Need Your Advice On Roku/Boxee/Apple TV/Google TV

It’s been a while since I had a TV in my office. Without it I’m usually driven to the family room where I play on my laptop, watch TV and snack incessantly.

That snacking’s got to stop!

With that in mind I went out and bought a new TV to bring me back upstairs at night. It’s a 32″ LCD HD model and it was under $300. From a historical perspective that’s a crazy price for what you get. Next year it will probably be less!

I don’t have a DVR or HD service for the set so I went online and checked Comcast’s prices. Then I checked with my friend Peter.

“What about Roku?” he asked.

I tried to sound savvy, but it was obvious I’m not. There’s a whole class of little computers like Roku that bring shows on the Internet directly to a TV. Though they claim to provide access to thousands of programs it’s obvious you’ll need to subscribe to a service to make the box worthwhile.

I don’t know what to do and so, again, I turn to you dear readers for some advice. Do you have one of these Roku, Boxee, AppleTV, GoogleTV kind of devices? Do you like it? Do you recommend it? What else will I need?

I am like a babe in the woods right now. Help set me straight.

10 Responses to “Need Your Advice On Roku/Boxee/Apple TV/Google TV”

  1. Josh says:

    David Pogue has well written reviews of all of these devices on the NYTimes.

    I think Apple TV is dead. Few would want to pay 0.99 for every week for an episode of the Office. However, once developers start to write APPs for it – that may change things like it did for iPhone OS 2.0

    The A/V cable for the iPhone really changed my media experience. PlayOn works well on it as well as ZumoCast for the video on my computer.

  2. Ned says:

    Since you are a fairly tech savvy fellow and build your own computers, you might have something lying around that plugs into that TV.

    In which case, you can assemble your own Boxee setup. They even have a Linux version.

    http://www.boxee.tv/make

  3. Chris says:

    Roku…, hands down.

  4. Jim says:

    for testing purpose you can put boxee on windows. I’ve got it running on an older laptop with a DVI out. DVI to HDMI cable I had running around from a myth tv box. It’s cool. Can play your mythTV stuff if you get upnp working on mythtv. I’m not sure its a full replacement for cable though – especially since HULU has blocked boxee from playing it’s stuff (which I’m sure there’s a hack to get around, havent looked)

    I’m still in the same boat you are. I don’t want to just go buying all these boxes and find that they are tepid at best – and even if they are great now who is to say that in 6 months the business landscape will change and content won’t be available anymore..

  5. Geoff Fox says:

    I am leaning toward Roku, but the whole thing is very confusing to me. I would think it’s mind boggling to a non-sophisticated user.

    My problem with building my own Boxee is a desire to avoid another full size moderately noisy PC in that room.

  6. GV3 says:

    Boxee works great for my inlaws – easy setup and ues and integration with a Netflix subscription. Look at TOMA, also there is a lot of great freeware, like JLC. I use a couple of Atom D525 nettops for this – cheap, quiet, small, low power. You know the usual sources, and Black Friday is coming up. Note that the D510 and D525 will run 1080p with HDMI and SPDIF, but the 330s can only do 1080i.

    Tried to be more helpful and include links, but your spam filter doesn’t like that.

  7. Scott says:

    Here’s a link to a comparison of Google TV, Apple TV, Roku & Boxee. Not a huge amount of detail but it’s a good starting place. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=6866&tag=content;leftCol

  8. gary says:

    google TV gets my vote, but the limited device selection may be cost prohibitive.

  9. Jeff M says:

    PS3- you can use it to get Netflix, also access the Internet with wireless keyboard and mouse. It has wifi, you can use blu rays with it. It can also be a media extender, if you have that setup through out your house. Let us know what you go with, I just got asked the same question by an uncle

  10. Kate says:

    We’ve got a Roku with a download-only netflix account and I’m a huge fan. $9 a month on the subscription and everything works just fine. The only complaint I have is that netflix is not doing a great job converting their older stuff into the digital format in a timely fashion. I understand why new releases are going to On Demand kinda things first, but there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to get my Godzilla fix.

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