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Roku's Netflix Player vs. Apple TV: unboxing and first impressions - Page 2

post #41 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

That's my hope too. If they had lowered it to $199 instead of $229 last MacWorld then I would have bought one more easily. Now, my price point is $149. The hardware for the AppleTV has not changed since it was intro'd a year and a half ago. They added the option for a 160Gb drive but that's it. Apple's profits on those are a bit fat and they can afford to drop the price down a bit more for volume sake.

Dropping the price even more without giving it more functionality will only fuel the consumer suspicion that it's a bomb.
post #42 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

The main problem with the mini is even if you rent directly from iTunes, you can not download HD content without an Apple TV. Direct iTunes rentals are only in SD.

You still can't buy HD from iTunes so -as if?
post #43 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Never going to survive without a hard drive to cache the content. When the connection craps out and you have to start the movie over again there will be some pissed off people.

Like the AppleTv hasn't pissed off anybody with it's VHS "near DVD" quality?
post #44 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortedLoop View Post

It may not be a beauty contest, but c'mon, if it's sitting out in your living room in plain view, some consideration for aesthetics should be given the design. aTV wins hands down there.

The AppleTV is a white-frickin-box. Lately, Apple design has been a lot more dependent on the nice on-screen graphics than edgy enclosures. The iMac and Mac Pro look great, but nothing else is really that impressive. The Roku unit looks fine, and it's certainly no worse looking than any of the other gear connected to my TV, including the TV itself.
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post #45 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

The AppleTV is a white-frickin-box. Lately, Apple design has been a lot more dependent on the nice on-screen graphics than edgy enclosures. The iMac and Mac Pro look great, but nothing else is really that impressive. The Roku unit looks fine, and it's certainly no worse looking than any of the other gear connected to my TV, including the TV itself.

Thank you- nothing has quite the wow factor as the products from 1999-2005. Even the current iMac has a Dell look.
post #46 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

The AppleTV is a white-frickin-box. Lately, Apple design has been a lot more dependent on the nice on-screen graphics than edgy enclosures. The iMac and Mac Pro look great, but nothing else is really that impressive. The Roku unit looks fine, and it's certainly no worse looking than any of the other gear connected to my TV, including the TV itself.

It's not a "white-frickin-box". It's actually a very good minimalist design. Give me Apple minimalism over alienware geekism any day of the week. "Edginess" is the scourge of design, and Apple is the only company that has the good taste to eschew all that tasteless crap.

Look at electronics, particularly car decks. They all look like flashing lights "pimp" machines with absolutely no taste whatsoever. Is that what you want?

It's an elegant "white-and-silver-frickin-box", sir.
post #47 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Thank you- nothing has quite the wow factor as the products from 1999-2005. Even the current iMac has a Dell look.

You don't understand design. If anything Dell is heading toward a cleaner look, which Apple has always had.

Plastic curves != good design.

I thought the bondi blue G3 was the ugliest design I had ever seen. Such a waste of space with all that plastic. Then Apple stuck with that crap design for like four years or so, until they finally went with the elegant, simple aluminum design. "Wow" factor? How about "Ugh!" factor? The original curvy G3 was just ugly. And what about the "My Little Pony" iBook?
post #48 of 136
Ignoring the fact that the AppleTV can be hacked into a fully functioning Apple computer, and just comparing the devices for their standard from-the-factory features:

1) All the movies available on the Roku are old catalog titles. There are HARDLY ANY RECENT RELEASES and NO brand new releases.
2) The SD quality is noticeably worse than the iTunes store rental videos
3) There are No High-Definition titles available
4) There is no 5.1 surround sound
5) You can't even watch trailers or make a selection on the device itself. You still have to do everything from a computer on netflix.com
6) No music, photos, or video syncing

And people are trying to compare this to the AppleTV ? I don't own either, and I try to be objective with Apple, but this thing is a joke.
post #49 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

How is this thing supposed to support HD streaming in the future, if it only has 64MB of RAM (supposedly)?

Why do you think it would need more RAM to play HD content?
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post #50 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

Ignoring the fact that the AppleTV can be hacked into a fully functioning Apple computer, and just comparing the devices for their standard from-the-factory features:

1) All the movies available on the Roku are old catalog titles. There are HARDLY ANY RECENT RELEASES and NO brand new releases.
2) The SD quality is noticeably worse than the iTunes store rental videos
3) There are No High-Definition titles available
4) There is no 5.1 surround sound
5) You can't even watch trailers or make a selection on the device itself. You still have to do everything from a computer on netflix.com
6) No music, photos, or video syncing

And people are trying to compare this to the AppleTV ? I don't own either, and I try to be objective with Apple, but this thing is a joke.

You've summed it up well. I own a Roku SoundBridge and visit their forum regularly; it seems that at the moment, demand is outstripping supply for this box. Given the lack of functionality and the poor content availability, I find this difficult to understand. Perhaps it's not demand that's high, but supply that's just very low?

Anyway, they seem very confident that they are going to be delivering HD content (720p) with 5.1 sound later this year.
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post #51 of 136
Quote:
Why do you think it would need more RAM to play HD content?

HD content is obviously more data. More RAM = larger buffer. 64mb seems insanely tiny to me already considering the state of most broadband. I have a 15mbps connection in theory. It works that way in the morning, but at night when everyone in the complex is on it, it can get pretty flaky. A larger buffer would smooth out some of the speed hiccups. Even if all 64 is available for buffer that cant be more than a few minutes of HD content at best. Nothing is more annoying than waiting for a movie to catch up say in the middle of a car chase etc.
post #52 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbene12 View Post

HD content is obviously more data. More RAM = larger buffer.

Ah, you are talking about the buffer.

Yes, the buffer is indeed 64 MB (this has been confirmed by Roku on their forums).

That does seem rather small. People will need a high-bandwidth, high-quality internet connection or their HD watching experience will not be fun (either lots of drop-outs or the box reverts to a limited-bandwidth stream, obliterating its HD-ness)
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post #53 of 136
Aw give me the daus of - PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION

No technology, but still entertaining
post #54 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It's a rival if the public think it's a rival. Since the AppleTV started offering movie rentals people were comparing it to Netflix.

"Why would I pay $5 for an HD movie on the AppleTV when I can get it for free from Netflix with much higher quality, extras, etc.?"

With Roku the comparison comes more into full swing as Netflix is now offering free video—and I believe considerably more titles, including TV Shows—to those with a Netflix account. On top of that, the device costs less and connects to more TVs. Of course, it doesn't have nearly the usefulness of the AppleTV but if you only want to watch movies and you already have a Netflix account then Roku is probably the only choice for you.

We gladly pay $4.99 most Friday nights for an HD movie from ATV / iTunes. Never had a problem and the picture is stunning on a Sony 50" HD TV. The main reason I bought ATV was for HD content, slow coming I admit but here at last in growing numbers. I would have zero interest in anything that wasn't HD and I understand this Netflix box isn't? I fail to see the point these days of a standard TV output. The seamless integration to iLife has also been a surprising hit. Music from iTunes to main Hi Fi system is brilliant at all our parties which now end up with everyone watching themselves from pics taken during the night ("here can you put mine on too?" I get asked being passed small digital cameras)... ATV is a member of our family now
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post #55 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyastronaut View Post

Prince McLean = Danielle Dilger?

I don't think he's trying to hide behind the Prince McLean moniker. Daniel Eran Dilger posts links to his AppleInsider articles on his tech blog RoughlyDrafted Magazine. Probably the best tech blog on the net.
post #56 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It's a rival if the public think it's a rival. Since the AppleTV started offering movie rentals people were comparing it to Netflix.

"Why would I pay $5 for an HD movie on the AppleTV when I can get it for free from Netflix with much higher quality, extras, etc.?"

With Roku the comparison comes more into full swing as Netflix is now offering free videoand I believe considerably more titles, including TV Showsto those with a Netflix account. On top of that, the device costs less and connects to more TVs. Of course, it doesn't have nearly the usefulness of the AppleTV but if you only want to watch movies and you already have a Netflix account then Roku is probably the only choice for you.

I have Netflix and I'm considering getting this. It's not that much money, it's small and I can watch more movies quicker with it. I think it's a good deal, and I know it's limitations. I still wouldn't get an AppleTV.

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post #57 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

Netflix may have more titles available for the Roku, but not many of them are new releases or popular titles. Only a few of the top 100 movies on its own site are available for streaming with this box. Apple actually has them beat on the new release front.

More titles is more important to me, and looking over my current list of movies I'm waiting for, I can see about 10% of the titles I want right now can be streamed and that will increase as they make more titles "Roku-able".

Quote:
There are also no HD titles available via this box, either. It's all standard def, and the quality decreases even further if your Internet connection can't keep up.

Doesn't matter to me, as I don't have an HDTV.

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And since when is Netflix free? Pay that monthly fee for a year, and you've paid the difference for an Apple TV.

Netflix is not free, but I'm already paying for it.

Quote:
Bottom line, this is an interesting device, but no competitor to Apple TV.

Better think again.

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post #58 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyastronaut View Post

Not everyone loves itunes, but i agree that no HD has the potential to be a headache.

Keep in mind that a lot of us still don't have (and have no plans to buy) an HDTV.

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post #59 of 136
Waiting for the Blu-Ray version of a film to arrive in the mail would be far more gratifying to me than instantly being able to watch (and hear) a VHS-quality version of the same film.

Until the movie selection isn't severely limited and constantly losing titles in favor of others, these rental boxes just aren't going to be a viable alternative. People can't come to rely on a box (and get in the habit of using) that has so few movie titles, and removes popular new-release titles just as quickly as they add unwanted catalogue titles. Right now, it's just a gimmick.
post #60 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Are you for real? Apple has come up with some stunning designs but the the Apple TV is hardly one of them. A thing of beauty-NOT- and it is as hot as a warming plate even when off. It looks like a sushi plate. Why is that more attractive than an black box? I swear some of the posts here are simply preposterous to say the least!

Yes, I'm serious, your accusations of absurdity aside. I didn't say that the AppleTV was a thing of beauty, I said compared to the Roku it wins aesthetics hands down. It is low, sleek and unobtrusive on my TV, it looks modern. The Roku looks like some cheap black box from the 80's. And the remote is even uglier.

Your tastes may vary, but I won't call your posts preposterous just because all your taste is apparently in your mouth. ;-)
post #61 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by kresh View Post

I don't think he's trying to hide behind the Prince McLean moniker. Daniel Eran Dilger posts links to his AppleInsider articles on his tech blog

Then why even use it? If you're going to try to sound professional, that kind of alias isn't the way to do it anyway.

Quote:
RoughlyDrafted Magazine. Probably the best tech blog on the net.

Maybe it's insightful, but I think it's needlessly verbose when it's possible to communicate many of those the ideas better in a more concise way. Some of the formatting is pretty confusing too, so I just don't read it.
post #62 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyastronaut View Post

Prince McLean = Danielle Dilger?

I'm not sure I liked the idea of a porn-name-like alias anyway.

Quote:
poor man's apple tv. Limitations aside, i do think there's a market for it. Not everyone loves itunes, but i agree that no HD has the potential to be a headache.

No HD yet. When it started, AppleTV didn't have commercial HD media either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slate1 View Post

That being said - this 1,000 vs 10,000 argument is pure hogwash. The 10,000 Netflix claims includes TV shows, Documentaries, Movies, Shorts, etc. - everything in the barn!

If you add up all the movies, TV Shows, Documentaries, Music Videos, etc. in the same manner on the AppleTV (essentially the whole iTunes library...), Apple actually has Netflix hammered in the content arena.

The whole cost thing is irrelevant to me in some regards - when 9,950 of the 10,000 items Netflix offers are not something I'd spend an hour of my life watching.

I understand that, but I really don't think it should be swept out like that because you're not interested in the different types of media. Apple doesn't rent any of that other stuff at all, mostly just movies, everything else is buy-only. I think a larger variety of media without having to pay even more per watch is a compelling consideration for many people.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortedLoop View Post

It may not be a beauty contest, but c'mon, if it's sitting out in your living room in plain view, some consideration for aesthetics should be given the design. aTV wins hands down there.

But the AppleTV almost doesn't match anything else anyway, it's almost designed to stick out like a cock. If you own more than one media device, it's almost certainly not going to match it. Home Theater stacks are mostly an amalgam of devices in black shells, all of different designs unless you bought everything from the same brand within a year or two of each other. A black box is a lot more discrete among other black boxes anyway, stick it in the shadow and maybe no one would notice.
post #63 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Hopefully Apple will consider lowering the price of AppleTV now that it is a constant stream of income instead a just a hardware.

Apple's media store isn't a huge moneymaker. Apple makes a lot more money from their hardware than with media sales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Never going to survive without a hard drive to cache the content. When the connection craps out and you have to start the movie over again there will be some pissed off people.

Do any of the reviews say for sure that it can't skip ahead or can't remember where it left off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

Netflix may have more titles available for the Roku, but not many of them are new releases or popular titles. Only a few of the top 100 movies on its own site are available for streaming with this box. Apple actually has them beat on the new release front.

That's true, but to rent the new titles, you do pay extra for it, $4 SD, $5 for HD rentals.

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There are also no HD titles available via this box, either. It's all standard def, and the quality decreases even further if your Internet connection can't keep up.

How many HD movies are available for rent on AppleTV?

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And since when is Netflix free? Pay that monthly fee for a year, and you've paid the difference for an Apple TV.

If you go through Apple, you're probably paying even more for the content, unless all you watch are video podcasts or you just don't watch many movies. Which isn't to say that the AppleTV doesn't have other benefits. I'd get the AppleTV just for being what might be the best way to show my photos. PS3 does have a few nifty slide show modes too, but it doesn't connect well with iPhoto.
post #64 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I had to put mine on a non-heat conducive wood block as to not have a thermal meltdown in my NYC apartment. All that energy that is constantly being expended - is this product even Green friendly? I swear I could melt a cheese tuna melt on it.

Placing a heat generating device on an insulator is not the way to dissipate the heat.
Placing it in contact with a conductor with a large heat capacity would do the job.
Look up heat sink.
post #65 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Do any of the reviews say for sure that it can't skip ahead or can't remember where it left off?

I don't know about remembering where it left off, but it does do skip forwards and backwards.
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post #66 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Apple's media store isn't a huge moneymaker. Apple makes a lot more money from their hardware than with media sales.

Lower price means more sales. More sales means lower overhead and more profit. Why do you think Apple reduced the price back in Jan? I think they need to lower it to $199.

The beauty of Apple TV is that it provide a solutions. Renting movies online is not a solution to any problem. With Apple TV you can rent and buy movies online and use it as your home media center. I have converted all of our family vacations and home videos to digital format and would love to have Apple TV so I can watch them on my HDTV (even though they are not in HD format). Additionally, I have converted all of my son's cartoons and Barney DVD to digital format and once I buy an Apple TV then I can play him the show he wants without going through trying to find the DVD.
post #67 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Lower price means more sales. More sales means lower overhead and more profit. Why do you think Apple reduced the price back in Jan? I think they need to lower it to $199.

But it's not that simple. In order for that to be true, the profits on the higher volume, lower margin price have to outweigh the profits on a lower volume higher margin. I don't think the higher volume necessarily gets Apple better pricing, AppleTV probably isn't a low volume device such that higher volume would push down the total cost that much.

Quote:
The beauty of Apple TV is that it provide a solutions. Renting movies online is not a solution to any problem. With Apple TV you can rent and buy movies online and use it as your home media center.

You basically said that renting is a useless idea, but then cited it as a feature on AppleTV. That sounds like a two-faced statement to me.
post #68 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

You basically said that renting is a useless idea, but then cited it as a feature on AppleTV. That sounds like a two-faced statement to me.

I did not say it is useless, I clearly said it is not a solution for any problem. A device for renting movies online is not as appealing as a device that rent and do other things. As I said, Apple TV provide a solution to a problem, Netflix box does not. I don't think anyone will disagree about that.
post #69 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

I did not say it is useless, I clearly said it is not a solution for any problem. A device for renting movies online is not as appealing as a device that rent and do other things. As I said, Apple TV provide a solution to a problem, Netflix box does not. I don't think anyone will disagree about that.

I agree that AppleTV does a lot more. However, I see vanishingly little, if any, distinction in the meaning between between "not a solution for any problem" and useless. They're two ways to say the same thing, though maybe with varying degrees of tactfulness and conciseness.
post #70 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortedLoop View Post

Yes, I'm serious, your accusations of absurdity aside. I didn't say that the AppleTV was a thing of beauty, I said compared to the Roku it wins aesthetics hands down. It is low, sleek and unobtrusive on my TV, it looks modern. The Roku looks like some cheap black box from the 80's. And the remote is even uglier.

The Roku looks like a $10 video switcher from Radio Shack.
post #71 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I agree that AppleTV does a lot more. However, I see vanishingly little, if any, distinction in the meaning between between "not a solution for any problem" and useless. They're two ways to say the same thing, though maybe with varying degrees of tactfulness and conciseness.

Well look at it this way, it can be useful during a rainy day
post #72 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortedLoop View Post


Your tastes may vary, but I won't call your posts preposterous just because all your taste is apparently in your mouth. ;-)

As if ATV is some futuristic design-winning product?
Your taste is apparently up your arse if you think a cheap gray plastic warming plate is any better.
post #73 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

The Roku looks like a $10 video switcher from Radio Shack.

As opposed to the $15 Pier 1 Import sushi plate that is Apple TV?
post #74 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I had to put mine on a non-heat conducive wood block as to not have a thermal meltdown in my NYC apartment. All that energy that is constantly being expended - is this product even Green friendly? I swear I could melt a cheese tuna melt on it.

Just like my new 500GB Time Capsule, which has turned my modem closet into a sauna.
post #75 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

It's not a "white-frickin-box". It's actually a very good minimalist design. Give me Apple minimalism over alienware geekism any day of the week. "Edginess" is the scourge of design, and Apple is the only company that has the good taste to eschew all that tasteless crap.

Well, I'm glad we've got the professor here to tell us what is what. The point is that the Roku unit isn't really any less appealing, visually, than the AppleTV, because both are quite minimalist and both are devices that don't go on pedestals to show.

The original iMac and the machines of that timeframe were great because, when every other computer was a beige box, they were bold and different. It was all part of the "Think Different" marketing campaign. That was a great campaign. The campaign for the AppleTV and iTunes video store might as well be "think less," because in pretty much all respects aside from a layer of polish on the UI (and polycarb enclosure), the Apple solution costs more and is less.
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post #76 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


How many HD movies are available for rent on AppleTV?

It changes from day to day, but it is constantly increasing... The below (linked) site keeps a running tally of the HD content..

Currently there are 344 HD Movies to rent and/or purchase from Apple TV.

http://www.appletvjunkie.com/
post #77 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Perhaps it's not demand that's high, but supply that's just very low?

I think you hit the nail on the head!
post #78 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

As if ATV is some futuristic design-winning product?
Your taste is apparently up your arse if you think a cheap gray plastic warming plate is any better.

Look bud, you want to go tit for tat back and forth on this for days on end, I'm game. But stop putting words in my mouth if you're going to. I did not say the aTV was either a stunning visual product, or a futuristic design; I said it was more modern looking and more visually appealing than the Roku unit. That does not equate to calling it a design winning product, simply one that looks more modern and fits my home theater system aesthetics better than the Roku looks like it would.

I can't imagine why you think a cheap squarish black plastic box with a purple Roku name tag and vent holes on the top is some kind of better design than the aTV. Maybe you've got an outdated system where all the components are bulkier designs into which it fits? I prefer lower sleeker units for my system.

Your obsession with the heat of the aTV comes across as just looking for something to criticize. Does the thing sit on your lap? Is it melting your shelf? That heat's going to generate and go into the room whether it radiates out of the casing or through a fan in the back or top. The ventless design has come to external hard drives from Seagate now (FreeAgent models) where the case itself is designed to act as a heatsink, and the things are warmer to the touch than aTV. It's the wave of the future I think. QUIET operation over heat dissipation.
post #79 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

The point is that the Roku unit isn't really any less appealing, visually, than the AppleTV, because both are quite minimalist and both are devices that don't go on pedestals to show.

Wow. Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree on that. I agree with the comment that the Roku box looks like a $10 switchbox from Radio Shack. I also agree with your comment that the TV looks like a (well-designed) warming plate from Pier 1. But a warming plate from Pier 1 just looks better than a switchbox from Radio Shack. Much better.
post #80 of 136
Spliney thinks this...



...and this...



...are both toasters, so they must look the same.

Actually... this one looks pretty cool!

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