The real Web TV: Chromecast, Apple or Roku?


What about android on a stick? or similar?


I think the only solution is making a TV a computer. Currently I’m using my 4 year old iMac for the TV. A hardware gatchet like the Chromecast USB stick adds TV to it. It’s called EyeTV. It includes excellent TV/DVR software. The internet comes as it is. Nothing is restricted. You have complete network command over the media you consume. It’s about the same price as the others. I’ve been using this system for about a decade. I like it. I use Twitter to send links to shows to watch.


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I agree but it seems chromecast is getting pretty close. I realize one of these cheap devices is never going to compare to a HTPC with XBMC, but this may be a good option for a bedroom or kitchen TV to get similar streaming options.

Does that have official access to the play store or do you have to side-load?

I think the $99 Roku box is a great option for Web TV. Last night I was watching the American Star Craft World Championship Series , commentated by two knowledgable people, on a 52" TV screen. While hooking a PC up to a TV works too, I just don’t think the future is cable TV recorded or ota recordings. I think the future is all on demand, a la carte tv purchases, with sports bought in streaming packages.

With the ROKU, I can buy TV shows for on demand play from amazon or netflix, I can run movies from my NAS using PLEX, I can watch esports as if they were real sports, I can subscribe to MLB, MLS, NHL … and whole other options are there.

The Roku dev program makes it easy as heck to get into making your own channels.


I have 2 Rokus which my family and I love and use often. I also bought a Chromecast for the main reason that it is so portable. I plan on taking it with me on vacation and when ever I’m going some where and want to share things from my laptop without having to be tied to the TV.

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I would love to get a Roku, but there is a bunch of stuff we watch on-demand via the xfinity website, as well. I have an HTPC, but I find myself switching between xbmc and the browser a lot. Someone needs to find a model where everything can be in one place and the cable providers still can get their much beloved $$…

For now I think I’m sticking with my Xbox 360 since it’s already hooked up to my TV. Also I think my programmable universal remote has me fairly entrenched in my current setup. I think a lot of people in my position (admittedly a minority) would prefer not to use a phone, laptop, or tablet in addition to whatever remote they already have.

I’ll assume you can run this thing into one of the HDMI inputs on a receiver/stereo. That’s where I have everything going now, then one output to the TV…
Pretty cool little device, I’d like to try one for the heck of it.

I like my Roku when it’s working. Almost exactly a year after I got it, it started mysteriously dropping my connection frequently (nothing else has changed on my end.) I now have to continuously change channels on my router to make Roku work. Roku support has been unable/uninterested in helping me resolve this. Apparently the combination of a Mac, an Airport Extreme and a Roku located in another room is more than their troubleshooting abilities can handle. So I just keep changing channels and enjoying what I can in a diminished capacity.

I’m going back to cable when the thing craps out for good.

Why is this an “or”?

Our TV has 6 inputs. Apple TV is on one. Roku on another. I don’t see why chromecast can’t be on a 3rd if it gets exclusives


I recently rebuilt our HTPC and I also find myself switching between xbmc and the browser all the time. I also think I read somewhere that Netflix downgrades streaming quality in browsers but not on standalone devices or apps, so we use the Xbox 360 for Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming.

One of these days I keep hoping for one way to do all the things I want without all the hassle and switching around. I’m not holding my breath though.

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I’ve got more than enough options for video at home right now but this looks like quite a nifty device. It seems like an ideal accessory for people who travel frequently; coupled with a smart phone you could access an entire video library from any hotel TV.

Mind you, right now I’m not against this device. But let’s look at what you currently get (as advertised by google)

Chrome browser, potentially with flash, but unclear. Def no java, but yes javascript and HTML5
Netflix app.
Youtube App
Google Play store (which basically runs from an HTML5 app now.)

That’s it. I want to see three things before I move forward on purchasing one …

  1. Are there any other big apps coming out for it?
  2. The web based streaming services I use now on my computer, can I use them on this?
  3. Can I develop applications for it for free , deploy them for free, and avoid the Chrome/GooglePlay store (sideload)

Yeah, this is the type of B.S. my wife hates to put up with and that is darn-near impossible to program a universal remote to handle. I am wondering if I could upgrade to Windows 8 and set up some tiles to make things easier…?

I could see how that would work, if you were into the tiles and depending on how you were selecting them on screen (I use a wireless mouse and keyboard with my setup). In the end I opted against Win8 and went with Windows 7 for my installation mostly because I just don’t like the new look.

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I have video files saved on my computer that I’ve wanted to play through my Roku. Has anyone tried this Plex thing before? Does it work as advertised?


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Overall, I still prefer using a computer hooked to a TV. That way no corporation can tell me what I can and can’t watch or listen to on my TV and how/when I do it as well.

Warning: This is an applecentric approach… if you hate Macs don’t read this…

One can pick up used Intel Mac Minis very cheap from craigslist. It may cost more, but I figure it’s worth it because of the freedom to watch whatever I want to, the reduced hassle in time trying to make other devices work, remoting into it how I want to, and they tend to last forever as well.

I can remote into a Mac Mini from a smart phone or laptop from anywhere and have it start downloading an HD movie or whatever to its own hard drive to be ready to play by the time I’m home (and/or start playing what’s downloaded so far while the rest downloads) and in high HD quality to boot.

That said, the Chromecast seems very limited in what it’ll play and I’m not sure even jailbreaking it will solve that issue because of the nature in how it works. Seems that hacks to play local files off computers results in pretty low quality video (so far) that even a jailbroken, etc. Apple TV will surpass:

If the Chromecast had a hard drive (or the ability to plug one into it) and let me store video (any format, not some proprietary bullshit only) to play from there, then I’d be pretty excited about it. Or, if it let me stream anything from my Mac (with quality results) without restriction (like a jailbroken Apple TV) then I’d be much more interested as well.

Otherwise, this Chromecast just seems like a quick way to stream YouTube videos, the limited library of Netflix and not much more to me. Even down the road when it “allows” one to stream from Pandora or whatever, I’d still prefer to use my local iTunes library, etc.

Also, it’s really none of the NSA’s business what I’m watching and listening to, Google.

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