Pimp my TV please: Better YouTube edition!
August 23, 2021 3:30 PM   Subscribe

All I want to do is stream YouTube on my (dumb) TV, blissfully free of freezes, endless buffering and clumsy controls. My Tivo is NOT cutting it for this. Which other device offers the most lovely YouTube streaming experience? I'm willing to buy a box or stick but not pay a subscription, and I pretty much only care about YouTube. I'm a cord cutter (no cable), and watch in HD not 4k, if that matters.
posted by bluesky78987 to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Best answer: Roku Streaming Stick+ ftw.
Then install the YouTube app and you’re gold.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:33 PM on August 23, 2021 [10 favorites]

blissfully free of freezes, endless buffering

Something I learned the hard way when I was quickly forced into Zoom teaching this past year is that most home WiFi only gives you a small fraction of the bandwidth that is actually available through your typical cable/fiber modem. I ran an ethernet cable from one of the open ports on my modem (I imagine most of them have a few ports open), drilled a hole in the ceiling, ran the cable to my office, drilled another small hole in the ceiling, brought the cable back down through that hole, then ran the same ethernet cable straight to my iMac. Suddenly I had freeze-free live Zoom and other video. My YouTube watching is much better, too.
posted by Tchozz at 3:45 PM on August 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Tchozz is correct that your wifi or internet in general may be partially to blame. But also, the built-in apps on the TiVo are terrible in my experience (I say this as a TiVo fan), so I think your instinct to blame them is correct. If nothing else, a new device will get you a better interface and if there are still problems after that, you can address those. I concur with Thorzdad that the Roku is a good choice based on what you described (I personally use Apple TVs, but they are vastly more expensive than Roku and only worth it if you care about content from the Apple ecosystem, and even then there are other ways to achieve that).
posted by primethyme at 3:55 PM on August 23, 2021

Response by poster: Just popping in to say: It's the Tivo apps not the Wifi (although I suspected the Wifi at first too - have tested it). All works just fine if I power-cycle the Tivo a couple of times each evening. :/ Love the Roku suggestion - let's keep going that direction.
posted by bluesky78987 at 4:01 PM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: I think the Roku streaming stick is your answer. There are a couple others that do that same thing (Amazon has one, also Google Chromecast) but you want a streaming stick of some sort.

I personally have an Apple TV in my house, but really - I dont need it - a Roku would be fine. I have a Roku stick in my RV (yeahyeah, camping with youtube, I know) and it works flawlessly - it can even connect to my phone as a hotspot without issue. My only beef is the batteries in the remote dont seem to last very long at all.
posted by cgg at 4:21 PM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Having used a Roku Express 4K+, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Apple TV 4K, I second the Roku suggestion as it's definitely the best bang for the buck. The Fire TV Stick was slow and sluggish and Amazon puts ads for their streaming media front and center before everything else. The Apple TV 4K is really great, and I love it, but it's definitely expensive. The Roku Express 4K+'s interface is snappy, not sluggish, and the YouTube app is good. Right now it's only $29-$30 on Amazon, Best Buy, and Target. The Express 4K+ is in the same league as the Roku Streaming Stick+, but the Streaming Stick+ has slightly better WiFi. I've had zero issue with WiFi speeds on the one I have and it keeps up with everything I play on it.
posted by zsazsa at 4:29 PM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: Yep, we've owned all the options and now have 2 TCL Roku TVs and 2 Roku sticks (for older TVs, the older of which is mostly used for travel or a projector we used to get out for pool parties *sob*) because the OS and app interface are so responsive and the remote control is miiiiiiles better than the other brands. And it is absolutely worth the extra couple of bucks for the version that will control your TV power and volume because then you (probably) won't need two remotes!
posted by Lyn Never at 4:45 PM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: I have been Team Roku the whole streaming box era, but, if we're talking about just YouTube, I have to take a moment to mention that the new Chromecast with Google TV just took Roku off the top of the Wirecutter's best streaming device, and I have to imagine that it is possibly the best YouTube streaming device specifically because they're the same company.
posted by General Malaise at 4:47 PM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pick what you want from a tablet and cast it to Chromecast? Kinda painful though.

Roku, IMHO, is probably your best bet, unless you want to hook a regular PC to your TV.
posted by kschang at 5:05 PM on August 23, 2021

Response by poster: You guys are the best, thanks for pointing me to streaming sticks! Just ordered the Roku Streaming Stick+.
posted by bluesky78987 at 5:34 PM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also on team Roku. One extra thing I like about YouTube on it - I can browse YouTube in the app on my iPad and then choose to play videos on the Roku stick’s YouTube app thanks to some crazy magic that Just Works. So I can browse YT on the iPad even while something else is playing on the TV.
posted by fabius at 5:22 AM on August 24, 2021

Roku all the way.
posted by lhauser at 6:16 PM on August 24, 2021

Response by poster: Just updating this in case it helps anybody in the future. The Roku streaming stick was EXACTLY the thing. No more freezes. Better remote. Inexpensive.
posted by bluesky78987 at 7:49 AM on November 22, 2021

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