OTHER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN MUSIC > Computers, Internet and Technology

Purchase advice requested

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Bill Binkelman:
This is a broader question than just about computers, but it is about Wi-Fi and technology, so here goes (I also posted this at Facebook):

I have a purchase decision to make and I'd appreciate any and all opinions. Kathryn and I have the Netflix streaming option but our Samsung Blu-ray player sucks at that part (reading reviews of the player, it seems we are not alone...many folks complain about how bad it is at that function). The connection drops all the time and the player won't even recognize the wi-fi signal most of the time, even though the TV says it's connected to the Internet - go figure. So, my two options are as follows: Buy a new Blu-ray player with wi-fi built-in - looks like Panasonic or Sony are best bets and relegate the Samsung to the bedroom where all it will do is play DVDs..OR buy a Roku device and keep the Samsung where it is (living room) but use it only for DVD/Blu-ray and depend on the Roku for my streaming applications (neither the Samsung nor Roku offers YouTube, though). There is nothing wrong with the player part of the Samsung but it's stupid to keep paying Netflix for the streaming option and not be streaming anything. So, any and all opinions are welcome. I know of no one with a Roku standalone streaming device, but CNET reviews were overall positive. Would like to make a decision soon. Thanks! Oh, I will have to disconnect the Blu-ray player whenever I use the Roku because of a lack of inputs on the TV (Samsung also is known for flaky HDMI ports...I have lost 3 of my 4 HDMI ports so far and the on which works is hooked to the Blu-ray player). So, an added inconvenience will be to disconnect one device and switch the cable to another one.  OH, one more option I suppose is to buy an Wi-Fi ready TV and put the current LR TV into the bedroom. That's the most expensive option, though.

Scott M2:
A possible workaround if your player has an ethernet port (and the layout of your house supports it) is to hardwire it to your modem. I have a 100 foot CAT5 cable intricately woven from the modem in my studio, along baseboards, over a doorway down the stairwell under a hall carpet and into the livingroom. My OPPO bluray has a wireless option too - but I already had the cable in place from my pre-wireless days and wires will usually trump wireless for reliability and speed.

BTW - the OPPO was my choice because it supports surround music play from DVD-As and SACDs as well as Dolby and DTS. Bill - Diatonis in surround is a very beautiful experience.

I have a Mac Mini on my living room tv for streaming Netflix and Hulu...   wired always works better than wi-fi.  If you can manage it.. that's your best option.

Side note... the reason I like the Mac Mini (or a mini pc for that matter) over a Roku or Apple TV or similar... is it's now a full fledged computer...  I'm not limited to one method of content.  I can stream internet radio along with movies, browse youtube, or easily show the family a bunch of photos up on my flickr account or whatever...   

It's a little more expensive.. but a lot more useful.

but back to your question... in our old house we ran cat5 cable from our switch down through the floor and along the ceiling of the basement and then up through a hole near the tv.    In our new house - I had a ton of coax and cat5 cable ran thoughout the house terminating at wall plates... :-)

Another vote for the Mac Mini home theater solution. It plays DVDs, any format of digital file, and all kinds of streaming. The only thing it won't play is bluray discs, but I have a player for that.

Another option is a Sony PS3. Blu-ray, Netflix, Hulu, etc. $250.


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