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Old February 18th, 2013, 11:16 PM   #1
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Switched from Roku to WDTV Live - How did I live without this!?

I've been using the Roku 2 since about a month or two after it came out. Had the high end model in the living room, and the original low-end (since beaten by a $50 model) in our bedroom. If all you want is a cheap and effective gateway to your Netflix/Hulu content, look no further, the Roku is perfect.

Last year I started a project. I was converting all of our DVDs/Blu-Rays to digital copies. The plan was to stream them from the home network. The Roku has absolutely no native support for DLNA or even the ability to see network attached storage. We had a 3TB HDD plugged into our router via USB just going to waste. There were two "solutions." I could plug in a HDD (2TB or less) directly to the Roku. This was ok except that our bedroom model didn't have a USB port, and even if it did, it meant copying HDD contents from one to another anytime that I added more movies to the collection. The other solution was to set up a web server and keep my desktop running 24/7. This wasn't an ideal solution either.

In addition, if I wanted my rips to look like anything other than a file list, I needed to use Thumbgen to make thumbnails, background artwork, meta data, etc. For a single movie, this wasn't too bad. For a complete season, this was an all-night project...for one damn season. I finally gave up. The Roku was a basic device that simply needed too many work arounds for advanced content. That's fine for most, but I'm a bit more demanding.

So I switched to the WD TV Live. The first thing that I noticed was that the Netflix/Hulu apps were similar to the PS3 counterparts. They allowed for higher quality streams, the ability to monitor stream quality (Netflix) or even change it (Hulu), among other features. They weren't as basic as the Roku versions. The WD TV Live saw my network share without a hitch, even letting me assign a specific folder (or folders) as my media library. This means that we don't have to keep going through folders as we did on the Roku (which, by the way, required a $15 app just to get that far). Once a video is ripped to the share drive, I don't have to go to Thumbgen and make up all of that stuff I mentioned previously. I simply go to the WD TV Live, select the episode, hit options, and say "get content info." It pulls everything and stores it locally, and it looks identical to the work that I put into Thumbgen (because it pulls from the same source, but compiles it automatically).

WD TV Live's interface is essentially a lite-version of XBMC. If you've ever used XBMC, you'll feel at home but you'll feel like something is missing. That's just fine. Theme support is there, though I'm still learning how to import them. That is next on my to-do list. Plays just about any file format out there, for the most part. Wouldn't play a very high-bitrate MP4 that I had made for the Roku, but I did some weird things with that encode just to make it work properly on the Roku. Plays 1080p MKVs just fine.

I haven't purchased the addons yet, but it works just fine with Hauppauge USB to coax adapters for OTA or basic cable, to include basic DVR functionality. That's our next purchase for it. Also can be used with Slingbox, though I'm debating if I want to go that far.

Overall, it's early, but I'm liking it. If you ever considered making an XBMC-HTPC but didn't want the cost, get a WD Live. They come in three flavors; Play ($70), TV ($100), and Hub ($200). The Play is more like a Roku, has a different UI, and lacks the more advanced features. The Hub is just a TV with built-in 1TB HDD. If you don't want to network share a HDD, just get one Hub, and then use that to "broadcast" via DLNA to the TV/Play boxes throughout your house. For me, I'm just going to put one TV Live on each of our two TVs and call it a day.
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Old February 19th, 2013, 08:57 AM   #2
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Cool story bro, you ever thought about becoming a professional reviewer?
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Old February 19th, 2013, 12:21 PM   #3
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Old February 19th, 2013, 02:36 PM   #4
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He doesn't have any friends so just let him feel important and discuss crap on here so we can save the random stranger that he would to talk to death otherwise.
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Old February 19th, 2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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I pretty much exclusively use my xbox360 for streaming content...

I am tempted buy the apple TV for the living room mainly for airplay. So many times me and friends have been hanging out in the living room and someone mentions a video that would be funny to check out but we dont have an ideal way of playing it. Since about ~70% of my friends have iphones it would be a pretty good setup.
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Old February 19th, 2013, 06:48 PM   #6
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I streamed via the Roku but have since purchased a 55" TV that reads off a USB drive. All I do is put what I want to watch on it and press play. I've had some great and some bad experiences with streaming. I'm over streaming. For now. If I truly need to stream, I'll just hook up the PS3 to the TV and use that.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 08:14 AM   #7
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I pretty much exclusively use my xbox360 for streaming content...

I am tempted buy the apple TV for the living room mainly for airplay. So many times me and friends have been hanging out in the living room and someone mentions a video that would be funny to check out but we dont have an ideal way of playing it. Since about ~70% of my friends have iphones it would be a pretty good setup.


I thought they had an app that allowed the ipod to work with the xbox360?
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Old February 19th, 2013, 01:33 PM   #8
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If all you want is a cheap and effective gateway to your Netflix/Hulu/Amazon (fixed) content, look no further, the Roku is perfect.
Yes...yes it is.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 09:07 PM   #9
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Xbmc.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 10:07 PM   #10
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I would just prefer it to be a sausagefest.
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Old November 28th, 2013, 07:48 PM   #11
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I use an Esquio dongle for my living room. It has it's little problems(the motion control is clunky and tacked on, you're not going to be able to play a lot of games, the keyboard is a nice addition but poorly implemented) but being android based, it has Google Play. That was a deciding factor, as I feel the streaming service war is far from over and I don't want anything left out. That is specific to my needs- I periodically let Netflix and Hulu expire and wait for new content. However, I keep my Spotify Premium account current at all times, and it was nice to be able to simply download the app from the store and have my playlists playing over my surround sound speakers in under two minutes. It was worth the cost as a dedicated music player, honestly.
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Old November 30th, 2013, 09:57 PM   #12
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So my boxee box remote is dying and since Samsung bought BB and they no longer have updates or anything, I was thinking about replacing it with a G-TV device or a Roku or you help me decide on another device.

My other TV already has a Roku2 and my wife actually prefers the Roku interface with plex over the Boxee Box which is very similar to the WDTV.

I'm currently running Over The Air for local channels (Comcast recently killed ClearQAM in Denver)

I'd like to get something to replace my BB, that has a UHF/Bluetooth remote (something that will go through walls, as I have the clean hanging TV with no wires or mess). Will stream from my PC wireless or wired and possibly accept my OTA channels with a local guide. We mainly watch local sports and the news with the OTA channels, everything else is a local *.MKV.

I've been reading about the XBOX One has anyone used this for mostly an entertainment center? How's it do streaming local files, etc? And the TV integration?

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Old December 1st, 2013, 05:35 PM   #13
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^Roku is small enough to just prop onto a small space. I have seen plenty of Pi setups with the box attached to the corners of the TVs. All Rokus are wifi only except the 3. The Roku Android app actually works fast, so I know if that remote dies we're good. There has been an option or two on Plex for some of my *mkvs to get them playing, as *mp4 seems to have moved up. It seems anything *mp4 plays. I'd let you borrow mine to see if it works if we were in the same town....I love mine. It is missing advanced features but the ease of use for my wife combined with what it does do is great. She can even add something to Plex and walk off to the TV and watch that shit. Her tech know-how is low, very low! She blames on kinds of shit on TWC and "THE FUCKING BOX" when she cannot just change channels like a normal person, so there's always that.
I have not checked out local over air things tho. I would rather have ABC/CBS/FOX over air as the quality is much better than cable. That's a project for tomorrow after work.
I must say, I watched Logan's Run blu-ray rip through this thing and it melted my face off.
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I would just prefer it to be a sausagefest.

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