Beast/Cheapest TV Streaming Solution?
AppleTV is only worth it if you can find a Gen2, jailbreak it and then install XBMC and Navi-x
many TV's now have these features built in, so its not necessary to add a separate option.
your better bet is to find the tv you want that supports whatever viewing service you'd like to use.
now we're a few weeks later and it is the greatest gift. I barely even watch cable TV anymore, it's all Netflix or HBO GO. If it weren't for live sports events, I'd honestly cancel cable and stick with the Roku box.
I think my Blu-Ray player can also stream Netflix or Hulu Plus, and so you may want to look at a few options there (as well as TV's that can stream), but we just stick with the Roku for ease of use. Both the Roku and a Blu-Ray player with streaming capabilities should be cheaper than Apple TV.
I dunno, I have a TV that has Netflix built it and it is slow and laggy. Don't have that problem with the PS3 or Roku box.
I picked up a Roku LT for like $30 as a Goldbox deal one day.
TV installed options suck balls. Sometimes they work fine for a while, but then somebody updates their API and the TV maker has already decided to stop issuing firmware updates for their 2 year old TV so you are SOL. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not buy a new TV until my old one breaks which I sure hope isn't after 2 years.
A 1080p roku can be had for like $50 on sale and will have regular software updates and work for a long time (and you can move it between TVs if you upgrade without having to figure out a new interface). And if some new company comes out with a streaming service--like the upcoming Verizon/RedBox streaming service--the roku will probably support it while your TV won't.
The only thing a Roku can't do directly is play video files from a thumb drive or network share. You can use something like Plex to do it and it works fine...but it would be easier if you could just play files without having to install Plex.
Completely agree on smart TV's. I have yet to play with one that ran well. The UI's almost always suck too.
Everything is kept in the "channel" paradigm so you can just make sure your mom knows she needs to tune to the netflix channel or whatever and it works great.
Had an experience with a WDTV Live a couple of years ago. I am sure they have improved, but they were a lot worse than the roku. They *could* play files from USB/network shares, but other than that, they sucked. The thing was buggy, and the interface for something like netflix was a joke--you didn't actually have a full featured search & browse function on the TV--the best way to add something from netflix was to use a computer to add it to your instant queue, and then go load your instant queue on the WDTV. A lot of smart TVs and BluRay players with netflix also seem to work this way...
Go Roku and if you want to get really crazy look into Usenet, Plex Media Server/Client and Sickbeard PVR. Combine that with Netflix and you can ditch cable/satellite (provided you don't care about live sports).
Here's a helpful link: