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home media advice. Get your geek on!

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We are getting ready to wade in the electronic media water. Or something.


Quick background: No TV, No cable. Kids 6&11, both reasonable about such things. They have access to DVDs on the computer and can work netflix and youtube. We (parents) have total control over searches, content etc. DH and I love the internet and like new stuff within reason.


We want: I am thinking we want a TV for movies (DVD, neflix, Itunes) and Hulu. I am not against a Wii (or something) in a year or so. The boys have played with a wii at their cousin's house and it is fun. I can see it being nice to have esp. during the winter. We like a lot of flexibility


We don't want: commercial television, Cable, anything super intrusive. We are likely to get a small screen.


No need for: specific brands of things. Unless there is an acknowledged leader that we should know about.


So, do we get a internet ready TV? a roku? Just run it through a laptop?Should we consider surround sound?


We are in no hurry, I am considering this a several year project. Is there a time of year when TVs go on sale?


I am guessing there are people here who know lots about this topic. What do you know now that you wish you knew then?


FWIW, I learned what internet TV and roku are this afternoon. We haven't paid any attention to this stuff in more than a decade. I didn't even know about the digital switchover. HDTV means pretty much nothing to me. I don't know what blue ray is.


I am not asking you to educate me totally. I am capable of working the google. I am telling you this in case I am asking stupid questions.

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Ha ha, I just went through this. I felt like a little old lady, asking basic questions and such. I am only 32, but I feel lightyears behind sometimes. My mother came to my rescue and bought us a Blue Ray player that has Netflix for Christmas. It really is nice to be able to watch on a real TV...without cable, TV service, and no commercials :D She connected a wireless router to our internet and the blue ray picks it up, easy peasy. It was so easy to connect.

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Also, I had no idea until my mom bought it for us...Blue Ray players play regular DVDs too. No need to switch over and toss your DVDs. It looks just like a DVD player, but it plays DVDs and Blue Ray Discs, and can connect to the internet.



ETA: Different Blue Ray players can get different internet programs. Some get Netflix and Hulu, some don't. The box will say.

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We love our Roku... a couple of years ago we ditched the cable and bought the Roku and it was an excellent choice! The kids had plenty of content to choose from, no commercials, etc. Love that. The model we bought is now $69 on Amazon - I can't believe what a good deal that is. Totally worth it!


I agree! We love our Roku. We use it for Netflix streaming, amazon.com video on demand (to purchase shows we'd like to watch for $1.99), and Pandora music (free music station, you type in a song title and it creates a list of songs similar to it).


If you don't care about having a flat screen television, local thrift stores carry some nice televisions with fairly large screens now for under $100. ;)

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But with internet ready TV roku is unnecessary. However, internet ready TV is more expensive...? Might it be worth getting the 'newer' technology and skipping the roku?


Or at least that is what I have pieced together?


I love Pandora on my computer. Being able to get it on a TV system is what makes me think I want a surround sound system.

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Our setup is a Samsung TV (highest rated and excellent quality), AppleTV, and surround sound. We also have cable but it's not necessary. We can stream Netflix, Youtube videos, Hulu, and many other things through the AppleTV. We listen to our iTunes library through the surround system, play DVD and Blueray off the computer, and I control everything through my iPhone. It's extremely simple, but can grow it to any level of complication you wish to. My next technical exploration is setting up a camera based security and monitoring system for the home (mainly outside) and use the phone to see what is happening when I'm not home.

Edited by Stacie
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My older TV/DVD combo that I didn't use very often recently broke and the family sprung for a new tv for me for Christmas. It's in a small space so I got a 22 inch and my husband decided to go with a Dynex since it's highly rated by one of the computer/tech ? magazines he reads.




I was going to get an inexpensive DVD player but when I went looking I found a blue ray DVD player on the end aisle for $79. We have a wireless router and this has built in wifi and is netflix and internet compatable. We don't have cable and I don't watch much tv, but I'm thrilled to be able to have access to netflix on my upstairs tv and not just the tv in the downstairs family room.



The downside of this is that without cable I don't get good tv reception and I can't even get in PBS. We have a rooftop antenae hooked to our family room tv and it works fine.


Ha ha, I just went through this. I felt like a little old lady, asking basic questions and such. I am only 32, but I feel lightyears behind sometimes..


My kids are having a hoot of a time watching me figure out the remote. Since I rarely watch the downstairs tv I never remember what is supposed to happen on the three remotes and usually opt for the buttons. Most of my viewing is on a portable DVD player by my kitchen sink so that also has no remote. "Mom, this is the play button. Push it once and it plays. Push again and it pauses. Now let's try that." Honestly! Why don't they put some words underneath all of these buttons!?

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We want: I am thinking we want a TV for movies (DVD, neflix, Itunes) and Hulu.



  • Apple TV will give you Netflix, YouTube and iTunes.

  • Roku will give you Netflix, YouTube (unofficial app... official one coming) and Hulu+ (plus apps like Pandora and TuneIn Radio)

  • many Blu-ray players will give you Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, etc.

  • many TV's will give you all these except iTunes, but the premium for additional TV features is often more than for the same premium features in a Blu-Ray players. You only need those features in one device.


Your best bet might be a combo of a Blu-Ray player and Apple TV. The downside to Apple TV right now is that the max output is 720p. The current players will be obsolete when 1080p streaming becomes the norm (which, due to bandwidth issues may not happen for a couple years).


FWIW, our not-quite-low-price-range Blu-ray player does Netflix, but it's not nearly as reliable as our Roku and its menuing system leaves much to be desired. I do love that Roku.


HDTV means pretty much nothing to me. I don't know what blue ray is.
HDTV means more and small pixels for a better picture. Blu-ray is a newish DVD format with HD output, though they'll play the old DVDs as well. While 720p is considered HD (720 lines vertical resolution, not interlaced), the standard is 1080p. However, very little is currently streaming at 1080p (Vimeo, maybe?) Because Blu-ray output is capable of 1080p, unless the TV you're considering is small, go for a 1080p set.


We recently purchased a 50" set, and surprisingly, I haven't regretted it for a minute. David Attenborough is jawdroppingly awesome on a 50" set.

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Thank you all so much for your insight and advice.


Sigh... I see I need to investigate Apple TV.


It is looking more and more like no matter what we do, we want tht Roku. I am hearing lots of Roku love from all directions.


You are also making me think more about being able to plug stuff like itunes/itouch into any system. I can see that we are going to want that. It would make it possible to listen to downloaded books from the library throught the system. That would be so great for my kids.

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Start with a quality television.


Skip the surround sound-that can be added later.


Your choice for receiving internet content: Roku-I'd go with their midrange box at a minimum if you are purchasing a TV new (the upgrade is apx $20). AppleTV is nice if you have lots of iTunes content you want to stream. If you are just looking for a few items consider having a few things like netflix and youtube but also want to play your DVDs...look at some of the new Blue Ray players. They have some services like netflix and many play both regular and BlueRay discs. Roku and AppleTV won't play your dvds.


Don't forget that it is the internet that makes this all work so you will need either a connection near the TV or a wireless router.

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