Any reviews on the smart TVs, or other smart devices and streaming without Hulu plus or Netflix - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-26-2014, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Like it says, does anyone have any experience with using the Smart TVs or other smart devices, and streaming without using some subscription service such as Netflix, or Hulu plus. Basically I do all TV watching using my laptop, an HDMI cable, and any website I can get content off of for free, including but not limited to Hulu.com(the free site, not Plus) the network TV sites, etc... I'd like to get a new TV that can handle this task(I really don't understand why it seems all the "smart" tvs can't get to the real internet, just this app based weak crap). Or is there a hardwired capable device(aside from my laptop, or an HTPC which I don't want an HTPC) that will do what I am after. I don't a;ways want to use my laptop connected to the TV for watching content, but it is the most reliable method, as my OTA antenna sucks, and I refuse to go back to satellite/cable until I can pay for and receive only the channels I want(at a cost significantly lower than the packages offered now of course). I flatly refuse to pay for Oprahs fat ass when I never watch her, or for the alternative lifestyle channels, or the god wad channels...

I've tried Chromecast, and I wasn't impressed, I couldn't get the video over at full hd thru network sites, and the sound was stuck at stereo, and could not be set to surround(I have HD now thru network sites, with surround when using my laptop and the HDMI cable) . I've also tried a streaming stick, but since it used the WIFI it was wicked slow(just like Chromecast, and yes I have wireless N, and my laptop says I'm connected at 144mbs...) When using the laptop and the HDMI cable I have absolutely no lag(buffering), and no hiccups at all, even when my wife is streaming something also on another TV(same setup as I am using).
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-26-2014, 04:46 PM
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I think tv's with full internet access are coming like you want but you will always be limited to what the mfr wants you to use and how. My tv is not smart and I bought it that way on purpose. However, it's hard to find a good tv nowadays that isn't smart but you don't have to use it and should be able to disable it without getting constant reminders etc. That being said, I use an AppleTV2 for my streaming (Netflix, etc), and OTA for network television (reception for us is perfect). OTA is discrete 5.1 as is most of the stuff we stream. The blu-ray player also has apps, and even though there's redundancy, it has some that the ATV2 doesn't and vice versa. Most of our streaming is thru that ATV2 though. Both devices are hardwired to the router via CAT-6 and a giga switch so we don't have to depend on WiFi (which is excellent for us). If I want to use the big screen and my laptop for "full internet access" I just connect with an HDMI cable or use the AppleTV to mirror my MacBook Air. We just pay for Netflix.

There are other STBs that do the same thing as the AppleTV so you do have choices. As far as complete internet access with the apps of your choice, it appears that your choices are limited to an HDMI cable or an HTPC. I don't use DLNA but that may be another option but someone else who is versed in that will have to respond.
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-26-2014, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Apples upset my stomach so I avoid them...


I've looked at Roku, etc... and none of them do what I want. I've even emailed their tech support and asked them if their product will do what I want and they have said no. How does the ATV do when accessing things like Hulu free, or network websites(I don't care about apps, I want real live internet)? Can your bluray access those things? If so what model is it?
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-26-2014, 08:10 PM
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You can't access "real" websites via ATV, or any other streaming device that I know of. For what you want to do, you'll need a computer.
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-27-2014, 06:07 AM
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I have a samsung smart tv but since buying a chromecast I haven't used the smart feature since. Chromecast works great for me.

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post #6 of 10 Old 01-28-2014, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

You can't access "real" websites via ATV, or any other streaming device that I know of. For what you want to do, you'll need a computer.

This tv here: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/50-class-49-1-2-diag--led-1080p-60hz-smart-hdtv/5485291.p?id=1218652749320&skuId=5485291&st=pcmcat193400050018_categoryid$abcat0101001&cp=1&lp=12#tab=overview claims to be able to surf the internet. So either, it is highly limited, or it is falsely advertised, and since BBY doesn't have them set up for testing of all features...

I also have seen the devices like this: http://www.netgear.com/landing/stream/tv/#googletv claims to have chrome in it. So it stands to reason that if I can watch the site thru chrome on the laptop, then I should be able to watch it thru chrome on this device too.

I have tried a streaming stick from wallyworld(yeah I know, but returns over the internet suck) and it could do the real internet, but it was wicked slow, choppy, and completely unacceptable for any price point.

I guess what I am looking for is a BTDT from someone that has such a tv or streaming box, or advice on a retailer that might have such a beast hooked up so I can play with it before i leave the store. I don't wanna spend a ton of time lugging around a 55in tv because its features didn't work as advertised. Much easier to return a streaming box than a 55in tv...
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-28-2014, 04:55 PM
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My son has that tv. He says the web browser is slow, lame, and your limited to what Samsung will allow you to do. In other words, it is no where near as useful and functional as your laptop if you're thinking of using it for some serious browsing. Pandora, Hulu, Netflix are ok but he mostly uses Netflix. If he wants to "big screen" browse, he just connects his laptop via HDMI. The Netgear box might work for you but my guess is that you'll be limited in what Google wants you to use and Chrome will be hobbled somewhat. It might not be a bad idea to check out the Netgear box though. It may work for you and it would be a lot easier to return as you said than a tv.
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-22-2014, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Big screen browse isn't what I am looking for, I want to go to abc.com, or cbs.com, etc... and stream the previuos nights, or weeks episode of my favorite shows since I don't have cable anymore(way too pricey for the channels I do want, and no way to refuse the channels I don't want a t a huge discount). OTA here really sucks with my CEC box, and the UHF/VHF antenna I have in my attic now(it came with the house, and I'm not moving it ATM). My other tv is hooked up to a UHF only antenna and gets somewhat better reception(especially in attic), but the channel I like to watch for news is VHF with no repeaters that I can pick up. I don't care about netflix or hulu paid subs ATM as every device out there will do that with no issues. I've tried chromecast with a new router even, but since my laptop, and the chromecast aren't A/C compatible, it doesn't help enough that the router is wireless N. I have too many devices apparently, and the WIFI could not serve to the laptop, and then back to the chromecast without serious lag. I also could not get 5.1 sound or 1080 picture with the chromecast either(I realize the chromcast is no open to developers, and I tried it back in nov, but I'm not willing to try again until it gets a hardwire network option, wireless N just isn't fast enough for going form the wall to the laptop and back to the chromecast, while still haveing 2 smartphones, 4 tablets, and 3 laptops on the wifi at the same time...)
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-22-2014, 11:15 PM
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Sounds like you have a problem then. We have OTA and it works perfectly for our location (roof top antenna). 5.1 audio when broadcast. I realize that not everyone is as lucky. If you want to stream from your laptop exclusively then you're going to have to make compromises. For streaming tv, we gave up WiFi and went with an extended ethernet connection to our HTS via CAT-6. Works perfectly. WiFi is now used for our laptops only. We still stream via an AppleTV but that's apparently not what you want to do. We can connect our laptop directly to the tv (either HDMI or thru the ATV2) if we want to watch something that we can't get thru our other connections. We pay only for our internet connection and the $8 per month for Netflix.
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-23-2014, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, i'm using my laptop now with WIFI and HDMI connected to the TV. We even do that with the other tv simultaneously, and it works well, until I start trying to surf the net with another lappy, or tablet. The wireless N just doesn't have enough over head for all that, plus chromecast, or some other streaming stick. I've looked at the boxes that have Ethernet but I can't tell if the ones with chrome in them would allow me to stream from abc.com etc...
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