After Hours

Internet TV: Google vs. Apple vs. Boxee vs. Roku

Logitech Revue, Apple TV, Netgear Roku XD, and Boxee Box

Internet TV has arrived. Check out our unboxing slide show of four different Internet set-top boxes: Google TV (the Logitech Revue), Apple TV, the Boxee Box, and the new 2010 Roku box.

Photo credit: Jason Hiner

Also see the companion blog post:
Internet TV: Roku still trumps Apple, Google, and Boxee

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

52 comments
l.surey
l.surey

Is this for the Tech voyeur? Really don't want to see all the free stuff you get unpacked thanks!

inertman
inertman

i'vbeen after this for quite some time from trying ot build my own out of integrated systems to fulll computers, is if any of these systmes can access your network stored media, specifically, ripped/recoded dvds on either a shared system or NAS> no one, even the high end electronics shops know anything about these things, even the internet connecvtable tvs/dvd players. everyone syas, 'you just have to buy it and try it, if you find out it would be great if you tell us about it..." great, i have to go thru the process so they can sell more of an item! when i worked electronics sales, i figured out what my products could do and couldn't do... welcome to the next generation of failures in retail...

tehpea
tehpea

I have some Scientific Atlanta STB supplied by my ISP. works like a charm, lets me go on Facebook, see newspaper covers, stream music, does interactive TV, excellent quality etc. There's also an ISP here that supplies 360's ready to do Internet TV.

butkus
butkus

How will your internet service like this.. Comcast as a 250GB monthly limit... Dropping HD TV shows over your IP has gotta use a lot of bandwidth. Many stations are now holding back shows as people are dropping extra cable channels and are just watching the few shows they once paid for on their PC. But as PCs now have HDMI output. It's on your TV anyway.

msmith
msmith

I don't have time to work my way through 20 plus pages. Tech Republic needs to put everything on one page so it can be viewed easily. Is this done by design so they can get more advertising revenue? I don't know and really don't care. If I receive another "worthless" article from them, I am through. Let's see if the editor's reply to this...

JB_Ubuntu
JB_Ubuntu

Huh? Where is the information about the products? Photos of boxes?? Come on.

jcp
jcp

I agree that pictures are nice, but reviews are what we read this site for. I for one can write a personal review on the Logitech REVUE. After buying and setup, I immediately thought it was going right back. The audio was out of sync with the video and it drove me nuts trying to find out why. In research, I found many people had the same problem and LOGITECH seemed disinterested in researching why. FORTUNATEY, I discovered the problem was my own fault. I had placed the Revue HDMI in/out AFTER the AV amp and before the TV Input. It needs to go between the satellite receiover and the audio processor AV Amp. The documentation provided was not clear on that. Once corrected correctly I love it. It works flawlwessly and the apps included do all that I need of it. Best of all is the keyboard. Well laid out, easy to navigate and the left click mouse button on the upper left corner makes it faster than my PC keyboard while on the net. I HIGHLY reccomend this device to anyone.

rmanning
rmanning

They make it painfully obvious at every turn that Google is a major source of funding for them.

carl
carl

that is for sure....waste of time!

jeff
jeff

Or Bing or any other search engine.

acolleen
acolleen

How about an actual review??

SysAdmin
SysAdmin

No meat here... who cares about unboxing?

tehpea
tehpea

my STB came with a 320gb HDD and it lets me record up to 3 programmes all at the same time :)

WebTek2
WebTek2

Ok! I agree that no content stinks and clicking through a bunch of pics is a waste of time with no information to go with it, but come on people, stop your whining. You sound like a bunch of elementary kids not getting their mid morning snack. Mmmm, I use to love those too. :-P

jasonhiner
jasonhiner moderator

Here's the info (without most of the photos): http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=6866 We do this for a lot of our top pieces. We'll offer a photo gallery plus a one-page article (for example, the list of top Android apps). We have lots of users who prefer the galleries and lots who prefer just the one-page text treatment. That's why we do both.

colliera
colliera

Forget the reviews. You don't need them. Just download the Boxee Box software and run it on your laptop, desktop, old junker computer that you had in the closet. As long as you can approach the minimum hardware requirements and connection speeds it will work, and cost you NOTHING! There is no need to buy anyone's box. Thanks Boxee Box. A real something for nothing.

mschwaid
mschwaid

This type of BS articles make me hesitate to open TechRepublic emails!

mike.woss
mike.woss

They've starting doing this "let's take a million photos of the box" thing for a while. Please, what a waste of time

bimjimmy
bimjimmy

The internet was initially meant for text traffic. Now that we have broadband, streaming TV and video, YouTube and imitators, and huge files being processed as normal occurrences - not to mention over 50% of bandwidth being SPAM of one kind or another, just when does the Bell curve turn on its head and require so much investment in real time and resources that connectivity becomes prohibitively expensive and throughput restricted? Does anyone think our access to the internet is becoming abused? And what about all the plans to weed out the SPAMmers? What happened to IPv6 and plans to hard-wire IP numbers into NIC boards to stop spoofing?

TSE-m
TSE-m

My particular PC has multiple video outputs, including HDMI. And, guess what? It works well. I plug it in to my TV, and voila! I cna watch Hulu, Roku, Netflix, etc... -- without spending tight cash on a box. Just a HDMI cable. No license. No electronics. No instructions or procedures. No additional energy using device. Not only can I watch Internet TV, yet I can put ANYTHING my PC can do up on my TV. Seems to me that internet TV is for folks without a PC, or need for, or knowledge of how to employ, a PC. Yet this is likely subject for another topic. I digress from here. It is, I suppose, good to have options. I just wish ALL the options were made aware to all more readily. The general public get dupped easily, and it costs societies greatly.

agoodspeed
agoodspeed

Not that I?d expect them to be included in the internet TV realm yet, but I?d expect it soon. Consider these two, plus the Wii, already have the ability to use Netflix it's only a matter of the shakedown before they start implementing streaming internet TV. Both already have downloads available and renting. When they start feeling the crunch of these wannabee internet TV startups they'll buy them out and incorporate. Problem is they need to do it before they're no longer wannabee internet TV startups, and that is coming up fast...

generalist
generalist

wtf? thought there was a review here.

sparker
sparker

The whole "Internet tv" idea is still in it's infancy, but since I was already using Netflix, I went ahead with a Roku HD box. The Netflix choices are good and the other content channels are interesting, although I don't subscribe to any of the pay channels yet. Having HULU Plus join with Roku might nudge me to get a subscription for all the old TV shows. Quality is quite good, but it took a lot of testing with my router to get it working right. The less computer savvy person might have never gotten it. All in all, the jury is still out, but at least I can get Sponge Bob for my granddaughter when I want it!

tanksalive
tanksalive

This is quite a waste of time. If you took the time to unbox everything and take pictures, how about taking the time to actually use it and post a review. Must be running out of material.... EDIT: Wow! no coffee this am... Sorry, didn't see the other post Jason.

jesse_masone
jesse_masone

Can't we get an actual review of this stuff to go along with the pretty pics? Color me very interested since my old DVD player just broke:) EDIT: Color me corrected. Thanks, Jason. Will look for the link once posted.

JCitizen
JCitizen

My ISP is also the cable company, and my DVR box only had a total of [b]160Gbs[/b] between two drives for HD content. Needless to say, I sent it back and setup a cable ready PC media center to replace it. You know - 1 Terabyte goes fast with 1080i/p video on it!

bimjimmy
bimjimmy

I didn't see pics of the screws, can I see pics of the screws? PLEASE? And I didn't see close-up pics of the power connection... I just GOTTA see those... And the third page of the users manual... and is there an index - please show pics of the entire manual... page by page, of course... And how does each box open? Can we get pics of each included piece/part separately? What do the cable twist ties look like? Wooo, how are the cables folded? What does the blank bottom of the second box look like? And when will we get pics of a breakdown? No text needed, of course... Who cares what they actually do or how they actually compare in performance? WE NEED MORE DETAILED PICS OF ALL THE STUFF THAT DOESN'T MATTER!!!

squirrellysiege
squirrellysiege

I'm always leery of reading comments by users on TechRepublic because a lot of them seem to be people who just want to complain. Personally, I love the articles, the galleries, the Geekend stuff. I don't have to love all of it, but I don't feel the need to complain about the stuff I don't love. It boggles my mind that they always say that they don't have time to read the articles or go through the galleries but they somehow find time to whine. I say keep up the good work TechRepublic and keep the content coming! (Yeah, I know, it's not just TechRepublic, but it seems to be where I see a vast majority of these kids without candy)

Zwort
Zwort

When people don't get the things that they want, they sometimes say incautious things. I know because I have done it. Even so, I treasure three online tech presences; Techrep, Zdnet and The Register. The latter have a very pungent way of expressing themselves, as the PR manager for the Tesla car company found, to her cost. You could always adopt some of their moderatrix's methods of handling bad bois. ;-)

JCitizen
JCitizen

I like the photo spreads a LOT! One of the most irritating things about gizmos is not knowing just what is going to come in the box; and most online retailers don't give you any information on what guides and manuals will be available, or what the port situation looks like on the unit. A picture is worth a thousand words along those lines! And for those of us that work on the things, TR's break down photo series are very valuable to the geeks that fix them for the first time!

JCitizen
JCitizen

has 1Gbs speed. That is more than enough to handle all we can throw at it. The back bone should be able to take it as only dark fiber and SONET technology can!

johnmckay
johnmckay

Remove the blinkers and look at the real world. A world where folk expect to unbox something, aply power, attach to the network and TV and voila. No mucking around with PCs; no mucking around with codecs; no mucking around with software to play said features... just NO MUCKING AROUND at all. Something your granny could operate without waiting on software to load, and waiting on the updates to run, then wondering why that file doesn't quite run in VLC but appears better in xyz. And something that works in two minutes, and has a remote control and no need for a keyboard. The world is changing. My PC plays everything too... but I sure as hell appreciate playing movies via my popcorn c-200 and all my music, without the PC. These are the future... open your mind!

JCitizen
JCitizen

you might as well rate every media center PC ever built too! After all that is about the same thing really! :|

jankow
jankow

Hulu Plus did join with Roku - this past Wednesday morning. I subscribed, but have yet to actually use it. Maybe this weekend. So far I've been enjoying Roku with Netflix for the past year.

Thump21
Thump21

... was hoping to *learn* something.

SysAdmin
SysAdmin

Glad to see more than just the unboxing pics. Thanks for fixing this.

Zwort
Zwort

I only came on the 'internet tv' thing in flesh space due to an accident, having bought a blue ray player because it does SACD. When I unboxed it and discovered its networking capabilities I was fairly chuffed. I still haven't investigated but I think that I can probably record with it too... ...but it's not 'internet tv' per se, and I don't think I'd ever buy such a creation. Well, not yet. UK ISPs are unhappy about them because of the bandwidth they swallow, and there were moves to make the BBC pay for the trouble they are causing. The Beeb are not alone though. My machine comes with access to a number of online television presences, and play back has not so far been jerky. Unlike the PC interface. Being a lazy git, I would very appreciate an article encompassing the things I've touched on. :-)

Atrophy
Atrophy

I don't have enough time to READ everything I need/want to in order to keep pace with our field. I want to know about functionality. Show me a picture if I need a hand truck get it inside my house. Also include appendix on how to assemble.

JCitizen
JCitizen

but I don't buy anything online without knowing what the thing looks like. You can't plan to receive the merchandise or if will even work until you see whether the ports are correct for the intended uses. I really appreciate TR providing this, as not all of us have a Best Buy within 500 miles of us, to go look over these things!

Zwort
Zwort

People don't have to read them either, do they? I don't necessarily follow all of the galleries, though the gallery of Windows shrink wrapping pictures through the decades caught my eye. Cracking open various machines, yes. For the few that object there'll be many more who don't.

JCitizen
JCitizen

A lot of folks still don't have a PC at home and don't want to learn to use one; with these setups, then don't really have to! I do have my doubts that the Roku box will look as good on my 61" HDTV with the ATI 1Gb GPU graphics adapter that feeds Netflicks to my TV presently. On some of the newer movie PC downloads, I can't tell the difference compared to blu-ray!

JCitizen
JCitizen

and hopefully we don't die that death too soon! :O

Zwort
Zwort

Thanks for the useful link. Better than what I had. As to DRM, it now seems that XP is definitely yesterday's hero ( http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/do-you-really-need-antivirus-software/2685?pg=2 notice the extensive Mac security patching referenced on P 1!) so my Linux research is probably 'a good thing'(TM). Whilst I've got a hardware firewall I still don't like the blue ray going out alone! Perhaps I should get my lazy behind off the ground and set up a smooth wall machine (Says he with skinned knuckles from engine work). The degree of convergence in audio/visual is stunning when considered from a distance. Cars whose blue tooth systems are vulnerable, never mind their Wi-Fi vulnerability, and that of mobile phones, and all of these things are feeding us with entertainment. Perhaps Roger Waters was right, perhaps we'll all be amused to death. :-(

JCitizen
JCitizen

when I get questions like that from the neighbors. I never get any complaints from then on. :D However I do try to be civil. It seems there is a total abandonment of the Vista DRM model also! I've been praying that a cable ready solution in Win7 becomes available as an upgrade, but HP is not cooperating with me. On the firewall thing, I'm behind a CheckPoint hardware firewall, so I'm not too naked to the web, but Comodo was working fine, until I realized I couldn't watch blu-ray with it. They promised the new version would fix this; I haven't tested it yet. I hope you haven't gone through the hair pulling problems I've had - I couldn't have survived without the greenbutton.com, as they are just about the only place to get solutions to the literally 1000s of problems this technology causes. If those stupid people in Hollywood could just see what the public goes through to use their crap, they would quickly see that folks use cracked content BECAUSE IT IS EASIER!!! It is not because they want something for nothing - they are just being practical. Only crazy geeks like me would put up with all the brain racking solutions to the problems caused by MPAA and RIAA!

Zwort
Zwort

DRM rules, resham,fesham, resham, fesham. I had to equip this machine with Vista because of the specific need of a business package I use for Vista's intact Windows explorer shell extensions, which MS broke in 7 and have apparently no intention of repairing. When I discovered Vista's DRM limitations I was *very* hacked off. That said there are 4 other machines here that don't suffer from the problem, but what a deal breaker that could be. (All of the machines here have a higher Dolby rating than my entertainment kit to my disgust.) Your comments on NVIDIA compatibility are interesting . I guess these things will probably converge. I don't know if this is a good thing or not. The thought of ending up with a TV that has no software firewall distresses me, as does the thought of a PC operated TV. (Likewise with mobile phones; HD/DTS developments there are racing away.) There is a second router for the lounge downstairs now. This is way beyond the dreams that I had when I used Windows 2x. Your comments about neighbours provoked laughter. My sub (which is above knee height) is rated for about 450 watts RMS, and is violent even when set to -10. Fortunately my house is detached; I can make everything in it vibrate if I choose. Sometimes, the morning after a good session I find things that have moved. :-) However, one night my neighbour - who's got similar kit - came back when I was watching a film and sent me this text "WTF are you watching in there mate? WW3?". (Even though these are modern, sound proofed houses.) I don't play it loudly too often as it tends to hurt my eyes. Worse still, one hot summer I forgot to close a lounge window, and my other neighbours reluctantly shared a film with me. I think it was Behind enemy lines, and I always turn the volume up for the spectacular bits. Doghouse. :-0

JCitizen
JCitizen

so I could have 7 speakers if I so desired, but I remember reading that 5.1 is dynamic and the number of speakers may not be critical, especially if they are at least two speakers rated for 5.1. My cable ready PC does not allow optical or digital output from the sound card, because of DRM rules; so I rely on the HDMI standard to output the sound from the ATI graphics adapter card. I have found that it is very difficult to get NVIDIA graphics adapters to work properly with HDMI. I leave my power setting in Windows to the most saving configuration, and this has a result of barely a blip on my power bill. Electicity is expensive around here, so I was sensitive to the issue. I had driver issues with this at first, but not since Vista SP2. Now things are pretty seamless. Some folks would be irritated at the graphics shut down as often as I set it, but like you said the fan will run all the time if I don't set it to shut down after several minutes of disuse. I have become very used to this, just as the old screen savers operated. As previously mentioned, depending on the movie I download and how new it is; I may get plain stereo or full surround sound, depending on what standard the producers put into the project. I let my HTS take care of the amplification and six speakers seem to work just fine. That is how many came with the unit(Samsung). Two right and left, one center, a big woofer, and two surround speakers on wireless. I have to be careful not to blow the neighbors away, because it has a 1200 watt amp in it. The big woofer pretty much rattles the windows on low frequency affects.

Zwort
Zwort

You tripped off a memory. When I was investigating a sound streamer a couple of years back I looked into Pinnacle/soundbridge who, ISTR, were bought up by Roku. The 5.1 sound is a surprise to me. I hadn't thought that far ahead, though now I think of it my PC does the latest thing. How many speakers does a system need I ask rhetorically. As to the PC/TV distinction and merging I am fascinated and appalled. I once told my Mac loving ex (she used them for a living, at one point as a medical illustrator, and in the job before that doing what a Mac does best; stretching male organs for porn mags!) that computers would manage the music collection, television, ovens, fridge-freezers, lighting, heating, curtains, security systems and more, but the actuality of using my PC to feed my television is a difficult thing for me. The energy question is what drives me, just at the point when the ban on coastal exploration is likely to bring peak oil to a head, when nuclear generation has in my country been run down, when coal mines have been closed prematurely, north sea oil is running low, and so on. (I live in a country which did not, for more than 30 years, have a coherent energy strategy.) Why so preoccupied about the energy problem in this context? The machine in front which I am currently sat burns a lot of juice. The GPU is bloody powerful and has fans built into it. The PSU has a 750W rating, and I am sure that just quad core part of the design is energy hungry, in spite of the energy friendly logo during boot up. Doesn't stop me from wastefully burning up energy to stream music downstairs. How many of us are there, doing these things? I will of course by an octo-core. Because it will be there.

JCitizen
JCitizen

but then I got a DVR media center PC, so it is just as well to watch Netflix etc. on it. I can't believe how well silverlight runs movies on IE8! The clarity rivals blu-ray! I don't even use media center per se because of this. The 5.1 sound is great through the HTS also! Some older flicks don't have the signal though. I run HDMI from the PC graphics adapter to the HDTV - then optical cable to the HTS for surround sound. For folks with a modern TV and no PC, Roku would be great.