Considering getting a Roku & have questions

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Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby classic » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:05 am

It seems that this is the only forum availabble for posting. I tried to post in the General Roku forum which would be more appropiate for this inquiry, but it's locked.
Anyway, I am considering getting a Roku unit (I'm thinking the top shelf one might be the one I need). I have some questions though. First a bit of background: I own a Logitech Squeezebox Touch which sadly has been discontinued. It still works, but for how long? Anyway, I'm much more an audio guy then a TV watcher, but there are certain things I like to watch the only problem is they are not broadcast through any traditional TV source. My thought is this: I am wanting to use the Roku mainly as a second Squeezebox Touch or similar. I already know that one can not play one's own FLAC files or what have you from one's own server, but I don't use it for that anyway. However, everything else the Squeezebox Touch does it appears the Roku can do with the exception of a good built in DAC. I subscribe to MOG and also like Pandora and all the other music available on the internet and I see that the Roku supports all that. I'm wondering if I get an outboard DAC and run the analog audio output to the DAC and then my receiver PLUS the HDMI output to my receiver could I have the best of both worlds? In other words, would they cancel each other out or work just fine obviously as long as I don't try to do both at the same time?
My next questions have to do with TV:
I'm not a TV watcher except for documentaries, educational and say music specials or the like. I also like classic TV (Adam 12, Dragnet, Starsky and Hutch, Emergency, Columbo, The Monkees....) as well as more recent programs that are not shown anymore such as How It's Made. For instance, How It's Made used to be shown on The Science Channel (when I had cable just to get certain programs like this), but it is no longer shown on any channel according to a study of line ups from various cable companies and such. My question here would be Is that particular show available on the Roku?
Now the big question: Are there any free channels that show documentaries and classic TV and such on the Roku or is everything subscription based? I don't want a Netflix or Hulu plus and such subscription as I do not need another set of $10 per month fees.
Those are my big questions in deciding whether or not to get one of these units.
Thank you.
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby castalla » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:19 am

If you have a Touch, then there's absolutely no comparison with the Roku - you'll be very disappointed, imho.

TV is very much hit'n'miss - lots of utter rubbish 'channels' containing little more than video clips. Decent material is few and far between.

Others will disagree, and tell us that there is a wide choice of 400+ channels.
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby TheEndless » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:50 am

castalla wrote:Others will disagree, and tell us that there is a wide choice of 400+ channels.

Aren't you connecting to the UK channel store? If so, unless the OP is as well, you're review of content availability is significantly skewed, and you should probably note that when giving your impressions to new users.

classic wrote: For instance, How It's Made used to be shown on The Science Channel (when I had cable just to get certain programs like this), but it is no longer shown on any channel according to a study of line ups from various cable companies and such. My question here would be Is that particular show available on the Roku?

Not sure what line ups you were looking at, but How It's Made is still on the Science Channel constantly.. pretty much 24 hours a day over the weekends :P There are 182 episodes of it available on Netflix, but you won't find it for free. There are a number of free channels that show public domain documentaries and classic TV, but most of the more popular shows will require either a subscription to one of the major services, or a rental/purchase from Amazon or Vudu, etc. Before you completely dismiss the paid services, remember that the $8/month Netflix and Hulu charge is a far cry from the $100+/month that cable and satellite charge, and everything is on-demand. Subscription services aside, most current popular television shows can be purchased for a couple of dollars per episode or ~$30 per season through Amazon, and are available the day after they air.

For what it's worth, with the exception of Starsky and Hutch and the Monkees, all of the other classic TV shows you mentioned are available, in their entirety, on Netflix instant.
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby castalla » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:03 am

I don't want a Netflix


Well, then your choice is even more restricted - wherever you are (pace TheEndless)!
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby kc8pql » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:10 am

castalla wrote:
Others will disagree, and tell us that there is a wide choice of 400+ channels.

Actually, according to C'girl, it's about 900 now...
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby castalla » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:11 am

Really ... all the same?
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby mauiman » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:01 pm

I don't know about FLAC files, but Plex now plays my WAV files.
Nice little surprise.
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby catastrophegirl » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:44 pm

classic wrote:My next questions have to do with TV:
I'm not a TV watcher except for documentaries, educational and say music specials or the like. I also like classic TV (Adam 12, Dragnet, Starsky and Hutch, Emergency, Columbo, The Monkees....) as well as more recent programs that are not shown anymore such as How It's Made. For instance, How It's Made used to be shown on The Science Channel (when I had cable just to get certain programs like this), but it is no longer shown on any channel according to a study of line ups from various cable companies and such. My question here would be Is that particular show available on the Roku?
Now the big question: Are there any free channels that show documentaries and classic TV and such on the Roku or is everything subscription based? I don't want a Netflix or Hulu plus and such subscription as I do not need another set of $10 per month fees.
Those are my big questions in deciding whether or not to get one of these units.
Thank you.


i've only watched "how it's made" on hulu plus, and i suspect the only way to get it is through paid channels.

some of the following are private channels, and not all of them may have content you want. for example, vajra buddhist tv has documentaries, but they are mostly documentaries about spirituality. but channels like snagfilms are all documentaries, on a wide variety of subjects

free classic/retro TV:

popflix classic tv
american pop
n2tv
retrovision
pub d hub
omniverse tv [streaming classic tv on a subchannel]
crackle
ADC

free documentaries:
world worth watching
prime tv network
xtreme films
looking glass
ADC
the lip tv
vajra buddhist
BYU tv
newgrounds
snagfilms
popcornflix
nowhere tv
inmoo


kc8pql wrote:Actually, according to C'girl, it's about 900 now...


i know of 950 but i am investigating 55 of them for potential issues or user reports of content not playing.
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby classic » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:44 pm

castalla wrote:If you have a Touch, then there's absolutely no comparison with the Roku - you'll be very disappointed, imho.

TV is very much hit'n'miss - lots of utter rubbish 'channels' containing little more than video clips. Decent material is few and far between.

Others will disagree, and tell us that there is a wide choice of 400+ channels.


Disappointed in what way? Sound quality? = Are you saying that there is not way to connect an outboard DAC? Or are you talking audio content? As for TV content , yes, tely through the usual suspects of sources is dismal at best unless your only into watching the Kardashians, entertainment tabloid stuff and other trash
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby castalla » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:58 pm

Bear in mind that the audio streaming capabilities are essentially limited to mp3 streams. For me, this means that all the BBC radio streams are not available. If you're sure about your streams being in mp3 format then you'll be happy enough, I suppose. There's a private channel called MainSqueeze which will connect to LMS.

I'm not sure how you'd use a DAC - & you need video output to see what you're doing!
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby classic » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:10 pm

TheEndless wrote:
castalla wrote:
classic wrote: For instance, How It's Made used to be shown on The Science Channel (when I had cable just to get certain programs like this), but it is no longer shown on any channel according to a study of line ups from various cable companies and such. My question here would be Is that particular show available on the Roku?

Not sure what line ups you were looking at, but How It's Made is still on the Science Channel constantly.. pretty much 24 hours a day over the weekends :P There are 182 episodes of it available on Netflix, but you won't find it for free. There are a number of free channels that show public domain documentaries and classic TV, but most of the more popular shows will require either a subscription to one of the major services, or a rental/purchase from Amazon or Vudu, etc. Before you completely dismiss the paid services, remember that the $8/month Netflix and Hulu charge is a far cry from the $100+/month that cable and satellite charge, and everything is on-demand. Subscription services aside, most current popular television shows can be purchased for a couple of dollars per episode or ~$30 per season through Amazon, and are available the day after they air.

For what it's worth, with the exception of Starsky and Hutch and the Monkees, all of the other classic TV shows you mentioned are available, in their entirety, on Netflix instant.


The Science Channel is a premium channel in my area so $135 per month plus $9 extra per month for one channel with one program worth watching is insanity. I could buy the rights to the program at the end of one year at that rate. Plus considering my veiwing habits which is 30 minutes to 1 hour every 2 or 3 days, it doesn't make sense to pay a monthly fee, especially cable. Doing the math it's far less expensive to buy the TV series I like plus no commercials. I don't watch anything current, so no worries about that. Amazon streaming service is a joke. If one wanted to watch say, Law & Order if one is crazy one can pay $2 per episode and watch it once or $30 for a season and watch once and have to repay everytime. Alternatively, one can go into the amazon store and pick up an entire season of DVDs for $25 - $29 or go used for around $15 for a whole season and own it.
For the TV side I would basically be after shows I can't get on DVD (like How It's Made) or that are priced out of the boundaries of the earth.
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby classic » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:17 pm

castalla wrote:Bear in mind that the audio streaming capabilities are essentially limited to mp3 streams. For me, this means that all the BBC radio streams are not available. If you're sure about your streams being in mp3 format then you'll be happy enough, I suppose. There's a private channel called MainSqueeze which will connect to LMS.

I'm not sure how you'd use a DAC - & you need video output to see what you're doing!


Yes, the streams are MP3 and sound horrible straight from a PC or any device without a decent DAC. MOG streams at 320kps which is better than most, but still sounds bad conventionally. However, as in the case of the SB Touch it has a rather good built in DAC and makes the streams much more palatable. Still won't beat a redbook Cd or vinyl, but for it's uses it is very good. (My uses are discovering new music and "try before buy").
I'm thinking a DAC could be connected to the Roku via either the Analog out or the USB. For video output one can either use the TV (not a very good idea in my case) or now they have an Android app so I could load that on my tablet.
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby castalla » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:48 pm

I think the usb is only for memory sticks. The app is pretty basic ... not much use unless you can see the video output on the TV.

Personally, I'd push the old cash evelope & get a replacement Touch!
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby mikeyts » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:50 pm

castalla wrote:I think the usb is only for memory sticks.

USB storage devices--it works with HDDs as well. Just a nit.
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Re: Considering getting a Roku & have questions

Postby TheEndless » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:56 pm

classic wrote:The Science Channel is a premium channel in my area so $135 per month plus $9 extra per month for one channel with one program worth watching is insanity. I could buy the rights to the program at the end of one year at that rate.

That's why I pointed out that there are 182 episodes available on Netflix. At $8/month, that's $96/year, plus you get access to all of the other content (including most of the classic TV shows you mentioned). That's a full year's subscription for less than you were paying, per month, for cable.

classic wrote:Amazon streaming service is a joke. If one wanted to watch say, Law & Order if one is crazy one can pay $2 per episode and watch it once or $30 for a season and watch once and have to repay everytime.

With television, you're buying the episodes, so they're yours to watch for as long as you have an Amazon account. Same with the seasons. $30 buys you the season. For movies, rentals work the way you described, but you have the option of paying more to own those as well. The same is true for VUDU.
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