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Are all media streamers created equal?

  1. Jun 20, 2017 #1
    My Roku media streamer that I bought at a steep discount (remanufactured) 3 years ago is starting to have intermittent problems, and I suppose it's time that I bit the bullet, and bought a new streamer.

    The trouble is, that there are so many of them on the market, with such a wide variety of features and configurations, that I find myself trying to solve the ancient riddle: apples vs oranges vs giraffes.

    My main use is Netflix. Anything beyond watching movies would be a welcome addition, but I would have to be able to at least stream Netflix. My device works wireless, and I would prefer that my new device also receive it's signal from my internet router, via Wi-Fi. I am also able to use my phone as a remote. While that's not a deal breaker, it has been awfully convenient, when my wife has moved (hidden) the remote, and I would have otherwise been remote-less.

    So my question is to those of you who also use a streaming media player - "What device do you you use, how long have you owned it, and what features make it good, or crappy to own and use?"

    Thanks for your input.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2017 #2


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    You should also look at the fire stick
  4. Jun 21, 2017 #3
    How long have you had yours?
    What is good/bad about the features?

    I see they are very reasonably priced, at under 40 bucks, so that is a check mark in the "positive" column....

    Thanks for the reply.
  5. Jun 21, 2017 #4


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    You can find comparisons on the internet that would be far more extensive and informative than any of my personal observations, plus I've not had a roko so really CAN'T compare them.
  6. Jun 21, 2017 #5
    I accept those statements to be true.

    However, YOUR SUBJECTIVE OPINIONS about those features are what I am more interested in. I would much rather have the opinion of someone from my community, than the opinion of a stranger, potentially filtered by another stranger for content/brevity, as is often the case on the review websites.

    Thanks just the same. :smile:
  7. Jun 21, 2017 #6
    I have found gaming consoles (PS and Xbox) to have the best quality and performance for streaming, though they usually cost a lot more than these media sticks.
  8. Jun 22, 2017 #7
    Hmmm, that's a direction I hadn't considered. I'll have to chat with my son about his old gaming equipment....

  9. Jun 22, 2017 #8
    At the end of the day I believe Fire Stick, Chrome Stick and Roku will be fairly equal. They all are just hosts for the various apps. App problems usually are associated with the app themselves and or your internet connection. What was wrong with the Roku? Sometimes my remote would randomly disconnect.
  10. Jun 22, 2017 #9
    Maybe just replace your Roku if you have been happy with it prior to the problems.

    All the various devices (including game consoles) have different apps, so make sure the devices you consider has what you want. E.g. You need an Apple TV to make use of the Apple ecosystem. I have a Roku stick and it had all the apps I cared for. You may want to buy a remote if you go the gaming console route, unless you're OK with using a game controller. There is an Xbox app (on iOS at least) that can be used as a remote for Xbox One.
  11. Jun 23, 2017 #10
    A variety of issues have started happening over the last 6 months. I know that they may not all be streamer-related. I live in the sticks, and there isn't any growing population center within ten miles, so I do not think that consumer-load on the fiber-optics is the issue.

    For instance, load times have gotten significantly slower. There has been a definite trend, rather than a completely erratic history - they just keep getting worse. If I unplug my Roku, wait a few minutes, and plug it back in, the problem goes away for a day or two, but eventually starts to get slower by degrees. Time of day has no effect on the situation, as it just degrades, until I get fed up, and unplug the streamer.

    I have hearing issues - not enough to justify a hearing aid, (yet), but enough that using the closed captioning makes the experience better. Sometimes the closed captioning works fine for hours while I am binge-ing my favorite series. Then for no reason (again, time of day is not a factor), the closed captioning will just stop showing on the screen. If I pause, or back-space the program, the closed captioning will work again - for 1 second, or maybe for a minute or two, or for the rest of the day. If I pause the program to go to the kitchen, and then come back, I may or may not have closed captioning again. If it was acting right before I paused, it is likely that it starts acting up, when I return. Even powering off the streamer does not seem to help. I can always get it to work again, but sometimes I have to fiddle with it every 2 seconds for a couple minutes....then it works fine for a while.

    I get a lot of error messages that I did not get a couple years ago, about being unable to load a program. But - if I simply go back to the menu, and restart that program, it usually works fine. On the other hand, I am also getting that error in the middle of programs, where I never saw it at all until a year ago - it's becoming more frequent.

    There are other problems that I am pretty sure are sourced at the host (usually Netflix) where the menu simply doesn't load the images that allow you to select a program. Those are also getting worse, but I don't blame the streamer for that - I blame Netflix's band-width.

    I've probably over-looked some other symptoms, but those are the ones that are most frequent, and most annoying.

    Where I live, it's almost like a third-world country, when it comes to electric service from the power company - the power was out again last night for 8 hours, because of a storm that lasted 10 minutes. That is maybe the 30th power failure lasting more than an hour, in the last 15 years. (Some have lasted days...) There have been at least as many shorter ones in that time, evidenced by the need to reset appliances and clocks upon returning home. My point is, that we have "dirty power" here. I replace computers and hard drives like they are basket fruit, and I suspect that the Roku is just the next in a long line of victims of the power company.

    Sorry if that falls into the category of "TMI", but that's what's up!
  12. Jun 23, 2017 #11
    Turns out none of my son's old game boxes have HDMI - he was "retro" before HDMI was a standard, I guess.

    I think I'll stick with a standalone peripheral.

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