TV Streaming device, what do you recommend

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  • TV Streaming device, what do you recommend
  • Premier Icon woody74
    Subscriber

    Can anyone recommend a device to stream content to my TV. I specially want to be able to see iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player and the internet. Currently have Virgin Media and PS3 but both of these limit what programs you can watch on their ilPayer offering. Something will be availiable through iPlayer on the web but not iPlayer on Virgin media.

    If I can hook up my Mac BookPro and iPad as well that would be even better. I believe an Apple TV might do most of this but is their anything cheaper?

    hammyuk
    Member

    Apple for ease of use

    poonprice
    Member

    Any of the Android TV Streaming boxes should do the job! Something like this, http://goo.gl/81cfvp

    Apple for ease of use

    Not really…. If you want to stream iPlayer and the likes on an Apple TV in standalone, you need to Jailbreak it. Its not hard to do but requires a 2nd gen Apple TV. Other than that, you’d have to airplay everything.

    Edit: Cheap option, Raspberry Pi running OpenElec and the catchup service add-ons, can power on with the TV connect over HDMI and can be controlled via TV remote using CEC

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    What I’ve found is that all of the ones I looked at didn’t offer everything I wanted, there was always a compromise somewhere, or reviews said suffered from software glitching(android TV). the two mentioned above (Roku and Apple) appear to be considered among the best at the moment, also consider Sky Now TV box at £9.99 and cancel any subscriptions which Sky try to sell you. However, it still probably won’t have everything you want, but it’s a very cheap way of getting half decent kit.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    Other than that, you’d have to airplay everything.

    Which in itself is very easy and judging by the OP’s comments, preferable.

    OP, Apple TV is a great option, but there be dragons. 4OD for instance does NOT Airplay. You can watch it on your iPad but as soon as you try and stream it to your Apple TV you just get an image on your TV saying it won’t work (or words to that effect). I even tried plugging an iPad into a spare HDMI input on my TV and still it wouldn’t play. I don’t know why Channel 4 care whether you watch it on the iPad or the big telly, I really don’t.

    The whole issue of streaming TV is a confusing and non-standardised mess in my experience, but if you’re already into the Mac experience I’d definitely recommend Apple TV.

    Wozza
    Member

    Through a long winded and boring series of events, I’ve got the Apple TV, Now TV, Google TV and a Sony smart Bluray.

    The Apple TV doesn’t do a lot without the iPad/iPhone, and I assume Macbook, but the airplay when used with those is excellent. It’s great with Netflix and air video too, well worth it for that. We’re looking at getting another. Shame about 4OD etc blocking airplay, it’s all just a bit daft.

    The Now TV is a bit of a lemon. It’s very meh, seems to need unplugging and rebooting once or twice a day. I don’t know if this is how it is with all Roku boxes but i’m not impressed, the Apple TV shows it right up. But it does get us Sky without having a Sky dish. It’s on trial at the mo, i’m not sure if we’ll keep it.

    Google TV. We have the Sony £200rrp effort (included with a TV, I presume because nobody bought it). If that’s as good as it gets it’s a bloody disgrace. A complete waste of space and only used due to the remote being nice and the spare HDMI port. Junk.

    Sony smart bluray. Does exactly what it’s supposed to do, including playing everything i’ve thrown at it. It’s going to stay.

    Hope that helps… somehow.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    As @wozza says – Apple TV plus one of iPhone/iPAd/Mac for max power (you cannot run BBIC iPlayer/4OD etc on Apple TV without one of those other devices)

    OP what phone do you have ? That’s a good starting point on Apple vs Android choices.

    tinribz
    Member

    WD Live,

    Good points – attaching a nas / hard drive dead easy, can stream from phone, PC, will play absolutely anything on a usb stick.

    Bad points interface not that snappy, Netflix just stopped working one day, not fixed it yet.

    grum
    Member

    Apple TV is great I you har an iphone/iPad and a Netflix account. Not so great otherwise.

    Premier Icon woody74
    Subscriber

    Any idea if you can stream from an iPad with a WD TV live. How about iPlayer and 4OD?

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @woody – I stream from my iPad to Apple TV, not sure what a WD TV live is to be honest (being lazy and not googling it – sorry)

    grum – Member
    Apple TV is great I you har an iphone/iPad and a Netflix account. Not so great otherwise.

    Apple TV is fantastic – midweek mini movies, iPlayer, my vimeo/youtube subscriptions, my own or borrowed dvd’s, ripped and/or streamed. Netflix is rubbish IMO. iTunes much better. So yes Apple TV is best if you have an iPad/iphone/mac but you certainly don’t need a netflix account.

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    I have a skybox f3 going at present.
    1 feed to sky dish, 1 feed to router, hd to tv.
    oh, and no monthly to the robbing major satellite people…. 8)

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    Netflix is rubbish IMO.

    Netflix is great IMO 😀

    grum
    Member

    I like Netflix – loads of good stuff on the Canadian and American ones.

    I do enjoy watching Vice TV on YouTube on the telly. Some amazing stuff on there. You could watch 4OD via AirParrot if you have a Mac I guess. I find the 4OD player such a PITA anyway that I don’t bother. Quite a few C4 shows like Skins and Inbetweeners are on Netflix anyway.

    grantway
    Member

    just download XBMC !

    XBMC media

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    I’m holding out for Google Chrome cast to arrive. For now I use an Xbox 360 as a media extender from my PC that has 2 tuners in it running off a standard aerial. With less than 2mb download speeds here there will be a while before we are on Internet TV. The Xbox runs it’s own iPlayer and can also do 4od I think but you need to pay a Microsoft subscription to unlock that functionality as well as Netflix which is stupid so I don’t. When I get the chromecast I will also think about a Netflix sub.

    ask1974
    Member

    I’m going to be controversial. Get Sky. Has it all and you can record on demand to view at your leisure. Apple TV is a must for all the reasons above and with both in play it’s all you need.

    sharkbait
    Member

    I’m not sure one device does it all. I’ve got sky, a jail-broken v2 AppleTV with xbmc and a raspberry pi running openelec – they all have their place but best value for money goes to the raspberry pi. It does everything the ATV does and more but is less than half the price.

    samuri
    Member

    I have Virgin and a Roku box which cover all my needs.

    However, after seeing Chromecast as Stoner points out above (one of my colleagues told me about this a few weeks back), I’d say that’s the current best offering.

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    roku? tell us more please

    batfink
    Member

    I just have an Apple TV, and a Samsung smart TV.

    The apps on the smart TV provide iPlayer, 4OD etc, and the Apple TV streams movies, music, and photos from a NAS box (managed by iTunes) and internet content (via airplay).

    All incredibly simple – and bomb-proof.

    samuri
    Member

    roku. Little box, plugs into an HDMI port on your TV. Wireless connection to your network. Can stream iplayer and the like plus thinsg like netflix and SkyTV (you have to subscribe to those to get this). Control it from a mobile phone or a crapy remote they give you.

    Can also stream from a local shared drive on a computer.

    I got mine from ebay, £25. It’s ace.

    grum
    Member

    Stream To Me is a handy app for streaming content to AppleTV.

    3dvgirl
    Member

    Wats wronge with pluging ur laptop in to the tv.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    I haven’t bought anything yet as everything I researched seemed to have flaws of one nature or other. Will look into Chromecast, cheers for the heads up (this is the bit I love about STW).

    samuri
    Member

    Wats wronge with pluging ur laptop in to the tv.

    We used to do it with a kindle which was very choppy. My Macbook would need an appropriate (expensive) cable.
    if you don;t need the laptop for anything else while you’re streaming though, it’s probably a good choice.

    woody74 – Member
    Any idea if you can stream from an iPad with a WD TV live. How about iPlayer and 4OD?

    Yes, yes and yes. There are are also apps available for iPhone/pad android which enable them to be used as remote controls.

    skids
    Member

    NOW TV box is good deal, just released 4OD. I got an AppleTV and to be honest it is crap compared to the other stuff out there. It doesn’t even have iPlayer, you have to use your phone or ipad to stream it, and 4OD channel5 are not there at all

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I use one of the older slimline versions of this
    http://au.shuttle.com/products/products
    with a low power setup, silent fans running Windows 7, then with XBMC over the top.

    It plays anything, add in something like spotify you have a very powerful media centre. XBMC has plugins for most of the streaming services, if not you still have a proper browser to get you out of trouble. Will work with the DL services for iplayer. Any media you have stored (I have mine on a network drive) is organised and playable.

    It’s a very complete solution add in a blu ray drive and there is nothing you can’t do.

    XBMC also supports air play.

    Premier Icon sadexpunk
    Subscriber

    this threads passed me by so far but just had a read and am intrigued.

    weve got a sony tv which we’re p*ssed off with. its internet, but not wifi so needs a wired connection, but the routers miles away so we’d given up hope of internet tv.

    i thought our only option was a sony dongle at about £60 which would just give us access to the usual suspects, iplayer, youtube etc.

    am i right in thinking these roku boxes (or similar) will plug directly into tv (hdmi or usb?) and pick up the wireless signal much as a sony dongle would?

    also, for some reason the tv hardly picks up anything on our usb stick. we have plenty of films in mp4 or avi on there, and it only picks up 1 or 2, we’re really frustrated with it. googling seems to show its a common problem with sony. wish we hadnt bought it now.
    do these streaming devices have usb slots that would maybe read everything on my stick, and play through tv that way?

    or would i need a nas for that? toyed with the idea of nas but havent gone through with it yet, but this may give us the push we need if its the best option.

    thanks

    IHN
    Member

    I’ve got an old laptop permanently plugged into the telly, with a little BlackBerry sized wireless keyboard
    I just use that for iPlayer, 4OD, downloading films etc etc

    Wozza
    Member

    Sadexpunk:

    weve got a sony tv which we’re p*ssed off with. its internet, but not wifi so needs a wired connection, but the routers miles away so we’d given up hope of internet tv.

    i thought our only option was a sony dongle at about £60 which would just give us access to the usual suspects, iplayer, youtube etc.

    You need a wireless bridge/wireless access point acting as a bridge, Something from Netgear should do you for about £40 or less, and it’ll have a wizard if you’re not sure what you’re doing with the setup.

    am i right in thinking these roku boxes (or similar) will plug directly into tv (hdmi or usb?) and pick up the wireless signal much as a sony dongle would?

    Yep, HDMI

    also, for some reason the tv hardly picks up anything on our usb stick. we have plenty of films in mp4 or avi on there, and it only picks up 1 or 2, we’re really frustrated with it. googling seems to show its a common problem with sony. wish we hadnt bought it now.
    do these streaming devices have usb slots that would maybe read everything on my stick, and play through tv that way?

    That sounds like a codec problem. Your stick also needs to be formatted FAT32 (google will help you there) not NTFS (Windows 7 default). This limits your movie file size to 4gb so no 1080p rips unless you resample.

    Non-technical answer. Download Handbrake (free) and convert your stuff to mp4. It’s quite quick and once its done you can bin off the originals.

    or would i need a nas for that? toyed with the idea of nas but havent gone through with it yet, but this may give us the push we need if its the best option.

    I use stuff off my laptop in all sorts of formats and get airvideo to convert it on the fly and send it direct to the apple tv. No waiting for conversion it just does it while you’re watching it. For £1.99 it’s well worth it.

    Although your idea of a NAS is good, since I could convert all the content and leave it on there and use the Apple TV to manage it. I think.

    To be honest if I started with it all again. I’d buy the apple TV everytime closely followed by the Smart BluRay player.

    Premier Icon woody74
    Subscriber

    Looks like this might be a time to use Amazons free return service and just try a few until I find one that meets my needs. I know that I can always use something like XBMC but I want something I can just plug in and it works. Get a bit sick of hacking things as they never work all the time and you always in the long run seem to spend more time trying to get them working than actually using them. So far the WD TV Live looks the best.

    God knows why someone can’t make something that just covers everything. It seems people are just locked into the whole having to have an app, when a basic browser should play everything thats on the internet so then all you need to worry about is resizing for the screen.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @sadexpunk – what smartphone and/or computer do you have ? As I posted before this is often a good place to start. The Roku sounds like it might be perfect for you.

    As for your movies it does sound like a formatting issue. I would get them onto the pc and convert to a different format the tv supports. I am Apple based so I use Handbrake but there must be equivalent PC programmes.

    grum
    Member

    also, for some reason the tv hardly picks up anything on our usb stick. we have plenty of films in mp4 or avi on there, and it only picks up 1 or 2, we’re really frustrated with it. googling seems to show its a common problem with sony. wish we hadnt bought it now.
    do these streaming devices have usb slots that would maybe read everything on my stick, and play through tv that way?

    or would i need a nas for that? toyed with the idea of nas but havent gone through with it yet, but this may give us the push we need if its the best option.

    I use my iMac as a media server and run Stream to Me on my iphone/pad to Airplay stuff to Apple TV. Works flawlessly and will convert any format I’ve encountered on the fly instantly up to 720p. It’s a lot easier than that sounds!

    Premier Icon sadexpunk
    Subscriber

    thanks chaps

    im on android (desire HD) and a packard bell laptop running linux mint 14. i use the laptop to run logitech software for a squeezebox. how would my setup look with a roku then?

    i dont particularly want my laptop to be plugged into tv, even tho this has worked in the past. id prefer something standalone that i could just operate the tv with a remote or phone.

    thanks a lot 🙂

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    mk808 works great for me.

    Premier Icon cr500dom
    Subscriber

    I have the TV connect kit for my iPad, as Apple TV at the time was limited in its resolution, whereas the TV connect kit was full HD through HDMI Cable.

    Like someone else has said though, 4oD doesn’t work on the telly, I player does.

    My Next move will be a Samsung Smart Blueray Player with Wifi to match the “Non Smart” Tv.
    But we do have a spare old BT Home hub that I could set up as a wireless hub downstairs I suppose and hardwire the Blueray player to that

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @sadexpunk – ok im not so familiar with android. Can you get a connecter from the desire which is hdmi out ? I had one for my iPhone before I got apple tv and used to connect phone direct to tv. You can then run iPlayer app / stream to me from pc on phone and content will be on tv. I still take it on holiday with movies etc on phone/pad and then plug it into hdmi tv when away. I’m not sure if the roku can do streaming from phone and the raspberry pi looks like a box of bits 😳

    Premier Icon sadexpunk
    Subscriber

    blimey, looks like more options than i thought, im confused as to whatd be best for me. roku, mk808 (googling also suggests mk809 now), bluray wifi player, chromecast…..
    do blurays also play dvds? if not then i cant see us getting one as we have loads of dvds.

    we have a dvd recorder with HDD and freeview at the mo, and tv obviously has freeview too. we dont watch too many channels so not fussed about sky/virgin packages.
    the thought that i can browse youtube on my laptop and then play vids through tv appeals to me. using the laptop keyboard is far superior to pressing the up/down/left/right button oin a tv remote to choose letters to type.

    but mainly itd be for playing videos lent to me by mates, either in mp4 or avi on a stick. and if my tv doesnt see a lot of the files on the stick, and something else does, then thatd suit.

    tried installing handbrake on my linux laptop and having all sorts of probs, so rather than converting stuff, id rather have something standalone thatll just deal with what i want, when i want.

    does all that lend itself to any particular device?

    oh, and working it from my android phone also appeals if theyre all much of a muchness.

    thanks a lot

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    my parents have got the sony bluray smart tv one and its resally nice, if my mum can use it then its gotta be simple

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @sadexpunk – yes you want the Android equivalent of an iPhone/iPad plus Apple TV as that’s exactly what that setup does, sitting on sofa using the phone as the controller picking YouTube/Vimeo videos or movies off your computer or BBC iPlayer etc. There must be such a thing.

    One of the other posters mentioned “Stream to Me” I googled it and it will convert your files on the fly – so with android app and a device attached to the tv (to be decided) you don’t have to convert in advance.

    Premier Icon sadexpunk
    Subscriber

    cheers

    so do the chromecast and mk808 do the same thing then, both being android?

    thanks

    EDIT: just looking on wikipedia and not sure my laptop will work with chromecast as its got linux OS rather than windows, can anyone confirm that?

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