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Non-Roku media streamer for Dad

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a cheap little streaming media player to give my Dad. He saw one at a relative's house and liked being able to play YouTube on TV. So I'd like to get him one in the <$100 range.

Desired features, from most to least important:
- Composite output, with l/r RCA audio. (Not every TV he might want to use it on has HDMI)
- Streaming from YouTube over 802.11g/n. Hulu would be nice too, but I hear Hulu's free version is not available for these things. Netflix and Hulu Plus could be nice things to have available.
- HDMI output (720P)
- Streaming from a local computer on the network with some free software, preferably supporting H.264 and MPEG2, in that order of importance.
- Reading similar media from a USB drive

Now, I have looked at the Roku LT, and it would be perfect except for two problems:

1. No YouTube. That's kind of half the point.
2. Apparently someone has to provide a credit card to Roku. Which implies that you can get to things that charge the card from the Roku device. And no matter how many warnings pop up, I guarantee one of my parents will accidentally get to such a thing. And then nobody will be happy. frown.gif

So, any non-Roku suggestions? Or can I erase Roku's software and substitute my own?
post #2 of 16
You can install PLEX media server onto the computer that you mention above for streaming your local media. You will be able to also add channels to PLEX Server which would be accessible thru the ROKU. One of those channels on PLEX is a Youtube Channel.

http://www.plexapp.com/connected/

Bonus will be that PLEX will catalog and add cover art for your media as well.

Go for the ROKU it's great alone and with PLEX.

I believe I read that once you set up the ROKU you can remove the card info or that you can contact support to set up without a card.

Another thing is that you can also set up your own server at your location then thru myplex you can share your server with your dad and vice versa.

Good luck.
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_g6 View Post


So, any non-Roku suggestions? Or can I erase Roku's software and substitute my own?
WDTV Live streaming media player. Does everything you want except Hulu and doesn't require a credit card.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

WDTV Live streaming media player. Does everything you want except Hulu and doesn't require a credit card.

Yes, but at $100 it's awfully expensive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson 
The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

I guess you might have a point. Still, for that price, I feel like I should be getting a blu-ray player with it or something. Would that do everything I want as well? Or is it more limited in the videos it can play from USB?
post #5 of 16
A new roku device was just passed through the FCC a couple of days ago. Some people believe it will bring back youtube support.

As for a credit card, I've never needed to add a credit card, where's that requirement?

-Suntan
post #6 of 16
post #7 of 16
Quote:
I guess you might have a point. Still, for that price, I feel like I should be getting a blu-ray player with it or something. Would that do everything I want as well? Or is it more limited in the videos it can play from USB?

You quoted his signature. Might be somewhat applicable but that's just coincidence.biggrin.gif
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
@Suntan, it now looks to me like a PLEX server is too much to mess with. I gather Windows Media Player can act as a DLNA server, and he's familiar with that. Plus using a USB drive with videos is looking better and better.

@Doctego, I quoted his signature in anticipation of his next response. And because it was somewhat applicable.

And then there is that. Upside: $70. Or $80 with free shipping from Amazon, where I have gift cards. (Re-gifting FTW!) Downside: It doesn't play MPEG videos, such as ones he might record with the TV tuner stick I got him for Christmas that he still hasn't used. So I'm not sure how important that is.

But what about that Blu-Ray player with streaming I linked to? Anyone know if that player or any like it are any better or worse at streaming and/or reading video from a USB drive?
post #9 of 16
I recommend the Sony Blu-ray player, no issues streaming off USB stick. Even 3d video off of Sony Handycam worked.
post #10 of 16
Any new BluRay player made after 2/12 will have Cinavia -- especially true of Sony. That may or may not be important to you or relevant to the content you would be streaming, but it is something to be aware of.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
As long as TV broadcasters aren't sticking Cinavia in OTA content, and most YouTube videos don't have it, no worries.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

As for a credit card, I've never needed to add a credit card, where's that requirement?

-Suntan
You probably created your Roku account before they started requiring it. They added it as a requirement for new accounts when they started to monetize the Channel Store -- maybe two years ago?
post #13 of 16
I got to say it's pretty hard NOT to know if you are spending money with Roku, it's all pretty upfront.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt L View Post

I got to say it's pretty hard NOT to know if you are spending money with Roku, it's all pretty upfront.

Agreed. Roku is really the best. It has a great UI. However, it really is a supplement, and movie streamer from VUDU, not a primary content source.
post #15 of 16
There's an a unofficial YouTube private channel, called VideoBuzz. (http://www.rokuguide.com/private-channels/videobuzz)
Also, apparently you can call them to set up an account without a credit card. You can also remove the credit card from the account after creating the channel. Also, you can set it to require you to enter a PIN to make a purchase.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryhigh View Post

There's an a unofficial YouTube private channel, called VideoBuzz. (http://www.rokuguide.com/private-channels/videobuzz)
Also, apparently you can call them to set up an account without a credit card. You can also remove the credit card from the account after creating the channel. Also, you can set it to require you to enter a PIN to make a purchase.

I use that channel and it works great for youtube...but I don't recall needing any credit card to set it up???
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