Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

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Boglenaut
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Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Boglenaut » Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:48 pm

We have iPads and PC's for the small screen streaming of NetFlix and YouTube. For the Big screen TV streaming, we used Blu-Ray players and an original Wii (and in the past a PC with Windows Media Center).

For Christmas, one of the kids got a PS4. I am amazed at how much better it works when streaming NetFlix and YouTube. The picture is better and the navigation and controls are much easier.

Which devices have you had the best and worst luck with?

gogleheads.orb
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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by gogleheads.orb » Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:51 pm

Amazon Fire TV Stick for NetFlix

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by nyclon » Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:52 pm

Boglenaut wrote:We have iPads and PC's for the small screen streaming of NetFlix and YouTube. For the Big screen TV streaming, we used Blu-Ray players and an original Wii (and in the past a PC with Windows Media Center).

For Christmas, one of the kids got a PS4. I am amazed at how much better it works when streaming NetFlix and YouTube. The picture is better and the navigation and controls are much easier.

Which devices have you had the best and worst luck with?
Chromecast works very well with both apps.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by gogleheads.orb » Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:52 pm

Chromecast for the google stuff

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by dowse » Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:56 pm

We have both Roku and Chromecast. We prefer Roku, since it comes with it's own remote. It is easier to find buttons such as pause, FF, etc. and seems to work much more smoothly. We find using the phone app to control Chromecast to be awkward. Video and audio quality is excellent from both. Also, there are more channels available for Roku and new channels tend to be available on Roku before Chromecast.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by nisiprius » Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:58 pm

I have nothing to compare with. Last year we bought a perfectly run-of-the-mill "smart TV," a 40" Vizio. We have the cheapest tier of fiber optic internet available in our town. It's billed as 25 Mbps download speed. We use our WiFi router as the internet connection, i.e. I haven't bothered to wire the set to the router. It seems to work fine on Amazon streaming video and YouTube. We're just starting a one month free trial of Netflix so I can't speak to that.

On Amazon streaming video in high definition, the picture seems to me to be as good as the HD broadcast channels we get on our antenna, perhaps 95% of the time. Once in a while it will get blocky for periods of a minute or so. A rather annoying thing is that when I start watching a streaming video program, the picture starts out very blocky and takes a good minute to clear up to full HD... and the same thing happens if I "rewind" or "fast forward" to a new place in the program.
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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Trev H » Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:08 pm

We currently use a Roku 3 streaming device... which we really like.

I recently bought a new 4K Vizio 55" Smart TV which of course has built in streaming... but it just fell way short of the Roku experience.

I quit using the built in streaming and hooked the Roku 3 back up. Love it.

They have a Roku 4 out now... that handles 4K video streaming... that will be my next upgrade.

Trev H

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Boglenaut
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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Boglenaut » Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:13 pm

Trev H wrote:We currently use a Roku 3 streaming device... which we really like.

I recently bought a new 4K Vizio 55" Smart TV which of course has built in streaming... but it just fell way short of the Roku experience.

I quit using the built in streaming and hooked the Roku 3 back up. Love it.

They have a Roku 4 out now... that handles 4K video streaming... that will be my next upgrade.

Trev H
Trev, what's the best part about the Roku navigation?

For our family room TV, the original Wii worked, but I kept accidentally losing our place in mid-show, then it took me forever to find it again while my wife complained. The PS4 makes it really easy to navigate in a show and not accidentally lose our place.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by tdogz » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:53 am

We recently picked up a Vizio M-series 4k TV for our living room. We didn't get it for streaming, but it has become our go-to Netflix / Amazon / VUDU streaming device. There were 2 main reasons:
1) There is a button on the remote dedicated to Netflix. One press and you are there. No changing inputs, finding a second remote, etc. There is also a "V" button. You push that and it shows all the apps in the TV along the bottom of the screen. It is fast and unobtrusive.
2) The remote has a keyboard on the back! It makes searching soooo much easier. However, I'm need to email someone regarding the Amazon app on the TV - it does not interact with the remote keyboard properly. There was a firmware update recently, so I'll try again before I complain to someone.

Oh and our Blu-Ray (Panasonic) has a remote with a Netflix button on it, but it doesn't have a keyboard on the back like the TV, so we just use the TV instead. And we would have to change inputs on the TV, find the Blu-ray remote, and boot it up.

In the office, we use a Chromecast for streaming. We did use a Wii, but it was always flaky. I don't know if it was the app or the actual Wii, but we have better options now, so it no longer performs Netflix duty.

In the bedroom, we use our Tivo Premiere. The older Samsung TV (circa 2011) in our bedroom has Netflix and other services built-in, but there is no dedicated button and the response is slow when navigating the apps. The Tivo hardware just performs faster and more reliably than this particular TV.
Last edited by tdogz on Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by simmias » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:56 am

I've used almost every streaming device out there (game consoles, bluray players, fire stick, chromecast, TV, apple TV), and the best device by far is the Roku.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by midareff » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:07 am

Our Samsung Smart TV's .. both 55", one a 7500 series the other an 8000 work best straight wi-fi. Using either from Sony Blu-Ray players wi-fi degrades the signal quite noticeably. The cleanest signal path is almost ALWAYS the best.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by susze » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:17 am

So far the nightmode which cuts out bluelight on the ipad has been great for late night viewing. Its in the public beta

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by niceguy7376 » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:19 am

Are any of these streaming devices wired connections or just wifi?
I prefer to have a wired connection to get good quality within the limitations of bandwidth and wifi access in the room.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by simmias » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:48 am

niceguy7376 wrote:Are any of these streaming devices wired connections or just wifi?
I prefer to have a wired connection to get good quality within the limitations of bandwidth and wifi access in the room.
Roku2 is wired.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Boglenaut » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:02 am

niceguy7376 wrote:Are any of these streaming devices wired connections or just wifi?
I prefer to have a wired connection to get good quality within the limitations of bandwidth and wifi access in the room.
We have the PS4 hard-wired with CAT5 cables because it just happens to be next to the router. The Blu-Ray player is via WiFi. Because WiFi is much faster than our cable internet speed (15 mbps), I do not think it makes a difference.

One thing I liked about the PS4... when we watch an older 4:3 show, it automatically adds the black bars on the side and preserves the aspect ratio. For the Blu-Ray/TV upstairs, I need to manually change the TV screen every time. I do not like stretched out aspect ratios.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by trinc » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:13 am

android box running Kodi interface.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by United2008 » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:23 am

Roku. Easy to set up, great Netflix interface, and integrates well with other services such as Plex. While Roku can interface with your Apple / Android devices, you are not locked into their ecosystems for all content.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Ketawa » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:34 am

I used a Chromecast for a while. Later, when I cut the cable cord and purchased Sling TV, I bought a Roku 3 for 50% off with a signup promotion. Hands down, I prefer the Roku. A streaming device with a dedicated remote is a lot more reliable than one using a phone to cast/control it. I regularly use Netflix, Amazon, Plex, Sling TV, WatchESPN, and Pandora.

The only time I use the Chromecast now is for YouTube, since I think Roku still does not have a direct streaming app for it; you have to use a sort of casting process for it. This works better with the Chromecast. I don't know if this is still true since I haven't tried it in a while.

Roku has the best overall interface. It is agnostic to the streaming services, so you can customize it to make your most frequently used services appear at the top. The search feature is also the best of any streaming device, although I don't use it very often. It has apps for the most streaming services.

Amazon devices try to push Amazon content a lot. You can't use a Chromecast with Amazon streaming. Apple devices are very expensive and push iTunes content; I wouldn't get one unless you buy a lot from iTunes.

This article has a pretty good rundown: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-media-streamers/. It recommends the Roku 2. Sling TV is now offering a free Roku 2 if you prepay 3 months of service. That's an incredible deal and I would have opted for it instead if it had been an option when I bought Sling TV/Roku 3. I don't use voice search often and have no need to connect headphones. However, I do like that my remote doesn't require direct line-of-sight. Hmmm....

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by new2bogle » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:37 am

I've got the Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV (christmas gift).

Roku is the best, then Chromecast, can't go wrong with either, but I slightly prefer the Roku.

Apple TV is the worst experience I've had. The interface is not intuitive and there is no 'home' button on the remote. Even though I have an iPhone, I haven't figured out how to use my phone to control the apple TV (or maybe there isn't a way? Apple TV is very confusing).

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by takeshi » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:43 am

Boglenaut wrote:Which devices have you had the best and worst luck with?
I prefer using my laptop and having it linked to the Youtube app on my TV. We don't use Netflix currently but have in the past.

Worst in general has been interfaces on older devices as they are just sluggish. Some older devices are not even supported any more.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by fast_and_curious » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:44 am

Boglenaut wrote:Which devices have you had the best and worst luck with?
We may be old-school but use a Tivo (Roamio) for DVR of OTA television, as well as watching Netflix/YouTube/Hulu/Amazon on the TV. One nice thing about the Tivo interface is that if you search for a TV show or movie, it will search across all sources, showing you (for example) that episodes the show may be on the broadcast TV tonight, or available via Netflix, or available for a rental fee on Amazon, then letting you pick where to obtain it from.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by DSInvestor » Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:07 pm

We have Roku SE, Roku 3 and Apple TV. Roku SE and Roku 3 have different netflix clients and the version running on Roku 3 is far superior. Netflix on Roku 3 supports profiles which SE does not. No problems on either model picking up shows where we left off. Apple TV's netflix app is very good to. It is easier to browse genres on the Apple TV IMO.
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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by RoC » Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:14 pm

I have multiple devices (Blu-Ray player, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, and Roku 3), and the Roku 3 is my favorite and the one I use the most. It also seems to load the fastest even though it's one of the furthest from the router.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by mxs » Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:22 pm

We still use a desktop PC hard wired via HDMI to the TV for anything internet related. Works great. Normally we just duplicate the desktop to TV, but I suppose we could extend it and still use the monitor for other things at the same time.

We have a wireless keyboard and mouse with decent range that make this use easier.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by investor1 » Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:30 pm

I have a recent model smart tv with both the netflix and youtube apps that work wonderfully. I have the router in the living room, so the tv is hard wired into it.

In the past, I have had an Xbox One that had those apps and worked wonderfully. With the Xbox One, you can also use voice controls to play, pause, etc. My parents have a roku which has these apps, and that seems to work great. I have also done the ole laptop plugged into the tv which works fine from a picture quality standpoint. It is just a bit more work to control remotely.

Streaming services are heavily dependent on the backend system itself and the network you are on rather than the hardware it your home. Using the same setup, netflix and youtube work flawlessly, but the mlb.tv app lags multiple times every game which is very annoying when you are trying to watch live sports. I recommend ensuring you are either hard wired into your router or at least connected to your 5g wireless network rather than your 2.4g wireless network as the 5g one tends to get much better throughput due to far less interference.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by finite_difference » Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:55 pm

For Bluray I would get an Xbox 1 or a PS4 if you want long term support. Or a PS3 if you are on a budget. They also have YouTube, Netflix, etc.

Roku is good for just the apps (no Bluray obviously.) Haven't used Roku since the originals though.
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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Toons » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:15 pm

I use a Google chromecast in all TVs .
I use either my Samsung phone or Tablet or chromebook to stream Netflix or Youtube to the TV.
I also keep a dedicated laptop connected to the TV . :happy
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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Youngblood » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:26 pm

Roku 2 here even though I have a smart Visio TV. The Visio TV never updated their apps, YouTube stopped working on it, and both the Netflix and Amazon Prime apps had terrible interfaces that took too long to navigate.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by deadlymonkey » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:32 pm

Roku by far. I have a Roku 3 and love it and I believe the Roku 4 is even better (faster, stronger wifi antennae). We also have a Roku SE which I do not recommend primarily because it seems so much slower compared to the Roku 3 (although at 20% of the cost)

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by jbuzolich » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:36 pm

Chromecast. Very easy to use and I find it much faster to search or navigate from my phone or tablet rather than using remotes on the bluray player or the TV itself

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by simmias » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:49 pm

deadlymonkey wrote:Roku by far. I have a Roku 3 and love it and I believe the Roku 4 is even better (faster, stronger wifi antennae). We also have a Roku SE which I do not recommend primarily because it seems so much slower compared to the Roku 3 (although at 20% of the cost)
The Roku 2 now has the same speedy processor as the 3 and is significantly cheaper, although the 3 has more features.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Fclevz » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:52 pm

new2bogle wrote:Apple TV...there is no 'home' button on the remote.
..use my phone to control the apple TV...
Hold down the Menu button to go to the home screen.

The idevice remote app is called just that, Remote app.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by vectorizer » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:54 pm

Originally got the PlayStation 3 in 2007 because it was the best value Bluray disc player available at the time; the gaming console part was a "free" bonus. As the platform evolved, we use Netflix, Amazon, and VUDU streaming apps from the PS3, and their interfaces are fine as well as having good picture quality (projected to 120" diagonal so flaws are obvious). VUDU still has the best streaming picture quality, close to Bluray; Netflix has improved picture quality a lot though.

There are still many movies that are only available on disc, and I'd rather watch a big spectacle movie on disc for superior picture and sound quality. So the PS3 will remain for us the natural choice for the media device for the home theater.

However, as an independent dedicated streaming device, it's hard to beat Roku for simplicity and value. We have one upstairs to feed a conventional TV. I wouldn't want to depend on built-in TV streaming services; Roku and the like are the better option even though its another device and cost, because of long-term support. Of course, the decision about which streaming device to use should be first about the set of streaming services you want to use.

I only watch YouTube on PCs, phones, and other personal devices. I don' t think of YouTube as providing long-form entertainment content, but I believe that may be changing.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by BeerTooth » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:56 pm

check out the Nvidia Shield too. It's an Android-based mini-PC, about the size of a paperback book. Plugs into your TV with a single HDMI cable. Designed for video gamers (which I am not) which means it has great hardware for streaming/graphics/high definition audio. Netflix/Youtube/Sling plus many other apps from the Google Play store. Also if you're watching something on your smartphone, you can "chromecast" it to the big screen on the fly. Pretty cool device

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by JupiterJones » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:59 pm

The nice thing about the Chromecast is that you can screencast your web browser. So basically anything that you can pull up on your browser, you can watch on your TV.

This comes in handy for certain things that are in-browser only (i.e., not on NetFlix or YouTube, etc.) For example, I got to watch some of last year's Rock in Rio concert via their live streaming they had embedded on their website.

Chromecast also lets you stream any video file you happen to have on your computer. (I think you can play your own videos via Roku also, but you have to put it on a USB drive first, then physically plug the drive in maybe?)

The nice thing is that most of these devices are so cheap, you could collect a few of them!
Stay on target...

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Ketawa » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:12 pm

JupiterJones wrote:Chromecast also lets you stream any video file you happen to have on your computer. (I think you can play your own videos via Roku also, but you have to put it on a USB drive first, then physically plug the drive in maybe?)
The best way to do this is with Plex.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:22 pm

We have the Roku 3 which replaced an original Roku and really like the new one. It is much easier to navigate. My favorite part is that the remote has Netflix and Prime shortcut buttons right on it so I can skip right to either place which I have subscriptions too. It remembers exactly where you left off in a series or episode so when you go back, there is no searching, even if your kids have been watching dozens of their shows in-between. I'm not sure if this is the same across other platforms but with the Roku combined Netflix, I can create different profiles so when my kids log in, they get shown all their favorite animated stuff and when I log in, I get to see the movies and shows I would like to watch.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:28 pm

So far, no complaints about the Roku 3. Haven't tried anything else though and primarily use it for Hulu and amazon.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by knpstr » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:31 pm

chromecast works beautifully
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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by fsrph » Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:33 pm

I use a Sony Blu-ray for streaming, including Netflix and YouTube, to a large plasma TV. I really like the picture quality. No complaints.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by tombauer » Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:36 pm

I have Roku's in the bedroom, family room, vacation house, and RV, as you can see, I prefer the Roku interface. I also have a TiVo Roamio in the family room, but I much prefer the Roku's interface, We have smart tv's in the bedrooms, but again, the Roku wins hands down.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Raladic » Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:24 pm

I use my Xbox One as my main central device, works great and has voice control, so if you quickly run to the kitchen you can just talk to the xbox like "Xbox Pause".

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by TheEternalVortex » Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:38 pm

I switched to an HTPC. Now I just have one device instead of multiple, and everything works on it.

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:11 pm

mxs wrote:We still use a desktop PC hard wired via HDMI to the TV for anything internet related. Works great. Normally we just duplicate the desktop to TV, but I suppose we could extend it and still use the monitor for other things at the same time.
...
That's what I do, but I also use a three-way switch so I can feed the Big Screen from different sources without rewiring the place.
PJW

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Re: Best Netflix/YouTube interface for the Big Screen?

Post by CT-Scott » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:59 pm

I've tried numerous devices and I really love my TiVo. If you don't mind paying a bit of money for it and the service and you subscribe to cable, I really think it's the best option out there.

The Apple TV would probably be my 2nd choice.

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