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Recommend a set-top box
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Laminar
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Aug 26, 2019, 04:28 PM
 
This weekend I installed a TV in my garage and swiped the original Fire Stick from my main TV to play music and watch YouTube out there.

Now there's a hole in my main TV capabilities as my current AppleTV 3 can't do Motor Trend on Demand, that was the only thing I used the Fire Stick for.

Needs, in order of neediness:
- YouTube
- Netflix
- Motortrend on Demand
- Hulu
- Amazon Prime Video
- Airplay video/photos from iPhone/Mac
- Ethernet

All on a 55" Samsung 1080p with a soundbar. No 4K planned in the foreseeable future.

The AppleTV HD can run the MToD app and would meet all of the above needs for $130 (refurb) or I could step up to the 4K for $150 for future proofing.

Is there any reason to consider a FireTV stick ($50)/cube ($120) or Roku stick ($50)/ultra ($100)? Both have MToD apps available. Not sure how easy Airplay-like functionality is with Amazon or Roku.

TV room lights are controlled via Alexa, but the existing Echo is within earshot of TV room so adding a cube doesn't gain any functionality. The original Fire stick is very laggy and slow to respond compared to the ATV3, so I'd be hesitant to get the $50 Fire Stick 4K based on that experience.

Also considering dropping Prime, as I only make 3-4 orders per month - Amazon prices aren't great anymore, "Prime" shipping is still up to 5 days (order on a Thursday night, "Prime" option delivers on Tuesday). They keep stripping music away from the included Prime music and making it "Unlimited" only, and the only Prime show I watch is Grand Tour, and I haven't bothered keeping up on that. So the value isn't there anymore.

I also discovered after watching a couple YouTube videos on the Fire Stick that it allows mid-video ads, which does not happen with the ATV3. I'm afraid that a more modern device would allow more ads, which would be 100% unacceptable. ATV3 has occasional pre-video ads on YouTube, but never ever ever a mid-video ad.

I assume the answer on a Mac forum is going to be "Buy the Apple product" but I'm open to suggestions.
     
P
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Aug 26, 2019, 05:30 PM
 
I keep hoping for Apple to drop some AppleTV prices, because I need an upgrade as well, but so far no luck.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego
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Aug 26, 2019, 08:06 PM
 
Used Mac Mini?

I have a late 2014 model acting as the HTPC.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Aug 26, 2019, 08:10 PM
 
Do they still have Front Row or whatever Apple called the stock presentation software? Or just run Plex or similar? Does the latest ATV remote work with it?

I don’t mind doing some fiddling or configuration, but the thing has to be 100% wife/babysitter proof. The ATV does that well now, as long as I have internet access it works. I’ve done XBMC and other HTPCs that are great when they work but require some ****ery on occasion.
     
subego
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Aug 26, 2019, 08:13 PM
 
I actually just have it in “computer” mode, so Safari and iTunes mastery are required.

Edit: my 2014 has an IR receiver, my 2018 does not.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 26, 2019 at 08:42 PM. )
     
Laminar  (op)
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Aug 26, 2019, 08:42 PM
 
Keyboard is a no-go. It’s gotta be remote only.
     
subego
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Aug 26, 2019, 09:07 PM
 
Well... my keyboard is wireless.

Seriously, though... I know it’s a little outside the box, but for 99% of the time I’m using it for TV viewing, all I need on the keyboard is the space bar to pause. Leaning over to the coffee table to hit space isn’t too onerous, and if I was feeling super-duper lazy, I could put the keyboard on the couch.

My actual “remote” is one of those ones they make for technically inept, blind senior citizens with arthritis...



I like this model because it doesn’t look like it’s for seniors, and it lacks superfluous number buttons. Power, volume, and input select are the most important buttons for me by far. If it had a transport instead of channel up/down, it’d be my perfect remote.

I also like that it’s not shaped like a candy bar, which is just an awful design for a remote. TiVo are the only people who really understand remotes.
     
Thorzdad
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Aug 26, 2019, 10:39 PM
 
Roku
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I'll read it in your entrails
     
Laminar  (op)
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Aug 27, 2019, 04:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Well... my keyboard is wireless.
That's what I do down in the theater - Logitech wireless keyboard with built-in trackpad. It doesn't pass the wife test.

Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Roku
You make a convincing argument.
     
andi*pandi
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Aug 27, 2019, 08:57 PM
 
thx for interesting thread. I got notice from amazon that they are stopping support of prime video on my bluray player and want me to buy a firestick. I do find things to watch on there sometimes (good omens) but for me prime delivery still works even with 1day delivery. So I'm going to pay for prime I'd like to watch video, but a $50 fire stick that puts ads in the way?

argh.
     
subego
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Aug 28, 2019, 08:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Logitech
Well... there’s your problem.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Aug 28, 2019, 03:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
thx for interesting thread. I got notice from amazon that they are stopping support of prime video on my bluray player and want me to buy a firestick. I do find things to watch on there sometimes (good omens) but for me prime delivery still works even with 1day delivery. So I'm going to pay for prime I'd like to watch video, but a $50 fire stick that puts ads in the way?
Since Prime became so popular, free 2-day shipping isn't that rare. RockAuto always beats Amazon prices on car parts and they'll ship Priority. Summit will ship in a couple of days. Target has free 2 day shipping and free next-day delivery on some items.

Unless the thing you want to buy isn't actually available locally, there's usually a better option than Amazon to get it online. I guess if you often need something small not right now but pretty soon I don't see the value in Prime.

Honestly the hardest thing to give up for me will be Prime music, but they're making that easier every time I try and play an old album I've listened to before and find they've moved it to Unlimited only, or I'm trying to check out some new music and find it's also Unlimited only. And the stations I've been listening to feel like they've been stagnant for the past couple of years so I'm listening to Spotify more just so I can hear new music.

Originally Posted by subego View Post
Well... there’s your problem.
The keyboard is fine, it's just ergonomically easier to use a remote and an interface designed for a remote when I'm doing anything that's not explicitly typing, like selecting a video from a row of preview tiles.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Aug 31, 2019, 10:52 PM
 
The ATV4K is probably your best and easiest bet. AirPlay is great, has streaming services and Plex. I gave Roku a try but went back to ATV.
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
JamesWilliam524
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Sep 2, 2019, 07:13 AM
 
Hi There I am NEW here i just to join this forum for learning purpose and i am here for sharing information that i know from my life experience i have a website related to [spam link removed]custom cosmetics boxes. i am also provide the services related to boxes.
( Last edited by Thorzdad; Sep 2, 2019 at 08:02 AM. )
     
subego
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Sep 2, 2019, 09:27 AM
 
Since you’ve got a direct line to cosmetic box manufacturers, tell them black is good color for a cosmetic box only if you want all your makeup to melt in the sun.

This is the best alternative I’ve found, which is based off the type of cases EMTs use. I call it “Makeup: 911”.



Pelican replaced it with the lighter “air” version, which is good, because this one weighs a ton.

I heart Pelican cases.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Sep 3, 2019, 09:37 AM
 
Ordered an ATV4K from eBay last week for $120. Set it up yesterday and didn't realize what I was missing. The remote turns on the TV and adjusts volume to the soundbar. I'll never need any other remote. And eliminating the Fire Stick means I no longer need the HDMI switch since I had 4 HDMI devices and only three ports on the TV. This will eliminate another remote and a bunch of cables.

It came with an older version of the OS and YouTube app. I turned off auto app updates, we'll see if I have the version of YouTube that allows mid-video ads. If so, I've seen some DNS fixes that prevent the ATV from finding YouTube ads.
     
andi*pandi
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Sep 3, 2019, 12:35 PM
 
sounds sweet. Maybe I'll do that instead of a fire stick.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Sep 3, 2019, 01:17 PM
 
Kids were still at my parents' yesterday morning, so we decided to watch the recent Chips movie. Amazon gave me $10 of video credit for some reason. Turns out you can't order the movies on ATV, I'm assuming because Apple wants a cut of all on-device sales. So I had to go to the computer and rent it, then back at the ATV I was able to play it.

I went to bed early last night (long weekend, crashed hard). Wife went to watch some Veronica Mars on her own. It took her a bit to figure out that you click the whole trackpad, but besides that it worked fine for her as I'd already set up Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube accounts. Wife test passed!
( Last edited by Laminar; Sep 3, 2019 at 03:02 PM. )
     
andi*pandi
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Sep 3, 2019, 01:21 PM
 
That is how amazon purchases also work on my bluray and ios apps. You have to purchase/rent on desktop.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Sep 3, 2019, 03:03 PM
 
Is there also not a Spotify ATV app? I'm used to AirPlaying music from my phone to the TV, but figured I'd cut out the middleman if possible. All I found was a $10 app claiming to let you play Spotify on the ATV but no official app.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Sep 5, 2019, 08:31 AM
 
Aww, I have mid-Youtube-video ads. That's garbage. I was able to set the DNS server to something that successfully blocked the ads, but then Netflix wouldn't work. I'll have to try and different DNS server, or maybe a Pi-hole.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Sep 10, 2019, 01:14 PM
 
Did I pick the wrong week to buy an Apple set top device?
     
Laminar  (op)
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Sep 12, 2019, 10:12 AM
 
Netflix autoplaying previews is garbage.

YouTube mid-video ads are garbage.

The single remote set is golden. All my video services on one device is golden.

I'm 60% satisfied with the upgrade. The other 40% of me is ready to rip this out and go back to the ATV3 so I don't have to see Dave Chapelle standing in a desert over and over and over again.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Sep 30, 2019, 09:41 AM
 
I got a new 55” LG OLED TV for the living room and I’m super impressed with both picture quality and the set-top options. Comes with apps for Netflix, Prime, Plex and Airplay 2 (which does seem hit-or-miss to work in initial tests).

Compared to my seven-year-old but legendary-at-the-time Panasonic plasma screen, the picture quality is very impressive.
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Sep 30, 2019, 11:06 AM
 
I've always been wary of smart TVs - easier to replace a $100 set top box than a $1600 TV. I'm going on 7 years with my current Samsung 55" and have no plans to replace it - I have no 4K content.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Sep 30, 2019, 01:48 PM
 
I’m not sure why you’d need to replace the TV—it still functions as a screen, you don’t need to use those features. You can still add a set top box down the road. But it’s very handy not to require a separate box.
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
subego
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Sep 30, 2019, 08:05 PM
 
Switching platforms sucks. If I’m just going to be forced into abandoning a platform, I don’t want to bother ****ing with it in the first place.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Sep 30, 2019, 11:17 PM
 
I mean.....we’re talking set-top boxes here. It’s not PC vs Mac or even Android vs iOS. One can transition from a Roku to an AppleTV in about 15 minutes. Once you’ve used one Netflix or Plex app, you’ve pretty much used them all....

From a TV perspective, all the new ones seem to have the built in apps. I got the LG C9 and you just log into your accounts, if you want. With AirPlay 2 built into the TV, one of the big advantages of the ATV is gone.

It does have a HomeKit functionality but I haven’t yet played around with it. I would suspect it can’t be used as a base like the ATV? Maybe that’s the ATV use case. I’ll be checking it out anyway.
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Oct 1, 2019, 10:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
I’m not sure why you’d need to replace the TV—it still functions as a screen, you don’t need to use those features. You can still add a set top box down the road. But it’s very handy not to require a separate box.
I'd trust the major set-top box players to have a better interface design than a TV OEM, but I'm sure that varies box to box and TV to TV.

I'd trust a set-top box to be more secure and to be supported for longer than a smart TV.

Because everything I watch is through the ATV and because the ATV remote can control my TV and sound bar, I have the simplest possible single remote setup.
     
subego
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Oct 1, 2019, 01:48 PM
 
What Laminar said.

All Netflix clients are not created equal. Apple cares about details like that, TV manufacturers just want the feature on a list. I also don’t want more remotes.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Oct 1, 2019, 03:49 PM
 
Says the savage that uses a keyboard in front of his TV.
     
subego
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Oct 1, 2019, 04:55 PM
 
Guess who’s never lost the remote in the couch.
     
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Oct 1, 2019, 07:37 PM
 
Depending on the vintage, Samsung's flat screen TVs have varying levels of "smart." I have my second 55" Samsung, an LED-lit (not the pricier LED screen) unit. It has decent clients for Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, etc., but because it's not really new, adding apps is a problem. For example, there's no CBS All Access client for this model.

I wound up buying a FireTV Stick when Amazon had their Prime deals. While I don't watch a lot of TV at all, I've been impressed by the variety and quality of apps for this unit.

Now if I could just get a Weather Channel app that will play nice - for some reason, AT&T is not an available option for "who is your TV provider," despite the fact that my Internet connection is from AT&T, and my old UVerse credentials let me use a bunch of other TV content apps.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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