dedicated media box that supports 10bit, since in fact there isn't hardware decoding for 10bit videos yet. So only software is possible.
  20. rvnwlfdroid

    rvnwlfdroid TS Booster Posts: 177   +41

    I've opted for the HTPC. Mostly because I had enough parts laying around to build a decent set-up.
  21. Outlaw88

    Outlaw88 TS Rookie

    We got rid of our satellite TV nearly 2 years ago and have been using Roku and a HD antennae for television and have been very happy to watch shows when we want it. Took some getting used to though I might add. And occasionally will stream videos from my laptop to the TV. The only thing we really miss is watching sports. If anyone knows of any good sports channels that has NFL and college football, please post here.
  22. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 956   +515

    I don't bother. I have an expensive sound system that plugs into my laptop. And then I just use my laptop for media as I do not need to worry about sharing atm :)
  23. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,268   +437

    Dedicated htpc with xbmc plus harmony one remote.

    I had my Opteron 170 collecting dust after I went to a i7 chip so perfect use for it.
  24. Since I'm on an almost inexistent budget, I'm planning on getting a raspberry pi with xbmc; I can run a network cable from the router since they're not too far from each other and pull the files from a WD My Book WE II. Put a bluetooth dongle and control the box from my smartphone.

    I'm a linux illiterate, but I hope this won't be THAT hard to achieve
  25. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 139   +33

    I have multiple Zotac ZBox systems using a modified PVR copy of XBMC. Don't do a lot of Internet streaming, but they all link into a MediaPortal live TV server that also has around 400 movies that I ripped from my Blu-Ray and DVD collection. Works very well for me and keeps the kids from scratching up all my physical media.

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