Cord Cutting - which box? Some comparisons

ncted

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FWIW: I prefer Roku for the best bang for the buck factor, but I use 4k Firesticks for 99.999% of our viewing for three reasons:

1. My Amazon Fire Recast sadly will not work with Roku.
2. No bloody mute button on the Roku remote.
3. The Firesticks allow bluetooth devices, like headphones, to connect. Roku has the headphone jack in some remotes, but that is just a recipe for constantly changing your remote batteries, and using their app has audio sync issues.
 

harshness

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Uh, the Xbox One S is the cheaper model and it does do 4K discs just fine.
There's a cost-reduced version of the Xbox One S known as the "All Digital Edition" that has no optical drive and I was speaking to that model versus the Xbox One S. Both are technically inferior to the Xbox One X but that's a whole other can of worms.
Xbox One S All-Digital Edition vs. Xbox One S: Which should you buy?

The All Digital Edition comes with a 1TB drive instead of the 500GB drive (where do they find these things?) found in the regular S. Everything else is the same between the two Xbox One S versions.
The PS4 doesn’t do 4K discs.
That is what I said.

In the grand scheme (and as you pointed out), neither console is great as a streaming box due to limited app support (compared to Roku but perhaps not compared to Apple TV).

IIRC, there are some Android streaming apps that can be "sideloaded" into the Fire TV streamers that can extend their utility beyond what you can get in the Amazon app library.

I didn't start the thread but I'd suggest a narrowing of the focus on streaming service (Apple TV+, Amazon, Disney+, YTTV, Sling, Netflix, Pluto TV et al) apps to the exclusion of local media server streaming.
 

lparsons21

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The PS4 and Xbox One both have fewer streaming apps available though I think they both have the biggies. For many either could be good enough I think. Haven’t looked at streamers for PS4 in a long time, so maybe it is more restricted.

There are other threads to discuss the apps, this one is primarily about the hardware. As to apps available for Roku vs AppleTV, the edge would go to Roku IMO, though the AppleTV has more than enough to fill anyone’s streaming wants I would think.

These days the lack of 4K discs isn’t really the downside it was back in the day as disc sales are down last time I heard.


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Ganthet

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I've got a mixture of Amazon FireTV Sticks, Roku, and Xbox One S (with disc drive) for streaming.

I prefer the XB1S for streaming as it can do both DolbyVision and Atmos which my TV and AVR support. I only wish it could do DolbyVision on 4K discs.
I use the Amazon Sticks for DishAnywhere at low-use TV's so I don't have to pay the monthly Joey Fee
The Rokus are in the kids' rooms as they only watch Netflix, Youtube and a few other streaming services

I think Roku has the simplest interface and if it had Dish Anywhere I'd replace the Fire Sticks.I also had to side-load Vudu onto the fire sticks. I like that the Roku UI is agnostic where the Fire Sticks (naturally) push the Amazon contact
 

lparsons21

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Ganthet,

Here’s a way to expand on your Xbox One. Plug a Roku into the HDMI in port, then you have those apps that the Xbox One doesn’t have and the audio will be faked Atmos which is certainly better than the audio coming from a Roku.


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camo

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I have the Nvidia Shield and have completely stopped using it because of the remote. I put up with it for several months and have thrown the towel in. My favorite streamer is my LG TV interface.
Whatever the device make sure it supports the service you want. Not all do.
 

harshness

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There are other threads to discuss the apps, this one is primarily about the hardware.
Sure, but if the box you're considering doesn't cover one or more of your streaming services (such as Netflix, Apple TV+ or Amazon Prime), it may be an immediate write-off. Netflix is what TiVo used to be: a household name that everyone assumes is the state-of-the-art. Many of the Android and Linux streaming boxes are very powerful but they offer very few of the big name streaming services (if any).
As to apps available for Roku vs AppleTV, the edge would go to Roku IMO, though the AppleTV has more than enough to fill anyone’s streaming wants I would think.
The ratio of Roku apps to Apple TV apps isn't even close (perhaps >4:1). If your buying a box with the intention of milking the Internet for hours and hours of free content, the Roku platform is far and away the best choice (perhaps unless you're willing to suffer Chromecast or Airplay). It is folly to ignore the application library and assume that it covers everything as many have been brutally reminded of when buying smart TVs (even those with downloadable apps).

These days the lack of 4K discs isn’t really the downside it was back in the day as disc sales are down last time I heard.
I wonder if those who stream 4K with all the accoutrements (HDR, WCG, 10+ channel sound) will ultimately survive their broadband bill (or significantly lower their standards). I bet that as the enhanced features come to more homes with TV replacements and upgrades, interest in discs will surge (perhaps temporarily). Having each streaming session take upwards of 25Mbps of bandwidth (Ultra HD Blu-ray goes up to 128Mbps) seems unlikely to be sustainable.
 

lparsons21

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Streaming 4K is definitely a bandwidth hog and if you do a lot of it could really impact the bill from the ISP, or at least the ones that have data caps.

During my month long streaming test I did quite a few 4K streams over the month and hit above 850Gb of bandwidth. This month I’m still streaming quite a bit but not so much of 4K content and the usage has dropped to around 600Gb.

As to apps and hardware, I think it is fair to give a body count of apps on each knowing that almost all of them have the big names on them. It is the lesser knowns and cable/sat replacement streamers that seem to be somewhat hit or miss among them.

I know Roku has a ton of apps most of which are way down the list of streamers and that is certainly an advantage if those are important. That said I only use 3 or 4 of the free ones myself and haven’t run out of things to watch. To those that like more of the lesser ones then the Roku should be on the top of the list.


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harshness

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During my month long streaming test I did quite a few 4K streams over the month and hit above 850Gb of bandwidth. This month I’m still streaming quite a bit but not so much of 4K content and the usage has dropped to around 600Gb.
Were these tests conducted over the same interval in theTV season? More than a few took the end of the Fall TV season to do their testing where their viewing habits may be significantly different from the first-run part of the calendar. I did some testing myself and found that my streaming where I was watching more live content took up quite a bit more bandwidth than watching movies during the off months. Since my tests, some of the streaming services have converted to new compression schemes and my data is garbage.
 

lparsons21

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My testing was planned to do what I thought I would do if I changed to OTA/Streaming. So I was pushing as hard as I could against my bandwidth cap which, at the time, was 2TB. What I found was that a 1TB cap was good enough so when I went back to my cable/streaming I dropped the speed level which dropped my data cap to 1TB.

So far as the new broadcast shows have shown up I’ve found that I’m not watching many of them because they just aren’t interesting to me. Tried most of them and I think I now have about 9 broadcast shows scheduled to record which is pretty low for me. The good cable shows are few this time of year IMO. I’m actually still watching quite a bit on streaming.


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TheForce

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I'm new to cord cutters and in the transition phase. Currently subscribed to: DishNetwork, AppleTV4K, Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and a few others with their apps for unique programming like RedBull etc. I also just ordered a TIVO Edge for DVR services for local TV network stations.

I would like to find a a service that offers all the main News channels and others like History, Discovery, SciFi, etc, live programming. I can do that now with several apps but those all ask for my "TV Provider" which I can do with the Dish Network account which is expensive, lower image quality, and suffers rain fade outages.

If I drop Dish Network, is there an app that works with my hardware to receive these "cable" channels live as they are on Dish Network?
 

lparsons21

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Take a look at Sling TV. If it has the channels you want their app works on the AppleTV just fine too.

My plans when my current cable deal runs out is to do something similar though I’m starting to think I’ll not do a cable/sat replacement service like Sling and others. Since I prefer to read my news and I’m not big into sports my local channels and various streamers like Netflix and so forth, offer plenty for my viewing pleasure.


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theBruce

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News for a Cord Cutter is pretty much handled during the day by CBS News on the Roku which is their 24 hour live news service or just by watching ABC Nightly News after it airs to afford commercials.

Also NBC and ABC will be going 24 hours for their News service in the first half of 2020.

As far as the other channels go, we have learned to go without, all those channels did was pull me away from the great content on Netflix, Hulu, Prime and the like.

The only outlier in this situation was Food Network, wife was upset when we lost it, but luckily all their Catalog content is on Hulu so she is very happy with that.

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TheForce

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Thanks, I have a dozen app pages open now and I see I can upgrade to Hulu+ Live TV from my Premium commercial free version for $54.99. It has all the networks I want to have access. If this works I'll be happy. The web page says it will be compatible with my Apple TV 4K latest version. I also looked at FUBO Ultra but it is more expensive and not sure I have seen the app anywhere.

Hulu has a commercial free version for an added charge I wonder how good that is? What are the surprises? Does it just go blank? I have a free service on CNBC on my stock trading browser and they put up a graphic that says "in commercial break" for the live stream.

I will check out sling TV app and compare. Have to get ready now for IMAX 3D Star Wars movie. :)
 

theBruce

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Hulu has a commercial free version for an added charge I wonder how good that is? What are the surprises? Does it just go blank? I have a free service on CNBC on my stock trading browser and they put up a graphic that says "in commercial break" for the live stream.
Commercial Free on Hulu is only for the Catalog Content, Live TV still has commercials.

Also since you have Comcast you might be interested in this-

Cord Cutters News has confirmed that in 2020 Comcast will start to offer smaller TV packages called Choice. These packages will cost between $10 and $20 each allowing customers to build their own TV bundle. There are premade packages for news and entertainment and even a package to add local TV channels.





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TheForce

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I do have Comcast, but it's a Business Internet account, not compatible with their consumer TV service. I already checked. My Business internet is far superior to consumer service so I'm not going to give that up.

Thanks for the info on Hulu Commercial free is not really free. :( On the History channel I love to do 30 second skip now. I wonder how that might work if History channel can be DVR'd on the TIVO Edge? I believe it only works on archived programs, not Live.


I might note that cost is not my primary objective. I really want to remove the rats nest of cables from my dishes on the roof, and eliminate the dishes and rain fade. Plus my neighbor's trees keep growing and soon they will block my satellite view to the birds. He won't remove them even if I pay.
 

theBruce

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I might note that cost is not my primary objective. I really want to remove the rats nest of cables from my dishes on the roof, and eliminate the dishes and rain fade.
Costs were not my objective either,I just hate wasting money on a service that i get no value from, especially when every cable show I watch was sooner or later going to be on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon after the season was completed.

Then when you add in all the new content that the streaming services have, the majority of it in 4K, the decision was easy, the costs saving is the benefit of being a cord cutter.




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