Home Media Nightmare?
February 18, 2013 2:29 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to play blu-ray discs and stream Netflix. It shouldn't be this hard.

Here are some devices I've gone through:

1) Cheap blu-ray player. Stopped playing discs after a few months.
2) Roku HD. Worst product I have ever owned. Worked partially at best; stopped working completely in less than a year. (This was a few years ago and I hear they may have gotten better, but man what a piece of shit! I had to unplug and reset it any time it went idle for 15 minutes and that was when it "worked.")
3) LG Blu Ray player with network connection. Netflix worked fine, refused to play any blue-ray disc within a year, including those just out of box.
4) Sony Blu Ray player with network connection. Netflix impossible to set up. UI is literally the worst I have ever seen- no error messaging of any kind, just screen refresh. Currently packaging up to return.

So: Is there a device that does these seemingly simple things? I'd rather have one device, but if there is nothing that reliably does both I will buy two. I would consider Apple TV, though I have no interest in any Apple/iTunes-centric features. I am very tech literate, but not really interested in haxx0r set-ups or Raspberry pis right now- just want devices that work out of the box and keep working reliably.

posted by drjimmy11 to Technology (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Oppo Blu-Ray players work great for both discs and Netflix in my experience. Not cheap, but very solid. Make sure you get the new model (BDP-103), because it has significant improvements to the streaming service support.

You can use an AppleTV just for Netflix, without any "Apple-centric" stuff. And if the Sony Blu Ray player you have works for discs, adding on an AppleTV for streaming is likely to be a lot cheaper than throwing out the Sony and starting clean. But I do see the appeal of a single device, and I think the Oppo could do that for you (I have my Oppo in a system where I also have an AppleTV, a Roku, a PS3, a TiVo and a smart TV, all of which handle some subset of the streaming services, so I don't use the Oppo for that much, but I have tried it and it worked well).
posted by primethyme at 2:35 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

PS3 is not the cheapest way to do it, but has worked great for me for the last four years.
posted by mzurer at 2:36 PM on February 18, 2013 [8 favorites]

I really like my Roku LT. It's the cheap (720p) one, I've had it since last July, and I use it for Plex and Amazon Prime streaming without a hitch.

I just got this BRD player and am really happy with it so far, except that the Prime client isn't great. But it's hooked up to the same TV as my media center computer, so I don't need it for Plex (or Amazon, really).

I also have a PS3, which will do it all, but it's a pain in the ass to watch movies on, and power-hungry to boot. The IR-to-PS3 Harmony adapter was stupid expensive, so I just got a dedicated BR player.
posted by supercres at 2:38 PM on February 18, 2013

Response by poster: And if the Sony Blu Ray player you have works for discs, adding on an AppleTV for streaming is likely to be a lot cheaper than throwing out the Sony and starting clean.

Well I thought about that, but I'm a bit incensed at buying such a bad product and I think I want to return it and get my money back. I will check out Oppo, thanks.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:38 PM on February 18, 2013

I'd personally just try another cheap blu-ray player with Netflix capability. A Target Phillips or Samsung, maybe if it were me. I find they often crap out, but usually either they die during the warranty period or they last a couple of years. If yours died in between those two poles, I think you were just unlucky.
posted by tyllwin at 2:51 PM on February 18, 2013

Response by poster: Yeah, I think I might give the Oppo a try. The reviews are really stellar, and I'd rather pay $500 for one device that will last then buy a series of shoddy $100-150 devices, which is what I've been doing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:52 PM on February 18, 2013

PS3 might be noticeably cheaper after the presumed-PS4 announcement on Wednesday.

AFAIK it's still the reference player for blurays and netflix is boringly easy on it. It also streams local media if you have tversity/ps3mediaserver/plex/etc installed, and can be used to play the odd game.

I'd disagree that it's a pain in the ass to watch movies on. You use the controller or remote to grooble over to the movies vertical-thing and then down to the desired movie.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:56 PM on February 18, 2013

3rding the PS3, especially if you buy the remote.
posted by payoto at 2:58 PM on February 18, 2013

The PS3 is also rumored to be dropping in price by $100 with the announcement of the new PS4.
posted by itsovernow at 3:08 PM on February 18, 2013

Sorry to hear that your Roku experience sucked - we got one as a Christmas gift in 2011 and haven't had a single issue with it so far, using it daily for Netflix and now Amazon Video as well. Maybe you have a lemon?

Alternatively, the AppleTV is a rather nice product, and you should be able to use it just fine for Netflix without having to mess with iTunes...

I'd stay the hell away from a Sony product. I promised I'd never buy another Sony product after a bad experience with one of their CD players and a worse experience with their Warranty department - it's been 8 or 9 years and they've just gone further downhill.
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:09 PM on February 18, 2013

Response by poster: I went ahead and ordered the Oppo player.

re: Roku I bought mine when they first came out, about four-five years ago, and I think maybe they just weren't ready for primetime yet. At that time the "permanent bluescreen after idle for 10 minutes" was a known bug you could read about on their forums, and one they seemed to have no interest in addressing.

They may well have gotten better since, but I'm going with the Oppo, because I'm all about paying $500 to avoid the every-six-months headache of another cheap device failing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:22 PM on February 18, 2013

I bought a 2012 Samsung Bluray player with wireless connectivity to stream YouTube and Netflix, and returned the damn thing within 24 hours. It ran veeeeeerrrrrrryyy slowly on the home network, making it impossible to stream anything.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:22 PM on February 18, 2013

I've had good recent experiences with Roku. I don't know the model, but a woman I was seeing had one, and it Just Worked. It was several years old, and she was using it with an old CRT SD TV, but it did have HDMI out, so I presume it was somewhat current-ish. I've also had very good experiences with a PS3. Next media box I buy is likely to be a Roku, but I don't own any blu-ray disks; if I did, I'd seriously look into getting another PS3.
posted by Alterscape at 3:31 PM on February 18, 2013

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