Apr 5, 2014

I ordered Amazon Fire TV yesterday. We got a new 60inch Samsung TV last week but it wasn't smart TV and it had no fancy features at all. So I was looking for any "smarter TV" devices.

I wanted to do four things with my new TV client: NetFlix, PC/Tablet mirroring, casual gaming and XBMC; in order of priority from high to low.

Candidates were Chromecast($35), RaspberryPi($40), Ouya($90), Roku3($99) and AmazonFireTV($99).

I have been enjoying XBMC with my RaspberryPi for more than a year already. I love it and I cannot live a day without it. But most of time XBMC doesn't go along with NetFlix. NetFlix has been intentionally banning Hackable devices in order to protect their digital contents. So NetFlix doesn't run on any Linux devices while XBMC runs on most of hackable devices. I haven't seen any devices that runs both except Windows PC. Because of the reason, I am giving up XBMC this time.
  • Chromecast is the cheapest solution for NetFlix and it does web browser mirroring. But there is no way to run XBMC on the device.
  • RaspberryPi runs XBMC but no NetFlix. Because RaspberryPi had GPU, it is able to run some casual games such as game console emulators. But it is running Linux not Android so GUI applications are limited.
  • Ouya has powerful NVidia Tegra3 GPU chip and it is a gaming console that can run PlayStation one emulator as well as all the other older gaming console emulators. It comes with a nice bluetooth wireless game controller, which can value about $40. It runs XBMC well and NetFlix too. It is almost perfect for my need but I heard that NetFlix support is poor because the device is hackable and NetFlix doesn't support it well.
  • Roku3 can run NetFlix but not XBMC. It seems that Roku is not a hackable device. Some said it can do some mirroring but some said it is not screen mirroring. It doesn't have GPU and it is not for gaming. It runs on Android so I am sure it had plenty of good apps.
  • AmazonFireTV has a good hardware spec. It runs NetFlix and it is able to do some good gaming. It seems that XBMC is not running well at this point but some said that Ouya version of XBMC runs well. It is strange because Ouya has ARM CPU and AmazonFireTV has snapdragon but it sounds promising so far. I am not sure about mirroring feature yet but I may be able to find some Android app for my need.

I listed descriptions of candidates in order of the price. But if I sort it in order of my priority, AmazoneFireTV, Roku3 and Chromecast come up to the top, because they run NetFlix.The difference among them is on gaming. AmazoneFireTV won.

As I wrote as few days ago, I found that it doesn't feel good to play casual games on PlayStation3/4 or PC. It feels wrong to play such simple games with high horse power devices. So gaming on TV client seems like a good approach. At least I like to try.

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