Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
jp1
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Netflix 3.0 - Why are other STBs surpassing Roku?

Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:03 am

So, I have been becoming increasingly disenchanted with my Roku vs. some of my other devices and the inclusion of Netflix 3.0 on my WDTV Live Hub isn't helping the issue any. Roku is supposed to be the best netflix box. Whenever someone starts complaining about a lack of other interesting content the people on these boards come back inevitably with something like "Roku is meant for netflix. You should consider everything else an added bonus."

My problem is that I have now used Netflix 3.0 on my hub and the amount of content available,UI functionality, and intuitiveness is orders of magnitude better than my Roku. Add the ability to support DLNA, Local network streaming, loads of content support, and many other services including Blockbuster and Cinemanow and I am starting to wonder what purpose my Roku serves.

Don't get me wrong, when I purchased the box it did have an edge over other STBs when it came to netflix but now it is quickly falling behind. It is the reluctance to move forward that is causing me concern. I don't want a product that is going to remain stale while other options are constantly evolving. Sure, you can point out that X number of channels have been added in a short time but the fact is that a great majority of them are either not interesting for mainstream US users or novelty channels at best. We need some more big name big content options to become viable if the box is to remain worthy of media center real estate. Unless the target audience is select religious groups and foreigners living in the United States looking for a taste of home, in which case I purchased the wrong item to begin with.

Keeping it simple is a good thing but you need to move ahead with the times to stay relevant. My Roku XDS that is less than a year old and is still chugging along based on a software revision that is meant to continually support models that have aged by several years doesn't exactly feel progressive.

I'm sure I will get flamed for this but it is just my opinion. I will be selling my two remaining boxes shortly if I don't see some solid evidence that the format is moving forward. I update my hardware regularly and I expect that when I do I am going to be rewarded with some kind of technological and software advancement.

Being cheaper than other options by an ever decreasing margin isn't enough pull for me to give up so much functionality. What is Roku's vision for the future? Or am I already looking at it when I switch on my box?
Last edited by jp1 on Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
stratcat96
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:05 am

How is the new Netflix on the WD? I have a Live Plus and I saw there was a new firmware update but my WD is boxed up gathering dust lol. I was never really thrilled with the NF access prior....
 
jp1
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:13 am

stratcat96 wrote:
How is the new Netflix on the WD? I have a Live Plus and I saw there was a new firmware update but my WD is boxed up gathering dust lol. I was never really thrilled with the NF access prior....


I'm really happy with it personally. It offers a lot more content to browse through and the user interface is nice and intuitive. It is very similar if not the same as the PS3 interface that I have seen prior. Genres are separated into sub categories so if you choose "Horror" for instance you will be presented with quite a few options like "Supernatural Horror", "Gory Horror", "New Releases: Horror", "Suggestions for you: Horror", etc.. and each of these categories will list as many as 250 titles for browsing. The search option is available just as it is on the Roku and the Queue doesn't load automatically instead it is a choice from the main menu. I like the IQ not loading because ours is rather huge and tends to slow things down on some of the older revisions of Netflix including the Roku. Even still the menus with 250 items load pretty fast and are surprisingly responsive. Overall, it is an impressive upgrade.
 
stratcat96
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:18 am

nice, thanks for the summary of it. I bought my WD so I could play iso files of my dvds. What I found though, is that for me the streaming services were rather lacking and I found myself wanting to get to the Roku more than use the WD to watch movies (my dvds) that I basically had already seen numerous times. The Youtube on the WD is nice but lacked the feature to follow users and see their videos, and also the "play all" feature. I do kind of feel that for local playback they are way ahead of Roku, but for internet services they are way behind.
 
robertm
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:26 am

I think it is up to Netflix to give us the new interface. The question is since the Roku was the first streamer why are we not the first to get updates? Is it a hardware/software limitation? They gave the PS3 the ability to have 1080p and 5.1 and the Boxee Box already has closed captioning.

What gives?
 
senorgregster
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:26 am

jp1 wrote:
So, I have been becoming increasingly disenchanted with my Roku vs. some of my other devices and the inclusion of Netflix 3.0 on my WDTV Live Hub isn't helping the issue any. Roku is supposed to be the best netflix box. Whenever someone starts complaining about a lack of other interesting content the people on these boards come back inevitably with something like "Roku is meant for netflix. You should consider everything else an added bonus."

My problem is that I have now used Netflix 3.0 on my hub and the amount of content available,UI functionality, and intuitiveness is orders of magnitude better than my Roku. Add the ability to support DLNA, Local network streaming, loads of content support, and many other services including Blockbuster and Cinemanow and I am starting to wonder what purpose my Roku serves.

Don't get me wrong, when I purchased the box it did have an edge over other STBs when it came to netflix but now it is quickly falling behind. It is the reluctance to move forward that is causing me concern. I don't want a product that is going to remain stale while other options are constantly evolving. Sure, you can point out that X number of channels have been added in a short time but the fact is that a great majority of them are either not interesting for mainstream US users or novelty channels at best. We need some more big name big content options to become viable if the box is to remain worthy of media center real estate. Unless the target audience is select religious groups and foreigners living in the United States looking for a taste of home, in which case I purchased the wrong item to begin with.

Keeping it simple is a good thing but you need to move ahead with the times to stay relevant. My Roku XDS that is less than a year old and is still chugging along based on a software revision that is meant to continually support models that have aged by several years doesn't exactly feel progressive.

I'm sure I will get flamed for this but it is just my opinion. I will be selling my two remaining boxes shortly if I don't see some solid evidence that the format is moving forward. I update my hardware regularly and I expect that when I do I am going to be rewarded with some kind of technological and software advancement.

Being cheaper than other options by an ever decreasing margin isn't enough pull for me to give up so much functionality. What is Roku's vision for the future? Or am I already looking at it when I switch on my box?



Really?

Intuitiveness is hard to measure but what about the other two items?
What specific content and functionality on WDTV makes it orders of magnitude better than ROKU?
 
SuetyStanes
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:36 am

I know I can look it up, but what is the highest bitrate the WD Tv Live Hub supports? I've been thinking about getting a higher end media streamer, and it's definitely one in the running.

At this point, a lot of tvs provide this, but I've run into bitrate barriers with them.

Thanks for the information. Always good to get user input on devices out there.
Last edited by SuetyStanes on Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
stratcat96
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:36 am

senorgregster wrote:


Really?

Intuitiveness is hard to measure but what about the other two items?
What specific content and functionality on WDTV makes it orders of magnitude better than ROKU?


the WD Live Hub is "prettier" I know lol, and it allows for themes, etc.
http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=570

Do I find Roku's interface a bit simplistic and in comparison to other boxes possibly lack a little refinement and elegance, sure I do. But is it simple? You bet. Do I think my senior-citizen parents care about the elegance or "slickness" of other products? No. I don't even think they could handle it lol. Roku simply is about substance more than style. Products like the WD Live Plus I have is the other way around.
 
scyber
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:38 am

You forgot to mention that the new WDTV update includes 5.1 audio.

I believe the new Netflix interfaces are all HTML5 based. The PS3 app is basically a custom webkit browser that simply displays an html5 application. I'm assuming the WDTV "app" is something similar. My guess is that Netflix is trying to use HTML5 to develop one interface for all platforms. This would simplify development for them. Of course it presents a problem for the roku since it currently doesn't support a browser (and perhaps never will). If this is the case, then any Roku development will have to be separate from the other platforms. This may make the Roku a secondary platform in the eyes of Netflix.

But only Netflix/Roku knows for sure. The Neflix channel hasn't had any major updates since May of last year, so it is likely due for something soon. It would be great if Roku was more communicative on upcoming features, but I understand why they aren't. They are a small shop and any issues could push back updates for weeks at a time. This creates angst amoung users when features aren't released on schedule.


Btw, I think this thread title is going to confuse some people.
 
robertm
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:09 am

scyber wrote:
You forgot to mention that the new WDTV update includes 5.1 audio.

I believe the new Netflix interfaces are all HTML5 based. The PS3 app is basically a custom webkit browser that simply displays an html5 application. I'm assuming the WDTV "app" is something similar. My guess is that Netflix is trying to use HTML5 to develop one interface for all platforms. This would simplify development for them. Of course it presents a problem for the roku since it currently doesn't support a browser (and perhaps never will). If this is the case, then any Roku development will have to be separate from the other platforms. This may make the Roku a secondary platform in the eyes of Netflix.



I won't like always being way behind everyone else. Especially for things like 5.1 that I have been impatiently waiting for, for 2 years. I am not ready to switch up just yet but this is a big deal.
 
stratcat96
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Re: Netflix 3.0

Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:13 am

I'm gonna have to dig out my WD and check out the new Netflix app me thinks
 
jp1
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Re: Netflix 3.0 - Why are other STBs surpassing Roku?

Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:52 am

Ok, I changed the title to be more relevant to the topic at hand.

To answer a couple of questions...

@senorgregster, For me at least the ability to browse A LOT more content without having to go to my computer is a huge step forward. I also prefer the layout and functionality. Being able to "hover" over a selection and get a short summary is nice in comparison to having to select it for the information. It is faster to load, faster to browse, faster to add things to queue, easier to browse due to the way it is set up, contains many sub categories inside of any given genre selection. The titles contained in a single genre available for browsing nearly surpasses the total browsing capacity of the Roku and it does this faster and with a better navigation scheme in my opinion. It is more intuitive in my opinion because I can choose which categories I want to look at instead of having them randomly selected for me and not being able to change them like it is with the Roku. It has all of the functionality of the Roku plus much more and I don't see any drawbacks such as a performance hit or instability. That is of course, just my opinion.

@stratcat, It is a fair statement that the Roku still has an edge in the amount of streaming content available. My beef with that is only that it is a lot of useless filler for my watching habits. I of course have Hulu+, Amazon, Crackle, and a bevy of others to choose from with my Bluray player so I wouldn't be missing any of those by getting rid of my Roku. From what I've seen in my (admittedly short) time with the Roku boxes, nearly all of my other devices get more substantial updates and when they add streaming content it is something I might actually want to watch. I suppose if you were going to have a single device the Roku has a stronger suite of options. Since I already have to have something else for Bluray and local streaming because the Roku doesn't support either to a satisfying degree then I might as well fill the gaps in streaming content between those devices. Currently there isn't anything appealing to me on the Roku that isn't available through one of my other boxes. In fact because they support options like Cinemanow and Blockbuster they offer more appealing content than the roku does right now. I'm not saying that the Roku doesn't have it's place or some people might not be happier with it, but it seems short sighted to only focus on that niche market when you have other people heading toward more advanced options. I hope roku doesn't only want to be the box for the elderly or technically in-proficient.

@SuetyStanes, maximum playable bitrate is somewhere in the region of 40-50 Mbps. I don't know how well you will get those files playing over a network without a gigabit router and wired connection but the 1 TB of internal space gives some room for the more demanding content internally.


Anyway, I'm not trying to attack Roku or anything. Like I said they certainly have a place in the market. I'm just not sure if they have a place in my home any longer. I don't like radio silence about the future of my media players and I don't like waiting for long periods of time for rather insignificant changes. Perhaps the box is just too limited in hardware to compete with these other players. If Roku is going to be streaming only and with the severely limited usb file support they are virtually streaming only...they need to be king of the hill in that department by a wide margin.
 
AeroR1
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Re: Netflix 3.0 - Why are other STBs surpassing Roku?

Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:44 am

jp1 wrote:
Roku is supposed to be the best netflix box.


who said that besides some the rubes on this forum and the suspender wearing CEO?

if i remember the story correctly, netflix was developing a streaming box in house but then decided to dump it on roku with their support to make the hardware to test the waters and see if this business had legs without becoming a hardware company. netflix never said roku is their flagship product.

now my opinion is that, and lets all be honest, the roku hasnt sold well since its release in 2007 or 08 (dont remember what year). it just passed a milliion sold and it took almost 4 years. that is not selling well when apple sold a million apple tv2 in less than a year. Mr. Suspenders didnt and still doesnt market the product, took years to get to a retailer and has caused customer confusion with all the models and different specs to the average consumer. Without marketing, netflix probably decided to focus on actual products that sell, that actually have an install base and products that can easily be obtained at any store.

i can guarantee you that roku is a small share of the daily streaming numbers, so there is no incentive for netflix to give you 5.1 sound, better interface and what not right away. the way roku is now, serves netflix just fine for its measly 1 million install base.
 
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Re: Netflix 3.0 - Why are other STBs surpassing Roku?

Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:39 am

AeroR1 wrote:
jp1 wrote:
Roku is supposed to be the best netflix box.


who said that besides some the rubes on this forum and the suspender wearing CEO?

if i remember the story correctly, netflix was developing a streaming box in house but then decided to dump it on roku with their support to make the hardware to test the waters and see if this business had legs without becoming a hardware company. netflix never said roku is their flagship product.

now my opinion is that, and lets all be honest, the roku hasnt sold well since its release in 2007 or 08 (dont remember what year). it just passed a milliion sold and it took almost 4 years. that is not selling well when apple sold a million apple tv2 in less than a year. Mr. Suspenders didnt and still doesnt market the product, took years to get to a retailer and has caused customer confusion with all the models and different specs to the average consumer. Without marketing, netflix probably decided to focus on actual products that sell, that actually have an install base and products that can easily be obtained at any store.

i can guarantee you that roku is a small share of the daily streaming numbers, so there is no incentive for netflix to give you 5.1 sound, better interface and what not right away. the way roku is now, serves netflix just fine for its measly 1 million install base.


Troll somewhere else please. Thanks.
 
jp1
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Re: Netflix 3.0 - Why are other STBs surpassing Roku?

Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:43 am

AeroR1 wrote:
jp1 wrote:
Roku is supposed to be the best netflix box.


who said that besides some the rubes on this forum and the suspender wearing CEO?

if i remember the story correctly, netflix was developing a streaming box in house but then decided to dump it on roku with their support to make the hardware to test the waters and see if this business had legs without becoming a hardware company. netflix never said roku is their flagship product.

now my opinion is that, and lets all be honest, the roku hasnt sold well since its release in 2007 or 08 (dont remember what year). it just passed a milliion sold and it took almost 4 years. that is not selling well when apple sold a million apple tv2 in less than a year. Mr. Suspenders didnt and still doesnt market the product, took years to get to a retailer and has caused customer confusion with all the models and different specs to the average consumer. Without marketing, netflix probably decided to focus on actual products that sell, that actually have an install base and products that can easily be obtained at any store.

i can guarantee you that roku is a small share of the daily streaming numbers, so there is no incentive for netflix to give you 5.1 sound, better interface and what not right away. the way roku is now, serves netflix just fine for its measly 1 million install base.


Well, I wasn't claiming that netflix has stated anything about the Roku. In any case I hope that my posts don't come across as bitter as yours does. I do have some issues with the box but I wasn't heading for an all out assault on the company, the forum, the CEO, and their product. A million units sold isn't exactly something to scoff at. Apple is a huge empire with a massive fan boy base it is far easier for them to sell units.

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