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Thread: First-time streamer help

  1. #1
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    First-time streamer help

    Looking to get my feet wet with a streaming service but have zero knowledge about them.

    Do not have a smart TV so will need a streaming device. Looking at the basic Roku device.

    What do you recommend?
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  2. #2
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    Old computer running KODI tv for free. hooked to a bigger screen. Buy a wireless keyboard and mouse to run it after it is connected and tried out. Or use an old laptop computer

  3. #3
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    Apple TV is easy to use & full featured, but is expensive and you have to live with Apple's way of doing things.

  4. #4
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    Roku works for us

    We have had Roku for about 6 months and are very happy with it. It's very simple to use.
    Dennis

  5. #5
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    Aug 2010
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    Roku Express. Inexpensive and works great.

  6. #6
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    We recently switched to "streaming" here. We're not really saving any money from what we were paying previously, but we did eliminate both daughters paying for some individual subscriptions. I would have gone OTA, but the one station that I watch in the mornings for local ABC news as well as GMA is on low-VHF and no matter what I've tried, I can't pull in that station. 57 others come in beautifully, but that ONE station. Nope. So in addition to moving from 150/150 to 400/400 service (actually getting 500/500), we subscribed to Hulu+LiveTV to cover broadcast needs as well as things our daughters often watch on their own TVs and devices. We went from a "triple play" that included Internet, Local TV and a land line to just Internet only. (new alarm system doesn't require the land line) We have Amazon Prime and also get Netflix for free from T-Mobile. The one streaming thing we have had for sometime even before the recent change is CBS All Access because that's given us access to "recorded" episodes of Colbert...we got rid of DVRs and setup boxes about four years ago.

    We have AppleTV for both our Media Room and our Master Bedroom. (The girls' TVs have what'e necessary to stream internally) But for someone wanting to get "a device" to permit streaming who is not already invested in the Apple ecosystem, Roku is efficient and well supported across the various streaming options out there to choose from.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    Decide which streaming service you want to use and then select a device that is compatible with that service. Many/most support Roku but not all. We have a tablo OTA DVR for broadcast stations and use Playstation Vue for cable replacement. Unfortunately PS vue is shutting down and not accepting new subscribers so we'll have to look for alternative. We use Amazon fire sticks as the streaming device; if you are a prime member they are worth a look as you get access to all the free prime streams.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis thompson View Post
    We have had Roku for about 6 months and are very happy with it. It's very simple to use.

    Am I correct, that with the Roku device, I will be able to stream some content for free?
    Interested in how well a streaming device works with my WiFi setup and tv before I start paying for a monthly service.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Central PA
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    Were using the Roku. They do have free content, but not much diversity.
    We carry Netflix & have Amazon prime. If there is a show that I enjoy, I can buy the season on Amazon when it comes out & watch episodes the day after it airs.
    Through Amazon you can buy any movie channel, for a month, and dump it the next.
    Hulu is pretty inexpensive. 2 different plans. One with commercials, one without. Lots of content, some of its off the wall.
    We shaved a $100 a month when we dumped Comcast cable svc.
    My daughter and I watched every episode of Andy Griffith when we first started.
    That alone was worth it.
    Weve been taliking about a digital antenna. If anyone has experience with that, Id love to hear about it.
    Matt

  10. #10
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    With the incredibly low prices on smart TV's these days, I would pull the trigger now and skip any device that tries to do what a built in streaming function would do seamlessly. Otherwise you will be playing remote roulette. Stick with a big name like Samsung or LG. But check to make sure the device supports your intended streaming services. I have an older Samsung (in my RV in FL 3 months of the year) that supports Netflix and You Tube but not Amazon, my newer Samsung supports all three plus a bunch of others I have never even heard of, let alone use. Do you have a BluRay player with smart features? I do and use it with my older Samsung to easily view Amazon shows. I have full cable TV at home, so I seldom stream content that is available there or via Comcast on-demand. Another option is that many cable providers now have apps on their box/remote to do exactly what you are trying to do. So at home I can stream through my TV, my BluRay or Comcast (Xfinity).
    Last edited by Ole Anderson; 11-13-2019 at 12:10 PM.
    NOW you tell me...

  11. #11
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    Do they still sell TVs that aren't smart? In our TV room, the TV has streaming apps, the Blu-ray player has streaming apps, and the AV pre/pro has streaming apps. And anyone in the room with a smart phone can cast from it.

    The only reason we have an apple TV is because my wife is into the Apple ecosystem. About the only thing in the room that doesn't have streaming apps is the '70s vintage turntable.

  12. #12
    I generally lean towards TV's without built in streaming devices/services. If 5 years from now Apple/Amazon/Roku/Google decide to stop supporting the device built into your TV, you're shucks out of luck. If you buy a $30-50 auxiliary device to plug into it, you can just update it to the most recent hardware and keep your TV.

    Full disclosure: I do own a smart TV due to a screaming deal I found locally and the streaming works seamlessly, but my other non-smart TV's with streaming devices only take an additional button press or two to get to the same place.
    Licensed Professional Engineer,
    Unlicensed Semi Professional Tinkerer

  13. #13
    We’ve been taliking about a digital antenna. If anyone has experience with that, I’d love to hear about it.
    I put an antenna in the attic and it's connected to our Tablo OTA DVR. If you are in an area with decent signal strength it's a great solution for local stations. You pay a few bucks a month for the schedule service but that's it. The Tablo lets you record OTA stations just like a cable box with DVR. You either need Smart TV's or a streaming box at each TV to stream the content from the Tablo, but it supports most of the popular devices.

    FYI, the antenna really isn't digital, it's just that the signals are digital, so the antenna companies market them as digital or HD. The output of the antenna is still an analog signal.

    As Jim alluded to above, there are still a few OTA stations that are in the low VHF band (used to be called channels 2-8). Very few of the so-called digital or HD antennas will receive those stations very well as the frequencies are much lower than the upper VHF and UHF bands where most stations now broadcast. BTW, you can't tell just by the number which band stations are in now, but there are good online sites that let you determine with OTA stations are receivable at your location, their frequency, and their direction. Antenna's direct has a good one but there are many out there.

    We are located between two metro areas each with clusters of stations. I found this antenna: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It has two bays that can be aimed in different directions so we have one bay aimed toward the Cleveland Stations and one aimed toward the Akron stations. We get somewhere between 30 and 40 OTA stations with good enough signal strength to watch and record reliably. Because it's OTA you do sometimes get weather related bursts of pixelation but that's the nature of the beast.I originally tried one of "omidirectional" antennas but it didn't work nearly as well as the unit linked to above.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Banks View Post
    W
    We’ve been taliking about a digital antenna. If anyone has experience with that, I’d love to hear about it.
    "Digital" is just a marketing thing...it's an "antenna". Digital broadcast generally uses the same frequencies as analog TV did. Given your proximity to Harrisburg, you should be able to pull in a reasonable selection of over the air TV using an antenna. Of course, the TV has to be capable of decoding digital broadcast, but unless you have something REALLY old, you should be good on that end.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Central PA
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    5
    Jim, Digital Antenna... suppose I never thought about it enough, makes sense.
    Paul, Thanks for the Info/ link, Ill take a look.
    Matt

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