Tag Archives: roku

Set-Top Debate: Boxee vs Roku vs Apple TV

Streaming content in your home is quickly becoming much more than just a fad. People are cutting the cord in favor of set-top boxes such as Roku, Apple TV and Boxee. Using a device such as this gives the consumer more control over the content they can watch as well as being more cost-effective than traditional cable or satellite television connections. The question is, though, which box is right for your home? The three major players – Roku, Boxee and Apple TV – have many things in common. However, you’ll be surprised at how the differences between them can sway your purchasing decision.

Both the Roku and the Apple TV boxes can be purchased for under one hundred dollars, while the new Boxee model will set you back two hundred smackers. However, the Boxee alternative has quite a bit more to offer. At this point in time, Apple and Roku have some catching up to do in the content delivery department. Boxee now offers both Netflix and Vudu for your viewing pleasure. With Vudu, you can purchase movies on-demand – the same day they are released on DVD even – at a cost of $2.00 for two nights. Stream your favorite Internet content and connect with your Twitter and Facebook account in order to get suggestions from your friends. Additionally, personal recommendations will be sent straight to your television, based on your previous viewing choices. The unit is Flash 10.1 compatible, another feature the others don’t offer. There are more than 400 apps at this time, offering you third-party content distribution choices you haven’t even begun to think of. The remote control is double-sided, offering both a browsing experience and a full QWERTY keyboard. There’s an SD card slot and two USB ports built in.

The Roku box offers Netflix and Hulu, movie rental and purchases and even popular sports packages. There are more than fifty channels at this time – including Amazon video service. Stream your iTunes collection without a computer connection or tune in to your favorite online radio stations such as Pandora. The unit is capable of viewing YouTube and Flickr content, much as the others are. There is also a USB port which allows you to view media on your favorite USB stick.

Apple TV has a partnership with both FOX and ABC, allowing you to access your favorite shows for .99 per episode. If you want to watch an entire season, though, it could end up costing you quite a lot. This unit also offers Netflix, YouTube and Flickr access. Movies will cost you $2.99 or $3.00 for HD versions. There is one Micro USB slot and the cool remote allows you to access your iPod touch, iPad or iPhone with the press of a button. That in itself is seriously cool. Have you tried playing Angry Birds on the big screen yet?

Even though the Boxee set-top box has more to offer at this point in time, don’t count the Roku and Apple TV out just yet. I’m sure we will be seeing revisions to both machines sometime this year. Competition in this market is fierce, and I have a feeling that we’ll see even better features coming in the new versions.

Are you using a set-top box in your home? Which model do you own, and what do you prefer about it?

Unboxing the Roku HD


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The Roku HD set top box works with virtually any TV, offering HDMI for HDTV or composite connections for standard def televisions. The Roku HD supports 720p video and connects to the Internet via WiFi.

Kelly Clay does an unboxing of the Roku HD here, showing you what’s inside the box. As an Apple TV alternative, the Roku HD costs less and works with many content providers not compatible with Apple TV

Much like with Apple, the Roku HD packaging is very minimal. There aren’t a lot of extra things rattling around in the box. You get what you need in as small of a box as can be used. No muss – no fuss.

Android Set-Top Box


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Shenzhen Geniatech Co. Ltd presents some interesting Android Powered Set-top-boxes. These could be sold for around $100 like the Apple TV or Roku box, but they just run the full Android OS including support for lots of video codecs.

While Android is not yet really optimized for use on a TV with a remote control, this type of device will support the Google TV software (in this case, without HDMI pass-through overlay features) pretty soon once Google releases that software source code.

This video was filmed by Charbax of ARMdevices at CES 2011.

Are You Ready to Cut the Cable?


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37% of young Netflix subscribers aged 25-34 have cut cable for Netflix only, and almost 30% of users between ages 18-24 are using Netflix only vs. cable or satellite. Are people cutting cable for On Demand services? Are you thinking about it? Lamarr is definitely thinking about it – or at least talking about it.

It’s interesting to see so many people getting rid of standard cable connections in favor of services such as Hulu and Netflix. A recent post on Mashable talks about the ways our living rooms are changing. They discuss every option available these days from Boxee to Netflix to Apple TV.

Lamarr happens to be in this “young age bracket.” He hasn’t cut his cable yet, but he did purchase the Roku Box. He is amazed by it – and the fact that Hulu will be coming to the Roku this fall. He’s replacing his standard TV in his living room with Google TV in the near future, as well.

At the end of October, Lamarr is cutting his cable. Are you doing the same?

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