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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My "smart" Panny plasma from 2011 is no longer supported by YouTube, one of my son's faves. I assume Panasonic has no plans on updating my TV's firmware to support whatever Google is planning to do to YouTube, so was starting to look at the new Roku 3s, which I assume will continue to stream YT? We have a Netflix, Amazon, and Pandora account and assuming the Roku is the best option for them as well? I have limited my Apple consumption, other than an iPad Air, so I don't need a lot of compatibility there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interface

How is the Roku interface with Netflix? We found using Netflix with our Panasonic TV app was difficult. Sometimes we want to browse the selection impulsively, without a title in mind. The only decent way to find movies to stream was on the computer first and load them into our instant queue, then locate them on the TV. Also, does the Roku access any of Comcast's On Demand selection?
 

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Things brings up the burning question I've been agonizing over for a little while now;

Roku 3 now, or wait for Roku 4?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Roku 4

Things brings up the burning question I've been agonizing over for a little while now;

Roku 3 now, or wait for Roku 4?
Only thing that I really saw is 4K, WiFi antenna, and price drop. Don't care about any of those, except price, but if it's about to be released, I'll wait to compare.
 

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The Roku 4 is nothing but rumors at this point. They just released a nice refresh of the 3 with voice search. They 4 may or may not release later this year.

I run my family's entire media world on the Roku platform and absolutely love it. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Drama Fever, Funimation, PBS, PBS Kids, Smithsonian, TED and a variety of other streaming services combined with our huge Vudu library and nice clients for Plex Media Server and our quad-tuner Tablo DVR make the Roku one-stop shopping for everything we watch. On the music side, we can access our local library via Plex or listen to Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio and other services. No matter where you go in my house all you have to do is turn on a TV and grab the ubiquitous Roku remote. It is fantastic not having to play tech support to my family.
 
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The Roku 3 has an ethernet port, whereas the Roku Streaming Stick and the Roku 2 lack ethernet ports.

So, is it true that a wired connection (ethernet) is superior to a Wi-Fi connection?
How fast would a person's internet service have to be to guarantee that using Wi-Fi would not result in a significant loss in performance?

Also, if a person decides to reject Wi-Fi and to have all internet connections in a household be wired connections, is it possible to have a separate modem for each device that needs to connect to the internet? I'm imagining that setting up a completely wired network (no Wi-Fi at all) would be a hassle because of the difficulty of running cables all over the place. Would there be a way to have the various devices each have their own modems and internet connections, with no desire to have things actually be networked?

Regarding Wi-Fi, why are the so many different types and brands of wireless routers on the market?
Are a lot of people using routers that are way more powerful than is necessary?
 

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The Roku 3 has an ethernet port, whereas the Roku Streaming Stick and the Roku 2 lack ethernet ports.

So, is it true that a wired connection (ethernet) is superior to a Wi-Fi connection?
How fast would a person's internet service have to be to guarantee that using Wi-Fi would not result in a significant loss in performance?

Also, if a person decides to reject Wi-Fi and to have all internet connections in a household be wired connections, is it possible to have a separate modem for each device that needs to connect to the internet? I'm imagining that setting up a completely wired network (no Wi-Fi at all) would be a hassle because of the difficulty of running cables all over the place. Would there be a way to have the various devices each have their own modems and internet connections, with no desire to have things actually be networked?

Regarding Wi-Fi, why are the so many different types and brands of wireless routers on the market?
Are a lot of people using routers that are way more powerful than is necessary?
Ethernet is the way to go when it it practical.

Your WiFi is always going to be way faster than your internet speed, so I'm not sure what you mean by that.

Wireless is perfectly fine, so long as your router can handle the traffic.

The required router speed is determined by the number of concurrent HD streams.

You only need one modem.

Power Line Networking is another decent option, especially if you have a TV in a spot where your WiFi is not very strong.
 

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I would recommend getting an N900 router at minimum if you plan to do a lot of streaming over WiFi, especially if you have a lot of devices. I would also recommend at least 50 Mbps internet, if you can get it.
 

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30Mbps is sufficient for even the most demanding (average) 2 TV streams in HD and 5.1 surround, 2 laptops (1 being for a home based business), phone over internet and 1 tablet, all running/being used at the same time with no lag/buffering. YMMV
 

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Ethernet is the way to go when it it practical.

Your WiFi is always going to be way faster than your internet speed, so I'm not sure what you mean by that.

Wireless is perfectly fine, so long as your router can handle the traffic.
Traffic would not be an issue for me in regard to Wi-Fi. The router would rarely have to handle requests from several devices at the same time.

What I meant regarding internet speed and Wi-Fi is this: I am familiar with how fast an internet connection behaves via Ethernet. What I'm wondering is whether Wi-Fi tends to result in a lot of buffering. But maybe you're saying that the buffering would occur not because of a weak internet service from the ISP, but because the router might be a slowpoke, and not be able to make good use of the potential speed that the ISP can supply.

As to router speed, is that influenced by designations such as N300, N600, etc.? I thought that the higher numbers (900 versus 600 versus 300, for example), had to do with power rather than speed, i.e. with how far away from the router your internet accessing device could be (power), not about how fast the router is (speed). I mean a small house (even one with multiple users accessing the internet simultaneously) would not want to have a super powerful router that could send Wi-Fi signals all the way down the block, would it?
 

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Your information is incorrect. N300 designates a 300Mbps 801.11n router. N600 is 600Mbps and N900 is 900Mbps. The important thing to understand about WiFi is that the bandwidth is shared across all devices, so if you are streaming video on three devices at once and have an N300 router, that 300Mbps is being shared by all three streams. It is also important to understand that not all routers are created equal in terms of performance. The processor and firmware in the router do matter. I have generally found cheap routers to be poor performers for video streaming.

I use an N900 router in my house and can handle several concurrent 1080p streams with zero issues. I also have 75Mbps internet service, so I have plenty of bandwidth coming into the house.
 

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30Mbps is sufficient for even the most demanding (average) 2 TV streams in HD and 5.1 surround, 2 laptops (1 being for a home based business), phone over internet and 1 tablet, all running/being used at the same time with no lag/buffering. YMMV
It all depends on the router and the range too. I've had nothing but miserable experiences with cable company gateway box routers, for instance. I've also had pretty bad luck using a five year old N300 router at my parent's house.
 

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Traffic would not be an issue for me in regard to Wi-Fi. The router would rarely have to handle requests from several devices at the same time.

What I meant regarding internet speed and Wi-Fi is this: I am familiar with how fast an internet connection behaves via Ethernet. What I'm wondering is whether Wi-Fi tends to result in a lot of buffering. But maybe you're saying that the buffering would occur not because of a weak internet service from the ISP, but because the router might be a slowpoke, and not be able to make good use of the potential speed that the ISP can supply.

As to router speed, is that influenced by designations such as N300, N600, etc.? I thought that the higher numbers (900 versus 600 versus 300, for example), had to do with power rather than speed, i.e. with how far away from the router your internet accessing device could be (power), not about how fast the router is (speed). I mean a small house (even one with multiple users accessing the internet simultaneously) would not want to have a super powerful router that could send Wi-Fi signals all the way down the block, would it?
Actually, its the opposite: Most home internet connections are much slower than the maximum throughput of your home router, so the internet speed you subscribe to is almost never the weak link (Google fiber being the major exception I know of). The different WiFi standards (N/AC) and numbers are an indicate the maximum theoretical speed*, not the power of the radio, but nobody will actually see those speeds in real life.

*As always there's annoying marketing practices so this isn't strictly true.

To summarize:

1) Wired ethernet is king, it is both fastest in the real world and reliable.
2) Other wired solutions are probably second best (powerline networking or MoCa networking through coaxial cable).
3) Wireless 802.11ac router would be the best choice if you need to go wireless. The 5Ghz band is faster but doesn't work as well through multiple walls/floors vs 2.4Ghz which is slower but penetrates farther.

TL;DR- Although the newest wifi standards can send data pretty fast, there are many reasons why wireless will always be more variable (interference from neighbor's wifi networks, cordless phones that run on 2.4Ghz, etc...) vs a wired connection.
 
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