Author Topic: Looking for info on Roku  (Read 3809 times)

Iron Mike Sharpe

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
Looking for info on Roku
« on: February 28, 2013, 02:13:18 PM »
Closing on my new place in two weeks.  I keep hearing about Roku.  I tried reading up on it, but am not sure if it even offers anything useful.

I have Amazon Prime and am going to get Netflix streaming.  I already have an Xbox 360 that can play those services.  Does Roku offer anything that is useful that I can't do via the Xbox?

I'm rarely home, so I think Amazon and Netflix via my Xbox should be enough. 

tmac

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 472
Re: Looking for info on Roku
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 02:28:39 PM »
If I were in that situation, I'd stick with the Xbox. The Roku has some games and apps on it, but if we didn't already have the device, we wouldn't have gotten it just for that. We use Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu, all through the Roku.

Rangifer

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 118
Re: Looking for info on Roku
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 02:45:20 PM »
I got rid of an xbox for a roku because I couldn't justify paying for xbox live in order to use netflix. Roku will also stream hulu for free using your pc as a media server if you install the plex app.

But other than Netflix, Amazon VOD, and some radio apps, there really isn't much more a roku can do.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3989
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Looking for info on Roku
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 03:16:01 PM »
For the money, a Roku box is pretty worthless these days. If you're already justifying the cost of your Xbox Live subscription for other gaming purposes, just keep using the Xbox for your streaming needs as well. No sense buying even more crap.

That said, if you want to abandon the Xbox and buy a small dedicated media center device under $100, you'd be far better served picking up a generic Android device like the G-Box Midnight or MK808 Android TV Stick that supports XBMC for Android, instead of buying a locked down and proprietary Roku box. Android supports all the same streaming media services that Roku does (and more in some cases like sports), and you get the added benefit of XBMC which'll give you free basic Hulu access amongst a whole mess of other sites that don't have dedicated apps (I'm still not sure yet if you'll need to install an old Flash package from Adobe's archives for this). Far more flexibility, far more free content, and you can even use the thing for classic console emulation if you wanted.

the fixer

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1037
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Looking for info on Roku
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2013, 03:35:04 PM »
I use an old PC as a media center running Ubuntu and XBMC. Cheap (if you get an old computer sitting in a relatives' closet), easy to repair as it's commodity PC parts, easy to customize.

The best part, though: I made an IR remote receiver that plugs into a serial port on the back (you can buy IR receivers but they seem kinda expensive to me), then programmed LIRC to respond to the TV remote. So my home entertainment center only has ONE remote! I'm pretty sure Roku can't do that.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3989
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Looking for info on Roku
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2013, 05:34:42 PM »
I use an old PC as a media center running Ubuntu and XBMC. Cheap (if you get an old computer sitting in a relatives' closet), easy to repair as it's commodity PC parts, easy to customize.

The best part, though: I made an IR remote receiver that plugs into a serial port on the back (you can buy IR receivers but they seem kinda expensive to me), then programmed LIRC to respond to the TV remote. So my home entertainment center only has ONE remote! I'm pretty sure Roku can't do that.

Serious respect knuckles for the homebrew IR receiver.

I do the exact same thing myself, and I've recommended doing this particular hack in the past for folks with unused laptops/desktops. Unfortunately, given that the price of these Android boxes have gotten so low and their power usage has equally bottomed out, it's becoming a bit of a six a one/half-a-dozen the other situation with longer term cost unless they want to work a DVR into the mix. I hate seeing good machines go to waste and love re-purposing, but if you're any sort of tech novice and/or TV junkie trying to keep operational costs low while still supping at the teat of Netflix...

the fixer

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1037
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Looking for info on Roku
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2013, 06:23:15 PM »
True, an old PC (especially mine, a Pentium 4) uses more power, but I figure I can't be wasting that much electricity if I only have it powered on when I occasionally use it.

For a tech novice, I think building your own is a great way to turn TV watching into a productive habit where you get to learn a lot about computers. I find it really difficult to learn a new OS, programming language, or anything else if I don't have something I'm actually trying to get done with it.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd probably buy one of the new Android boxes and be done with it, though.