WOF: Do you use a dedicated media streaming box?

By Jos ยท 47 replies
Aug 31, 2012
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  1. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,374   +69

    Most people here don't use cable. We use OTA mostly, and I have a pc attached to an HDTV to use for online streaming.
  2. j05hh

    j05hh TS Booster Posts: 156   +34

    360 and Roku for Netflixs
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +858

    My LG blu-ray player has many streaming options, but I rarely use them. What I have been doing though is ripping my blu-rays to external HD's, getting rid of all the FBI warnings, previews, etc, during the rip, then playing the movies using a Patriot media player. It's one of the few players I know that will play iso files.
  4. I have a stripped down Win7 dedicated HTPC that only runs XBMC/Splash Pro, WMC and IE for Netflix. It has 6TB local storage for those 10-40GB HD videos. Then, it connects to a server that is also running Win7 (Win7, so that I can have WMC running 24/7 and record TV shows with HDHomerun Prime) to access the rest of my non-HD content, which wont be that much stressfull on my gigabit network.

    I can also access Netflix through my smart TV or my Samsung BD player. I used to have a cheap Sony BD player, which sucked a lot, compared to my Samsung, in terms of how fast it connects to Netflix and the overall performance.
  5. John Pombrio

    John Pombrio TS Rookie

    I bought a half a dozen generic media player boxes that could handle 1080P HDMI, a 2TB hard drive, 5.1 surround sound, and streaming across a network as well as being a standalone box. It handles movies and TV shows that have been ripped filling the entire drive. A huge amount of entertainment in a very small package in a easy to carry form factor. I wish I could find a replacement these days.
  6. vandrade89

    vandrade89 TS Rookie

    I actually had an idea just the other day regarding and HTPC. I have an Nintendo GameCube the is just collecting Dust. I hate to see it laying around dong nothing, so I though I would Modifie its inners to a nice to and Intel Core I w/ a SSD, >4GB RAM, and a blueray DVD optical reader. This is a project that I am very exited about and it is still work in progress. However it is coming out nicely.
  7. Chuck Cortes

    Chuck Cortes TS Rookie Posts: 53   +13

    I have a Roku, a WDTV Live, a PS3 and a Logitech Revue plus my 47 in Vizio TV has Internet apps as well. I also have a PC and an Acer Iconia A200 tablet, all of it networked to play music, videos and display pictures and also to browse the Internet.

    My favorite is the GoogleTV box Revue because it has all the features of Android including a web browser which displayed on a big screen TV in HD is beautiful. However I have to admit the Revue is limited which is why I will be replacing it with the Co-Star which is a perfect match for my 47 HDTV.
  8. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    I built myself a dvr couple years back. Run SageTv on it recording Tv and managing any videos I have stored on my hard drive. Run Netflicks on it just through FF. I keep a wireless mouse and keyboard attached to it.
  9. customcarvin

    customcarvin TS Enthusiast Posts: 103   +8

    Running 2 Raspberry Pi's with OpenELEC beta 7 (XBMC) on them...
    So far, I haven't had too many issues, and it plays back all my media from my NAS flawlessly! You can tell the software is still in its infancy, things such as video not scaling the way you tell it to (example: if you want to stretch 4:3 encoded video to 16:9), and a lot of add-ons aren't working... but, you can also tell that it has huge potential, and once everything is ironed out it will be an awesome media player for 35 bones!

    I ran into a snag with my bedroom tv, its a older sony 720p lcd. the pi didn't know what to do with the sound output... I had video with my mkv's, but no audio. It was driving me nuts, because the same pi with the same hdmi cable etc, etc, worked on my panny plasma with out issue. Then I searched the pi forums and found that I needed to "force" the hdmi output mode via a simple command in a txt file located on the root of the sd card, and voila, it worked perfectly.

    Oh, I also tried Raspbmc, and as of this writing.... OpenELEC is better IMHO.
  10. Zoltan Head

    Zoltan Head TS Booster Posts: 247   +27

  11. I use a raspberry pi which works ok. A little sluggish but what do u expect for $35. I was using XBMC but switched to Openelec on the pi. I also use VLC which streams all my shows constantly. I set it up to stream on 10 channels. For example I have all 5 seasons of Big Bang Theory streaming on channel 1 and Red Dwarf series streaming on channel 2, and my favorite music videos on channel 3, etc... Works just like a tv without the commercials so there is always something on. I don't have to click click click through menus to pick a show to watch which is a real pain. For lazy people like me it works great.
  12. Coodu

    Coodu TS Booster Posts: 173

    Currently using an Apple TV2 with the FireCore aTV flash black custom firmware, works a fine treat indeed.
  13. killeriii

    killeriii TS Enthusiast Posts: 213   +14

    I was in the market for a media box for my second TV. I picked up an Apple TV v3, but was disappointed in the support. So I picked up a WD Live TV because it seems to support EVERY format available. I've been very happy with it for the past few months. The Apple TV looks nice where it sits, but I never use it.
    I use my PS3 on my main TV for streaming.
  14. John Freiman

    John Freiman TS Rookie

    No, only an Xbox 360 connected to most of the streaming services plus a Media Center PC. I'm getting too old to keep track of either multiple remote controls or large clunky ones where they have more buttons than my keyboard has keys. :)
    Plus, before you judge me for having a Media Center PC, I must add that if you haven't used a cable tuner from Ceton Corp, then you can't judge me. Also, I now have one PC and one Xbox 360 (plus phones etc) which I can share and stream my content around the home or via the internet without running lots of crazy programs.
    Simplicity at last.
  15. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 616   +176

    Both my Tivo and my PS3 do this fine, why pay for something that ONLY streams? $100 seems a lot to pay when a decent Blu-ray player probably does this and they only cost around $60.
  16. John Freiman

    John Freiman TS Rookie

    The "decent" Blu-ray player will likely stream content, but have you used one? It takes as long to load the Netflix app as it does to watch a TV show -- those "smart" players are really more of a nuisance than anything else.

    If you already have the Tivo (do they still require a monthly fee?) a PS3 and you likely also have a Cable box/DVR. That's all great, but if you have one Xbox 360 and already have a PC with a 2GHz processor or better, you can just add a $180 Ceton card and have a quad HDTV CableLabs certified tuner in your PC.

    Stream and control your "TV" through Xbox Media Center Extender. Not only do you remove all the clutter around your TV, but you also will save on your DVR and cable box monthly fees, share TV from your PC all around the home -- and less energy used because you only have one device.

    Sure, you don't have Blu-ray with the Xbox, but honestly, most things don't need HD 1080p video and those that do are easily rentable via the Xbox Video app.

    My 79 yo mother has switched to Media Center Extender via Xbox and she became a DVR, video, slideshow, Netflix maven in about 2 days. Much quicker than learning the PS3, the HD DVR and/or the Tivo.
  17. John Freiman

    John Freiman TS Rookie

    No disrespect to the Western Digital, or Sony, but you should return them all and replace them with an InfiniTV PCIe or USB 4xTuner card, add Extenders (MCX) or Xboxes around your home and save about $40 a month on your cable bill.
  18. DanUK

    DanUK TS Booster Posts: 211   +9

    No.. just use an xbox 360
  19. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,377   +168

    I used to have a dedicated media player, which I didn't use for streaming in large part because wifi reception near my TV is pretty bad. It broke down, however, and now I have an HTPC.
  20. killeriii

    killeriii TS Enthusiast Posts: 213   +14

    lol, I cancelled my cable years ago. I use a WHS (w/6TB storage) as a media jukebox.
    Also, I couldn't get rid of my PS3, I enjoy watching blu-rays too much. (I have a couple hundred of em now) Although, I might start doing what "TomSEA" does.
  21. stbecker

    stbecker TS Rookie Posts: 32

    Roku channels like Plex make all the difference. I can stream online or stuff from my WMC PC. PlayOn is another good one.

    I also have a small Foxconn nettop with a D510 Atom processor/HDMI-out. It barely sips power so it can stay online (uTorrent) and WMC looks nice on my TV. The WMC content is actually pulled from another PC that has more oomph to record 2 HD streams simultaneously from a SiliconDust HDHomeRun tuner.

    There's some overlap in services between HTPC and Roku so I have one hooked up to my bedroom TV and the other on my larger living room TV.
  22. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 616   +176

    I don't have a cable box, actually. Tivo HD can handle that for itself. Tivo does charge for the service but it does so much more than any other DVR including a PC media server. Based on the shows I tell it to record it records tons of other shows (which I can mark with 1-3 thumbs up or down to further refine its understanding of what I like) each day that I can scroll through and watch. These shows get deleted after about 1.5 weeks (sooner if I can tons of stuff recorded that I asked for) and give me a chance to try new shows or provide me with entertainment I know I like but that aren't important enough to instruct it to record (old episodes of The Simpsons for instance). I don't have an XBox 360 and certainly won't be buying one so I can "only" pay another $180 to be able to record TV on my computer :p
  23. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    I have a PC that only runs Plex in my TV room and a Logitech Revue w/Plex in the guest bedroom. My central fileserver also runs a Plex Media Server for all my Plex instances. All the Windows and Mac computers in the house have Plex installed.

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