Does the "fantasy" OTA/Streaming/OTT device exist? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-11-2015, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Does the "fantasy" OTA/Streaming/OTT device exist?

I know I can do pretty much all this with a computer. But I don't want to use a computer to consume entertainment in my living room.

I want to point a remote at a box and have magic happen...and I don't want to keep paying $150/mo. for it.

How cool would this be:

* A box with multiple tuners and a hard drive to record OTA broadcasts.
* Integrated access to OTT services (HBO, Showtime, SlingTV, etc.)
* An EPG that consolidates both OTA (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, PBS, etc) and OTT (HBO, Showtime, TBS, TNT, etc.) service broadcasts in a single, searchable grid.
* Integrated access to streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, etc.)
* Integrated access to content within Plex / Kodi / media servers.
* All with a ten-foot interface that works with a remote.

I tried the TiVo Roamio. It comes VERY close...but no cigar. I imagine the Channel Master DVR+ (and products like it) also come close.

Does something like this exist? Or perhaps the better question is, "does it exist yet?"

And if not...WHY NOT?
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-12-2015, 11:49 AM
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Based on that list, sounds like you really want access to online streaming services, and TiVo Roamio has you covered there. The Channel Master DVR+ has the program grid style guide for all it's sources as you mention, but doesn't have many services - it doesn't even have Netflix yet. Boxes like the Roku do have the ability to search all of it's installed Apps for programs, though I never liked the interface (why I actually returned my Roku 3 last year), especially for live feeds since it has no guide system at all. The DVR+ is a step in the right direction but has a long way to go, though there has been talk lately of hacking the firmware for Plex access and custom streams, so you may want to keep your eye on that.

As for why such a device doesn't exist, I assume there are a lot of issues with licensing and so on. Getting a bunch of companies to all play nice and have an app on your platform isn't easy.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-12-2015, 01:08 PM
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My Tablo does most of that, and you have your choice of a Roku, FireTv, or AndroidTv device hooked up to your TV.

When I want to watch OTA TV, I use the Tablo app. When I want to watch SlingTv, I use the SlingTv app. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the rest all all integrated as well. I can use one remote to control them all.

The one thing it won't do is consolidate everything into one single grid. Mohu Channels tries to do that, but I haven't heard too many good things about their interface.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-12-2015, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CanadaJimmy View Post
Based on that list, sounds like you really want access to online streaming services, and TiVo Roamio has you covered there. The Channel Master DVR+ has the program grid style guide for all it's sources as you mention, but doesn't have many services - it doesn't even have Netflix yet. Boxes like the Roku do have the ability to search all of it's installed Apps for programs, though I never liked the interface (why I actually returned my Roku 3 last year), especially for live feeds since it has no guide system at all. The DVR+ is a step in the right direction but has a long way to go, though there has been talk lately of hacking the firmware for Plex access and custom streams, so you may want to keep your eye on that.

As for why such a device doesn't exist, I assume there are a lot of issues with licensing and so on. Getting a bunch of companies to all play nice and have an app on your platform isn't easy.
I tried the TiVo Roamio OTA and the Tablo. The Roamio is *almost* everything, except for apps or access to OTT stuff like SlingTV, HBO or Showtime...

...though HBO app is still exclusive to the Apple ecosystem for a while longer.

Maybe HBO & Showtime & SlingTV apps will come to TiVo. If that were the case, there would be virtually NO reason to have cable anymore.

(Or maybe someone will offer my fantasy device...)
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-12-2015, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by snowcat View Post
My Tablo does most of that, and you have your choice of a Roku, FireTv, or AndroidTv device hooked up to your TV.

When I want to watch OTA TV, I use the Tablo app. When I want to watch SlingTv, I use the SlingTv app. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the rest all all integrated as well. I can use one remote to control them all.

The one thing it won't do is consolidate everything into one single grid. Mohu Channels tries to do that, but I haven't heard too many good things about their interface.
Tried the Tablo. Wasn't for me. As I stated, I don't want to access my OTA entertainment in the living room with a keyboard and a mouse via something "computer-y." I want a box with a remote that works with a "ten-foot interface." I didn't see a way to use Tablo with a remote in the way I'd like. Although to be fair, I was accessing the Tablo content via my Mac Mini, not a Roku or other device.

The TiVo was MUCH MUCH closer to what I was looking for...close, but no cigar.

If there were a way for me to build the functionality I'm looking for into my home theater Mac Mini (which I use with Plex to store and play the content that I own), I'd do it in a HEARTBEAT.

Last edited by msloane; 06-12-2015 at 05:15 PM.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-12-2015, 05:48 PM
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If you didn't use a Roku or other streaming device, then you probably did have a bad experience. The Tablo certainly doesn't need a keyboard. On these devices, it acts very similar to any other streaming app.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-12-2015, 08:03 PM
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The DVR+ might get there. They have three Internet apps that work like I think Netflix, Amazon Prime or Sling.tv would work .... the app is listed in the channel guide, you select it and it loads the app. You are then using that service's interface. They currently have YouTube, Pandora and Vudu that work this way. It's an easier interface for non-technical people.

If the DVR+ adds the ability to play my home media in a similar fashion using something like Plex, I would be very, very happy with it.

The streaming Internet channels they just added don't seem to have guide information yet. The demo they showed at CES did have guide information, so perhaps it is still coming. It's a step in the right direction, and with my ethernet connection, the streaming channels display in pretty good quality after a few seconds (it starts playing very quickly, but at a much lower resolution for the first 15 - 20 seconds). I've enjoyed catching some interesting interviews on Bloomberg and the news on Sky News and BBC News.

But the magical "convergence device" that seamlessly puts all of our media choices ... OTA, Internet apps, home media and OTT pay services ... is not here yet.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-20-2015, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msloane View Post
The TiVo was MUCH MUCH closer to what I was looking for...close, but no cigar.

If there were a way for me to build the functionality I'm looking for into my home theater Mac Mini (which I use with Plex to store and play the content that I own), I'd do it in a HEARTBEAT.
Doesn't exist but if you add a Roku to the Tivo you're done. What you want will not happen anytime soon, IMO.
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