The Roku 3 is clearly a superior product.
While it might be superior to YOUR needs, it’s completely useless to anyone that:
– Wants DVD navigation
– Wants to stream from Samba or NFS shares
– Wants to navigate independently of a DLNA server’s orginization schema
– Wants to quickly SEARCH your network-based media
– Wants to watch VC-1 or MPEG2 video (According to Roku’s published specs) or use AVI, M2TS, TS or several other video containers / file formats
– Wants more audio decode support than MP3 / AAC. (According to Roku’s published specs).
– Wants metadata support / scraping without outboard and proprietary server requirements
– Needs composite video output or want to multiplex audio to analog outputs and digital outputs
I’m not bashing Roku – I have a Roku 3 and use it pretty much only when I want to watch NetFlix or a few other channels. My WDTVs continue to be my “Go To” players for every other case.
- Dolby Digital (MP4, MOV and MKV pass through only)
- DTS (MKV pass through only)
http://www.roku.com/products/compare# (at the bottom)
“Wants to stream from Samba or NFS shares” that is wrong, I have been streaming from NFS shares via Plex since day 1. If I couldn’t that would be a show stopper.
The Roku 3 streams at 1080 over 5ghz N from my shares with the above audio/video support. I play MKV, MP4, AVI, and WMVs. I suspect I can play a lot more as it isn’t so much what Roku supports as it is what Plex will convert. Anyway, that’s all I need. Plus I get:
A responsive , much better designed user interface. The Roku 3 via Plex supplies cover art automatically, picking what you want to watch is simple. Nice big pictures intstead of a text based folder system. No custom theme development / implementation needed. The delivered WD user interface is primitive in comparison. I hate it. It is embarrassing.
Networking is plug and play. I installed the Roku and Plex in about 15 minutes. I changed one setting to use more cpu for rendering after noticing that some old AVIs didn’t look as good as they did on the WD. That’s it. I think we are both very aware of the hundreds of posts on this forum about networking issues with the WD product. No regstry changes needed or fear that adding a new device on my network will resurrect a WD endless spinning circle. The Roku 3 just works.
The Netflix app is better designed and more user friendly. Not a huge deal, except my kids watch a lot of Netflix.
Youtube works. I even played 4k videos over wifi without any bufferring.
ESPN3 and ESPNU apps.
Hundred of other apps, I have barely scratched the surface there.
So here is thing. I put up with WD’s numerous shortcomings because it could play my shares. Now I have the best of both worlds. The Roku plays the files off my server via Plex with the same quality as the WD and I get all that other stuff. For what I need it is a no brainer decision.
A lot of the stuff you listed is antiquated and/or I don’t use.
Like DVD chapters, I could care less, I converted all my DVDs to MKV a few years ago.
Quickly search? The WD doesn’t do anything quickly and I have my shares organized where I don’t need to “google” them to find something.
“Wants to navigate independently of a DLNA server’s orginization schema”…I am not even sure what that means. Under Roku3/Plex you create folders organized anyway you want and point Plex at them.
In terms of output, HDMI works for me. We are all HD, no need for composite. I have a decent home theater, maybe if I had $10k in audio equipment the WD would have something I want. In my setup I can’t tell the difference between the WD and Roku when it comes to HD video or the audio. I actually played the same bluray rip on each box side by side when I first got the Roku. No one in the family could tell the difference.
To clear up the Chromecast comment. I would have replaced my two WDs with Roku 3s months ago were it not for the Chromecast. Plex has a Chromecast version in preview right now. Once it goes mainstream I will check it out and replace the WDs with Rokus or Chromecasts. I am pretty sure I’ll go with Roku, but since it is Google I am going to wait and see.