Roku, Firestick, Chromecast, Kodi? Any hightly recommended?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Wisertime, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. Roku

    8 vote(s)
    26.7%
  2. Chromecast

    5 vote(s)
    16.7%
  3. Firestick

    4 vote(s)
    13.3%
  4. Kodi

    6 vote(s)
    20.0%
  5. other

    7 vote(s)
    23.3%
  1. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Any cable cord cutters here using Any of these? I think I'm leaning towards Roku, since it has a remote and unbiased search feature. Any you recommend or I should stay away from?
    Problem with Roku is there are so many different versions. Looking to spend less than $50. I thought I was gonna go Chromecast, but Roku seems more user friendly.

    Firestick...I'm not a prime member and don't plan to be, so I don't see any advantages here.

    Kodi, seems like if offers a lot, but might be difficult to figure out. I've never used torrents.

    My needs are basically might get NHL.TV and netflix subscriptions. Youtube and CNBC are readily available. Maybe some random HistoryChannels shows, but I feel like cable doesn't offer much apart from live sports anymore.
     
  2. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    The advantage on a chromecast or firestick is that you can do browsing, searching, etc on a mobile device then send it to the TV. I am sure Roku has improved their interface, but the last time I used one it was a little cumbersome. Typing with a directional pad is not fun.
     
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  3. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Yes, but apart from Youtube and maybe flickr, not sure that's all that important, so Roku has Youtube app. I'm mainly looking at it as a Cable TV replacement. The videos I watched said Chromecast was more cumbersome. Maybe depends what you're doing. I don't even like typing on a smartphone!...but I can go to my PC if I need to do that.
     
  4. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    I've been cord free for a few years and have been using Kodi/XBMC for most of it. Works smoothly most of the time, but streams occasionally change and stuff needs to be fixed (think Superbowl party, 25 people in the house and a Linux command prompt :)). But I like messing with settings and such and few beer bottles do not bother me!

    Not sure I would recommend it to anyone though unless they are willing to be occasionally annoyed out of their skins. I have tried all the others in the past, but they are improving continuously and look better (in theory) every time I look at them. Roku would probably be my recommendation at the moment as a pure cable replacement.

    Not voting though, because I am not a user of what I recommend and am not recommending what I use :)

    BTW, how is life as Pen's fan in Flyertown?
     
  5. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Thanks. I'm pretty good with windows computers, but put me into a DOS prompt and I go nuts. I have in the past opted for cheaper less intuitive devices (Meizu vs the original ipod) with some success, but other times not (Gimp.)

    Roku does offer voice activated search on the Roku3 (and found one for $52 on ebay)...and option to plug a hard line instead of wireless if need be or USB. I would like viewing photos on a larger TV now and then.

    I'm used to being a sports fan minority everywhere I lived, but Philly is definitely a place to tread lightly. It's worse than you think. We had Flyers season tix for the past 4 seasons (my now ex a Flyersgirl). I wasn't harassed for wearing Pens gear too bad, but it is known to happen...and I've been heckled at from passing cars. The hard part was sitting at all those games and secretly rooting for the visiting teams (minus the ones I hate like the Rangers, Islanders, Caps, etc). I was given some Flyers attire, but eventually I couldn't wear that ugly orange in good consciousness. :laugh1: Most people are cool and good natured, unless you antagonize them. Winning the cup last year certainly has eased the burden.:thumbup:
     
  6. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    We have 2 Roku devices and one Chromecast device. Had a fire-stick in the past but had issues with it's wifi reception on 2 different examples.

    The Roku is the easiest to use, the Chromecast can do some stuff that our old Roku can not do - but it is not as easy to use.
     
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  7. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Kodi on Windows is actually not bad and the new UI means that you can do all the settings without using any command prompts. Worth just downloading and trying. I have a Windows HTPC on our main TV and Kodi on that works pretty well. I use it with a cheap wireless keyboard w/ trackpad. On the other TVs around the house, I have Kodi running on Raspberry Pi B+s. I have a homebrew NAS which serves ripped DVDs, music as well as our videos and photos. Happy to answer any questions if you are interested.

    In my graduate school years at Penn State, I shared an office with a diehard Flyers' fan, so I know all about the ugly orange. I always enjoyed the Pens' style more than the Flyers (this was in the Lemieux/Jagr and Lindros era) and it was always fun to go to Pittsburgh and Philly to see games (in retrospect we must have presented an odd sight - an Indian dude in a Pens' jersey along with a 6'2" white guy in Flyers gear). I will still root for the Pens except for last year when I had to cheer for the Sharks. That defeat combined with Warriors broke my 12yo's heart :)
     
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  8. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I stumbled on a few of these things but don't know what they are...Rasberry pi (OS?). NAS some network drive? I"m content to watch most movies on DVD...I see roku cannot use my stereo sound (maybe the higher versions can?). If one uses Kodi, you still need a caster to get on TV right? I heard about an add on called Exodus and Plex...know anything about that? I don't forsee paying for movies much. Maybe via netflix, which also has a show I want to watch. Stuff like major Golf tourney's I can stream from sites. Not sure about Wimbledon/US Open.

    I never got to watch hockey growing up on TV (we didn't have cable), so I didn't really have a team. I was leaning towards Gretzky/Edmonton, because that's all you heard about or saw on highlights, but my senior yr of college, I had the chance pleasure of watching Lemieux and Jagr as a neutral fan in the playoffs (and win the cup in dramatic fashion as I recall and I was fan ever since. I also supported the Canes while I lived in NC and still enjoy watching them play.
     
  9. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I saw the Roku 3 has voice remote (I have that with Xfinity now, and it's pretty cool). Maybe that helps? I also saw you can cast from your phone now and DL an app w/remote. Would that change your opinion?
     
  10. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Clint
    HD antenna, Apple TV, Roku, 3d DVD player (and tv) and high speed internet.
     
  11. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    Like I said, Roku has probably improved since I last used on 2-3 years ago. Having voice control, that works well, would be nice.
     
  12. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi, you can plug a PC directly into a TV with a cheap DVI to HDMI cable.
    Add a wireless mouse or compatible remote.
     
  13. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    309
    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    William Barnett-Lewis
    None of them. I cut the cable at the digital cut over in the US and threw out my TV completely. What little that has actually been worth watching can be found on the regular internet.
     
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  14. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    You could have used it as a digital picture frame. :doh:
     
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  15. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Yes, true...I already have cables running across the room
     
  16. We've got a Roku and an Apple TV. The interface of the Apple TV is smoother and easier for non-tech people to use but it does restrict you to Apple's 'walled garden'. The Roku interface is clumsier but more open.

    It's similar in a way to how iPhones and Android phones feel to use.

    I haven't tried Chromecast but I probably will at some point.
     
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  17. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    I dropped cable in 2007, so some of this stuff and design choices date back to the Stone Age of cutting the cord and I am sure that it can be much better implemented now. But here goes:

    All TVs have a digital leaf antenna connected to them. We get 50-75 HD over-the-air channels, though we rarely watch many/any of them other than PBS, PBS Kids and sports.

    We have Comcast broadband only (120down/20up) service. In particular, this gives me full access to sports streaming on ESPN3 (other than some live streams). Watched some Aussie Open matches though mostly recordings.

    In the main TV/Home Entertainment system, I have a Windows 7 Home Theatre PC (HTPC) which has a motherboard with an HDMI out so that goes into my receiver and from there onto the TV. All the TVs are Sony and support HDMI CEC (also supported by Kodi) so the TV remote can be used for most remote functions. I also have Amazon.com: Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 Plus, Touchpad Keyboard for Internet-Connected TVs: Computers & Accessories connected to it for web browsing/YouTube etc. The PC runs Kodi (though also has Windows Media Center). Also has a DVD drive for watching physical disks. This is pretty user friendly and even my 6yo can use it. My wife (hardware engineer and Ph.D. in Physics) refuses to operate the setup, though!

    Secondary TVs are connected to Raspberry Pi's running KodiBuntu. The Raspberry Pi board has an HDMI connecter and TV remotes control Kodi really well. No keyboards on these at the moment.

    I have a home brew NAS (network attached storage)/media server which has ripped DVDs (mostly Indian movies from pre-streaming days and kids' DVDs) which can be accessed from all Kodi devices and also PCs/laptops/tablets. I think a network drive serves this purpose well. The NAS also has music/photos and home videos. Plex is a server software which can be used to serve media from here, but for the most part we just use DLNA where it works.

    Kodi has addons for ESPN3 as well as Amazon Prime. I no longer have Netflix, so not sure where that support is currently. There are addons for a bunch of other channels which we install if there is something in particular we want to see.

    Having said all of this, we were never heavy TV watchers, so this stuff gets used very lightly. But it is there when we need it.

    Growing up India (with stints in Europe) I actually never saw hockey (or Ice Hockey as we called it) till I spent time in Sweden as an Exchange student in my undergraduate. Saw Sweden and Peter Forsberg play live and I realized that it was something I enjoyed watching :) I don't get to watch as much any more and haven't been to a Sharks game in years, but my son is getting into it, so maybe we wills start going again.[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
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  18. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    489
    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Aaron
    We have a couple of Apple TVs (previous gen, not the latest). We have been pretty happy with them as cable replacements. Netflix and Hulu work well, and provide almost all of the same programming one can find on cable (plus a whole lot more) for a fraction of the cost. Other content ("apps") are just ok, or downright useless (lack of real content available through them). A number of them require you to have cable TV service to use, which just defeats the purpose of an Apple TV... Others require you to register/link them with a code, which isn't difficult, just a pain to set up initially. Any content not available through the built-in apps can be streamed over wifi/lan from an iPhone or Mac, and works pretty reliably. Apple's content for purchase or "rent" is relatively expensive, so we rent locally once and a while when we want to see something new or unavailable on Netflix/Hulu. The only negative thing I can say about the Apple TV is that the font size is small to tiny, and can be difficult to read on smaller screens. I don't miss the cable one bit.
     
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  19. CyVan

    CyVan Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    519
    Mar 9, 2016
    Jamaica
    I've .. heard .. that Kodi + Kore (Android remote control app) + The Exodus plugin provide a very useful combination :whistling:
     
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  20. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Xbox One handles one hundred percent of our entertainment on the TV.