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  #1  
Old 05-02-2011, 03:46 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Recommendation for a Netflix Player?

I'm looking for a recommendation for some sort of Netflix player, like a Boxee Box, a Roku or a specific blu-ray player. I already know and use PlayOn, but I've never been satisfied with the video quality. It's tolerable on the small TV in my bedroom, but not the large TV in my living room.

My main reason for doing this is that my Samsung BD-P1600 blu-ray player has suddenly become a lot worse with Netflix. A few weeks ago Netflix changed how TV series appear in the instant queue. Now rather than splitting apart different seasons of the same series, they're all grouped together. That's problematic for two reasons. First, my player will not show more than 100 episodes of any single series, meaning I can't actually see all the episodes if there are more than 4 seasons of a show. And two, even if my player would show all the episodes, it would take me a long time to scroll through the episode list of a TV series to get to an episode in a later season. I've also been having a lot of problems with the reliability of Netflix streaming after a recent firmware update on my blu-ray player.

This is what I'm hooking for:
  1. Netflix HD video support, preferably with support for 5.1 sound on Netflix.
  2. Ability to browse and search Netflix catalog, not just play things back from the instant queue.
  3. No problems displaying multiple seasons of TV shows. Preferably I'd like an interface where first you select the TV show, then you select a season, then select an episode. I don't know if that exists on any devices.
  4. Preferably I'd like component video output (and HDMI), since I don't want to upgrade my receiver yet.
  5. Support for other streaming sites, particularly Hulu, would be great but not entirely necessary.

I guess my choices are between the Boxee Box, Roku, and one of several available blu-ray players. I don't really know how full-featured the Netflix interface on those players are, or how easy they are to use. I realize the Boxee Box and 2011-model blu-ray players won't have component video, though I can work around that limitation if need be.
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2011, 04:13 PM
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panteragstk panteragstk is offline
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The issue is with the firmware not being updated. If I were you I'd look to the device that will most likely be updated the quickest. If you need component for convenience reasons then the roku xds would be your best bet. Do you use hulu plus, because I think you have to on most STB's to get hulu at all? I could be wrong though.

You could just use a client and have everything on one box...and mess with decoder issues, seamlessly changing from one app to another only to bang your head against the wall when it doesn't work, mess with macro trickery in eventghost to make changing apps less effort, learning studio to create menu items to launch those apps, and last but not least: drivers.

Sounds easy right?
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2011, 04:30 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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I'm leaning towards either the Boxee Box or (more likely) the Roku XDS. I don't really trust any of the blu-ray manufacturers to update their players more than a year or two after they're sold. But there's something entirely unsatisfying about having yet another box next to my TV.

The Boxee Box has always seemed interesting to me, yet I remember its initial reviews were not very favorable. I don't know how much that has changed.

You're right that you need Hulu Plus to use Hulu on anything other than PCs (basically). I might actually use Hulu Plus on my iPad, so I would consider paying the $8/month for it, at least on a trial basis.

I stopped using a PC client with my TV back in 2006. Until recently I used a PC client occasionally on workstation in my office, but I've almost entirely stopped doing that. It worked fine with SD mpeg2, and QAM-recorded HD-mpeg2, but it has never been very reliable with HD-PVR recordings or firewire recordings. I have no intention of trying to set up a PC client again.
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  #4  
Old 05-02-2011, 04:34 PM
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panteragstk panteragstk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
I'm leaning towards either the Boxee Box or (more likely) the Roku XDS. I don't really trust any of the blu-ray manufacturers to update their players more than a year or two after they're sold. But there's something entirely unsatisfying about having yet another box next to my TV.

The Boxee Box has always seemed interesting to me, yet I remember its initial reviews were not very favorable. I don't know how much that has changed.

You're right that you need Hulu Plus to use Hulu on anything other than PCs (basically). I might actually use Hulu Plus on my iPad, so I would consider paying the $8/month for it, at least on a trial basis.
I think either would be great.

Quote:
I stopped using a PC client with my TV back in 2006. Until recently I used a PC client occasionally on workstation in my office, but I've almost entirely stopped doing that. It worked fine with SD mpeg2, and QAM-recorded HD-mpeg2, but it has never been very reliable with HD-PVR recordings or firewire recordings. I have no intention of trying to set up a PC client again.
I figured as much. That's why I said it the way I did.
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2011, 06:00 PM
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GKusnick GKusnick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
* Ability to browse and search Netflix catalog, not just play things back from the instant queue.
For what it's worth, any decent smartphone or iDevice will let you do this from the comfort of your couch without requiring it to be built into the player. I do this all the time: browse for movies or TV shows on my tablet, push them to the head of my queue, and then play them back through Sage using the PlayOn plugin. It's way more convenient (in my opinion) than using a remote to search for content.
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2011, 06:16 PM
PLUCKYHD PLUCKYHD is offline
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Ito that extent I recOmmend a appletv works great small and the iPhone / iPad app it is easy to search. Plus you get hd not downgraded playon.
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  #7  
Old 05-04-2011, 10:02 AM
Zuhkov Zuhkov is offline
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I'd say either the second generation Apple TV or the Roku. Take a look at the features beyond Netflix access and decide which you'll use more.

If you have a decent iTunes media library, Apple TV is a natural choice, plus it gives the opportunity for hacking around with XBMC or Plex.

If you would get substantial use out of one or more of the other channels available on the Roku that aren't available on Applet TV (that would be Amazon VOD for me), then the Roku is a better choice. Roku has just gotten a Plex client and does offer more flexibility with less work (than hacking the Apple TV).

I'd say that interface-wise, both are equally excellent. My sisters and I bought my dad a Roku a year ago for his birthday and now he uses it almost as much as his cable.
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  #8  
Old 05-06-2011, 01:41 PM
valnar valnar is offline
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If money is not an object and you want a great quality picture as well as the best Blu-ray player on the market, check out Oppo.
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  #9  
Old 05-07-2011, 07:54 PM
twollman twollman is offline
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I love my Roku XDS. Very easy to use and set up. The wireless connection streams flawlessly.
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  #10  
Old 05-07-2011, 08:42 PM
alton987 alton987 is offline
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Sad

The answer should be a HD300...
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  #11  
Old 05-07-2011, 09:12 PM
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tvmaster2 tvmaster2 is offline
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since the ONLY way to get 5.1 Dolby Surround from Netflix is via the Sony Playstation, that would be the way to go if audio quality is of concern
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  #12  
Old 05-08-2011, 03:21 PM
stevech stevech is offline
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Boxee Make? (run on Linux or Windows)

also my Vizio TV from CostCo has Ethernet and Netflix et al.
also my Samsung BlueRay DVD player with Ethernet and Netflix et al.
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  #13  
Old 05-08-2011, 03:52 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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At this point I'm leaning towards the Roku XDS, mostly because I'm much more confident that Netflix and Roku will keep the device up to date than anyone/anything else.

While nearly all blu-ray players have Netflix support, I'm scared away for two reasons: 1) its incredibly hard to figure out what players have support for certain Netflix features, like browsing and search, and 2) I suspect Netflix/blu-ray manufacturers will stop updating those players after a year or two (which seems to be what happened with my Samsung BD-P1600).

It may sound silly, but I really do want a player that can browse the Netflix watch-now offerings. It might usually be easier to use a cellphone, iOS device, or laptop to search Netflix, but only when you have something near you.

The Boxee Box is still tempting. Honestly, if it had component video I'd probably get it. But, I'm a little more concerned that it will suddenly stop working one day. I'm also pretty annoyed that I can't figure out what's available on the Boxee Box that isn't available on the Roku. Boxee makes it way too hard to figure that out. Can you watch shows off of the network TV streaming sites or have they blocked Boxee? They say there's 40,000 TV shows available on the Boxee Box, but I don't know if that's basically just from Netflix.
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  #14  
Old 05-08-2011, 05:02 PM
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evilpenguin evilpenguin is offline
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You can't go wrong with a PS3 or Xbox, in fact with E3 coming up you should hold off and see if anything cool is announced.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:34 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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The problem with Xbox is that it requires Xbox Gold which is $10 a month (assuming that you are not a game player and already have it) - it is ridiculous to be paying more than your Netflix sub for access to Netflix.

Another choice is an HTPC - the front end for Netflix through MCE is pretty good and you can always use it as a Sage client as well! It is more expensive, more hassles but more flexible as well.
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:53 PM
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Fuzzy Fuzzy is offline
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The newer 'low power' hardware has certainly eliminated the hassles. My H55 based i3 client is rock solid, and it was about 20 minutes of setup to get going (after the 30 minute win7 install). Certainly does cost more (a little), but it gives lots of extra capability for that cost. Not only do I have the capability of netflix, but I also have a BD-ROM drive located in the living room attached to the client. The UI speed is a great improvement, and if anyone ever gets around to releasing a more advanced STV to take advantage of the 3D acceleration, it would be even MORE worth it to run a client.
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:57 PM
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panteragstk panteragstk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy View Post
The newer 'low power' hardware has certainly eliminated the hassles. My H55 based i3 client is rock solid, and it was about 20 minutes of setup to get going (after the 30 minute win7 install). Certainly does cost more (a little), but it gives lots of extra capability for that cost. Not only do I have the capability of netflix, but I also have a BD-ROM drive located in the living room attached to the client. The UI speed is a great improvement, and if anyone ever gets around to releasing a more advanced STV to take advantage of the 3D acceleration, it would be even MORE worth it to run a client.
+1 to that. Except some guy hit a telephone pole and the power going on and off corrupted my ssd (even though it was hooked up to a ups). Didn't take long to get it up and running again. I have netflix, vudu, sage, emulators, and hulu all on one box without playon.
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:18 PM
PLUCKYHD PLUCKYHD is offline
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Originally Posted by Fuzzy View Post
The newer 'low power' hardware has certainly eliminated the hassles. My H55 based i3 client is rock solid, and it was about 20 minutes of setup to get going (after the 30 minute win7 install). Certainly does cost more (a little), but it gives lots of extra capability for that cost. Not only do I have the capability of netflix, but I also have a BD-ROM drive located in the living room attached to the client. The UI speed is a great improvement, and if anyone ever gets around to releasing a more advanced STV to take advantage of the 3D acceleration, it would be even MORE worth it to run a client.
See cost is my main disadvantage and why i can't convince myself. I can buy two or more extenders for the price of a client build with windows license. I keep trying to convince myself but the extra money just doesn't seem worth it.
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:34 PM
cncb cncb is offline
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See cost is my main disadvantage and why i can't convince myself.
Interesting because you could build something about the same price as a Sonos "zoneplayer" .
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Old 05-09-2011, 04:10 PM
PLUCKYHD PLUCKYHD is offline
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Interesting because you could build something about the same price as a Sonos "zoneplayer" .
Haha sonos is a different ballgame as it synchs my rooms and yes I could buy a client for the price of a sonos zone but that is over 3 extenders. Where as I haven't found anything as nice and integrated as sonos for my audio needs that beats sonos pricing.
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