Roku R3500R, Roku gets even better!

I’m not grokking the difference between the WDTV Live and Play (besides $30). Is it just a wider range of formats? All I really want is something I can use to stream from my media drive to the tv; tho Netflix/Hulu/whatevs would be a nice bonus.

It looks like just the format issue:

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I built an XBMC htpc with a Raspberry Pi

That’s a good way to go. What are you using for a remote and what was your total cost when the project was complete?


That’s not slow for you? Er, so do you also pay for Private Tunnel or do you use OpenVPN with your PIA VPN?

I use Private Internet Access VPN for $40/year and haven’t had any trouble with speed or service.

I suppose you don’t use this for torrents since it’s tied to your bank account and name?

They seem great (as far as being upfront about not keeping logs, handing over keys, etc.) and 40 a year isn’t shabby, but from what I understand you’re still a target for real-time DMCA. Also, I’ve heard that like many VPN’s they can be slow. What’s your top, sustained speed you get with them and what’s your home address? Also, I’m gonna need your bank account number.

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Regarding Live vs Play, I found this:

He starts his summary around 12:55.

It’s strange – the Play is newer, cheaper and largely the same as the Live but it seems to be nerfed in terms of compatibility. I hope this is not an indication of things to come.

I have yet to find anything that can compare to the Boxee Box. Plays everything I throw at it, streams from a Windows fileshare or local USB, scrapes TV shows & movies beautifully.
Yes, Samsung bought them last year & there haven’t been updates, but the servers are still running & the Box isn’t 100% dependent on them anyway. I find refurbs going for $100 all day long on ebay & continue to recommend it.

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I use a mini wireless keyboard I found for about $35 -

With the $35 cost of the Raspberry and some extra cables the total project cost was about $100 all-in.

I use OpenVPN in conjunction with PIA for the tunneling. Haven’t noticed any slowness compared to when it’s turned off.

The only info I needed to sign up was an email address.  I used PayPal which I suppose carries some risk but they have options for anonymous payment such as Bitcoin or even a Starbucks card.

I’m not fortunate to have blazing fast Internet speed from my ISP anyway so lags and buffering are a fact of life no matter what.  My top download speed from my DSL is only 6 Mbps but that seems to be good enough.

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Why not just go into the HDMI port in your receiver. That’s the best way, anyhow.
I have all devices going there, then one HDMI cable to the TV out from that.

I don’t have/need a receiver.

This is turning into the most useful thing I’ve seen all day.


Then why do you need audio out? Just run audio out from your TV.

I’m learning how to team my (1st gen) Roku up with my HD HomeRun tuner so I can stream digital OTA TV through my projector. 4 years on and it’s still learning new tricks! Might be the best 50ish bucks I ever spent on tech.

Unfortunately, my tv does not have audio out either. Folks in my situation are forced to use a powered splitter between the roku stick and the TV. Then some are even further bothered with the TV generating an error pop up message every 15 minutes or so, which alerts the user that the tv cannot find an incoming audio source.

I tried building a multi media system 10 years ago and it just turned out to be complication after complication, only to get to a solution that doesn’t really operate anything like I had initially wanted. This lead me to an aversion to any media solutions that require work arounds. In my opinion, the TV/Internet singularity is tomorrow’s flying car. And once big content finally has it figured out, the solution will be built for profits instead of consumers.

I simplified my situation in this way -
I bought a lower priced (to the audio world at large) integrated amp/receiver from Onkyo. You can get decent ones all day long from sales on the internets for ~200 with 5.1, which is really all you need.
Then I ran everything via HDMI into that - DVR, Blue Ray, game console, Apple TV. One HDMI out to the TV.
Two speakers up front (“vintage” Cerwyn Vega’s I bought in 1987), one center and two rear. Sub would be nice, but the CV’s cover the range.
Once everything is turned on, all I have to do is choose an input from a button on the remote for the Onkyo.

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Adding a receiver is a good solution for many. But I just see extra power, extra space, extra cables, extra cost, extra remotes, extra landfill junk… just so I can plug in a roku or Chromecast stick? And I still don’t have my native Internet browser.

Sorry, I don’t want to be difficult… I just want what I want. :slight_smile:

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I hear you. I’ve just never NOT had a receiver. Not sure how else I would listen to music other than a full stereo when I’m home.
Nothing is landfill junk unless you throw it out. I always give my old electronic crap away. Someone will use it.

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Not all receivers come with HDMI ports, and some of them don’t decode audio,

I recently had to replace my bluray player— on the cheap. My old bluray player had analog audio jacks, an optical audio port, and what’s more, it could translate any audio protocol into either dts or (over the HDMI port, PCM multichannel. I could take it out of the living room, hook it up to a DVI-HDCP monitor, and analog stereo, and still enjoy my movie collection.

However, my new player only has an hdmi jack. Moreover, it lacks the codecs to fully expand DTS-HD Master audio into more than two channels-- the more modern receivers can decode the “DTS-HD” bitstream, so in a sense, a full decoder in the player isn’t necessary. I can still get full surround if I opt to receive the classic “DTS” bitsream, but oddly enough, this interferes with the player’s smart apps. So depending on what apps I want to use, I have to change the player’s audio options.

Oddly enough, none of this explained in the marketing material, and it’s glossed over in the manual.

However, I’m too cheap to really care. I have a hdmi tv, I have an receiver that decodes hdmi audio, and it works for me. I won’t be able to take the player and use it with my DVI-monitor and analog stereo-- but oh well.

If I had slightly more obsolescent gear,this would matter a great deal more, Licensing fees and false economies seem to rule the market these days.

Most TV speakers suck, by the way, so some way of using real speakers matters to me. Unfortunately, some designers seem to be oblivious. I keep thinking that a $30-$50 HDMI DAC would be so very useful, but so far it hasn’t appeared.

Not all receivers come with HDMI ports, and some of them don’t decode audio,

Well, right. But some do have them, and those are a good solution for small $$

I pair a laptop and a tablet to my bluetooth enabled 5.1 sound bar. It doesn’t shake the house, but it’s sufficient to my ears.

Someone will have to pry my Cerwyn Vega’s outta my cold dead hands… :smile:
They’re going to be 30 in a few years, and I’ve had the woofers rebuilt with new foam surrounds - the cones themselves were NOT replaced - so they should be good for another couple decades or so.


Sub would be nice, but the CV’s cover the range.

If I recall correctly, the .1 channel in all the 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, etc audio format doesn’t refer to a bass module that somehow helps the tinny satellites sound somewhat full range. It’s more of a bass effects channel–it’s actually called the LFE channel that supplements the others/
When the Nazgul fly in LOTR, you can actually feel the beat of their wings. You can feel explosions, That enhanced bass goes into the .1 channel. The other channels are actually full range-- good enough to drive a 20Hz – 20kHz speaker. I’m betting that the Cerwin Vega’s come close to that 20 Hz.

But because of the way the Onkyo works, none of the LFE information gets mixed into the front. So, yes, an explosion will sound low-- but it won’t be loud enough to actually feel. If you add a decent subwoofer, you can decide whether it will handle only the LFE, or the LFE plus the bass below a suitably low threshold as well.

Subwoofers that produce a meaningful amount of noise below 30 or 25 Hz are, ugly, large, heavy, and often expensive, though, Occasionally, Dayton Audio comes up with a relatively inexpensive option.