movie theater on the john
October 9, 2012 6:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about buying a tablet to watch streaming video from Netfix, HBOgo, and other such services. What devices should I check out?

I would be using the device on Wifi. My main machine is a Windows 7 laptop.
posted by WeekendJen to Technology (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would absolutely encourage you to check out a Google Nexus 7.

The thing is incredibly inexpensive (as far as these things go) at $199 for the 8GB version. It has the latest version of Android (4.1/Jelly Bean) and is very, very responsive. My concern with the price point was that it might be one of these clunker deals - my old Kindle Fire, for example, was great for reading eBooks - but when I tried to do anything else, it was so sluggish I wanted to break it over my knee. Fear not! The Nexus 7 is buttery and I think it would serve you well.

I give it 3 bananas (out of 3 possible bananas).
posted by kbanas at 6:10 PM on October 9, 2012

I picked up a color nook a while ago and rooted it to plain old android and have been using it for this purpose. The onboard speakers are mediocre, but it works great for netflixing.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:52 PM on October 9, 2012

If you're in the apple ecosystem (use iTunes heavily, have an iPhone, etc) then look hard at an iPad. If you buy a lot of stuff from amazon, I think the kindle fire is a no brainer. If you don't use either, I think you're going to want a Samsung note or a google nexus.

Whether you use windows or not on your pc isn't really relevant, unless you're a big windows fan, then maybe you want to wait for the windows 8 tablets.
posted by empath at 6:53 PM on October 9, 2012

If you want the best thing, get an iPad. I'm sure some of the other new tablets are perfectly fine, but the iPad, for only a little more money, is the best thing.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:58 PM on October 9, 2012

I'll second the Nexus 7 recommendation. I don't have one personally, but have played with one and it is pretty fantastic. What I do have is a rooted Nook Color as stated above, and it works very well for just those purposes. But with the current price of the Nexus 7, it is well worth the price difference for not having the hassle of hacking together the Android system to run off of a finicky microSD card.

iPad is great. No doubt about it. Is it twice as good as the Nexus 7? For your purposes, debatable. There's most likely an iPad Mini on the horizon - I'm convinced it will be in the $300+ range, and that might be a worthwhile jump over the Nexus.

But if I had money to spend today on a media consumption device, I'm going with the Nexus 7.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:07 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also love the Nexus 7, for reasons stated above.

If you actually want a movie theater on the john, you should also pick up a pair or two of Dockems to make a place on your wall.
posted by Apropos of Something at 7:11 PM on October 9, 2012

Can VLC be installed along with codecs on the Nexus 7?
posted by xmutex at 7:18 PM on October 9, 2012

Can VLC be installed along with codecs on the Nexus 7?

There's a beta version of VLC for Android on the Google Play store. It says, on the website, "Plays all files, in all formats, like the classic VLC.", so I guess it has the same codec support, if that's how you read that.

I know it doesn't serve the poster to have this turn into some kind of flame war or something, but the iPad isn't the best thing. It's a different thing. Depending on your budget, and your current tech ecosystem, it might work best for you - especially if you already have an iPhone, or are heavily invested with content purchased through iTunes. But for my money, for my purposes, for the way I digest content, the Nexus 7 made loads more sense, and I've enjoyed the experience immensely, so it certainly can go both ways (and, also, I suppose, a lot of other ways, too).
posted by kbanas at 7:28 PM on October 9, 2012

I've got a dumbphone and don't particularly purchase media for keeps anymore (ie iTunes, Amazon MP3, etc). I just threw out the Windows 7 laptop info to avoid getting suggestions for an iPad based solely on the fact that it would make my tech life products like each other more.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:51 PM on October 9, 2012

IMO, based on what you've said, just get the next tablet that goes up for sale on woot. You probably won't care enough about the differences to spend the extra money, but first you should absolutely drop by an apple store and see what an hd movie on an iPad looks like to see if its worth dropping the extra cash for you.

There was a Sony for 250 bucks on woot about two months ago, I wouldn't be surprised if they had another one soon.
posted by empath at 8:24 PM on October 9, 2012

I didn't keep the Nexus 7 that I used for a couple of weeks, mainly because I couldn't justify having it for my personal needs, but it's the most capable Android device I've ever used, and it's priced pretty nicely (especially the 8GB, which is tight, but less of an issue for streaming).
posted by holgate at 8:36 PM on October 9, 2012

I nth the Nexus 7. It's cheap, has a reasonably long battery life, a reasonably good speaker for anything less than a really noisy environment, and a reasonably good screen. My only complaint is storage space, but you can get a USB On the Go cable and use a memory stick with it. It's not at all necessary if you plan to mainly stream from the cloud, though.

I have been told that the iPads have better battery life, but I have never had one in my hands long enough to test. The Nexus is good enough for just about everything I do. If I flew overseas regularly it probably wouldn't be, though. It'll just about get me through a full day of travel, but that's it.

If you want something more expandable, with memory card slots, multiple USB ports, HDMI so you can plug it into your TV, and the ability to add on a 3G Internet stick the Archos G9 lineup is pretty good (they have a variety of sizes). I haven't used the G9s, but my SO's dad had an older model that I liked fairly well, other than the older version of Android it ran and the new ones are significantly faster. Jelly Bean (which is on the Nexus 7 and the newer Archos tablets) is much better than Gingerbread.

All that said, think on it. Will you actually use a tablet that much? I don't find any of them terribly comfortable to use, say, in bed. You might be better off with an appropriate media player for your TV, although as mentioned above some relatively inexpensive tablets can serve both purposes. My SO uses hers a lot, and you may too. It's just worth carefully evaluating, even at only $200, IMO.
posted by wierdo at 3:06 AM on October 10, 2012

You should be able to pick up a 16GB Nook Tablet for $199. It does great with netflix and hulu and has a microsd drive for playing other media. It doesn't look like the HBO app is native, but you could probably side load it.
posted by drezdn at 5:36 AM on October 10, 2012

If you're thinking about getting the Nook, I would wait for the next model to come out, like at the end of this month or so. The smaller HD will be the same price as the 16G Tablet.
posted by BibiRose at 6:37 AM on October 10, 2012

I've got both a Nexus 7 and an Asus TF101 (10 inch android tablet). For reading in bed, or possibly taking something which is almost portable, I go for the Nexus 7. For lounging around the family room, streaming media, catching up on my RSS feed, or anythingm, I always prefer the TF101 for the larger screen. The TF101 feels slower, and while the both have the same resolution I notice the pixel density difference enough that I really like the nexus 7 screen. And yet I'd be hard pressed to find a time / plce to consume media where I'd opt for my smaller Nexus 7.

My wife loves her Nexus 7 because of the weight issue; I can hold the tf101 one handed without issue for hours, while it gets uncomfortably heavy for her quickly.

One could probably get a refurb 16GB TF101 for the cost of a new Nexus 7.

If you're going to do a follow up, perhaps give more details on usage; one person mentioned HDMI, and 3g expandability. The title suggests toilet usage (I only bring my phones into the toilet; no tablets), and really your exact usage will differ how people respond. Sadly, I can't comment on any of the apps you use; I stream everything from my desktop.

Increasingly I've heard from co-workers that they'd like to get an android phone or tablet, but they've go so much invested into itunes or the app store that they can't. Since you're not in it yet, I'd suggest you try an android tablet; most places have 14 or 30 day money back for returns.
posted by nobeagle at 8:55 AM on October 10, 2012

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