ROKU Netflix Player -first impressions - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 46 Old 10-19-2008, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kaffeen View Post

From what I understand of the Roku box, they aren't doing anything differently than all the other devices capable of playing Netflix. Hence, whatever you get out of your computer is very likely to compare with the Roku (perhaps some degradation with wireless). I think the wireless in the Roku is only wireless-g, but I could be wrong.

I have a 50' Plasma (Panasonic) and if the movies via Netflix are of decent quality (source), then it is DVD quality with 720p on my Television. This is not via Roku, but instead via HP MediaSmart Connect X280N. I was watching Weeds the other day and it looked almost as good via Showtime HD. No joke.

No wireless degradation that I have observed. Suppose you could see some loss if you are too far away, but otherwise, does not see to be an issue. The quality is quite good, as I've mentioned. Of course, some older source material is not so hot, but so far I'd say 80-90% is tops, near DVD quality. Certainly as good or better than broadcast quality. I've been very pleased.
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post #32 of 46 Old 10-19-2008, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kaffeen View Post

Oh BTW,

The DRM for Netflix is just a registry key (that is not tied to any CPU or computer, it is generated by Netflix when you install their player).
....

Yes, the tricks are there, but I seriously doubt that this will be an issue for most people. It's only *simultaneous" use that is limited. I guess for some it could be an issue if you have a large family and everyone watches independently, but I think 4 simultaneous viewers is reasonable.

My focus was on Roku players. The registry hack does not affect them and with such reasonable pricing by Netflix, I doubt there will be much incentive to defeat this restriction. As you point out, with the PC/laptop 'license' expiring after a week, few will ever encounter an issue.

Thanks for the posts and info!
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post #33 of 46 Old 10-21-2008, 05:22 PM
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I Ordered the NetFlic Roku box Saturday or Sunday. It arrived today about 3:00 PM. I set it up in about twenty minutes. The only hard part was finding an extension cord for power.

I have an 8' by 4.5' retroflective screen on which my InFocus X1 projects an excellent picture. I have Denon electronics (receiver and DVD player). The receiver is hooked up to my Comcast receiver with component cables. I have the Comcast HD service even though my projector is not HD. However the pq with the cable HD sources are at least a little better than DVD.

So the question I resolved to answer at once was - How does a modern movie on the NetFlix box compare to the same movie broadcast (narrowcast actually) on Comcast OnDemand HD? I have AT&T Internet access which runs at over 5Mbps for downloads. I max out on the NetFlix connection quality scale.

(drumroll)

I played the new version of Sleuth on Comcast and on NetFlix Roku. With my receiver's remote Comcast is under button 5 and the Roku is under 6. It's easy to start both up and then switch back and forth between the two. Both yield a perfectly watchable nine foot picture - but the Comcast HD picture is clearly better. It's just sharper. Also the Roku picture jumps a little.

I like a great picture much as the next man, but the Roku is just fine for its intended purpose. Now that Starz has content on NetFlix Watch Instantly I can see a lot of the same movies from either provider. I would of course always choose Comcast HD - it's just better.

I will try to post a similar comparison of a DVD and Comcast SD material.
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post #34 of 46 Old 10-21-2008, 06:03 PM
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I ordered two of these and they will arrive Friday. My expectation is more going to be how do they compare to DVD. I just flat out don't expect them to compare to HD.
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post #35 of 46 Old 10-22-2008, 11:06 AM
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After I hooked up my Roku box I watched a NetFlix DVD that I got in the mail that day. About half way in the picture froze. Apparently my Denon DVD-910 has had a mechanical failure. It makes a lind of soft thudding noise.

So I have no DVD player now. I could cancel NetFlix but then my Roku would also be cancelled. I could buy a new Blu-ray player but prices are supposted to drop precipitously after Christmass. I could buy a cheap DVD player but that is probably just money wasted. The LG combo NetFix streamer and Blu-ray player looks attractive but I just bought the Roku unit.

What do you think, does the Roku unit send out some kind of signal to kill your DVD player as soon as it's hooked up?
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post #36 of 46 Old 10-22-2008, 02:05 PM
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One option is too...

Put your Netflix account on hold for up to 90 days.
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post #37 of 46 Old 10-22-2008, 02:10 PM
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you could just drop your account to the lowest level (1 out at a time) and just keep using your roku player...

heck, you could pick up a dvd player for dirt cheap if it really matters that much...

- chris

 

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post #38 of 46 Old 10-23-2008, 12:45 PM
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The problem with getting a new DVD player is the remote control. If you have a Denon receiver and a Denon DVD player its easy to use only one remote. Add another brand DVD player and you have to either "train" a universal remote or have yet another little box that gets lost in the dark. Currently I have an InFocus remote (turns on the projector and adjusts aspect ratio), A Comcast remote (chooses channels, controls the VCR and OnDemand), a Denon remote (tuerns the receiver on, controls the sound and the DVD player, switchs between DVD, cable, and Roku), and finally the Roku remote. I have a IR to RF relay so some remotes have different pointing directions.

I want to upgrade everyting but in this order: projector, receiver, and finally a Blu-ray player. I'm planning on some under $1,000 720 projector and a receiver that does HDMI switching (probably three into one). I don't really care about Blu-ray but a good new DVD with HDMI will cost about the same as a Blu-ray player after Christmass so why not? I want to get rid of all the component cables and simplify the remote controls.

I don't care much about Blu-ray because I usually watch and buy very low quality DVDs. I watch a lot of opera DVDs. For example I recently bought from the House of Opera site four complete version of Verdi's Don Carlo (tenors:Pavarotti, Carreras, Domingo, Giaccomini). Some of these are nearly commercial quality, some are pirate recordings from a camera by some guy in the audience, some are old kinescopes, many have Korean or German subtitles. I have rented a lot of opera DVDs from NetFlix. Most of these are decent quality. There are no Blu-ray opera disks as yet on NetFlix. Although the Met may release some new Blu-ray recordings this year. For me content trumps quality.

I watched Roku last night. I compared the new movie Hoax on Comcast cable with the same version on Roku. In this case, to my surprise, I chose to watch it on Roku. Here's why.

I have the Comcast HD service. They have new movies in the OnDemand for Starz premium service customers in HD or SD or both. But only the very newest movies are shown in HD. After a month or so they are only available in SD. This is currently the case with Hoax. I could watch this exact same print either in 4:3 on Comcast or in 16:9 on Roku. On my set up both pictures are four and a half feet high but the Comcast picture is six feet wide while the Roku picture is eight feet wide. The Comcast cable picture is slightly higher quality than the Roku picture but it's very, very close. The "natural" 16:9 eight foot wide Roku picture is more pleasant to watch than the pillarboxed Comcast picture. Of course last month Hoax was probably shown in 16:9 HD. Last month I would probably have watched it on Comcast OnDemand.

But maybe not. The Roku/NetFlix menu and remote system is easier to use than the Comcast. I didn't finish watching Hoax. I stopped about half way through and went to bed. On Comcast I would have to find that movie again in the menus - not easy - it could have been in any of several sub menus. Then I would have to fast forward through an hour of the movie to get to where I had quit. With Roku I just go back to the movie - very easy - and choose to resume.

Some people complain that you have to "pre-load" your Roku on screen menu from the NetFlic web screen. This is true but it is an advantage. The web site has good search and navigation facilities. You just load up twenty to fifty movies you think you might want to watch. Then at night when you browse the menu with your remote you only have to look at movies you might concievably want to watch.
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post #39 of 46 Old 10-23-2008, 03:47 PM
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The Roku player is fun. I like the interface and ease of use.

My problem is my DSL speed. It maxes out at around 2Mbps down. The pq from the resulting 2 dot quality level is not acceptable on my 133" screen. I've forced it to the max 4 dot level. That is watchable but after about 20-30 minutes it has to re-buffer and that takes about 3 minutes.

I hope they release a new box with a HDD. I would think this would be a must when HD content becomes available.

Joe
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post #40 of 46 Old 10-23-2008, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles J P View Post

I ordered two of these and they will arrive Friday. My expectation is more going to be how do they compare to DVD. I just flat out don't expect them to compare to HD.

That's exactly how I saw it, also, and I was very satisfied.
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post #41 of 46 Old 10-23-2008, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bron View Post

That's exactly how I saw it, also, and I was very satisfied.

me too... best 99 bucks i've spent in a long time...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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post #42 of 46 Old 10-23-2008, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

me too... best 99 bucks i've spent in a long time...

Agreed, best cheap new fun. A sign of the future.

One has to wonder what Netflix is planning for the future. Some smart people in that company. The LG player announcement is interesting.

As to pq, I'd have to put it between VHS and DVD. Now whether that is straight VHS or S-VHS quality I can't say. Must be 5 years since I watched that old format.

Joe
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post #43 of 46 Old 10-24-2008, 08:25 AM
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i have easily gotten my money's worth out of it, and then some...

i find pq to be more than acceptable (fed through an edge to my pio display)...

i personally believe that sometimes people get caught up a bit too much in "pq wars" (not referencing people in this thread, but in others), and have forgotten that the real objective is to be able to watch movies...

that doesn't mean i'm giving up either my bluray or hddvd player... but i'd rather watch a "good" movie via the roku than "eye candy" through those...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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post #44 of 46 Old 10-24-2008, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

i have easily gotten my money's worth out of it, and then some...

i find pq to be more than acceptable (fed through an edge to my pio display)...

i personally believe that sometimes people get caught up a bit too much in "pq wars" (not referencing people in this thread, but in others), and have forgotten that the real objective is to be able to watch movies...

that doesn't mean i'm giving up either my bluray or hddvd player... but i'd rather watch a "good" movie via the roku than "eye candy" through those...

Well said. After I installed the box I watched a number of the old Dick Van Dyke episodes. Had forgotten how good that show was and how good Mary Tyler Moore looked back then. The episode where she dances on the Alan Brady show; Wow!

Joe
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post #45 of 46 Old 10-24-2008, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bronco70 View Post

Well said. After I installed the box I watched a number of the old Dick Van Dyke episodes. Had forgotten how good that show was and how good Mary Tyler Moore looked back then. The episode where she dances on the Alan Brady show; Wow!

Joe

I just checked and the Dick Van Dyke Show episodes aren't available as "Watch Instantly".
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post #46 of 46 Old 10-24-2008, 05:20 PM
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The real change in home entertainment that overshadows all others is FTTH (Fiber To The Home). Currently some people get their Internet connection through cable and some others through DSL. That means the attachment at their home is either a co-axial copper cable or copper twisted pair. In reality both technologies are mostly optical fiber. It's just the "last half mile" that's coax or TP.

In general your DSL speed increases the closer you are to the optical fiber. Coax speed is also affected but its not as noticeable. I live on the top of a hill in Oakland. I have watched the fiber getting closer to me for the last half dozen years or so. When it finally gets here I will have no stinky Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) in my Internet connection. At that time the little Roku box will have no problem with full 1080p HDTV. There will be no difference between the phone connection to the Internet and the cable TV connection. Both will run at greater than LAN speeds. Most Ethernet LANs run at 10Mbps or 100Mbps. Some server networks run at gigabit speeds. All of these speeds are easy to acheive over optical fiber.

After FTTH is widespread the network bottle necks will be gone. The server and DBMSs will still need work but within five yeras or so there will be VOD services that allow subscribers to see essentially any movie ever made instantly (or nearly so). That's why Blu-ray may never really catch on. Who needs it if you can choose any film at the highest resolution at any time?

The Roku is a winner and it will only get better with higher speed and a bigger library.
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