Looking at getting a Roku!

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Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby MassTechGeek » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:47 pm

Hi Everyone!

I'm so glad I found this forum as I have some questions before I buy a Roku.

First, a little about me... I live in Central, Mass with my parents and we currently have DirecTV for our TV service provider. It's okay but when it rains, snows, or the winds seems to blow just a little, it seems like we always have signal issues (distortion/loss of signal). Due to the economy I have been unemployed for 3 years and things are tough. My Mother is also unemployed and my Father has been retired for 3 years as well. Thus, I'm looking to cuts costs anyway that I can for all of us!

Right now we use a Wii to watch Netflix for movies but are getting tired of there dismal choices. We tried Hulu+ and didn't like that as it was mostly TV shows (old ones) and no movies. Before I shell out for a Roku here are the questions that I have:

1. Our internet connection speed is 1.54 Mbps, is this good enough for streaming content?

2. We watch TV in our den which is on the other side of the wall where our wireless router is located. Is it better to hook the Roku player up directly to the router via a wire, or will it work okay via wireless?

3. If we get the Roku wouldwe be able to get local channels out of Boston? (i.e. WCVB, Fox 25 News, WHDH, etc.) I've heard a few people have used an inside antenna for this purpose. We are Red Sox & Pats fans so we wouldn't want to miss any games! :D

4. We do not play games on the Wii so would not need a "high end" Roku. What model Roku is best? I would also want to get one for my room upstairs as well possibly.

5. Finally, I know that there are free and private channels for Roku from what I've been reading. Is there a list of these channels available anywhere? I like to watch Deadliest Catch and want to see if the Discovery Channel is available.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! It seems as though the Roku player is a really good product :D I've also looked into another product called the Boxee but I DON'T want to pay $100 for the Boxee and then another $50 on top of it for an antenna just to watch live TV!

Hoping to be a Roku owner soon!

Regards,

Beth
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby knuckle » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:08 pm

Hi Beth---------------

1-- 1.5 is the minimum but you may see some re-buffering on hi-def should be good on standard definition tho

2-- I have my rokus hooked up wirlessly but if it is easy to do wired is always better (you will have to get a higher end unit for that tho)

3---I recommend an antenna while nowhereman (a great private developer here) offers feeds from station streams by request (he is quite accommodating like that) if your local channel doesn't offer streams or limited access stuff on their website then you will be out of luck getting it on roku

4-- the LT is a great basic unit it costs 49.99 but only does wireless -- no gaming

5-- The private channels are wonderful -- you can get a good idea from this very good content site
http://catastrophegirlsrokuchanneldata.blogspot.com/

she can save you a few bucks on your unit if you order through her link too.

Now about discovery--roku doesn't work like your direct tv with specific channels it works by content so while you can find much of the discovery channels type of programs you wont find a discovery channel

My favorite channel is the private channel Justin TV (TheEndless another great developer here provides it as a private channel) I find a lot of the science nature stuff on there but if your looking for a certain show you may or may not find it and definitely not "every saturday at nine" like it is on the actual discovery channel you are used to


hope this helps --me I wouldn't trade my roku for all the "cable channels" out there but thats just me.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby kc8pql » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:35 pm

...most important to the main point of your questions, no, Roku is not a 1 to 1 replacement for cable or dish.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby msmisfit » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:53 pm

I'm glad you posted this kc, because I think that needs to be emphasized that channels available on the Roku are not like cable or satellite channels. Especially since she has already expressed her feelings about the content on Netflix and Hulu.

I love my Roku, and wouldn't give it up, but it couldn't be a total replacement for me. At least not now. A good OTA antenna and "reception" plus a Roku, might work for many people though. :) At any rate, the Roku is a good value.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby atheling » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:24 pm

Were it me in your situation, I'd look at what I could get over a regular TV antenna. If you are in an apartment, townhouse or condominium you might have restrictions on outside TV antennas and that could be a problem if you don't get good reception with an indoor antenna. If you get good reception with an indoor antenna or are able to put up a outside antenna you may be surprised at how good you can get over the air (OTA) TV broadcasts. The picture quality is better than the "high def" available on most cable or satellite systems. If you haven't looked at local broadcast TV since the analog days you are likely to be very pleasantly surprised. Not only is the picture about the best you can get, there are usually "sub channels" for each broadcaster that carry a lot of the same filler type stuff that the satellite and cable people have. Things like 24 hour weather or news channels. And once you have the antenna setup it is all free.

We actually dropped satellite before the Roku came out because only a tiny amount of the stuff we were watching on it could not be gotten via OTA or Internet. And when we priced the cost per hour of the satellite only stuff it was an astoundingly high price.

Once you've gotten the OTA setup and seen what is available for free via your local broadcasters decide what you will be missing from your current satellite viewing. Maybe there is nothing you care about. If so, then drop your satellite service and you are done. If there are shows you'd like, then take a look at what something like a Roku can offer. Especially the "private" channels.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby krisbee » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:25 am

Being a poor farmer, we need to cut down wherever possible. We hooked up an external TV antenna and were pleased to get over 40 channels of content (albeit duplicates). Once we did that for a minimal amount invested, we investigated building our own computer DVR with our main computer. Once that was achieved we simply disconnected DirectTV for a month to see how/if we could do it - we found out that we could. Then we cancelled the satellite and have been well pleased.

No more dropouts during heavy rain, especially when we need it to make sure our farm is going to be hit. The DVR software records everything and using the great MythRokuPlayer private channel, we have been able to interface the two, so we have DVR shows on the Roku as well. Now this kind of stuff is above many users - however putting up a TV antenna and just watching off the air is not hard for most handy people.

The antenna receives a better picture than Direct ever provided, and is free. Go to tvfool.com and plug in your address to see what you would most likely receive and what kind of antenna you will need. 100% digital picture, not like the old analog days.

The private channels on Roku are great, and for the minimal amount of money on a Roku, if you can get both working, you will be saving a bunch, and being unemployed - you need to cut wherever you can...

Satellite Bill - $70 a month (mine was $100)
Roku - $60
TV antenna and cable for it - $100
Netflix - $8

So you can see, in about two months, you will recoup your costs and only be paying $8 a month.

If you have cable internet in your area, it might be cheaper just to use the OTA channels on that and slightly upgrade your service.

Also, I know I had your speed DSL when I got my Roku - when I called it was actually CHEAPER to upgrade to 3.5mbps service - my bill dropped by $2... sometimes they just keep you at the old pricing because there is no incentive for them to change for you.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby catastrophegirl » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:43 pm

used to have similar issues with directv going out in storms. i've cut my directv service, but it wasn't right away. actually had a roku since january 2009 when it was just netflix. i didn't cut the cord until this past june. i don't miss it at all, and i don't get good OTA reception where i live so i just rely on my roku. fortunately i'm not a sports fan.
i find more than enough content on my roku to keep my well entertained, especially since i upgraded to amazon prime [worth it for the shipping alone in my case]
many people choose to overlap services for a while and see whether it's worth it to them. when i realized i was paying approximately $14 per episode to get the only thing i couldn't get with existing services and wasn't willing to give up [doctor who on BBCA] from directv, i decided it was well worth $2 an episode on amazon to cut the cord.
sacrifices were made [goodbye FOOD network!] and i've sent a lot of feedback to content providers begging them to make roku channels [CBS, HGTV, FOOD, BBCA] for the shows i would like to have.
1. as others have said, you probably will experience buffering
2. if you decide to go wired, only the roku2 XS will work - the others don't have ethernet ports
3. over the air antenna. even if you get sports packages, say from MLB, you'll be subject to local blackouts
4. if you don't need a wired connection or games even the LT would do since at 1.5mpbs you aren't going to get a lot of HD quality streaming anyway
5. in addition to my site that was in a previous comment, try http://streamfree.tv/apps/roku-private-channels/ - i know that's also a well updated and reliable site

happy streaming!
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby ronfelder » Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:55 pm

knuckle wrote:Hi Beth---------------

1-- 1.5 is the minimum but you may see some re-buffering on hi-def should be good on standard definition tho

2-- I have my rokus hooked up wirlessly but if it is easy to do wired is always better (you will have to get a higher end unit for that tho)

3---I recommend an antenna while nowhereman (a great private developer here) offers feeds from station streams by request (he is quite accommodating like that) if your local channel doesn't offer streams or limited access stuff on their website then you will be out of luck getting it on roku

4-- the LT is a great basic unit it costs 49.99 but only does wireless -- no gaming

5-- The private channels are wonderful -- you can get a good idea from this very good content site
http://catastrophegirlsrokuchanneldata.blogspot.com/

she can save you a few bucks on your unit if you order through her link too.

Now about discovery--roku doesn't work like your direct tv with specific channels it works by content so while you can find much of the discovery channels type of programs you wont find a discovery channel

My favorite channel is the private channel Justin TV (TheEndless another great developer here provides it as a private channel) I find a lot of the science nature stuff on there but if your looking for a certain show you may or may not find it and definitely not "every saturday at nine" like it is on the actual discovery channel you are used to


hope this helps --me I wouldn't trade my roku for all the "cable channels" out there but thats just me.



This isn't about Roku but your DriecTv. If you're having freception problmes you need to have them come out and repoint the dish. from your complaint that's the answer and once fixed you'll rarely lose the signal.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby mkiker2089 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:16 pm

I'm posting without reading other responses to keep from changing my view. My thoughts.

First, I like Hulu for network shows. It has new shows. If they don't have what you like then skip it. Netflix has TONS AND TONS of content. I really think you need to dig deeper on it. If you rate things it should find stuff for you. Spend a day rating everything you can think of. Trust me on this everyone thinks Netflix sux at first then suddenly they find a few shows they can't miss. Then before the first one is over a few more show up on your recommended list. There's a posting about Netflix vs Hulu that should be on the top page. Read it for detailed reviews of the paid channels.

1- 1.5 is fine. More is better but 1.5 should work.

2- wireless is king so don't let anyone scare you. The future is wireless. Wired is easier but a typewriter is easier than a computer as well. The distance should be fine.

3- no channels as far as I know but some content can be found. As far as an antenna I found one I like from Amazon called "The Leaf." Others require moving them or turning dials. The Leaf just works. Supplement the Roku with the antenna and you'll be much happier without Dish.

4- I say go all out or go nowhere. Either get the LT or the XS. If you are sure you won't play games get two LTs for the price of one XS and don't look back.

5- I'll let others answer this. I use the holy trinity of Netflix - Hulu - Crackle. Pandora for music and Amazon for VOD as needed.

edit---

There is a site at www.canistream.it that you can use to search for movies. It does a decent job of telling you what is where
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby emets31 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:49 am

I just wanted to chime in because nobody has touched on this particular subject. Boxee is also a great media player, but it is $200 for the Boxee Box. If you were able to get the Boxee app before they stopped allowing downloads from their site, you could run it from your computer to your tv. I'm sure you could still find it online somewhere, though. From my experience, I would rate them about the same, with some advantages for both. But, that is in my setup. If I had to pay $200 for Boxee or $100 for the Roku 2 XS, I'd be much, much happier with the Roku purchase.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby ysidhu@gmail.com » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:42 pm

Dude, don't! And if you insist, please take mine. I'll sell it for half price + shipping.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby MassTechGeek » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:50 pm

Wow....thank you everyone for ALL of your great input! A lot to think about and go over with my folks...esp. looking into upgrading our internet speed :D

I'll get back to you all and let you know what happens!

Thanks again,

Beth

*** UPDATE ***

I just checked tvfool.com and below is the link to my results....it looks like the local channels are in red which means a rooftop antenna is suggested. I'm assuming that an indoor OTA won't work?

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapp ... 71629ee5b9
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby Tajson » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:27 pm

MassTechGeek wrote:I just checked tvfool.com and below is the link to my results....it looks like the local channels are in red which means a rooftop antenna is suggested. I'm assuming that an indoor OTA won't work?


That would be correct. We used to have an attic-mounted attenna and one mounted on a pole about 7 feet above the roof in the single floor part of the house in the old analog days where we could signals from two major cities. (Living on a State line)

With the digital transition, we had to give up the further away city and move the better directional antenna out of the attic to the pole to retain the digital signals from a city about 30-35 miles away. We get ABC-CBS-FOX-NBC-PBS networks where the FOX channel is at -6.0 and grey on the listing for us. Any bad weather, sun going down, or other weather issues and the FOX signal will drop but the other 4 networks are stable.

Looking at your readout, it looks like that you could pick a lot of the 114 degree channels by mounting a pole to the roof and an decent antenna since you have good db numbers but the distance could be a concern. If you look generally to the East and slightly to the south, do you see any large trees, hills, buildings? Like when you see the right side of the reading and the line that starts with 19.

You could probably pick one up at the local hardware store for around 80 to 100 dollars. I would go for the roof top mount and not go cheap on number of elements on the uhf directional antenna since it will give you overall a better, stable picture due to the distance.

Nothing is guaranteed when working with over the air signals since there is a lot of variables in the mix. So this is just what I would do based on what I can see from the link. Spring is coming so maybe borrow an antenna from a friend, run a wire down the side of the house in through an open window, and see what you can get before go all out.

PS: Indoor example here was a wire on the floor, into the DTV converter box, and we got a couple of the local religious channels but no nationwide broadcasting networks. Nothing bad about them but I like current news and people who makes fun of things in the morning shows. :)

Edit: Just read your very first post and there are most costs than just the antenna but I am sure that it would be within a couple of months of paying for the disc-tv. Like others said 1.5mbps should be fine for most of the channels but you should expect buffering on HD contents.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby Tajson » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:28 pm

ysidhu@gmail.com wrote:Dude, don't! And if you insist, please take mine. I'll sell it for half price + shipping.


I would have offered my old HD Roku1 as a loaner (shelf duster) except I know that it does not support adaptive bitrate so it will have a less of an user experience with the Roku2 device.
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Re: Looking at getting a Roku!

Postby krisbee » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:46 pm

I think best buy sells the DB-8, which is very directional and good to 65 miles, which coincides with your results. However, it will need to be up at 30 ft, at least I think - so if your parents house is two stories, you could strap that to a chimney or even the side of the house and get good results - and if not easily return it to best buy.
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