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I got my Chromecast yesterday. I really had a terrible time setting it up. Mostly because I was tired and wanted to do ... (more)

wizwor (Aug. 03, 2013 @ 6:38a) |

I'm pretty happy with Roku. I will say that yes, having Hulu and Amazon helps. Haven't added Netflix yet, but as I reduc... (more)

jegrant (Aug. 04, 2013 @ 9:31p) |

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Paganese (Aug. 05, 2013 @ 7:46a) |

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HTPC FTW

They all suck. It's a new idea and people are feeling things out, but, so far, all of the streamers suffer from the same shortcomings...

1) lack of compelling content
2) reliance on internet for quality of service
3) a poor user experience

When people watch OTT, they are watching Netflix. Netflix can be watched on any PC and most smart devices. After that, the streamers offer politics, podcasts, religion, public domain entertainment, and files offered on web sites. Some (Roku) block the best content out of fear of alienating their intended purchasers.

What is going to happen when EVERYONE turns to the internet for entertainment? We got a peek last December when everyone put their new toys online -- Netflix (what everyone watches) was unwatchable for a couple days.

OTT lacks sports, local programming, DVR, Ondemand, and all the other cool stuff we love. You can do all that, but it will take years of sacrifice to break even.

Worse, it's not fun to watch OTT. Want to fall asleep in front of the tv? Fugetaboutit. Aereo and Skitter make you choose a new program after one ends -- it is WORK to relax in front of streaming tv.

Broadcast is closest to premium terrestrial and satellite packages, but you will not see NBA, NHL, or MLB over the air. There are no boobs, bums, or bad words. And there ARE commercials.

I think you can get good entertainment for short money that exceeds the premium offerings in some ways, but not via a Roku. These streamers are nice and supplemental but are no competition for Big Entertainment.

http://thebeersoncomcast.wordpress.com/

There is no best device now that wins in every category. It depends on what you watch, how convenient you want it to be and how much you want to bend the rules of obtaining legal content.

cyberbrutus said:   HTPC FTW

Agreed

I got my chromecast last night and went from in the box to watching a movie in under 5 minutes. Stupid easy. Joe America doesn't understand the HTPC...neither does my wife (which is why mine sits mostly unused). Granted I haven't tested it outside of the google play or YouTube environment, but it was extremely easy to use. My wife picked it up faster than she did Apple TV because it's just like using her phone.

Chromecast is awesome and the hacks that are surely coming (Plex, dropbox, etc) are only going to make it better.

I have a rokus 2xs, an xbmc based htpc, and a pivos xios (which is essentially an android xbmc that runs on linux).

Roku:
If you have Amazon prime, or netflix, or hulu already the Roku is really pretty nice. You can get the 2xs occasionally for 50 bucks and even with just prime and some of the free channels you can subscribe to it's a great little box that generally just works. I realize you can use Plex to get local content but I think there are some limitations to this? For example, I've never really liked how subtitles are handled in plex and don't think that different refresh rates are handled very well.

XBMC (htpc and xbmc):
For local content this is great, if you've got blu-rays you've ripped or any other content xbmc will play it. Subtitles/alternate audio etc.. are handled great. A full htpc is also one of the only ways to get refresh rate switching (ie... movie plays at 24fps, then you switch to a tv show which plays at 30fps, then you play some msuic and the visualization plays at 60fps).

A full fledged HTPC can also have additional programs installed on it (Steam's "Big screen mode is pretty nice") to let it do more than just be a movie consumption device. DVR functionality is maturing as well so with a tuner you can catch local news if you desire.

That said.. Streaming (prime, hulu, netflix) isn't as "nice" as on Roku and in some cases (prime) doesn't work at all anymore. There are addons to get at these media sources but they're developed by individuals and xbmc's interface restrictions makes some of these addon's look a little.. junky.

I'll mention that back in the day windows media center could be ok, they had ok internet media, you could watch regular tv BUT MC feels like such an abandoned product now and it takes a lot of work to get it working right.


Pivos/ARM boxes (Running Linux)
Very capable compared to a htpc, but no refresh rate switching yet (so you may get judder on some content)...


I use a fileserver to make content available to my XBMC clients...




I love xbmc, but obviously with the hardware and a filserver (I guess you could use a pc), it will be more expensive plus you will spend more time fixing things that just seem to stop working from time to time.

The Roku is nice as it just works... and you don't have to gather content.

If you have the time to invest an xbmc can be rewarding as well though.




Chromecast is a new device but not a new idea - just streaming hdmi over the air really - but with tablets/phones coming as far as they have it may have arrived at the right time to be a success. I may get one eventually but to be honest between Roku and my htpc's I don't really feel the need to add another avenue for content.

Bowen said:   I got my chromecast last night and went from in the box to watching a movie in under 5 minutes. Stupid easy. Joe America doesn't understand the HTPC...neither does my wife (which is why mine sits mostly unused). Granted I haven't tested it outside of the google play or YouTube environment, but it was extremely easy to use. My wife picked it up faster than she did Apple TV because it's just like using her phone.

Chromecast is awesome and the hacks that are surely coming (Plex, dropbox, etc) are only going to make it better.


LOL! The problem here seems to be your wife so don't blame your devices. j/k Joe America is far more evolved these days that you give credit. Bottom line anyone who cannot navigate Apple TV , Roku or XBMC should not be allowed to hold a remote let alone near any technology regardless of the price.
As far as Chromecast it is very simple to use but it is also very limited OOB compared to some of the other sub-$100 streaming device offerings. Chromecast is built on a very weak processor platform and the amount of usable or hackable memory on the Chromecast is pathetic so any future hacks will be basic hacks that require constant tinkering to get them to work. Having to constantly tinker with a hack every time I want to stream something basically negates the whole user friendliness of the devices no amount of hacking will not provide any additional user friendly functionality to Chromecast. Then again Chromecast is $35 device designed exclusively for streaming what Goodge wants to allow so is not made to complete with more expensive HTPCs. Bottom line buy the streaming device that meets your needs not based on other's hype. If you only need streaming form limited sources the these sub $100 streaming devices regardless of the brand are perfectly fine. However if demand more functionality out of your media devices than simple streaming or crippled browsing nothing you can hack on Chromescast, Roku, or Apple TV is going to touch a HTPC.

Bowen said:   I got my chromecast last night and went from in the box to watching a movie in under 5 minutes. Stupid easy. Joe America doesn't understand the HTPC...neither does my wife (which is why mine sits mostly unused). Granted I haven't tested it outside of the google play or YouTube environment, but it was extremely easy to use. My wife picked it up faster than she did Apple TV because it's just like using her phone.

Chromecast is awesome and the hacks that are surely coming (Plex, dropbox, etc) are only going to make it better.


Yup Got one last week and unlike Apple TV wife could use it to easily choose netflix video using her phone and then send command to chromecast. Chromecast then handled streaming. This is NOT wireless HDMI AKA miracast/airplay.

More fun. Buddy visits his kid was already on my wifi with her iphone from past visits. No installing apps etc. She just open netflix and sent to my TV. So she was using her account, in seconds. 1080p 5.1 sound. Youtube Q of music was fun for her and daughter too.

I do agree that Netflix, Amazon VOD don't have all the content. But wife and kids love it enough to perhaps cut down on FIOS/Cable pacakges or even the # of cable boxes. I hope Amazon joins chromecast. $35 with simpleest setup ever. It has best wifi chip possible and shockingly good for basically no antenna.

For my old low res laptop it does cast hulu etc tab with sound fine but then the pc is pretty closed to maxed out for other stuff. Full remote desktop works too, but this is NOT what you buy this for if you want to be happy;

cnIsfg said:   
As far as Chromecast it is very simple to use but it is also very limited OOB compared to some of the other sub-$100 streaming device offerings. Chromecast is built on a very weak processor platform and the amount of usable or hackable memory on the Chromecast is pathetic so any future hacks will be basic hacks that require constant tinkering to get them to work. Having to constantly tinker with a hack every time I want to stream something basically negates the whole user friendliness of the devices no amount of hacking will not provide any additional user friendly functionality to Chromecast. Then again Chromecast is $35 device designed exclusively for streaming what Goodge wants to allow so is not made to complete with more expensive HTPCs. Bottom line buy the streaming device that meets your needs not based on other's hype. If you only need streaming form limited sources the these sub $100 streaming devices regardless of the brand are perfectly fine. However if demand more functionality out of your media devices than simple streaming or crippled browsing nothing you can hack on Chromescast, Roku, or Apple TV is going to touch a HTPC.


It is limited OOB right now, yes, but I disagree with most everything else. The Apple TV and Roku interfaces are OK, but when you want to search for something going letter by letter via a remote sucks. Phones and computers are stupid easy to use; we use them every day multiple times per day, so in that regard we are more trained to use them. There is no clunky remote etc. Hacks and apps that are coming for Chromecast will be legit. They won't even necessarily be hacks, but simple android programs that allow you to use the device in a new way. Stream from your local network, stream from Drop Box, Hulu and HBO go are supposedly already working on apps. Hacking is usually my last option; I agree I don't want to deal with it, but knowing the way the guys at XDA Devs work, this thing is going to get a ton of attention.

I connect my computer to my TV, easy. Can play anything on my computer & Internet not needed.

Bowen said:   cnIsfg said:   
As far as Chromecast it is very simple to use but it is also very limited OOB compared to some of the other sub-$100 streaming device offerings. Chromecast is built on a very weak processor platform and the amount of usable or hackable memory on the Chromecast is pathetic so any future hacks will be basic hacks that require constant tinkering to get them to work. Having to constantly tinker with a hack every time I want to stream something basically negates the whole user friendliness of the devices no amount of hacking will not provide any additional user friendly functionality to Chromecast. Then again Chromecast is $35 device designed exclusively for streaming what Goodge wants to allow so is not made to complete with more expensive HTPCs. Bottom line buy the streaming device that meets your needs not based on other's hype. If you only need streaming form limited sources the these sub $100 streaming devices regardless of the brand are perfectly fine. However if demand more functionality out of your media devices than simple streaming or crippled browsing nothing you can hack on Chromescast, Roku, or Apple TV is going to touch a HTPC.


It is limited OOB right now, yes, but I disagree with most everything else. The Apple TV and Roku interfaces are OK, but when you want to search for something going letter by letter via a remote sucks. Phones and computers are stupid easy to use; we use them every day multiple times per day, so in that regard we are more trained to use them. There is no clunky remote etc. Hacks and apps that are coming for Chromecast will be legit. They won't even necessarily be hacks, but simple android programs that allow you to use the device in a new way. Stream from your local network, stream from Drop Box, Hulu and HBO go are supposedly already working on apps. Hacking is usually my last option; I agree I don't want to deal with it, but knowing the way the guys at XDA Devs work, this thing is going to get a ton of attention.


You have been reading to much PR on the Chromecast from those who know way too little about it. Two reasons why the Chromecast will never be widely adapted by the hacker community:

First and foremost the Chrome OS on the Chromecast is stored in encrypted EROM so it is not just as easy as reflashing an EEPROM like most firmware based Android OS in the past have used. Short of a successful hack in to Google's server based Chrome OS update system and then deciphering their constantly changing 256 bit encryption there no way to permanently hack ChromeOS on the ChromeCast. Traditionally hackers would simply download the unencrypted OS rewrite a new bootstrap and then reflash the device so they have full access to the way and OS acts once it is booted. Also don't forget that the Chromecast acceptable use and Chrome EULA agreements you breezed right past the first time you booted your Chromecast give Google the right to brick your ChromeCast if they feel you have altered the hardware or Chrome OS in any way.

Second XDA and other well known hacker groups have way too much other Android on a Stick hardware that they can legally hack these days to even care about ChromeCast. There are hundreds of sub $50 Android PC sticks variants spilling out of China with far more potential than the Chromecast so hacking a $35 Chromecast is far less appealing to hackers than it was 5 years ago when even the cheapest devices were several hundreds of dollars.

IMO the Chromecast along with its hype will disappear as fast as it appeared.

You wouldn't need to hack the chromecast to "hack" it. You would hack an app on the tablet or a program on the computer to spoof itself to a streamable cast. Think a small background app to send any app to your screen. I am sure that would be on the mind of any XDA dev that wants to toy with the chromecast. Of course it would be nice to hack it directly to accept anything but you would still need hack programs to send to it.

I just use my Tivo HD ... no additional boxes required.

Drag and drop a media/movie.. into Chrome browser(PC/Android...)
If it can be played in your Chrome, it can be played in a ChromeCast.

The idea is simple and easy to understand, but a lot of programming work which is why "BETA".

For example, it does not support (external or softcoded) subtitle.(at least the chrome I am testing).

BUT, this is GOOGLE. I believe users supported AddOns will be out fast to support almost everything.

Apple TV cant be beat for what it was designed to do, airstream instantly and provide iTunes content. It is difficult to compare overall competitive content, but on a functionality level Apple TV is a nice option. It is really the most slick WiFi option. Chromecast is an interesting and economically viable option, but does not hold a candle to the airstream capability of Apple. Just my own opinion, I have tried both.

Relaxing said:   Apple TV cant be beat for what it was designed to do, airstream instantly and provide iTunes content. It is difficult to compare overall competitive content, but on a functionality level Apple TV is a nice option. It is really the most slick WiFi option. Chromecast is an interesting and economically viable option, but does not hold a candle to the airstream capability of Apple. Just my own opinion, I have tried both.

Agree... got tired of xbmc... so now rips come down and are converted to MP4 and added to itunes library. AppleTV looks nice, and that's what counts and has a wife approved interface.

cnIsfg said:   

You have been reading to much PR on the Chromecast from those who know way too little about it. Two reasons why the Chromecast will never be widely adapted by the hacker community:

First and foremost the Chrome OS on the Chromecast is stored in encrypted EROM so it is not just as easy as reflashing an EEPROM like most firmware based Android OS in the past have used.


From my reading Chromecast is not actually based on Chrome OS, google announced it as a "simplified Chrome OS", but it's my understanding that those who have already hacked it are saying "simplified Chrome OS" is actually pretty much just Android. There are plenty of hacks for Android and Google has no precedence (that I'm aware of) for going after people who have hacked Android.

cnIsfg said:   
Second XDA and other well known hacker groups have way too much other Android on a Stick hardware that they can legally hack these days to even care about ChromeCast. There are hundreds of sub $50 Android PC sticks variants spilling out of China with far more potential than the Chromecast so hacking a $35 Chromecast is far less appealing to hackers than it was 5 years ago when even the cheapest devices were several hundreds of dollars.

IMO the Chromecast along with its hype will disappear as fast as it appeared.


Are those Android Sticks HDMI Dongles?...no. We'll agree to disagree on this one. The price is right and it' simple to use. Granted it's set up to be a gateway into the Google Play Store (for most), but since Android is the number one selling mobile OS that's not too much of an issue now.

And there is already a YouTube video of an app that will stream your dropbox content to Chromecast.

Just hook up a PC to your TV. Done. Streamers are just PCs restricted to the preinstalled hardware/software.

HTPC + PB (Piratebay )

I got my Chromecast yesterday. I really had a terrible time setting it up. Mostly because I was tired and wanted to do things MY WAY, but a little because this gem is a little rough around the edges. I could not install it with my Fire. I went to the url and Google offered to install the app, but the Fire would not install it. Then I plugged a wireless dongle into my desktop to see if that would work. I didn’t try to disable the wired connection or anything — just figured it might talk to the chromecast. It did not. My work PC did not like the unsecured network. I ended up installing with my wife’s laptop. I could see the chromecast updating with the info I entered and it appeared to connect to my home network, but the app kept reporting a failure uploading settings. Finally, I just tried the chromecast app and everything worked. So, rough start.

I do like it, though. Netflix and Youtube were flawless and there was very little ‘lag’ tab-casting (did I just make that up?). I dragged some files onto Chrome and went full screen. You can definitely watch movies this way.

I have to admit that most of what I love about this is in my imagination. What it does is fun, but there isn't much of it. Given the plunge in phablet prices, I could see an android tablet serving as a sophisticated remote control or director. Chromecast Maestro has a ring to it. Tell my HDHR3 to send channel 5 to the Chromecast or Plex to send a movie. All of a sudden playlists are feasible. And why couldn't you capture that hdmi output to a computer? Chromecast Captivate!

My college student was completely uninterested in chromecast until he got a chance to play. He wants me to hurry up and review the thing before he heads back to school…for some reason. He can take it. To be honest, 80% of my viewing is broadcast television. I love to play with these toys, but I keep waking up when the show ends.

I'm pretty happy with Roku. I will say that yes, having Hulu and Amazon helps. Haven't added Netflix yet, but as I reduce my Comcast package, that day will come.
I am disappoint that Comcast blocks HBO GO on Roku. However, Comcast keeps giving me an HBO promo that is cost effective otherwise, and I can use the iPad app.

For Roku users, may I suggest Plex, and may I suggest installing unofficial / unsupported plugins into Plex, which will allow access to content that Roku no longer allows (or may have never allowed) on native Roku apps. Also look at the "Nowhere Man" Roku apps.

Beyond Plex, Roku does get better all the time. Just added NFB/ONF, PBS, PRO Classic TV (not public domain, older stuff but not seen elsewhere), and Sky News.

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