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Trying to find the best media streamer for me.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys,

Mostly a lurker here. Anyhow I would like to get your opinions on which media streamer would best suit my needs.

My needs:

1) has apps for Netflix (shouldn't be a problem), Hulu (shouldn't be a problem), Vudu and Amazon Instant Video (this one seems to be the problem).
2) Supports multiple formats. Most of my stuff is ripped in MP4 or MKV, but I do have some ISOs and a few other file types lurking about.
3) Can display XML data about the movie
4) Has the option to pull XML data for me (a nice thing to have, not 100% necessary, but very nice to have)
5) Has a nice menu layout (this is pretty important)
6) It can pass the Grandma test (basically, could anyone who knows nothing about technology pick it up and use it)
7) this one is probably the most critical, it can stream directly from my NAS.

The media streamers I have had in the past are a TViX (older model 4000 or 4400, I can't remember), buffalo one while I bought in Japan and I am currently using the most recent WDTV Live.

The TViX was pretty solid, but the HDMI port fried itself so I had to get rid of it (no apps and what not as well).

The Buffalo unit is rock solid, but there are no apps and no XML data display options for it. Also, the menus are pretty spartan.

The WDTV ticks a lot of the boxes, but there are two problems I have with it, one no Amazon instant app and two it is SLLLLOOOOOWWWWWW. Scrolling through the movies is a chore because of how slow it is.

The Apple TV will not let me stream directly from my NAS and it does not have the Amazon Instant App. Those are two deal breakers, otherwise I like it.

From what I have read the roku does not support ISO files nor streaming from a NAS (please correct me if I am wrong). Otherwise it ticks a lot of the boxes too.

Anyhow, what do you guys suggest for me? I have tried to provide everything I could think of, but I am sure other things will come up during the course of the thread.

Cheers!
post #2 of 11
Roku with Plex might fit your needs....Otherwise you are VERY limited in what you will be able to get....

Sony has a few players with Amazon and NetGear has one outside of that there are none that have Amazon.....

If you want both usually its best with Rpku and Plex or a 2 player solution (outside of an HTPC)....
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Do you mean the plex channel on a roku (it is my understanding that a roku has a plex channel that you can download, I have not had any hands on time with the roku though)?

Also, suppose we remove the amazon thing from the equation, what are my options?

I forgot to add the Xbox 360 to the list. No ISO support but it ticks a lot of the boxes too.

I don't have a PS3 and haven't had much hands on experience with the unit and how it handles media.

I am even open to blu ray players that have these functions built in to them.
Edited by lordvice - 1/20/13 at 8:11pm
post #4 of 11
Even if you take the Amazon out of the equation there are not many players that will pull double duty well...The closest is Boxee Box which is at EOL.....

What is your price range? that will help the members here better give available options.......

The Plex server would run on your NAS or PC\Laptop\whatever and the Roku acts as a client...it would then access your NAS and play the videos though the applicaiton....There are a number of people who use Plex here, I am not one of them.....
post #5 of 11
Plex on a Roku would be a great option. I run that on my Rokus and a Plex server on my Synology. The question is whether or not the Plex Media Server will run on your NAS. If it does then you also have to consider what kind of media you wish to play. The Roku should Direct Stream most things so that transcoding shouldn't be an issue, but if you have to transcode then everything changes. You would then need either a powerful NAS or a more powerful Plex client.

philip
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ph8te View Post

Even if you take the Amazon out of the equation there are not many players that will pull double duty well...The closest is Boxee Box which is at EOL.....

What is your price range? that will help the members here better give available options.......

The Plex server would run on your NAS or PC\Laptop\whatever and the Roku acts as a client...it would then access your NAS and play the videos though the applicaiton....There are a number of people who use Plex here, I am not one of them.....

Thank you for the response. I would like to keep it under $300. I could build an HTPC to tackle this, but I would rather have it done by something that is cheaper and that I wouldn't have to fiddle with all the time (I am in IT, I fix computers all day, I don't want to come home and have to fix more stuff ahah). But I am open to options if there are some that are more expensive.

I have heard about plex and have never used it myself, but it sounds like it may be one of the only options I have.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

Plex on a Roku would be a great option. I run that on my Rokus and a Plex server on my Synology. The question is whether or not the Plex Media Server will run on your NAS. If it does then you also have to consider what kind of media you wish to play. The Roku should Direct Stream most things so that transcoding shouldn't be an issue, but if you have to transcode then everything changes. You would then need either a powerful NAS or a more powerful Plex client.

philip

So when you say "plex on a roku" are you referring to the plex channel that is available for the roku and not some sort of "jailbreak" for the roku? I just want to make sure I am understanding what you are saying.

My current NAS is actually a home server. I am going to be upgrading it soon. I want more power and more drive bays (4 to 1 backplane only at the moment). The OS I am looking at running is Amahi (well, technically it's not an OS, rather a "program" that runs on top of either a fedora linux or ubuntu linux box). I like amahi for the drive pooling features (please let's not debate about software vs. hardware RAID :P) and it's overall flexibility. So the power to run plex and possibly transcode shouldn't be an issue. Most of my files are already MP4 and MKVs, but I do have some DVD ISOs that are not going to be converted (there is a reason for me not converting them) and some other files, avi's mostly, hanging about. I am sure as I purchase the blu ray content for these current rips that aren't mp4 I will convert the new files over to mp4 and it won't be as much of an issue, but still.

So far that is two votes for a roku. Anyone else have any suggestions?

EDIT: Out of curiosity, which Synology NAS are you running?
post #8 of 11
I have 5 Boxee Boxes and I love them! Now that www.boxeeplus.com launched, regular updates are constant and exciting! Not sure about web apps, but I use them primarily to stream local content. Nothing beats it for that alone, besides PC/Android/XBMC. Requires way more setup and possibly not Grandma tested.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hmm. Thank you for the info. I think that removes the boxee box from the list. Anyone else?
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
The new firmware update that came out yesterday for the WDTV certainly sped up the device. So far it feels a lot more stable than it was. Still no Amazon instant option on it though frown.gif.
post #11 of 11
Me too previously a happy pch 210 owner
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