#1 Posted by MrPilkington (722 posts) -

I canceled cable. I've been talking about doing it for the longest time, while waiting for my two year contract to end, until I couldn't take it any longer and canceled Direct TV four months early. I'll pay the cancelation fee, it's way cheaper then going four more months with a service that I barely ever used. I now find myself looking for a set-top box. I know I can use my gaming consoles, but I like having a low power device just for streaming and the feel of a controller is easier to use constantly than the feel of a controller. I have a 2010 (720p) Apple TV, but it feels time of old and obsolete now and since then I bought a 1080p television and it doesn't look so hot anymore. I was thinking of buying the newest version, since it does 1080p and I'm already invested in the Apple platform (macbook pro, iphone, ipad) and have a few shows and movies I own digitally (not many though), but are there better choices out there? I've been looking at the Roku and Boxee and those seem to have better and more features than the Apple TV and since this is going to be my go-to device for watching movies, tv and media, it's probably better to widen my horizons. Also, what is a good app for watching television shows? I do like iTunes and how they have several shows go up to download and watch when they hit network TV, but is there another service like it that I may not know about?

One last question, I've become a person that is trying to save as much power as possible to lower my power bill. Obviously getting those HD DVR receivers and so on out of here will save tremendously, but is the simple prospect of using an Apple TV or Roku style set-top box enough to cut down a little on power as compared to using gaming consoles that suck up even more power?

#2 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (3048 posts) -

@mrpilkington: For Roku box's you'd probably be good to unplug when not in use. No off or on button.

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#3 Posted by MrPilkington (722 posts) -
#4 Edited by I_Stay_Puft (3048 posts) -

@mrpilkington said:

@i_stay_puft: They are always on?

Yep, I have first gen so not sure if they've changed much since the past two versions. Don't get me wrong I love my roku box cause of all the developer mad channels on the platform such as Justin.tv and Giant Bomb, but I do have a few gripes about it especially when it comes to Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime stability. When it comes to those channels I tend to watch them on my ps3. Anyways been 3 years since I've cut cable and I haven't looked back, all I can say is welcome to the club.

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#5 Edited by handlas (2661 posts) -

I haven't had cable for a year or so now. My PS3, 360, and laptop work for any movies or TV I want to watch, personally.

Might look at Tested.com for their reviews. They did some pretty in depth stuff (videos and what-not) for the Roku, Apple TV and Boxee Box I think. Could be wrong buy the Roku always seemed to be their favorite.

#6 Edited by MrPilkington (722 posts) -

@i_stay_puft: I think I've heard of stability issues here and there, but Roku did just release the Roku 3 which I've read and seen that it's much more snappier with a better processor, so I wonder if that would make the difference.

@handlas: They do and I've seen them, but most of their reviews are pretty dated now and some of the devices have seen updates since and even better and more vaired versions of the hardware. I still might go look on site and see what I can find.

#7 Edited by sondunmurkedu (13 posts) -

Just cut mine too!

#8 Edited by Silver-Streak (1339 posts) -

The android version of XMBC is pretty great, so maybe something running that. Hell, pick up an Ouya in June from Best Buy?

That being said, I have my local stations in HD, plus Netflix (PS3 interface still the best), and Crackle has some pretty good stuff too.

#9 Edited by MrPilkington (722 posts) -

@eujin: I was using my Xbox 360 at one point, but no longer. It wont be an option soon, as my XBLA subscription will be up and I'm most likely not going to re-up. I've grown tired of paying for XBL to use services that I pay for elsewhere, which is ridiculous to me. I'm also not playing too many games online at the moment, and with the new consoles around the corner and potentially a new Xbox releasing this year, why re-subscribe when you dont know the full story yet, so to speak. But that's just me.

#10 Edited by yoshimitz707 (2450 posts) -

Get a Roku AND an Apple TV and you'll basically have every online option. Because, I'd say just Roku, but iTunes has a ton of stuff so it's worth it. And the Apple TV netflix has a way better interface.

#11 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5260 posts) -

The all digital future continues. Come at me bro, I'm ready!

#12 Posted by Mendelson9 (402 posts) -

I just got a Roku and it works great. Has lots of app like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, Giant Bomb and HBO Go (but i cant use HBO because it's not supported by Comcast on the Roku). Roku also has the MLB app where you can watch one free game each day. I don't think the PS3 lets you watch a select game for free. If you run Plex, you can use the app to watch streaming content from your PC, but I bet it's still easily to do that on a gaming console. The Roku smartphone app is good too for quick control if the remote is out of reach.

The only big downside is no YouTube app. I really like the YouTube app on the PS3 and on my Panasonic Smart App since you can use the YouTube app on your iPhone or Android phone and play the video in the app on the TV. Works extremely well, especially for my large Watch Later playlist. If Roku had YouTube it world be the perfect device for me. (And also if Comcast finally supports HBO on the Roku)

As for Apple TV, I think that the only thing that is has over the Roku is iTunes Store access and Airplay. I have heard cool things about Airplay but don't know how reliable it is. If I were you, go to your Best Buy and pick one up and test out how much you like AirPlay. If you don't like it just return it, I did the same thing with the Roku a couple of years ago to test out the Giant Bomb app but ended up returning it and getting a full refund.

Remember that you can get Over-The-Air Broadcast still too. At my home, I can just plug the coaxial cable directly into my TV and pick up ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, PBS, and a few more in 1080p for free. If the local cable company scrambles those channels where you live, try picking up an HD antenna, Lifehacker just posted some recomondations. http://lifehacker.com/5994508/cable-companies-can-now-force-you-to-rent-set+top-boxes-here-are-your-alternatives

Sorry for rambling on. Unfortunatly there is no one box that can do everything, the closest one is Xbox Live but you need to have Gold to use the Apps (plus xbox dont have a Giant Bomb App) if you need more set top box recomondations, check out this post on the wirecutter. http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/roku-2-xs-best-streamer/

Congrats on cutting cable, that will save you a bunch of money.

#13 Edited by OllyOxenFree (4970 posts) -

(o.o)b

#14 Edited by I_Stay_Puft (3048 posts) -

@mrpilkington: If you are still trying to figure out which box to go through a cool thing was just added to the roku boxes a few days ago. There is an unofficial twitch channel on Roku, which is pretty sweet if you wanna watch some video game streams from your box. Looks way better then the unofficial justin.tv app that's been on the roku box for a few years.

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#15 Posted by Marcsman (3125 posts) -

I would love to cancel cable. The wife will not let me. Anybody got a spare cage of lions laying around I could borrow?

#16 Edited by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -

I'm sure this falls under promoting piracy, but you've wasted enough on cable over the years that I think you'd be justified haha Just hook an HDMI into your TV and Torrent the few shows you'd actually watch. That's what I do, but I've never been the type to turn on the TV and just watch it for the sake of watching TV.

EDIT: or if you wanna be totally legal just buy DVD boxed sets?

#17 Edited by I_Stay_Puft (3048 posts) -

@mideonnviscera said:

I'm sure this falls under promoting piracy, but you've wasted enough on cable over the years that I think you'd be justified haha Just hook an HDMI into your TV and Torrent the few shows you'd actually watch. That's what I do, but I've never been the type to turn on the TV and just watch it for the sake of watching TV.

EDIT: or if you wanna be totally legal just buy DVD boxed sets?

DVD boxsets still a thing? I assume most people if going the legal route have been grabbing episodes from amazon streaming or apple itunes for the quick fix of their favorite shows. I can see why some would still buy box sets though, that Band of Brothers blu-ray box set on my shelf is pretty cool.

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#18 Edited by SavePoint (100 posts) -

@marcsman said:

I would love to cancel cable. The wife will not let me. Anybody got a spare cage of lions laying around I could borrow?

I'm in the same boat, I absolutely hate all the junk on cable and would much rather just go all digital (Netflix, Giant Bomb, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video is more than enough for me), but my wife is so obsessed with all the random crap spewed out on cable and refuses to get rid of it.

#19 Edited by Hamst3r (4455 posts) -

Another vote here for the Roku.

#20 Edited by OldGuy (1517 posts) -

If I could watch baseball... but, sadly, I am in the blackout zone for my team so... cable/satellite/fiber stays for now...

#21 Posted by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -

@mideonnviscera said:

I'm sure this falls under promoting piracy, but you've wasted enough on cable over the years that I think you'd be justified haha Just hook an HDMI into your TV and Torrent the few shows you'd actually watch. That's what I do, but I've never been the type to turn on the TV and just watch it for the sake of watching TV.

EDIT: or if you wanna be totally legal just buy DVD boxed sets?

DVD boxsets still a thing? I assume most people if going the legal route have been grabbing episodes from amazon streaming or apple itunes for the quick fix of their favorite shows. I can see why some would still buy box sets though, that Band of Brothers blu-ray box set on my shelf is pretty cool.

How should I know? I steal everything.

#22 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (3048 posts) -

@i_stay_puft said:

@mideonnviscera said:

I'm sure this falls under promoting piracy, but you've wasted enough on cable over the years that I think you'd be justified haha Just hook an HDMI into your TV and Torrent the few shows you'd actually watch. That's what I do, but I've never been the type to turn on the TV and just watch it for the sake of watching TV.

EDIT: or if you wanna be totally legal just buy DVD boxed sets?

DVD boxsets still a thing? I assume most people if going the legal route have been grabbing episodes from amazon streaming or apple itunes for the quick fix of their favorite shows. I can see why some would still buy box sets though, that Band of Brothers blu-ray box set on my shelf is pretty cool.

How should I know? I steal everything.

Haha touché

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#23 Edited by alexisg (379 posts) -

One thing you may want to consider if you purchase a roku is to use http://plexapp.com/ to help manage any ripped DVDs and shows you may have on a pc/mac/linux box. Plex will automatically organize those files into a library with metadata and then transcode those files or direct play to your roku, android or iOS device (among other devices).

Personally I use a jailbroken AppleTV with plex on it which then connects to my iMac which is running the Plex Media Server. It works really well but it takes a little more work to jailbreak the AppleTV. From what I understand the Roku boxes are plug and play.

Also disclaimer but I worked on Plex for some time a couple years ago on creating their branding, icons, and website.

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#24 Posted by Dragon_Fire (367 posts) -

I haven't had cable for almost 4 years now and it's great! I will admit I used to torrent the few shows I and the rest of the people in my house enjoyed watching.

#25 Edited by Chtasm (445 posts) -

I bought my mom a Roku box Holiday 2011 and she has used it everyday since we've stopped paying for television. We also get the always free over-the-air channels with our antenna and Comcast will still pump local stations through your internet cable.

#26 Posted by AlexW00d (6189 posts) -

@mideonnviscera said:

I'm sure this falls under promoting piracy, but you've wasted enough on cable over the years that I think you'd be justified haha Just hook an HDMI into your TV and Torrent the few shows you'd actually watch. That's what I do, but I've never been the type to turn on the TV and just watch it for the sake of watching TV.

EDIT: or if you wanna be totally legal just buy DVD boxed sets?

DVD boxsets still a thing? I assume most people if going the legal route have been grabbing episodes from amazon streaming or apple itunes for the quick fix of their favorite shows. I can see why some would still buy box sets though, that Band of Brothers blu-ray box set on my shelf is pretty cool.

Maybe it's just 'cause Amazon streaming is US only and Netflix here is shit, but DVD box sets are waaaay cheaper than iTunes etc. Also fuck iTunes.

#27 Posted by jaecee (31 posts) -

I've got a 1st gen Roku and always had mixed feelings about it. It's basically a bedroom Netflix and occasional GiantBomb & Twitch.tv box. I've been hard-pressed to find any other channels that are consistently worthwhile, and I use the 360 for Netflix in the living room. I dumped Hulu+ since half the stuff I would actually sit through and watch were web-only and therefore didn't watch. The lack of a YouTube channel is dumb as fuck.

If you're a primary Amazon Prime account holder, Prime Video would be nice.

If you already have an iPhone or iPad, Apple TV with its AirPlay seem pretty sweet. I've been considering picking one up to throw GiantBomb on my living room TV. Both the Roku and Apple TV have a standby/sleep mode. I'm assuming the Apple TV is similar to the Roku in that it'll just go to sleep after a period of inactivity, and pushing a button on the remote wakes it back up. Still using power, but essentially just enough to listen for the remote..

#28 Posted by DriveupLife (909 posts) -

I have a first generation Roku that I bought after Whiskey Media promoted them on a Happy Hour and it still fucking rocks my socks.

#29 Posted by Kiri90 (256 posts) -

I bought an Apple TV 3 months ago, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. It is super convenient to have everything there for you, and in 1080p. Before getting it, I questioned how much I would use it, but since then I have used it daily for movies, TV shows, and music. It's especially good if you're already embedded in the Apple ecosystem, as you'll have everything everywhere. One of the best purchases I've made, I only regret I didn't do it sooner.

The only disadvantage I can think of is that you won't be able to watch the GB channel that you can watch on Roku, but you can use Airplay and it'll work perfectly.