If you have a Smart TV do you need Chromecast or Firestick?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by mwheelerk, Dec 28, 2014.

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  1. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk If you fly a flag of hate you ain't no kin to me Thread Starter

    While I feel my overall knowledge of things audio as it relates to a home system is pretty solid I'm afraid I've let technology pass me by somewhat when it comes to the video aspects of a home system when I let the home theater experience and my Apple TV go some 7 almost 8 years ago.

    I was given a Chromecast for Christmas and I'm a little confused as to what it entirely does and do I need this or something like the Firestick or even Apple TV.

    For those 7 or 8 years I've virtually ignored TV and Movie watching not entirely but I have watched only nominally. Several months ago my brother recommended and I tried Netflix to watch several TV series and I have enjoyed watching TVS this way. I've even watched some of the older and a few more recent movies.

    My Samsung TV is a "smart" TV with Smarthub which is connected via WiFi to my network and that's how I access Netflix. I know Hulu and other apps are available but I have not explored further.

    My question is since I have a "smart" TV do I need or how would I benefit by something like Chromecast, Firestick or even Apple TV. My interest would be to continue to watch the TV series available on Netflix but I would also be interested in accessing series by Showtime or HBO if available. I would like to access newer movies even on a pay per view basis (that's where I'm assuming Apple TV might come into play) and I would especially like to view live sports (ESPN etc) over the Internet and finally if I could access local HDTV channels my goal would be to give up my current satellite service.

    Any recommendations, suggestions and pointers is appreciated.
    jimmo likes this.
  2. italianprog

    italianprog Forum Resident

    IN, USA
    Here's a chart that compares some of the more popular streaming devices:


    If you are already able to stream Netflix through your TV, the Chromecast isn't going to give you much over and above that. Plus it lacks a remote, so the only way to control it is via a smartphone or tablet. The Fire stick and Roku stick have remotes and access to a lot more apps. A full featured streaming device like a Roku 3 or Apple TV is going to give you all of that plus extra features like Airplay (in the case of the Apple TV) or a USB port (Roku 3).

    One of the common misconceptions about these devices is that they somehow replace your cable or satellite provider. You still need a subscription to the content to access said content on a streaming device. Currently, CBS and HBO are about the only networks offering their programming on an a la carte basis. The vast majority of content providers allow you to access their programming via a streaming device once you've authenticated your Cable or Satellite subscription information. So really what you have is a "second-screen" experience, something fine for a bedroom or kids room but probably not ready for prime time. Roku does offer pay-per-view, I can't speak to the others.

    If you really want to "cut the cord" you're going to need a good antenna and probably a subscription to Hulu and HBO Go, and a Roku 3. Apple TV is great for Airplay but nothing can touch the Roku in terms of the sheer number of apps available.
    townsend, jimmo and Robin L like this.
  3. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Philadelphia, PA
    If you're just interested in watching movies from Netflix or Amazon, the "smart" TV and an Internet connection are all you need and will take care of things very nicely.

    I think what we're really waiting for is the option to watch live football over the WWW -- when that time comes I think I'm done with cable, gone for good.
  4. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Fresno, California
    Don't have HBO go [don't really want it] have a Roku II. We bought a "Digital" TV antenna, Rabbit Ears work better. Hulu Plus is neat, has a huge chunk of the Criterion catalog.
  5. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident

    Stick with your smart tv
    btw hulu is a joke. Same price as Netflix, except jas several commercial during each episode. Netflix does not
  6. GlamorProfession

    GlamorProfession Forum Resident

    Yep. And the golf channel :)
  7. rburly

    rburly Sitting comfortably with Item 9

    I have a Samsung SmartTV as well, and I don't need other than what's on it. As you know, you can get all the streaming channels you want, for movies, TV shows, etc.

    Unless you have another TV that you might use the Chromecast for, you won't need it.
  8. michaelscrutchin

    michaelscrutchin Forum Resident

    Houston, TX (USA)
    The ads are a small price to pay for the latest episodes of tons of TV shows the day after they air (you'll probably have to wait a year to see them on Netflix!). Plus, you get access to over 900 films in Criterion Collection's astounding catalog of great films from all over the world. For only $7.99 a month. That's a joke? I think not.

    (Movies are not interrupted by ads, by the way. Just TV shows. And Hulu ad breaks are shorter than TV-network ad breaks.)
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
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  9. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Philadelphia, PA
    Does Hulu have Criterion titles you can't stream from Amazon? How is the picture quality compared to a Blu-ray release?
  10. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Austin, TX
    When I checked last, Hulu had 905 Criterion films...easily worth the monthly cost. On my setup they look incredible. Damn close to blu-ray quality although I'm sure this varies with different internet connections.
    SBurke likes this.
  11. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk If you fly a flag of hate you ain't no kin to me Thread Starter

    Thank you for the replies. It is obvious I don't need this. I had not done it in so long I forgot through iTunes and my Mac Mini connected to my audio system I could download fairly new movie releases which I did last night. Like others I need the sports part and then I'm ready to toss satellite/cable behind.
    SBurke likes this.
  12. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    Well I have an Amazon Fire and a very smart TV yet there are times where I prefer to use the Fire.

    As an example, if I want to watch two games, one of which is only available as a stream, and switch back and forth between them, it's much easier to put the streaming video on the Fire and merely switch inputs on the TV to switch back and forth. Were I using the Smart TV for streaming, it's much more involved to switch back and forth between it and another source.
  13. rburly

    rburly Sitting comfortably with Item 9

    Of course it depends on the wants and needs of the OP.
  14. pdf1964

    pdf1964 Hyperactive!

    Iowa USA
    I have 2 smart TVs but have a Roku connected to both. Roku has many more channel options.
  15. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    Hulu's one saving grace is its (very limited) selection of Criterions.
    I bought a dumb Samsung TV and hooked up a Roku Stick-best $40 I've spent in a while. It's worked flawlessly, and together with the RarFlix channel (they charge for the identical Plex channel), Netflix and Amazon Instant Prime Video I'm set.
  16. italianprog

    italianprog Forum Resident

    IN, USA
    Plex app is worth the $4.99 IMO. It was only $2.99 a while ago, they must have been running a promo.
  17. Cerebus

    Cerebus Forum Resident

    I like the interface on my Firestick over the one that's on my TV, which looks like it hasn't been updated since I bought it.
  18. progrocker71

    progrocker71 Forum Resident

    Los Angeles
    If you want to watch current season shows the day after they air then Hulu Plus is just about the only game in town. Of course if you watch CBS shows you're screwed because they don't license to Hulu, that will take another subscription to CBS All Access.
  19. dougotte

    dougotte Vague Waste of Space-Time

    Washington, DC
    I have a Panasonic smart TV. In the first month or so that I owned it, when I tried to connect to their server(s) to access Netflix etc., it would error out. I e-mailed their CS, who came back with the helpful reply "reset the TV to factory sessions and try again." No thanks.

    Since then, I've tried once or twice more and it did work, but I wouldn't rely on it. I'd prefer to use the BD player I already have, which is hooked up to our 5.1 system as well (the TV isn't, but I guess it could be).
  20. jimmo

    jimmo New Member

    Like the poster "mwheelerk" here, I also have a Samsung Smart TV. What I would like to know is if there is any other method, besides cable, satellite, or an over-the-air (OTA) antenna, one may receive broadcast television stations in the local and just-beyond-local areas?

    My situation is I reside in Attleboro, MA, about half-way between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, and am unable to receive some strong-enough broadcast signals from Boston with my OTA setup, and not all stations are available through my Comcast cable service since I am considered Providence-New Bedford, MA instead of Boston.

    Would any of these streaming devices, or some other device using the Internet, bring in the Boston broadcast stations I may not now receive with my cable or current OTA antenna?

    If a stronger antenna would work, any recommendations of brands to pull in signals from 75-150 miles away?

    Is it even possible to find a rooftop TV antenna installer anymore? Or has insurance liability put an an end to such service?

    My sister told me since I live in a small condominium complex, if an improper roof antenna installation caused any leaks I would be liable for water damage to the other units. Wouldn't the chances of improper installation be small anyway, if one hired a licensed antenna installer? And would an antenna installed in my attic crawlspace be about as effective as a rooftop antenna?

    Also, would there be any other benefits from a Roku, Western Digital, or other streaming device I would not already have with my Smart TV? Please excuse my ignorance, but I have yet to set up the Samsung "SmartHub" service, as I have not yet obtained a Wi-Fi modem or alternate HDMI, VGA connectors.
  21. jimmo

    jimmo New Member

    Hold off on tossing your cable/satellite services just yet, if you haven't already done so. Like yourself, I also have a Samsung with SmartHub television set, and posted here with some additional questions that might also benefit you, if others provide answers.
  22. EricF

    EricF Well-Known Member

    Most smart tv's are limited to the apps that come installed on them. New apps go to the streaming devices before they are available on the tv's. Get a Roku, it'll work far better and faster than a smart tv will. We got rid of cable a while ago because I didn't want to be tied to a contract or a service I couldn't cancel whenever I wanted to. We are using the following services without any desire to go back to cable or satellite:

    PBS $0 (their programming is free on the app)
    Netflix $12 (for four people to use at the same time)
    Hulu $12 (no commercials) plus Showtime for an additional $8
    Amazon Prime ($100 per year?) plus $8 for Starz
    Sling tv $25 (live steaming cable, Food Network, HGTV, CNN, History, Travel, etc ... all of the channels the wife likes)

    We're spending about $74 per month, but we can change that at anytime. Everyone in the house can watch whatever they want whenever they want on any of their devices as well. Sling is the biggest game changer as it's pretty much the same as having cable. The only thing we don't get is CBS (I refuse to pay for their stand alone service) and no football (which I don't care about) unless we use an antenna. I'll have to subscribe to HBO Now when Game of Thrones comes back on. The best way to look at streaming is that you don't have to pay in perpetuity. Watch what you want on each service, then cancel them until they add new programming.

    I should add that we were paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime before we cancelled the cable, so that really wasn't any additional cost.
  23. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk If you fly a flag of hate you ain't no kin to me Thread Starter

    Since the original start of the thread I have ending up adding an Apple TV (I now have the latest Apple TV4) and I have been able to access Netflix, HBO and Showtime with that. I did cancel my TV service. I added and HDTV antenna and while not perfect in its performance I have been able to pull in enough stations to be satisfied including some NFL games. I have also used the NFL app and Airplay to stream NFL local games when the HDTV antenna is finicky. This has reduced by bill for TV by $70 per month and I am at this point satisfied with what I can watch. I have very much turn into a TV series binge watcher though.
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