Best Netflix device for my wife...
Jul 28, 2014 at 8:12 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

billybob_jcv

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OK head-fi...

My wife is a borderline technophobe (which is why I have no fear of her reading this!) - and more importantly, anything we own that does not work 100% of the time or is not dead-nuts simple for her to operate is clearly *my* fault. :rolleyes:

For several years, she's been using a 1st gen Wii to stream Netflix to the TV in our living room. The picture quality sucks, but that doesn't seem to bother her at all. What does bother her is that the Wii seems to have intermittent network issues. If I power-cycle the Wii, it will usually reconnect and work fine. This is, of course, my fault - even though there is nothing wrong with our home network or our ISP, and Netflix works fine on the Panasonic blu-ray player connected to the TV in our bedroom. I suspect the old Wii is simply not always playing well with the Netflix streaming servers, so I want to get her a new streaming device.

Which, of course, leads to the question: What is the best & easiest device that is exclusively going to be used for Netflix? Roku 3? Blu-ray player (which brand)? Apple TV? Amazon Fire TV?

It would be a "very nice to have" if the device will work with our current Logitech Harmony remote. Extra points if it has a coax or optical audio out (our old AV receiver doesn't have HDMI switching, but I do have digital out from the TV to the AV receiver), also extra points for an RJ45 ethernet jack (I still believe streaming over a wired network is more reliable than over WiFi)

Please don't bother telling me how we should be streaming to the TV from a media PC, or XBMC, or an Android tablet, etc, etc - or that we should be getting all our movies from iTunes, Hulu+, Amazon or bittorrent - or that I should buy a new 3D, 4K "smart" TV that has Netflix built-in. Ain't going to happen in this lifetime. She's happy with Netflix and I just want to get Netflix on our current TV in the most reliable & easiest way possible. :xf_eek:

I'm leaning toward the Roku 3, or maybe with moving the existing Panasonic blu-ray in our bedroom to the living room and then getting the Roku 3 (or another blu-ray) for the bedroom. The Amazon Fire TV is very intriguing, although using it for Netflix and not Amazon Prime doesn't seem to be the best idea.

What say you?

TIA!




 
Jul 28, 2014 at 8:31 PM Post #2 of 11

Hutnicks

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Much as I hate to say it, the Apple crap is about as idiot proof as it gets. The question becomes then, how much are you willing to spend for peace of mind?
 
 
As a friend put it when talking about laptops and live in a while ago. "Win 7 drove me up the wall.  Every 5 minutes she'd be on me whining to make something work. I bought her a Macbook and haven't seen her since."
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Jul 29, 2014 at 9:06 AM Post #3 of 11

superjawes

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Amazon Prime is pretty great to supplement your instant viewing material. I believe they are ahead on Archer and they were well ahead of Doctor Who episodes as well. You also get free 2-day shipping on (almost) everything, and on top of that, they also started up a music streaming service that comes with the annual membership. Not to sound like a spokesman for Amazon, but if Fire TV is easy to use, you could probably get a lot out of it.

Otherwise, Apple stuff is easy to use. You might also consider a Playstation 3. The only issue I ever have with that is the update process takes up a chunk of time, but I think Netflix and Amazon Prime are automatically loaded, you get another Blu-Ray player, it is easy to use, and you might even be able to entertain your wife with a few games. :wink:

As a final thought. Smart TVs. You might not be in the market for a new television, but having the app built straight into your television sounds as idiot proof as you can get...you can at least keep it in mind the next time you're shopping for a new one.
 
Jul 29, 2014 at 4:44 PM Post #6 of 11

Oklahoma

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My vote is the Amazon fire tv. I have it at home and works great. You might have to do the initial set up but after that it is fairly fool proof. It comes with a simple remote but it can run off the logitech harmony remotes. It has ethernet in or wireless and optical and hdmi out that can be configured under settings. One of the biggest pluses over like Chromecast is it has a MUCH more powerful processor so it can handle hi def easily, the chromecast struggles to process some hi def sources.

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Jul 30, 2014 at 12:38 AM Post #7 of 11

billybob_jcv

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I was originally looking very hard at the Amazon Fire TV, and if Amazon was our primary streaming provider, I think I would be all over the Fire TV. However, what cooled me off was a review that said that the cool voice search only really searches Amazon - it doesn't search Netflix. So, since you own one - let's say you want to find all the Louis CK material on Netflix - how would you do it? (and I don't mean getting out your phone/tablet/PC and going to netflix.com)

I think a PS3 would be exactly the wrong thing for her - Far too complicated, and she really has no need for a video game console. The only thing she uses the Wii for is Netflix (the Wii was originally purchased for my daughter, but she has outgrown it) And, I'm not going to buy a $1500 TV if a $100 Roku or a $150 Apple TV solves the problem.

Chromecast was discarded as a solution because you really need to use your phone/tablet/PC to control the Chromecast. That would be fine for me - but I think it would just annoy her.

Oh CR@P! I just found this little tidbit in the manual for our 50" Pioneer plasma panel:

When signals are input from the HDMI terminals, no signals are output from the DIGITAL OUT terminal.


ARRGH! OK, that throws a serious wrench in the works. This means that I *must* use a streaming device with an optical or coax audio out in order to feed the audio into my current AV receiver - or I need a new AV receiver. This means the Roku is out. The Apple TV and the Amazon Fire TV would still work.

Moving my Panasonic blu-ray player to the living room and getting another blu-ray and/or a Roku for the bedroom (for me) is starting to look like a better solution.
 
Jul 30, 2014 at 8:53 AM Post #8 of 11

superjawes

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The PS3 is easy to use...but I understand that it might not be the right fit. And the new TV route is more FYI than a legitimate solution. I figure it's probably important for when you do get a new TV.

If your current blu-ray player is easy enough for your wife to use, then get what you want, and if your wife doesn't like it, then you can switch them.
 
Jul 30, 2014 at 9:27 AM Post #9 of 11

toolio

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The Chromecast would put your spouse in complete control of her destiny, assuming she is comfortable with an iOS or android device. Otherwise a Roku 3 would seem a likely candidate. But be aware that if you ever want to tinker with DNS settings at device level the Chromecast and Roku do not allow it. I suspect this is not an issue, and most people do it at the router, anyway.

Edit. Just read the comment about Hdmi. That pretty much leaves the Apple TV or some WDTV devices, which also have optical. Some people report problems squeezing decent bandwidth/image quality out of the ATV and netflix. I had this problem until a recent ATV firmware update, which resolved the problem for me.

My WDTVs pass the spouse test, particularly since I assigned a key on the remote to go directly to Netflix.
 
Jul 30, 2014 at 10:41 AM Post #10 of 11

cel4145

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ARRGH! OK, that throws a serious wrench in the works. This means that I *must* use a streaming device with an optical or coax audio out in order to feed the audio into my current AV receiver - or I need a new AV receiver. This means the Roku is out. The Apple TV and the Amazon Fire TV would still work.

Moving my Panasonic blu-ray player to the living room and getting another blu-ray and/or a Roku for the bedroom (for me) is starting to look like a better solution.


How about WD TV Play Media Player. Don't know much about it, but it does have optical output.
 
Jul 30, 2014 at 12:02 PM Post #11 of 11

uofmtiger

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For this purpose, I don't think there is a big difference between Roku and AppleTV.  I would get an AppleTV since it is a bit easier to use (right now, you can put Netflix on the second row and it will stay there).  With Roku (at least the one I own) the interface changes depending on the last app that was used.  Both work with any Harmony remote..which is why I wouldn't use a PS3 for this.
 
If you think she will ever want to watch Amazon Prime or Vudu, I would get the Roku.
 

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