confused using windows on a Mac

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I've just spent the past few hours searching windows to mac threads trying to understand just how to accomplish using windows on my Mac and frankly, I'm more confused than ever. I hate that I need hand holding every time I try to do anything different on my computer, but ....... oh well, here goes.....

I'm trying to trim my cable/internet bill. I'm interested in the "Play-on" software, but it is not available for Mac, although it IS available as an app for iOS. I began using a Roku last year which is pretty cool, and I'm running Amazon and Netflix on it, but I'd like to find a way to see more cable channels.

What would be the easiest way for me to do this. The virtual machine software that is EASIER to use takes priority over the one that is less expensive.

My lack of computer savvy is legendary at this point, and I could really use a little help. The more "research" I do, the more confused I get.

thanks,

ken
 
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Raz0rEdge

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So it looks like Play-On is a way of streaming stuff from a bunch of websites to supported devices, like your Roku. I'm not going to debate the pros and cons of this method, but just looking at the technical aspect of setting it up..

I'm guessing that this software is more network-bandwith dependent than processor dependent. So running Windows within a virtual machine should likely be fine for starters. You can start with the free Virutalbox to create a virtual machine for Windows. You will need to purchase a copy of Windows 8 at least.

As part of the virtual machine setup, I would recommend one particular setting as far as networking goes. By default, Virtualbox is going to use NAT (Network Address Translation) for the VM, but I would suggest you change this to bridged (we can tell you how when you are ready to do it). Making this change means that the Windows in the virtual machine will "look" like a real machine on your home network..

Once you have that, you can install Windows 8 into the VM and do any other Windows-specific setup. Then install Play-on in this environment and do the setup there.

Once you've got this setup, you should be able to just use the Play-on website to figure out how to add new plugins for more channels and so on..

If you find the virtualization route is not yielding the performance you are looking for, you have the Boot Camp option which entails installing your copy of Windows 8 natively on the Mac. The downside, obviously, to this method is that you will have to constantly reboot your machine to switch between Windows and OS X.
 
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MacInWin

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Given you want EASY, I recommend Parallels (or VMWare). You install Parallels desktop, then follow their directions to add Windows inside that system (you have to buy that, too). Then to start Windows, from your OS X desktop you start Parallels desktop, then click on the Windows icon and it boots inside a window as a virtual computer. On my system I have Win 7 in a virtual computer and when it boots it looks and feels exactly like a real Windows computer. I don't have Roku, but TV, and I can then stream from the desktop to the TV, go full screen on Windows and what I see/hear in windows shows on my TV. If you have a streamer from your Mac to the Roku, the same thing should work. When I'm done with Windows, I just shut down the virtual Windows, exactly like I would if it were a real machine, then quit Parallels Desktop and I'm back to pure OS X.
 
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EASY is definitely part of my computer lexicon LOL.

I don't think I have a streamer from the computer to the Roku, so I guess I'd have to do that too.

I don't work using the computer, so rebooting doesn't seem like much of an issue. Will Parallels and VMWare From the web site I assume fusion 7?) behave identically to a windows machine? Would I then be running two computers at once? This is not a high end MBP, do I have enough CPU and RAM to do that?

With Boot Camp, I assume I have the option of booting to either OS when I start the computer, so if I boot to Windows, is it actually Windows? The virtual machine confuses me a bit.

I didn't know Boot Camp was already on my computer (one of those programs I wanted to delete no doubt).

Also, holy crap windows is expensive !

Oh yeah, Ashwin, pros and cons? Could you elaborate just a little bit?

THANKS

ken
 
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Raz0rEdge

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Ken, Play-on is the streamer of the content to supported devices. This is similar to Apple's AirPlay technology but likely based more on DLNA..but don't worry about the details there..:)

The pros of going down the play-on method is that you can expand the sites you get your content from by adding a plugin, while the con is that you have line up a series of digital ducks to all quack together..

Devices like the AppleTV get you access to a lot of similar sites and stream to your TV with the greatest of ease without any hard setup. The con of this or other smart device (TV or otherwise) approach is that you are stuck with whatever websites/content streams they support. Adding new ones means waiting for them to add it to the device..

However, I WOULD suggest that you check out What's on Apple TV and compare that with what Play-on gets you in regards to the channels you are most interested in.
 
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However, I WOULD suggest that you check out What's on Apple TV and compare that with what Play-on gets you in regards to the channels you are most interested in.

I had checked out Apple TV. I opted for the Roku, it offers quite a few more channels, although 90% of those are blogs or sites I have no interest in.

I'm putting the cart before the horse here, I haven't figured out what I'm going to do, I only know what I already have and I'm trying to get all of those things working together.

The play-on software allows me access to channels that neither Apple TV NOR Roku offer. (FX, FXX, TNT, etc) Getting all those digital goodies lined up is going to be the battle.

My head is spinning.

ken
 
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MacInWin

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EASY is definitely part of my computer lexicon LOL.

I don't think I have a streamer from the computer to the Roku, so I guess I'd have to do that too.

I don't work using the computer, so rebooting doesn't seem like much of an issue. Will Parallels and VMWare From the web site I assume fusion 7?) behave identically to a windows machine? Would I then be running two computers at once? This is not a high end MBP, do I have enough CPU and RAM to do that?
What are the specs? Open About This Mac and tell us what it says.

With Boot Camp, I assume I have the option of booting to either OS when I start the computer, so if I boot to Windows, is it actually Windows? The virtual machine confuses me a bit.
Boot Camp boots windows, turning the hardware into a windows machine, period. Virtual machines are software packages that LOOK like windows, but are running in a OS X window so that you can go back and forth without rebooting. Because your are running in an emulator, there are some performance hits doing that, but I find that Parallels is pretty good and frankly I don't see the performance hit at all. Of course, if I were running a TRUE hardware Windows (or Boot Camp) I would install Antivirus, but because it's a Virtual machine I don't. My rationale is that if/when it gets infected, I'll just kill the virtual machine file and restore from my backups to a file from before the infection. I only use my Windows machine for Photoshop to drive an old printer that Yosemite abandoned but which has drivers for Win7. It's a business printer for my wife's business so it was a MUST.

I didn't know Boot Camp was already on my computer (one of those programs I wanted to delete no doubt).
Lesson learned? :D

Also, holy crap windows is expensive !
Yep.

Oh yeah, Ashwin, pros and cons? Could you elaborate just a little bit?

THANKS

ken
 
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What are the specs? Open About This Mac and tell us what it says.

Lesson learned? :D

I have the specs under my icon (YOU told me to do that LOL)

I also have 332 GIG free space (out of 500 total) on my hard drive. The space used is all music files and photos. Other than that, just the OS.

ken
 
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MacInWin

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Heh, OK, I'm getting older and the little grey cells don't work so good anymore. The only spec that is a bit dodgy is the 4GB of memory. But if you keep the Virtual WIndows system small, say 1GB, that should be OK. (What happens with virtual machines is that you assign a certain amount of memory to the virtual machine and while it is running, it takes over that block for itself. So, given you have 4GB now, if you gave 1 to WIndows in Parallels, you'd end up with 3GB for everything else. But when you shut down Windows and end Parallels, you get it all back. Does that make sense?

Of course, with Boot Camp, windows gets all 4gb because that's the ONLY OS running.
 
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Heh, OK, I'm getting older and the little grey cells don't work so good anymore. So, given you have 4GB now, if you gave 1 to WIndows in Parallels, you'd end up with 3GB for everything else. But when you shut down Windows and end Parallels, you get it all back. Does that make sense?

Of course, with Boot Camp, windows gets all 4gb because that's the ONLY OS running.

That's what I thought. I'm guessing 1 or 2 gig isn't really adequate to run either OS and associated applications.

Looks like BootCamp. Either way, looks like I need to drop a bit more than a "C" note on the Windows OS.

Would you recommend 7 or 8?

ken
 
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MacInWin

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Look at the requirement for Play-on and get the cheapest version that meets the minimums. SInce that is the ONLY app for WIndows you want, it MIGHT run in 1GB, you'll have check. The nice thing is that if you use virtual machines, you can reconfigure them without having to reinstall, so if 1GB is too little, you can add more, and if 2GB is too much, you can take away.

But if BootCamp works and you're happy that way, again, get the cheapest solution that works.
 
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EDIT: NOPE, looks like I need windows after all. After installing the software on Roku, when I fire it up, it's looking for windows PCs

Also, it seems NOBODY (more or less) likes windows 8. I think 7 would be the way to go if I end up needing Windows.

ken
 
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chscag

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Also, it seems NOBODY (more or less) likes windows 8. I think 7 would be the way to go if I end up needing Windows.

Download the free Windows 10 preview and hope to get a discount when it goes live this year. The critics are raving about it saying it's the best Windows yet. You'll need to sign up for a free MS live account.
 
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My understanding is that MS is going to give it away to owners of 7 or 8. Don't hold me to that, I read it on one of the news websites. But if it's true, paying for 7 now and getting your streaming started may make the move to Win10 cheaper. Just be aware that if you do want 10, you will need to make sure Boot Camp or Parallels or VMWare support it before you move along.
 
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Download the free Windows 10 preview and hope to get a discount when it goes live this year. The critics are raving about it saying it's the best Windows yet. You'll need to sign up for a free MS live account.

I'll just remind you that "critics" (like Paul Thurrott as an immediate example) tend to rave about every version as more or less the fix to all the previous versions. Over and over again. Then, a year or so later ...

Here's his review of Windows 7:
http://winsupersite.com/article/windows-7/windows-7-review

Windows 8, a bit more tepid but still arguing that it's actually great:
http://winsupersite.com/article/windows8/windows-8-review-part-8-verdict-144708

Windows 8.1 a great improvement on the disappointing Windows 8:
http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/windows-81-review

January 17th 2014 on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/thurrott/status/424172005475500032
 
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I'll just remind you that "critics" (like Paul Thurrott as an immediate example) tend to rave about every version as more or less the fix to all the previous versions. Over and over again. Then, a year or so later ...

I'm well aware of the fanfare and windows sycophants coming out of the woodwork to celebrate with every new iteration. I have no intention of using the computer as a windows machine, and I certainly have no trust in Microsoft to get it right the first time. I'm sure 10 is lovely, but since I'm concerned with VERY few windows programs and have no intention of using it as my go to OS, my concern is more with reliability and compatibility than pretty. 7 has been around long enough to be stable, and recently enough to be compatible. At least that's my assumption.

thanks

ken
 

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