blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

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blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby tc5998 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:07 pm

OK, so I own a Roku XDS that I use in my back bedroom. I already had an older blu-ray player back there, so when I wanted to add streaming services of various types I chose the Roku.

I am thinking about getting something for my parents soon to help them get access to various things. They have the HDTV but have no HD content delivery devices besides their cable box. I think they should get a blu-ray player that can upscale their current DVDs and of course play Blu-Rays (Blu-Rays have gotten so nice when the transfer is done right - have you seen the Blu-Ray of Top Gun? It is like watching a whole new movie!).

So I started looking at the current gen of blu-ray players from companies like Samsung. They are all offering services like Vudu, Netflix, Amazon VOD, Hulu Plus and even Accuweather on their Blu-Ray boxes. So I started to wonder - if you are in the market for a blu-ray player AND streaming services why would you buy two devices? A player AND a Roku? I know that the Roku's software interfaces for some of these services are a bit slicker, but players like this Samsung linked below seem to have the capability to update software often and those will get better. They even have DLNA/Home networking support.
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-BD-C6500-1080p-Blu-ray-Player/dp/B00365EVW4/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1297366654&sr=1-1

I really like the Roku as a product, and we use it daily. However, I will say my wife and I use the Netflix and Hulu Plus channels 94% of the time with a few of the others thrown in (like Picasa, etc..) I also have a PS3 in my front room that does almost everything the Roku does (I also use PlayOn media server)

For my parents having all in one box is going to be better anyway cause they can barely remember how to change the input on their TV, but what about me? I'm a bit of a tech nerd.. .not sure if I'd buy a Roku again if I needed a Blu-Ray player AND streaming services in the future.

Again - I'm a Roku fan - just not sure about what other pluses I'm missing in Roku land. I have a lot of people ask me about these things -so help me arm myself with knowledge of the pros and cons!
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby stratcat96 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:21 pm

Blu-ray is kind of a last gasp from a tired media delivery platform. You need to decide just *what* is more important to them... Playing up-converted dvds and BDs, or the streaming. I personally have a sony 1080p upconvert player that was $50, basically just because I have alot of dvds that I like, but didn't buy a BD player because I'm not about to drop $30 on a movie, or buy any dvds generally at all anymore. If I want to watch anything new, AVOD has got it, plus the Roku streaming selections are great. I even bought one for my parents, who are in their mid-to-late 60s and they have no problem switching btw devices, and my dad loves all the int. news channels that just popped up ;) That's just *me* though
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby destruk » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:35 pm

Have you seen the DVD of The Great Escape? Even upscaling won't help. Because most of the original actors are dead, they could only take it from the original film reel, complete with hair on some frames, artifacts, and errors. It's also not going to be available on BluRay until 2013 (latest estimates) because MGM owns the rights and they are still fighting bankruptcy. I agree BluRay is a last ditch gasp for air for the entertainment industry - providing an overpriced product that nobody truly needs. If you have it, the movies they do have are just as good as the old versions, with more advertisements, higher pricing, and more distracting features, not to mention a longer 'preload time'. I think one of their main issues is that most (if not all bluray players) upscale DVD content automatically with no way to disable the feature. This leads end customers to pop a DVD into it, and then pop in the same movie on BluRay, and it's too difficult to tell much, if any difference in picture quality.
- most articles on the difference dispute are a few years old - http://www.viewpoints.com/Sony-BDP-S370 ... iew-67ac12
Move movies are on DVD, no movies are exclusively on BluRay, most people are probably waiting until the price drops to $5-$10/disc.
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby kc8pql » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:41 pm

Just one question. When's the last time a new channel popped up on your blu-ray player? Two and a half years ago, all Roku did was play Netflix. Now there are 140+ channels with new ones nearly every week, and even the oldest boxes are able to play them all and are still fully supported.
One more thing. We old people (I'm 60) aren't nearly so wowed by screaming HD. Large, varied libraries, both video and audio, news and current affairs, low cost and simplicity are what's interesting.
Last edited by kc8pql on Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby SuetyStanes » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:43 pm

A huge feather in the cap of the Roku is the public SDK. This means the ability for private channels, and for content deliverers to develop their own channels for the platform.

It might not be apparent yet, even with 100+ channels available on the Roku, but this will be huge in the emerging streaming market. Especially because the Roku has the ability to stream iPhone/iPad streams for the most part, which will become increasingly popular just because of the large Apple user population.

It's still a fairly new concept, using your tv like a computer without using a computer, but Roku is poised to take as much advantage of this emerging technology as any other device out there right now, at a lower price point.
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby tc5998 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:48 pm

I understand the argument about owning media for sure. However, until the movie studios sort themselves out about owning/renting something online and being able to watch it consistently in multiple places I will likely still buy certain DVDs for awhile. Amazon VOD for example is available on my Roku in one room but not on my PS3 in the other.

With young children in the house (I have three) I will still be buying media pretty often on DVD and/or Blu-Ray to be able to move it around to all my DVD devices - cause they like to watch things over and over. Not to mention in the mini-van on the portable DVD player :-).

Take a movie like "Looney Tunes Back in Action". Its not a very good movie, but my kids fell in love with it on Netflix Streaming. Well, a few months ago Netflix apparently lost the rights to stream it anymore. They still ask to watch it, so now I am into going to go find it on DVD to be able to have it around for them. I wouldn't buy a movie like that on Blu-Ray cause it is just for the kids and is old. Take a movie like Toy Story 3 though. I looked for a good deal on the bundle - Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital copy all in one and bought that. Blu-Ray goes in the PS3 and it looks simply amazing on my TV. Better than any of the streaming services are offering and offers many extras besides (additional cartoons, behind the scenes, etc..) that I am interested in. Reg DVD goes in the Van, and digital copy is on my iPhone/computer. That was worth the $20 I spent on it to me. Same story with Star Trek (the 2008 film). I like the way it looks on Blu-Ray. Also when it comes to certain TV shows the wife likes to fall asleep to them, so she will put in something like 30 Rock and set the Blu-Ray to "play all episodes" and it will play for a few hours while she goes to sleep. Netflix doesn't yet offer this. For some older movies destruk I think you are right to question the value of Blu-Ray, but for certain movies -I'd argue Toy Story 3, or the more recent Harry Potter films as examples, Blu-Ray is a considerably better picture if you are using all HD equipment to view it.

That being said, I buy a lot fewer discs than I did before the streaming services came along - and I am a big fan of them.

My parents on the other hand almost never watch DVDs... so I think your experience with your parents stratcat may be something to think about. With Netflix and a video rental service like Amazon on a Roku my parents would likely never invest in any Blu-Rays anyway.... hmmmmmm.... My mom would just stream "Say Yes to the Dress" off Netflix 3 hours a day. :D

Another aspect is the constant adding of new channels and the flexibility Roku gives to programmers to create private channels. A webstreaming blu-ray player isn't going to match that.

Edited to add - some of you were posting awesome points while I was writing this reply! Tell me more of this iphone/ipad streaming to private channel!
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby stratcat96 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:55 pm

It is sometimes difficult for the "children" to remember that what "wows" us just doesn't do it for the parents. Mine really arent impressed with HD, but they like to be able to select from all the movies on Netflix and play it whenever they want. They also love when I'll add new channels to their box of stuff that interests them. Simplicity is the key.
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby renojim » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:58 pm

I just watched my first Blu-ray disc the other day and it will probably be my last. Advertisements on a disc? Are you kidding me?! I don't know if it was because it was a rental disc or what, but I won't be wasting any more money on them. I saw nothing to warrant BD over DVD, but plenty of advantages of DVD over BD. I'd say wait a year or two and they'll be giving them away.

As for the Internet capability, it's painful to use on my Samsung player. I never use it.

-JT
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby SuetyStanes » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:00 pm

tc5998 wrote:Edited to add - some of you were posting awesome points while I was writing this reply! Tell me more of this iphone/ipad streaming to private channel!


I'll respond to this, because it probably has something to do with what I said.

In general, iPhone/iPad streams are in a format that the Roku can process, so even if there isn't an official Roku channel for the stream, it's likely possible to create one. And since the software needed to create channels is available to everyone, and the Roku allows you to create your own channels even if they're not officially approved by the company, you can either create your own or use one that others have created but aren't official. Good examples of these would be the Justin.tv and YouTube channels.

For more on private channels freely available, there is a Yahoo Roku group:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Roku ... deoPlayer/
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby tc5998 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:46 pm

I just watched my first Blu-ray disc the other day and it will probably be my last. Advertisements on a disc? Are you kidding me?! I don't know if it was because it was a rental disc or what,


Yes, rentals now are quite limited. They have the HD copy of the movie, but they force you to watch ads and often don't have the extras content that store bought Blu's have. It has been a very disappointing trend in my opinion.

My description of how great Toy Story 3 and a few other movies look in 1080p via my PS3/BluRay on my Samsung HD TV is something I definitely feel is worth it to me. But for much fewer discs than it used to be. And the value a HD 1080p Blu-Ray copy of a movie vs a quick and easy to stream 720p copy of the same movie via Netflix is not that big of a difference for most people. Even for me, it has to be a very special movie to me for me to shell out the money for Blu.

I think the software flexibility of the Roku and its ability to add channels quickly and change things quickly prob is what gives it the win over these bluray devices and I think that will be my sell point. Good discussion so far thanks for your input!
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby dividebyzer0 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:36 am

Get a Blu Ray RECORDER
Get some use out of it.
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Re: blu-ray player with web vs Roku.. what am i missing?

Postby idrmrsr » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:46 am

I bought an LG wifi bluray player and left my Roku behind in the dust. I am of the opinion that most of Roku's 100+ channels are what someone out here has called "shovelware", not worth watching any more than 350 stupid cable channels running cooking and shows where two guys dressed in sweatshirts and blue jeans gush over the latest cell phone/skateboard/motor vehicle. LG DOES add channels, like we just got DIVx TV about a month ago, which is the equivalent of about 30 of the Roku channels right there in one shovelfull. I looked at it once. Rare additions, but the point is they DO happen from time to time.

The main benefit for me is that the LG upscales Netflix streaming. Looks gorgeous even if it isn't real HD. Streaming seems less glitchy on the LG than the Roku, too, plus...big deal here...the LG dynamically adjusts the picture quality to the internet connection speed, so if you have a slowdown, no rebuffer, and if it speeds up, quality improves...ON THE FLY.

As far as the disks themselves, I rent them from Netflix. Most of the time I find the blu-ray disk to be a fine improvement over the standard def. So much so that I'm embarking on renting all the old movies I like (such as Forbidden Planet, Blade Runner, even High Anxiety) just to watch them "cleaned up". The LG also does not lag like the older blu-ray players.

I have taken to putting the Blu Ray in the player approximately fifteen minutes before I sit down to watch the movie, so that it plays past all the crap previews and so on and is at the movie menu by the time I get into the recliner to watch in earnest.

I'm 61, btw, but I'm kind of computer savvy as I was a mainframe programmer back when that was cool.

And this is just my opinion. Not everyone wants to watch freaking "podcasts", foreign language stuff, or NASA pictures!

I want movies, in as high a quality as possible, preferably in English, and for me the blu-ray was a step up for sure.

That's my opinion.
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