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What Are Your Favorite Streaming Media Players?

post #1 of 116
Thread Starter 

AVS Forum is planning a series of buying guides for the holiday shopping season, and we need your help. Each guide will include the top picks of AVS members based on reviews, threads, and—most importantly—your response to queries such as this one.

 

So, what are your favorite dedicated streaming media players? Since this is for an upcoming buying guide, we're only looking for currently available models. Simply post a comment with the make(s) and model number(s) and any elaboration you care to add; we might even use your comments in the final buying guide. Perhaps you love the one(s) you own or those you've seen at friends' places. Either way, feel free to include more than one, but please limit your response to the best you've seen among currently available models. You can also consider price and value in your choices—a particular product might not be the absolute best performer, but if it's very good and its price is relatively low, that makes it an outstanding value and worthy of inclusion.

 

Thanks for helping us help others find the best AV products available today!

 

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post #2 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

AVS Forum is planning a series of buying guides for the holiday shopping season, and we need your help. Each guide will include the top picks of AVS members based on reviews, threads, and—most importantly—your response to queries such as this one.

So, what are your favorite dedicated streaming media players? Since this is for an upcoming buying guide, we're only looking for currently available models. Simply post a comment with the make(s) and model number(s) and any elaboration you care to add; we might even use your comments in the final buying guide. Perhaps you love the one(s) you own or those you've seen at friends' places. Either way, feel free to include more than one, but please limit your response to the best you've seen among currently available models. You can also consider price and value in your choices—a particular product might not be the absolute best performer, but if it's very good and its price is relatively low, that makes it an outstanding value and worthy of inclusion.

Thanks for helping us help others find the best AV products available today!

Like AVS Forum on Facebook
Follow AVS Forum on Twitter
Follow AVS Forum on Google+
My Panasonic bluray player BDT-DMP-500.
post #3 of 116
For me the current crop are all useless because they don't handle local area network streaming efficiently. They are very slow. The last great streamer was the Squeezebox. Nothing has come along that can replace it. I own three of them and recommend none of them.
post #4 of 116
My Sony BDP-S5100. Streaming is excellent on it.
post #5 of 116
For now, I use my Oppo 103 blu ray player for - streaming services and accessing my NAS units' media files.

It only falls short on missing one of the bigger streaming service providers so my smart TV carries that particular missing offering. If Oppo would carry that service, I would be using the Oppo only as it delivers excellent results.
post #6 of 116

An Apple TV with Firecore installed works pretty well.

post #7 of 116
Xbox 360s 4GB
When we dropped DirecTV in favor of an OTA HTPC on our main TV, we needed something in the master bedroom that could do Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon Instant, and be a WMC extender. The only off the shelf box with those abilities that I know of is the Xbox 360. The 4GB Slim model works well and is very quiet. Plus, if I want to play a game, I have some place to go where the kids won’t scream commands at me like a couple of crazy backseat drivers.
Edited by JavaJohnNV - 10/31/13 at 2:58pm
post #8 of 116
The Apple TV 3 is awesome. I like the Airplay feature the most !
post #9 of 116
Roku with Plex.
post #10 of 116
I use both my Oppo 103 and Roku 2 XS. The Roku allows access to some services not available on Oppo, and the Oppo offers Youtube plus access to DLNA servers from my networked PC. But the Roku is an extraordinary value and provides just as good pic and sound quality on Netflix and Vudu as the Oppo for a lot less $$$ (and you can get Plex for the Roku if you want to play music files from a PC).
post #11 of 116
I have owned Roku for years and love it.

I have at this time Roku3 and have installed Roku players at 4 neighbors' homes
Edited by JimShaw - 11/1/13 at 6:48pm
post #12 of 116
1) I own 3 Rokus and love them. from 720/1080P nobody can beat the range of streaming channels they have.
2) I also us an Xbox 360 and use as an extender to WMC for playing recorded TV and streaming and some channels Roku doesn't provide such as ESPN etc.
post #13 of 116
I love mine. I have two WDTV LIVE SMPs and two WDTV LIVE hubs. They do a wonderful job of playing everything I can throw at it so far (except quicktime). Also they don't use CINEVIA so I can rip my BDs and they will still play. I highly recommend it.
post #14 of 116
Apple TV 3 - it's cheap, it just works. Only material disadvantage is no Amazon Instant Prime and no analog output. Use it daily, whether for streaming music to the living room, watching Netflix, renting movies from iTunes, etc. My only critique of the thing is that Apple really hasn't ironed out AirPlay mirroring from Macs yet. Sometimes you'll get video without sound, and when using the ATV3 as a desktop extender in Mavericks (with a 2012-vintage Retina MacBook Pro, so just one generation back) there is unacceptable lag.

Apple AirPort Express - makes multi-zone components obsolete. No video, but we have one of these in every room and balcony (except for the living room, which has an ATV, and my office, which has a direct connection to the music server.)

Roku 3 - have but barely use. Used more when there was an al-Jazeera English private channel, and when BBC World News streaming was reliable. Use occasionally for PBS and Amazon Instant Prime. Seems just generally second-fiddle to the ATV3. Remote with headphone amp is a cool idea, though.
Edited by DS-21 - 10/31/13 at 4:45pm
post #15 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadEd View Post

I love mine. I have two WDTV LIVE SMPs and two WDTV LIVE hubs. They do a wonderful job of playing everything I can throw at it so far (except quicktime). Also they don't use CINEVIA so I can rip my BDs and they will still play. I highly recommend it.


Cosign.............................
Love my WD live for real............file support unreal.
post #16 of 116
Roku. I have the Roku 2 model... but I'm thinking about Apple TV because Comcast lets you use HBO GO on that. But then Apple TV doesn't have Vudu... Maybe I should just build a lightweight HTPC... like what these devices should be.
post #17 of 116
Thanks Scott. I just use my Oppo 93 but thinking about an upgrade.
Edited by comfynumb - 11/1/13 at 7:33am
post #18 of 116
Apple TV (3rd Gen)
for Pandora Oppo BDP-93

Since the dawn of iTunes Radio (Apple's Version of Pandora), I hardly listen to Pandora anymore.
post #19 of 116
SONOS!!!! I don't have one yet but for music, there's nothing like listening in the dark and with the SONOS app for phones and tablets, everything is controlled without having to have your tv on illuminating your room. plus you can go back to reading your avs forums quickly
post #20 of 116
Apple TV for music and any video that is not blu-ray. There are many apps for iOS that will allow Airplay. For example I use iHeartRadio for most internet radio stations. I use my Panasonic BDT-500 for Amazon Video, but the app is very old, 2011 and there is no way to update it. Though I have heard Amazon’s Instant Video iOS app now lets you stream to Apple TV via AirPlay. I will have to try that.

I prefer these devices to game console as they use significantly less power than game consoles. When I stopped watching Netflix on the PS3 my power bill went down by $15 / mo.

And for music elsewhere, I like my Marantz NA7004, but mostly use Airplay on it and none of the other features. Sometimes the Internet Radio feature, but iHeartRadio works there too. The one big advantage over a DAC with an AppleTV attached is the built in display for track names. There is no other display in the room.
post #21 of 116
Dune Smart Series Media Player + 10Muse jukebox to stream my own media content and Sony NSZ-GS7 + Plex and Netflix.biggrin.gif
post #22 of 116
Apple TV3 running Plex Connect and AirPlay, PCH-A400 running Oversight/Plex, Sony NSZ-GS7 (GTV) running Plex/Mizuu), Roku3 running DS Video/Plex .

For Netflix= ATV, Amazon = Sony GS7, Hulu + =ATV .

The Sony GS7, A400, ATV are tied. The Roku3 has fallen quite a bit behind (but still nice).

Have been losing interest quite rapidly with XBMC on a NUC/Mac Mini.

Await an upgrade of the Sony GS7 to Android 4.2.2 .

The A400 has perhaps the best Plex client with the Sony GS7 a close second.

Philip
post #23 of 116
My favorite are the Mede8er players, 600/800/1000X3D , capable of DTS-HD and TrueHD with 1080p blu-ray 3D streaming, bug-free with built-in jukebox, movies or tv series from NAS or local 4TB hard drive support , control everything with ipad/iphone app ... its a must have media player.
post #24 of 116
I have tried many streaming devices, and have settled on Sony SMP-N200 because of a rare combination of DLNA/Crackle/USB/Optical digital (I have an old receiver). It also has Analog-out and 12v external power supply, so I can connect it to the A/V system in our minivan. NOTE: This unit is extinct, but you can get them on eBay all day long - I bought it super-cheap on eBay... and it had Netflix activated!!! This is the gift that keeps on giving. The down-side is Pandora is also activated, and the previous user is a Country music fan. Can't deactivate Pandora without also deactivating Netflix, so I will live with this.

I was able to buy a Sony Google-TV '7' for ~70% off, but I was NOT impressed with the user interface - touch-screen remote was not easy to use, TV control was hit-or-miss, and on-screen buttons are so tiny for some applications in 1080P that they are almost impossible to hover over. It was also difficult to play full-screen, and Crackle didn't play continuously from one episode to the next, like on other Sony products. Another disappointment was the YouTube experience- some of my own uploads would not even show up when I search my username, presumably because they are flagged with copyrighted content. But this content plays on my computer.

I have a Sony DBP-590 Bluray player, and it is not able to read my Win7 Media Center recordings (.wtv) via DLNA - I have almost 4TB of HD recordings, so this is a big deal. This is also curious because I've had qty(3) PS3's that read the files perfectly, and the streaming devices read them, too.

I have a Panasonic BluRay player that reads .wtv over DLNA (BDT-220), but it will only read one at a time - it will not proceed to the next file. This is a definite deal-breaker when you are a cord-cutter. We want to 'feel' like we are watching TV, and just have it on in the back-ground. We don't want to constantly fiddle with the remote to bring up the next show. I do not recommend this.
post #25 of 116
I prefer our Apple TV (Airplay is a really useful feature), and our Playstation 3 slim (for Netflix and Youtube. Plus, it makes a great Plex client!).
post #26 of 116
We have 3 Roku players (LT/HD/XS) 2 Xbox 360's and a PS3 in our home. I have to say, while I love our Roku's, the game consoles are smoother streaming devices. The Roku's do have services that aren't available on the consoles, but the consoles generally feel easier to use and one of the 360's is outputing 1080i for our one tv, a resolution that the Roku won't do. I would have to say the PS3 and 360 are tied for top dog in our house. The PS3 is great because I don't have to pay the bogus yearly fee to access the apps like I do for the 360's and it works better with Plex. But the 360's are also media center extenders, which is a great feature on it's own.
post #27 of 116
I like my 35 dollar chromecast
post #28 of 116
Scott,

For Myself It's The Roku 3, Hands Down !

Thanks

MacTerryH
post #29 of 116

Western Digital HD Live with hardwired network, a 32G thumb drive for preferences and addons,  along with external drives in USB cans for direct play.

 

AppleTV3 - For podcasts, Itunes match and AirPlay, again, hard wired.

 

that's what I'm running and am finding that with an OTA I'm requiring my cable tv connection less and less...

post #30 of 116
I have a PS3, Roku 3, Chromecast and ATV3. I don't use the TVs or my original Roku box. They all do different things well as many have pointed out.
My favorite is the Roku 3 because:
1) easiest to navigate between apps
2) has all the apps I like: Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, NBC News, PLEX, Crackle, Netflix (for now) and Twit

I use the PS3 mainly for BD and sometimes for Amazon but I don't like the lag time when switching between video sources.

I use the ATV3 mainly for the Airplay feature. Although with the Pioneer Speaker bar, I can use Bluetooth for all my music without using the TV and ATV3. I don't like the navigation on the ATV3 - the home button goes back only one step.

The Chromecast is only used for Web Only shows on Hulu Plus (The Bridge, Project Runway, Batman: the Animated Series).
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