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  1. #1
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    morgothaod's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 03, 2008
    Posts
    47
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    Well, I got rid of my cable service and I'm trying to figure out how I should watch Netflix on my HD tv. I don't have a gaming console so I was thinking about Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting my laptop to my TV. What do you all recommend and why? Also, how is Apple TV different than Roku? Lastly, what do I need to connect my Macbook Pro to my TV?

    Hardware:
    Macbook Pro Mid 2009
    Sony Bravia KDL-32EX500 HD tv
    HDMI cable

    Situation:
    I would like to to use my MBP to put Netflix on my TV in 1080p. I want to have the option of having the sound come through the TV speakers or be able to plug my headphones into my MBP and get the audio for the movies that I'm playing on my TV. What other parts do I need to buy?

  2. #2
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    JohnCL's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 29, 2009
    Location
    Kansas City
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    1,194
    Specs:
    -->
    I have Apple's and Roku's in the house, but for best bang for the buck the Roku is the choice. You get Netflix, Amazon, Crackle, etc. on the Roku and really only Netflix on the ATV. The Apple interface is way better than the Roku and looks much classier. Both are tiny devices and easy to stash out of the way.

    As far as connections the ATV is HDMI only, but the ROKU can be hooked up via composite.

    HTH

    edit: To hook your MBP to your TV you will need to get a mini-display - HDMI adapter
    12" rMB 256gb | Mac Pro 3,1 2x 2.8GHz | Dual 2.0GHz PowerMac G5 | 24" ACD | 64GB Verizon iPhone 6 Plus | iPad Air 2 64GB LTE | iPad mini 2 16GB | Gen 7 Nano | Gen 4 iPod Touch | TV1 | TV3 | Watch Sport 42mm Space Gray

  3. #3
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    morgothaod's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 03, 2008
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCL View Post

    edit: To hook your MBP to your TV you will need to get a mini-display - HDMI adapter
    I believe that I won't get audio with that because my MBP isn't a 2010 or later. Could someone else confirm that?

  4. #4
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    JohnCL's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 29, 2009
    Location
    Kansas City
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    1,194
    Specs:
    -->
    Quote Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
    I believe that I won't get audio with that because my MBP isn't a 2010 or later. Could someone else confirm that?
    Maybe this would do the trick then.
    12" rMB 256gb | Mac Pro 3,1 2x 2.8GHz | Dual 2.0GHz PowerMac G5 | 24" ACD | 64GB Verizon iPhone 6 Plus | iPad Air 2 64GB LTE | iPad mini 2 16GB | Gen 7 Nano | Gen 4 iPod Touch | TV1 | TV3 | Watch Sport 42mm Space Gray

  5. #5
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    Doug b's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 22, 2008
    Location
    Forest Hills, NYC
    Posts
    3,343
    Specs:
    15-inch Early 2008; Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; Memory 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 10.7.5
    Forget any of those options, spend a tad more and get a home theatre solution. Seeing as how this is a Mac Forum, and I love OS X and Apple in general, I'll say get an Mac Mini. It's not much bigger than an Apple TV or Roku box, and you won't have to deal with the insanely crap app versions of things like Hulu+.

    Hulu in a real browser is SO much different from that of its mobile or app version. So much so, that for now I've put my Hulu+ account on hold. Netflix in general is meh these days, and who knows where they're headed to in the near future. And after you've signed up for the other 10 app based video streaming/renting services, you're already paying as much as you were when you had cable!

    I'm getting kind of sick of being taken for a ride by the "industry", and just wish that at least one (come on Apple!) entity would be able to offer pretty much every available movie to stream, not to mention tv shows (the day after they air, or less. and EVERY TV show, not just some... Walking Dead anybody?) . The one thing I really like about Hulu and Netflix and whatver other services as such.. is that it's a modest monthly charge rather than a not so modest charge per movie rental.

    I just don't think that a business model that makes me pay to re-watch something is financially sound (for me obviously). I don't mind having ads if it means they partially pay for me being able to stream content anytime I want and repeatedly if I so wish. And no, I'm not going to purchase an episode of something which is available to stream for free at the local television stations website!

    Especially not for the prices that certain services are asking. I mean come on... $3.00 for an HD quality episode times let's say 23 episodes = $69 (House MD Season 7) Yet I can get the CD's for $35 new on Amazon. Sorry but, if you tell me that bandwidth overhead is more expensive than physical overhead, you're nuts. I just don't get how these places (including Amazon of course) are charging such rates per episode, when other services like Hulu or Nexflix can charge a much lower flat rate per month.

    Wow. Was that a rant or what? lol

    /bitter Doug

  6. #6
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    morgothaod's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 03, 2008
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCL View Post
    I think I may just spend an extra $20 and buy a Roku. Then I'll have a remote and I won't have to constantly keep charging up my laptop. In the long run, I believe I'll end up saving more money on my electric bill with a Roku. The only downside is that I won't be able to type the name of the movies that I want to watch on Netflix. Oh well...

  7. #7
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?

    Member Since
    Mar 14, 2012
    Posts
    4
    ATV2 + Laptop Airplay
    I would recommend the Apple TV over the Roku for only one reason, with the upcoming version of OSX, Mountain Lion, you will be able to Mirror your laptop to your HDTV (you could also use 3rd party software like Air Parrot), and in doing so, should be able to open up a whole 'nother set of video websites and services for use in combination with your AppleTV.

    And if you have a Media Library already setup, utilizing Home Sharing would be beneficial as well.

    Anyway, the ATV has my vote, the edge over the Roku coming from the upcoming Mirroring Function.

  8. #8
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?

    Member Since
    Mar 09, 2011
    Posts
    751
    Specs:
    mbp 15 2009, mbp 13 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
    I think I may just spend an extra $20 and buy a Roku. Then I'll have a remote and I won't have to constantly keep charging up my laptop. In the long run, I believe I'll end up saving more money on my electric bill with a Roku. The only downside is that I won't be able to type the name of the movies that I want to watch on Netflix. Oh well...
    i do owns 2009 mbp, using hdmi to mini port adaptor, audio comes out of laptop, pictures mirror on tv, I have to get an audio cable to connect with mbp speaker jack, then I am in business. I have a samsung hdtv.

  9. #9
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?

    Member Since
    Mar 20, 2012
    Posts
    1
    I agree with Texaport on this one.

    I own both an ATV 2 and Roku xd. The Roku is great for older tvs because of the Rca capability, but as far as cleanliness and overall feel, ATV is better.

    I also have a thunderbolt connection to a flat screen display that i use from time to time, just to play a few games on, but its just not as easy as just having something always hooked up.

  10. #10
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    Zoolook's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 24, 2006
    Location
    Brooklyn, New York
    Posts
    2,756
    Specs:
    15" MacBook Pro, i7 2.66Ghz, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD; iPad 3, iPhone 5
    @Doug

    I share many of the same sentiments, particularly Hulu+ which really can't sort its act out. Many things are available on the free web version of Hulu that are not available on the paid app version, which makes no sense.

    However, I think there is a danger that the free-loader generation is expecting too much from streaming services and has no real idea of the value of quality TV. The cable model made you pay relatively high prices in return for the illusion of 'choice'... meaning 900+ channels of garbage, just to have the opportunity to subscribe to TV stations that didn't treat the audience like morons (HBO, Showtime, AMC). However, you paid probably over $1,000 a year for that and even if you watched TV 24/7, you'd only be able to 'consume' <1% of what was available.

    When you start being selective, you expect to pay a lot less, but in the end you might still watch the same amount of TV. In the last 6 months, here's my breakdown

    Netflix Sub - $7.99 (x6) $48
    Hulu Plus - $7.99 (x6) $48

    plus I paid for

    Walking Dead HD $35
    Justified S1 HD $25
    Justified S2 HD $34
    Fringe S4 HD $59
    Game of Thrones $39

    I also watch regularly

    Daily Show - Hulu
    Colbert Report - Hulu
    Top Gear UK - Netflix
    House - Hulu
    Simpsons - Hulu
    SG:U - Hulu
    Californication - Netflix

    my wife also watches about 3 shows on Hulu and we've watched about 30 films on Netflix, most of which have been great. So in total $290 more or less, or an annual cost of about $600 (less than half what I paid for cable, plus I own those iTunes shows).

    I still get free over the air TV, so caught the Superbowl and can watch TV news if I feel the need to dumb myself down for any reason and in general I watch less crap and have less anxiety around missing stuff I don't really care about.
    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
    - Joan D. Vinge


  11. #11
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?

    Member Since
    Jan 16, 2011
    Posts
    16
    The only thing the Roku Box has over the Apple TV is the ability to play Amazon Prime Instant Videos.

    Other than that, an Apple TV with an iOS device can use AirPlay to stream just about anything. Take a look at this list for example. The one app missing from that list is one of my personal favorites, Plex. It also works via AirPlay to the AppleTV. Technically Roku is more open than the Apple TV. But as long as you have an iOS device, your options are far, far broader.

  12. #12
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    Vipor's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 26, 2009
    Posts
    68
    Can I jump on this bandwagon concerning ATV vs Mac Mini while using a late 2008 MB?

    My intentions - I'm in the process of backing up my DVD collection onto my MB and creating my library. I would like to be able to play this library on my flat screen TV.

    If I were to get an ATV, I understand I can stream the movies from my MB to the ATV wirelessly and the movie would display on the TV. But, would the audio also stream (being a 2008 MB, audio does not flow when using mini display port/HDMI)?

    If I were to get a Mac Mini, I know I can just attach an external HD containing my library on it and play on the TV considering the Mac Mini is a full fledged Mac. But, can I stream wirelessly from my MB if I so choose like I can with ATV?
    2008 Alum MacBook: 13", 2.4GHz, 4GB, 750GB, Snow Leopard
    2011 iMac: 27", 2.7Ghz QC, 4GB, 1TB, Mtn Lion

  13. #13
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?
    Deckyon's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 06, 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY - USA
    Posts
    1,291
    Specs:
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM
    Ok, I am using most of the proposed solutions already.

    1. MacMini - iTunes + Airplay serves all my media to any device that supports it
    2. Apple TV2 in my bedroom on a 720pHD TV - streams in the content from the online providers as well as my entire iTunes library from the MacMini
    3. Apple TV3 - putting the full 1080 HD into my main television (65" mamoth)

    Everything starts from the MacMini - I love it, it is the perfect media server for an apple-based household. That was the best decision I made when looking for the home theater solution that would offer me the ability to play all my content in any room in my house.

    I have 2.3 TB of media on an external drive hooked up to the MacMini. I sync my iPhone and iPad wirelessly to iTunes on the Mini and the stuff just works.

    If you are looking for a great solution, I highly recommend a MacMini with Apple TVs on the rest of your televisions.

    BTW, within an hour of turning on the Mini for the first time, I was streaming content to all my devices. It took longer to get the iTunes library to copy from my old drive to the new one than it did to set the whole house up.
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
    MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
    iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Air 2 128 GB LTE, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2

  14. #14
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?

    Member Since
    Jan 16, 2011
    Posts
    16
    Smile
    @Vipor - I think I need to clarify with what you said.

    WIth respect to the 2008 MB, yes you can stream wirelessly from iTunes to your ATV provided your video content is in an iTunes compatible format.

    If it's *not* in an iTunes compatible format, then you want to you an iOS device (recent model iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch) to take your video from your MB, convert it on the fly and send it to your ATV.

    So for example, if you had a movie that was in .MP4 or .MOV format, you could add it to iTunes and send that video file directly from iTunes to your ATV. But if your file was a .MKV file, you would want an application like Plex or Air Video or even GoodPlayer to convert the file on your Mac Mini, send it to your iOS device and then use that same iOS device to direct the video to your ATV using AirPlay (which is a feature built into the iOS device).

    In the next version of OS X (Mountain Lion), Apple is putting the AirPlay feature directly into the OS, so we won't have to have an iOS device in the middle. Now THAT is going to be sweet.

    Secondly, yes, your audio will transmit over to the AppleTV using iTunes or AirPlay. The issue that you are referring to only affects the miniDP (HDMI) port. Nothing more.

  15. #15
    Apple TV, Roku, or just connecting laptop to TV?

    Member Since
    Jan 16, 2011
    Posts
    16
    @Deckyon Agreed. I'm doing the same thing as you. Got the Mac Mini in the computer room, streaming video via iTunes or AirPlay on the iPhone 4S or iPad 3 to the ATV3 in the living room hooked up to my 52" LCD.

    I'm no dummy, but I really hadn't paid attention to AirPlay properly. Now I finally *get it*. I wouldn't even think of going through the hassle of jailbreaking the ATV now to get XBMC or Plex onto it. Just not worth it to me. So much easier using AirPlay. The number of options is ridiculous.

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