02/13/13 09:22 AM Filed in: Hardware
I had jailbroken my Apple TV to install Plex on it but had a second TV which needed some loving. I am not too keen on having televisions that are smart TVs because I feel you are at the mercy of those manufacturers and updating apps and widgets is not their top priority. Better to buy dumb TVs and set them up with smart boxes like an Apple TV or a Roku. When I saw this Roku 2 XD on sale for $40 at the local Walmart, I decided to give it a shot. Plex has a channel for the Roku that you can download for free and it works well. The Plex interface is not as nice as the Apple TV but it just works and updates smoothly.
With the Apple TV, whenever Apple comes up with an update it usually means I have to jump through hoops to wait for a jailbreak, and then install Plex again, etc. It isn't just set it up once and forget it. Roku has that set it and forget down pat and that is very appealing at the end of the day. I do think Netflix is much nicer looking on my Apple TV, but that may be subjective on my part. I do know that I don't like how the Roku/Netflix combo handles subtitles. With Roku if I turn on subtitles for one movie then it continues on for all other movies that I may watch. It should be smart enough to know that I only want it on in that one example, or be smart enough to turn them on by default if it is a foreign movie.
Outside of a few quibbles, I find it to be a nice little box and Roku works hard at improving the hardware and software with every iteration. If I had bought TVs with all of these smart TV aspects built in then you are limited later on. How do you go about upgrading that hardware in 5 years time? 10 years time? External boxes like the Roku and Apple TV are the way to go and give you the most flexibility.