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Apple TV + converter?
December 26, 2011 8:42 AM   Subscribe

I love Netflix and we have it on the Xbox. But my kid's moving to college and taking the Xbox with her. Can I replace it with an Apple TV plus an HDMI->Composite/S-Video converter or should I bite the bullet and get another Xbox? It seems a waste to buy one just for Netflix.
posted by tommasz to Computers & Internet (22 answers total)
 
Have you looked at getting a Roku box?
posted by Lieber Frau at 8:43 AM on December 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


ATV is GREAT!
Works fine with Netflix.
Im sure roku is fine with Netflix as well. Choose one based on the other capabilities.
posted by StUdIoGeEk at 8:53 AM on December 26, 2011


get a Roku, especially if you have amazon prime too. Cheap, great interface, and stupid simple.
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:54 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe Apple TV supports Netflix. Almost any device with Internet connected to your TV can stream Netflix, here's Netflix site on compatible devices. I use my Tivo. A Roku is probably the cheapest way to add Netflix to a TV. Boxee is a slightly more capable (and expensive) alternative to Roku. The main difference in these devices is how good the client is for choosing video. With the Tivo, for instance, I have to add things to my queue on a PC before I can watch them on the Tivo.

You mentioned converting to s-video.. If you have an older TV you're considering upgrading, look for one with Netflix built in.
posted by Nelson at 8:55 AM on December 26, 2011


Do you have a laptop? A lot of laptops can do video out. We used to have ours set up to use our TV as an extended monitor, so the laptop can still be used for other things while watching Netflix, hulu, etc on the TV.
posted by amarynth at 8:58 AM on December 26, 2011


Our Blu-Ray player can access Netflix, as well as Hulu and Amazon Videos.
posted by Bresciabouvier at 8:59 AM on December 26, 2011


We have had a Roku for over a year and it is wonderful and has several options of streaming content give it a google and check it out!
posted by Upon Further Review at 9:04 AM on December 26, 2011


According to Roku Support, the $50 Roku LT includes a composite cable. It also has an HDMI port (but it doesn't come with the cable for this) in case you ever upgrade your TV. I have an older Roku and it works great; nicely designed, easy interface, simple remote control.
posted by bcwinters at 9:04 AM on December 26, 2011


Or if you don't have a Blu-ray player (and want one), you could consider the PS3.
posted by smirkette at 9:10 AM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


We use Apple TV to watch Netflix. It also streams through the Wii, but since getting the ATV, we use that pretty much exclusively.
posted by mothershock at 9:12 AM on December 26, 2011


I'm using an apple tv for netflix, works great, the interface is good, the advantage is that it also streams my photos and music to the tv from the Mac, as well as any movies in digital version on the computer. You can also rent newer TV shows/movies through your iTunes account.......
posted by tomswift at 9:14 AM on December 26, 2011


It sounds like your TV does not support HDMI. If that's true, then the AppleTV will not work with your TV. You may be able to get some kind of converter device, but why bother?

The Apple TV does support Netflix and in fact it's Netflix interface is super sweet. I don't have one though.

If you're not tied to the Apple eco-system, then I would agree with the comments to get a Roku. I've had an older Roku and a newer Roku 2 LT and we really enjoy them. Besides Netflix, we use a number of other channels and there are many, many available.

If / when I upgrade to HDTV, I would consider getting an AppleTV, but more for the iTunes integration. You can't add channels to it like you can with Roku.
posted by reddot at 9:46 AM on December 26, 2011


The folks above recommending the Roku 2 LT Netflix player as your best option have it.

I would strongly recommend against getting an HDMI to composite converter. They're expensive (around the same cost as the Roku, but for just the converter), fairly large (larger than either the Apple TV or the Roku) and more power-hungry than either the Roku or the Apple TV. They're not just an plug adapter - think of an HDMI to composite converter as an additional little computer processing the signal from HDMI to output through the composite jacks.

Alternately, you might want to consider replacing your old TV with one of the many TVs out there that have Netflix connectivity built-in as well as HDMI ports for future expansion.
posted by eschatfische at 9:51 AM on December 26, 2011


I got a roku 2 xd for Christmas, and am watching The Fog via Netflix right now. The unit came with a composite cord, but not HDMI, though the port is there. Works pretty damned great. Syncing with your online Netflix account is a breeze. I did have to move the box around a bit to get a good signal from the wireless router, and am considering hardwiring the box, but I'm impressed so far.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:05 AM on December 26, 2011


The only other thing to remember if that even if you buy another Xbox, you still have to pay for an Xbox Live Gold membership to use Netflix, which is another $60/year.

So I'd definitely consider something that's not an an Xbox, and Roku sounds like a win.
posted by Nelsormensch at 11:26 AM on December 26, 2011


my roommate has netflix running on our ps3 (no 'gold membership' required), which has composite and hdmi output (also it plays blu-ray discs...the xbox doesnt). i'm using hdmi on the 1080p flat-screen tv that i got last year after my old tube set caught fire (literally! good times!)...wasn't expecting to enjoy hdtv so much (particularly love the graphics in games), but i love it, and it seems most flat-screen tvs these days have netflix baked right in...
my advice? treat yourself and hit those after-christmas sales and replace the whole set...lcd flat-screens use a fraction of the electricity as a tube set, it looks a ton better, and you won't even need an extra box (appleTV, roku, xbox, whatever)...consider the savings on that when looking at prices...
posted by sexyrobot at 12:22 PM on December 26, 2011


oh, also, if u do go that route, i have heard not-great things about google tv (complicated, not as much content (the networks and hulu are all still skittish about their licencing deals and etc...)...havent tried it myself though...
also 3D...if that interests u at all...looks rad on a big screen...my friend has it...the 3d games on the ps3 are pretty awesome...
posted by sexyrobot at 12:28 PM on December 26, 2011


and just fyi...never buy an hdmi cable at a store...'that's where they get you'
$30 in stores, $5 online
posted by sexyrobot at 12:36 PM on December 26, 2011


as noted, all new Rokus come with a cable for the proprietary composite output port on the box. if you need more connectivity options, the older non-Roku 2 (N1000) Roku boxes have even more - component video (Y/Pb/Pr + red/white audio) as well as composite (yellow video + red/white audio) and HDMI options. you'd probably have to hit eBay for one like that, though.
posted by mrg at 5:39 PM on December 26, 2011


Samsung sells a $99 blu-ray player that has Netflix, pandora, and a bunch of other apps. It's the same platform built into their TVs.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:53 PM on December 26, 2011


If you buy a Roku, you will want to get one of the first generation models. The second generation do NOT have S-Video.

It is really difficult to find any "net media center" type devices that do S-Video anymore, which is annoying to those of us with TVs whose only connections are that or Composite (BLEAGH).

My impression from looking around is that HDMI-to-S-Video conversion is fraught with peril -- although I've been thinking of breaking down and doing just that, rather than trying to build my own HTPC with an antique graphics card.

(Also if HDMI carries sound, you need to convert not only the video portion but the sound to left/right audio cable connections.)
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:48 AM on December 27, 2011


Check also into WDTVs (along the same lines as Roku) - we have them and use them for Netflix and they are great.
posted by getawaysticks at 5:48 AM on December 27, 2011


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