Plex on Roku? Or just get AppleTV... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-07-2012, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I've pretty much decided to get a Roku 2 XD to hook up to our 50" Viera plasma. It'll be used for Netflix, streaming college football games, and as a Plex client.

The other option is to go with AppleTV; it doesn't have the college football channel I want, but I could use AirPlay to stream from the computer to the device, and it'd be simple to stream our movies from iTunes to it. It also doesn't have as many channels, which is a drawback, and is more expensive.

Like I said, I think I've settled on the Roku, but I want to see if anyone out there can vouch that Plex works well and would be wife-friendly to use? Or should I just go with the AppleTV for simplicity's sake?
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-07-2012, 11:37 AM
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I have note fully completed my setup but I can vouch for Plex. The interface is 100% simple and intuitive for end-users. Media plays with ease, and what I really love is that it plays my movies that are encoded with HD tracks (was worried it wouldn't translate w/o a receiver). Back-end setup can take a little bit of work, but once implemented it is great. My memory fails me, but the XD is wireless only? If you can/want, consider the version that includes ethernet in case your network gets over-saturated.

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post #3 of 27 Old 06-07-2012, 12:30 PM
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I can also vouch for Plex. I don't have a Roku but have Plex running on a spare computer connected to my bedroom TV. I also have a PlayOn lifetime subscription and it doesn't compare to Plex when it comes to streaming reliability IMO. Interface is easy to use and it pulls in all of the metadata (cover art, episode summary, etc.) for your video collection. The Netflix plugin's interface is also pretty good if you decide not to use the one on the Roku.

As stated above, you'll more than likely want to get a wired solution for any internet content and HD video.
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-07-2012, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Epyon415 View Post

I have note fully completed my setup but I can vouch for Plex. The interface is 100% simple and intuitive for end-users. Media plays with ease, and what I really love is that it plays my movies that are encoded with HD tracks (was worried it wouldn't translate w/o a receiver). Back-end setup can take a little bit of work, but once implemented it is great. My memory fails me, but the XD is wireless only? If you can/want, consider the version that includes ethernet in case your network gets over-saturated.

Good to know, thanks. The UI and streaming quality it what I'm really wondering about with Plex. Sounds like they've worked out the bugs they had in previous releases.

Just for reference - what do you use to rip/encode your movies? Handbrake?
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Originally Posted by travon802 View Post

I can also vouch for Plex. I don't have a Roku but have Plex running on a spare computer connected to my bedroom TV.

I have Plex running on our laptop too, and really like it (even though we rarely use it). I'm just wondering if the Roku client has had it's bugs worked out yet, since I had read some issues about audio problems, poor video quality in dark scenes, etc.
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-07-2012, 01:39 PM
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I have a Roku2 XD. It's excellent for Plex. The Apple TV Plex is in hibernation until either apps come to the ATV3 or there is a jailbreak, which may never happen.

I would think about the Roku2 XS for the Ethernet.

Philip
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-07-2012, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

I have a Roku2 XD. It's excellent for Plex. The Apple TV Plex is in hibernation until either apps come to the ATV3 or there is a jailbreak, which may never happen.
I would think about the Roku2 XS for the Ethernet.
Philip

That's the thing - with AppleTV I wouldn't need Plex, as I could stream directly from my iTunes library (just means I'd have to copy a movie from the external drive to iTunes first). This is what's giving me pause.

Basically, here's my list of pros/cons:

AppleTV:
+ Integration with iTunes library for streaming movies/music to TV (wouldn't need a 3rd party app)
+ AirPlay for any apps that I can't get (specifically the sports channels)
- Would have to copy movies from hard drive to iTunes before watching
- Not nearly as many apps
- More expensive

Roku:
+ Has a lot more apps
+ Would be able to stream directly from external hard drive
+ Cheaper
- Would have to use Plex to stream movies/music to TV <-- I'm curious as to whether or not this is really a con or not. Sounds like it probably isn't
- No AirPlay for any random things I feel like streaming to the TV (not a big deal)

Also, if my server (new iMac) is wireless, will it really make a difference if the Roku is a wired connection? Seems like both would need to be wired for it to really be a benefit, and connecting the iMac isn't really an option due to placement in our house.
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post #7 of 27 Old 06-07-2012, 08:58 PM
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Hmm ... this is not obvious. Most of the Roku apps are not appealing to me. Plex is nice and I do use it wirelessly to my Roku2 XD. I don't stream Blu-ray stuff though. I used to have an ATV2 with Plex but it went when I got the ATV3. I quite like mirroring from the iPad to it. You have more apps that way than the Roku! If Hulu+ is something you want then you would choose the Roku I guess. I think the ATV3 is better, has a better future and is a superior choice for people with iDevices.

I am stumped. Why not get both :}

philip

Edit: On an unrelated note, what on earth have they done to this forum?
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-09-2012, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blakeyj08 View Post

Good to know, thanks. The UI and streaming quality it what I'm really wondering about with Plex. Sounds like they've worked out the bugs they had in previous releases.
Just for reference - what do you use to rip/encode your movies? Handbrake?
I have Plex running on our laptop too, and really like it (even though we rarely use it). I'm just wondering if the Roku client has had it's bugs worked out yet, since I had read some issues about audio problems, poor video quality in dark scenes, etc.

For my Blu-rays I use makemkv + megui (i shrink the video res to 720p and maintain the lossless audio). DVDs I use handbrake. Works perfectly for my needs. Also I have to add that Plex makes music organization very smooth and the Plex It! feature which lets you tag videos from the web for later viewing is also a very nice bonus!

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post #9 of 27 Old 06-10-2012, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Epyon415 View Post

For my Blu-rays I use makemkv + megui (i shrink the video res to 720p and maintain the lossless audio). DVDs I use handbrake. Works perfectly for my needs. Also I have to add that Plex makes music organization very smooth and the Plex It! feature which lets you tag videos from the web for later viewing is also a very nice bonus!

I'm baffled as to why would anyone change the resolution on a bluray movie. Mind as well buy a DVD instead.


As for ripping movies, I used ClownBD in conjunction with AnyDVD HD for my bluray. I only rip the main movie with HD sound and a secondary AC3 sound track. DVD movies, I ripped them with MakeMKV. I have ripped 3 movies with MakeMKV for testing purposes. I like that MakeMKV will rip the main movie only, with HD sound track and secondary sound track, with subs, and it keeps the chapters as well. However, I've had issues with lag and stuttering when streaming to my AIOS media player located in my bedroom. I also had some issues with the video looking like if it was in slow motion when I played them on my Dune Smart Series D1 media player. So, I ended up ripping all my BD movies with ClownBD since I don't have any issues with it.

As far as Roku vs ATV goes, I 99.99% recommend the Roku. However, there are instances where people are used to iTunes and have a lot of iDevices. Then I usually recommend the ATV since they are already use to the UI.

I also recommend the WDTV2. I bought one for my parents, and it plays Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Pandora and other apps. I was very surprised to find that it would play the highest resolution with Vudu content HDX wireless without any issues.

You also have to remember none of these devices support True HD sound or DTS HD. If you don't care about that then Roku or ATV will do fine.

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post #10 of 27 Old 06-10-2012, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

I'm baffled as to why would anyone change the resolution on a bluray movie. Mind as well buy a DVD instead.

You've truly become a video snob. smile.gif I've encoded in 1080 and 720 and on my 60" DLP set I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference. I'm sure if I took still shots of scenes and compared them side by side then you'd likely see some differences, but lets face it that isn't how you watch a movie. 720 is way better than DVD and easily noticeable.

I'm currently using the first gen Roku with Roksbox which is streaming from my Synology NAS. Does the job perfectly and yes there's no HD audio...I've also reduced to 720 for file size/less encoding time and the Roku has less issues with it. It will play it at 1080 but it seems a little sluggish with starting them, at least the first gen....don't know about the Roku 2's.

I'm decrypting with DVDFab decrypter, movie only, and using Handbrake for conversion. I use Clown BD/BDSup2Sub/MakeMKV for the more difficult movies with forced subs and then burn in the subs with Handbrake. I found when decrypting with DVDFab I had to check remove HD audio or I ended up with horrible audio/video sync issues after encoding.

I also picked up the ATV 3 a couple of months ago and it plays the movies just fine as well but still requires iTunes to do so...maybe this weeks WWDC announcements will bring some good news on that front. A new iOS on the ATV may open it up to new vulnerabilities.
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post #11 of 27 Old 06-10-2012, 04:43 PM
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If I were to judge both platforms purely on ease-of-use and technical know-how required to set up, I would say the Roku would be on top for ease of use, based on my research, Mind you, I have never used a Roku. It supports Plex only. On the other hand, if you're OK with knowing everything about jailbreaking and it's intricacies/limitations (SHSH Blobs, time to wait for jailbreak, device specifics, etc), go with the Apple TV. The Apple TV supports both XBMC and Plex.

XBMC requires some work for setting up everything across multiple devices, and things for XBMC change over time, so revisions of settings are eventually required. But Plex is easier to set up, and everything is contained on one server.
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post #12 of 27 Old 06-11-2012, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your help. I was waiting until today to see if Apple announced that they were opening up the ATV to outside developers; if they had I was going to get the ATV and not look back.

Since they didn't announce it, I ordered the Roku. We'll see how it performs when I get it, and if I don't like it I'll take advantage of Amazon's great return policy smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epyon415 View Post

For my Blu-rays I use makemkv + megui (i shrink the video res to 720p and maintain the lossless audio). DVDs I use handbrake. Works perfectly for my needs. Also I have to add that Plex makes music organization very smooth and the Plex It! feature which lets you tag videos from the web for later viewing is also a very nice bonus!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

As for ripping movies, I used ClownBD in conjunction with AnyDVD HD for my bluray. I only rip the main movie with HD sound and a secondary AC3 sound track. DVD movies, I ripped them with MakeMKV. I have ripped 3 movies with MakeMKV for testing purposes. I like that MakeMKV will rip the main movie only, with HD sound track and secondary sound track, with subs, and it keeps the chapters as well. However, I've had issues with lag and stuttering when streaming to my AIOS media player located in my bedroom. I also had some issues with the video looking like if it was in slow motion when I played them on my Dune Smart Series D1 media player. So, I ended up ripping all my BD movies with ClownBD since I don't have any issues with it.

Thanks to both of your for your ripping suggestions. I've just been using Handbrake. I'd tried MakeMKV on an old laptop running Linux, but went away from it when I found out it wasn't playable on the iPhone. I'll have to give some of the others you've mentioned a try.
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post #13 of 27 Old 06-13-2012, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Update for anyone who finds this thread in the future:

Got the Roku 2 XD yesterday - set it up in less than 10 minutes. Plex is awesome - smooth, fast, immediately found all of the media stored on my desktop server. No problems at all with video playback. For some reason when playing songs from iTunes there are some random hiccups, but if I really want to listen to music I'll hook up my iPod to my receiver anyway.

Overall, no regrets. I'm glad I chose the Roku over ATV, and I'm deep in the Apple ecosystem (iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad 2, and 2 iPhones in the house).
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post #14 of 27 Old 06-15-2012, 05:18 PM
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Just installed Plex on a new Roku. Now if I could stream Tivo files saved on my PC. What file format do Tivo files need to be converted to? What software is reccomended? Tivo to Go is limited – so my guess that would not be the best choice.
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post #15 of 27 Old 06-15-2012, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Just installed Plex on a new Roku. Now if I could stream Tivo files saved on my PC. What file format do Tivo files need to be converted to? What software is reccomended? Tivo to Go is limited – so my guess that would not be the best choice.

check out this thread... http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/13136-watching-tivo-files/
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post #16 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 11:25 AM
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thinking about getting a new Synology (right now have the 211j, want to get a 1512+ or 1812+) to adding Plex server to it, and then getting a pair of Rokus. Currently on Boxee, but all I do it play local media so I'd rather get something that works better and is cheaper. Can the Roku/Plex play 30GB MKV bluray backups over wired?
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post #17 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blakeyj08 View Post

Update for anyone who finds this thread in the future:
Got the Roku 2 XD yesterday - set it up in less than 10 minutes. Plex is awesome - smooth, fast, immediately found all of the media stored on my desktop server. No problems at all with video playback. For some reason when playing songs from iTunes there are some random hiccups, but if I really want to listen to music I'll hook up my iPod to my receiver anyway.
Overall, no regrets. I'm glad I chose the Roku over ATV, and I'm deep in the Apple ecosystem (iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad 2, and 2 iPhones in the house).

Thanks for the post. I don't know if you saw the discussion I started...but I'm going through the same kind of decision. Just bought an ATV3, and was kinda disappointed. I bought it to replace my Roku 1, and right now the leading contender was to return it, and get a 2 XD...and run Plex. I think you just convinced me, it's the right way to go!

CD

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post #18 of 27 Old 07-13-2012, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

Thanks for the post. I don't know if you saw the discussion I started...but I'm going through the same kind of decision. Just bought an ATV3, and was kinda disappointed. I bought it to replace my Roku 1, and right now the leading contender was to return it, and get a 2 XD...and run Plex. I think you just convinced me, it's the right way to go!
CD

I still think the Roku2 XS is worth considering ( I have both the 2XD and 2XS and they are both really good, but the XS has ethernet and a neat remote).

philip
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post #19 of 27 Old 07-14-2012, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

Thanks for the post. I don't know if you saw the discussion I started...but I'm going through the same kind of decision. Just bought an ATV3, and was kinda disappointed. I bought it to replace my Roku 1, and right now the leading contender was to return it, and get a 2 XD...and run Plex. I think you just convinced me, it's the right way to go!
CD

Glad it helped! I will say one thing, lately the audio has been cutting out when we watch episodes of Suits via Plex. It only seems to be for that show though, and I don't remember if I ripped the files using different settings or not. It usually only cuts out for 1-2 seconds maybe 3 times during a 40 minute episode, but it's mildly annoying.

Other than that small hiccup, it's still great!
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post #20 of 27 Old 10-23-2012, 11:52 PM
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I have been planning on getting Playon, and just heard about Plex. My only difficulty is that I cannot find out what Plex offers. I have yet to get my Roku (it's being shipped), but I'd like to have an idea of what channels this thing offers. I've found plenty of info. on Playon but not on Plex. Any help? Thanks so much.
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post #21 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 12:54 AM
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I have been planning on getting Playon, and just heard about Plex. My only difficulty is that I cannot find out what Plex offers. I have yet to get my Roku (it's being shipped), but I'd like to have an idea of what channels this thing offers. I've found plenty of info. on Playon but not on Plex. Any help? Thanks so much.

Go to the Plex site. They have a lot of information about Channels. i have both PlayOn and Plex on my 2 Rokus. PlayOn rarely gets used now.

philip
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post #22 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 11:23 AM
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Thanks so much. I will definitely check Plex out. I received my Roku today! I'm so excited to use it.
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post #23 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 03:14 PM
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Hi everybody,i have a Roku 2XS W/Playon installed on my pc.I Like the plugins/scripts that allow me to watch Live streaming tv(news,sports,movies etc.). Been wondering about maybe installing Plex too. So i have been trying to find out as much as possible about what's available with Plex,but so far all i've found are streaming "videos" which are something i'm not interested in.Beyond that,the only other use i've been able to find so far for Plex is for people who want to stream movies,music,or whatever,that they already own and have installed on their pc's. Again,that's not for me cuz i don't have/want to stream anything from my pc,i'm only interested in Live tv. So my question is: Is there any way to stream LIVE tv using the Plex platform?? Any plugins/scripts for live tv for Plex similar to what is available using Playon???
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post #24 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 03:24 PM
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Hi there-

I own both the ATV2 and Roku XD (wireless only). For what it's worth here are my observations of the pros and cons of both devices.

ATV2 - Works great within the Apple ecosystem, it's main strength is Airplay coupled with it's superior wireless radio (by which I mean it is dual band N, and can see and operate in the 5 ghz spec) Netflix is, IMHO a bit nicer and polished than on the Roku or just about any other device i've seen. IF you have an Ipad (also dual band) or maybe an Iphone (not dual band) streaming wireless HD content using Air Video Server / Client is fantastic. Air Video ( http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/download.html ) uses FFMEPEG to transcode just about every video codec into .mp4 on the fly at a bitrate you define, depending on your wireless networks efficacy. No jail-breaks or mods required, though a good wireless router and network optimization is key to best performance. So, if you want a good _wireless_ streamer and have at the very least an Iphone (Ipad is MUCH better for this) then the ATV is worth every penny. The biggest complaint I have with the ATV is the remote. The tiny little thing is an escape artist with it's wafer-thin profile and rounded edges it can slip into the most unlikely spots (be sure to wear underwear while operating your ATV.)

Roku XD- I just can't recommend this device for HD wireless streaming, though as someone pointed out, the wired version could be much better. Plex is an acquired taste, if you have a nice CAT5e run to the Roku, it could be your cats meow, but for me it just feels a bit clunky and afterthought. Channels, well, such as they are. Know the "secret code" and add it into your Roku via Rokus' website. I personally do not like to have to use a _website_ that is not running on my own hardware to "add" anything not offered through the "channel store." In fact, be prepared with a laptop or tablet when you setup your Roku, as you have to enter activation codes to even get the thing up and running. It feels a bit too invasive for my taste. The "secret channels" that I have added are made by 3rd parties and act more as stream aggregators and are pretty rough, though some might find the process fun, in that there is a hunt for codes, and you might feel a little thrill getting them to work. Video and Audio quality are good if not great - if you have the bandwidth available (which on the Roku XD with no eth0 and no 5ghz reception) you probably don't. If you just want bang-for-buck for a basic streamer for netflix and hulu+ then hey, this is not a bad option.

my .02
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post #25 of 27 Old 10-24-2012, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greaser View Post

Hi everybody,i have a Roku 2XS W/Playon installed on my pc.I Like the plugins/scripts that allow me to watch Live streaming tv(news,sports,movies etc.). Been wondering about maybe installing Plex too. So i have been trying to find out as much as possible about what's available with Plex,but so far all i've found are streaming "videos" which are something i'm not interested in.Beyond that,the only other use i've been able to find so far for Plex is for people who want to stream movies,music,or whatever,that they already own and have installed on their pc's. Again,that's not for me cuz i don't have/want to stream anything from my pc,i'm only interested in Live tv. So my question is: Is there any way to stream LIVE tv using the Plex platform?? Any plugins/scripts for live tv for Plex similar to what is available using Playon???

I was wondering the same thing, and after doing some looking about, the answer is no. Plex really seems to be about streaming web-content (like You-Tube ect.) and playing content from your Plex server to compatible devices. Playon seems to be gunning for Hulu and it could be interesting to see what some competition breeds. I guess it all comes down to what you want to watch and are willing to pay.
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post #26 of 27 Old 11-02-2012, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DigiHand View Post

Hi there-
I own both the ATV2 and Roku XD (wireless only). For what it's worth here are my observations ...
... my .02
peace-
-b

I own both also, so another 2 cents ...

Roku: Solid streaming, easy for the family to use, stable, wide selection, etc. Only downside is the wireless - I also suggest going for a model with an ethernet port.

ATV3: Originally bought just for my work (do gfx/trailers and wanted to view/QC my work on our plasma via airplay). Turns out the family/kids use Airplay a lot - iPad/iPhone game playing or viewing of photos/home-movies on the TV, especially when friends are over. On the rare occasion I actually "rent" a movie I'll usually use iTunes since their movies' picture quality is significantly better than Amazon or Vudu rentals, for me it's worth the $1 more it costs. Downside of course is the limited streaming channels.

Having both units works best for us.
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post #27 of 27 Old 12-15-2012, 05:20 AM
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I picked up a Roku for my bedroom, and I am trying to figure out why I am paying for directv now..I found everything I watch on plex app. Even around 85 3d movies.I love it and would recommend for anyone
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