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robert1997
Scholar 5

Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

I am aware of the benefits of a Roku over a Now TV box as regards all the extra channels/apps available on a Roku. What I'd really like to know, for sports viewing, would you guys recommend the Smart box or the new Roku Streaming Stick+?

One major factor would be getting the frame rate right to minimise/eliminate judder.

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schnapps Legend 5
Legend 5

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

Hi @robert1997

 

I own a Roku Stick Plus and a NowTV Smart Box and comparing devices will always be subjective.

 

Now if you are not interested in all the other benefits of the Roku Stick Plus and only interested in NowTV watching via a Sports Pass, then i would say save yourself money and buy a NowTV Smart Box if you want the added feature on inbuilt Freeview (TV aerial required) and the option to use an Ethernet connection on the box.

 

Alternatively look at the new NowTV Smart Stick if you are going to use WiFi and don't want Freeview, where the smart stick is coming out end of this month where both NowTV devices natively playback at a 50hz refresh rate.

 

The Roku Stick Plus does offer Auto Refresh Rate adjustment on the fly by going into it's Advanced menu settings, where on my Panasonic 4K TV there is temporary black screen when the Auto Frame Refresh Rate takes place which is normal.

 

Out of curisoity what NowTV Playback device are you using at the moment for watching NowTV via a Sports Pass ?

 

What bugs me on the NowTV sports streaming service is that the frame rate is 25 fps and playback looks unnatural to my eyes when the camera pans (doesn't matter if my TV motion processing is turned on or off) and i wish NowTV would up the frame rate to 50fps.

 

Lets hope when NowTV offer 1080p later this year, that 50fps will be part of the specification and it would be nice also if 5.1 surround sound was added as well. 

 

 

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4268 Champion 4
Champion 4

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

@robert1997 if the Roku is as good as the new streaming stick then to be honest I would say the Roku. You can get more on it, although notable exceptions are Dave, Really and Yesterday which you can get on the freeview on the smart box.

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schnapps Legend 5
Legend 5

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

Hi @robert1997

 

I own a Roku Stick Plus and a NowTV Smart Box and comparing devices will always be subjective.

 

Now if you are not interested in all the other benefits of the Roku Stick Plus and only interested in NowTV watching via a Sports Pass, then i would say save yourself money and buy a NowTV Smart Box if you want the added feature on inbuilt Freeview (TV aerial required) and the option to use an Ethernet connection on the box.

 

Alternatively look at the new NowTV Smart Stick if you are going to use WiFi and don't want Freeview, where the smart stick is coming out end of this month where both NowTV devices natively playback at a 50hz refresh rate.

 

The Roku Stick Plus does offer Auto Refresh Rate adjustment on the fly by going into it's Advanced menu settings, where on my Panasonic 4K TV there is temporary black screen when the Auto Frame Refresh Rate takes place which is normal.

 

Out of curisoity what NowTV Playback device are you using at the moment for watching NowTV via a Sports Pass ?

 

What bugs me on the NowTV sports streaming service is that the frame rate is 25 fps and playback looks unnatural to my eyes when the camera pans (doesn't matter if my TV motion processing is turned on or off) and i wish NowTV would up the frame rate to 50fps.

 

Lets hope when NowTV offer 1080p later this year, that 50fps will be part of the specification and it would be nice also if 5.1 surround sound was added as well. 

 

 

robert1997
Scholar 5

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

Thank you both guys. Certainly gives me food for thought.

 

@schnapps  I currently use a Roku 3 but of course I get motion judder owing to the refresh rate of 60Hz. 

 

Once again guys, a big thank you. I'll let you know what I decide on Smiley Happy

robert1997
Scholar 5

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

I picked up a Smart box from my neighbour last night. Never he even knew he had the box. Definitely an improvement over the Roku 3. I'm also hoping to borrow a Roku Stick Plus from my son's friend later so will be able to compare the two. 

 

@schnapps. I don't mind the auto refresh black screen, I too have a Panasonic TV, and like the benefits of some of the extra channels/apps on my Roku 3. I'll see how it compares though playback wise over the Smart box.

WiFi signal is excellent in my home so shouldn't be an issue.

PS. Fully agree with your comments re 25fps/50fps.

schnapps Legend 5
Legend 5

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

Hi @robert1997

 

Look forward to your thoughts and findings when comparing the Roku Streaming Stick Plus and the NowTV Smart box.

 

From my testing there are things that I prefer on my smart box and other things that works better on my Roku Stick Plus (will hold back on my thoughts at the moment which is always subjective anyway to see what you think of both devices) Smiley Very Happy

 

If you like the idea of pausing live TV up to 30 minutes (depending on the streaming bitrate of the live channel) then the smart box or nowtv smart stick has this option, where the Roku Stick Plus doesn't offer this feature,

 

Also, think the TV on / off and volume controls buttons on the Roku Stick Plus and NowTV smart stick is a great idea (I don't have to pick up my TV remote anymore when using NowTV and all the other Apps that are on my Roku player) Smiley Very Happy

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robert1997
Scholar 5

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

@schnapps

 

Finally got round to using both devices. The Freeview option is very useful on the Smart box as it keeps everything on one device without the need to swap inputs. I'm a bit old fashioned and still use a tv listings magazine so the epg isn't necessarily a requirement for me.

I've been using a Roku 3, and although wifi coverage in our home is excellent, I still prefer ethernet with my devices where possible (although it's not a deal breaker). 

As I've said earlier, like you I own a Panasonic tv, and like you I get the black screen briefly when the Auto Refresh Rate is utilised. It doesn't bother me but of course there's no need for it with the Smart box as opposed to the Roku Stick+.

I suppose the biggest draw to staying with Roku would be the added apps and players. That said, the ones I use most are also on the Smart box. I haven't subscribed to either Netflix or Amazon in a long time now so having the 'terrestrial' channels Catch Up apps is sufficient for my needs.

The Smart box is basically plug and play for Now TV (naturally) whereas on the Roku it means selecting the app first from the menu. Not a big deal but the box just looks that bit more professional when you're met with the Now TV screen straight away.

 

I'm sure there's more I've forgotten to add. Maybe you could point me to some things to look out for from your own testing and I'll have another look as I've been promised both the box and stick for a little more testing on Saturday Smiley Happy

 

One final thing, is it just my brain/eyes playing tricks on me, or is the picture just that little bit smoother on the box?  

schnapps Legend 5
Legend 5

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

Hi @robert1997

 

Sounds to me that you have already decided which device to go for reading your comments Smiley Happy

 

If you do go with the smart box then keep a lookout when these smart boxes drop around the £20 price point mark with either a bundled entertainment or cinema pass (don't go paying RRP).

 

I tend to watch a lot of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, where my Roku Stick Plus offers a fantastic picture and is extremely fast navigating the Apps UI, where even streaming 4K over wifi i haven't yet experienced any dropouts.

 

I actually prefer the Roku Stick Plus over the inbuilt Apps on my Panasonic 4K smart TV Smiley Happy

 

Now there is two Apps that I prefer watching on my NowTV smart box which are :

 

1. All NowTV content, which I find on the smart box (in my subjective testing and to my untrained eyes) the picture looks sharper and more cleaner compared to all other devices that I have owned including Roku Plus, Roku Express, ATV 3 and NowTV standard black box).

 

2. Even though the Roku Stick Plus can play 4K YouTube videos at the correct frame rate (when Auto Refresh is switched on) i personally find the colours look dull, washed out and flat, where i rather use my Panasonic inbuilt YouTube App for 4K content or for general YouTube video watching i much prefer the picture from the NowTV smart box.

 

I don't tend to watch much catchup TV via the BBC IPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 or Demand 5 / My 5 Apps where i mainly only stick to Freeview HD TV programmes and use my UHD YouView box for recordings to playback at my own convenience (more old school in that respect).

 

Suppose you have the luxury of testing both devices first hand and know what to expect when you do decide to pull the trigger and won't be jumping in blind like a lot of people Smiley Happy

 

Might pick up a NowTV smart stick for £15 at the end of the month, just to see how it compares to the smart box (if you like the idea of the Freeview channels on the same device then the smart skick would be out of the running because it doesn't offer the over the air Freeview channels).

 

Anyway which ever player you end up with i am sure you will be happy with Smiley Very Happy

 

robert1997
Scholar 5

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

Hi @schnapps

 

Sounds to me that you have already decided which device to go for reading your comments Smiley Happy

That obvious? Smiley LOL

 

Thanks for the heads up re pricing. I'll keep my beady eyes open for a bargain Smiley Happy

 

I appreciate what you're saying as regards Netflix and Amazon. As 4k is the 'future' so to speak the Stick+ would be the better buy as it's future proofed for 4k. I may reactivate my Netflix account for a month and use it for testing purposes at the weekend. Of course I also have the option of the TVs inbuilt apps for that anyway. I stopped using the tv for mainstream Catch up apps when I got the Roku 3, except for ITV Hub as I've subbed to the Hub+ to bypass the adverts, ITV Hub+ isn't available on either Roku or Now boxes.

 

I see you've also noticed a better Now TV picture from the Smart box compared with the Roku Plus (so it's not just my eyesight then) Smiley LOL

 

The Freeview channels aren't a biggie as I currently get them direct from the tv now anyway.

 

Decisions decisions, thanks for the extra things to look out for and mull over.

robert1997
Scholar 5

Re: Smart box or Roku 4k stick+

Hi again @schnapps

 

Just want to pick your brains. When you say, If you do go with the smart box then keep a lookout when these smart boxes drop around the £20 price point mark with either a bundled entertainment or cinema pass (don't go paying RRP), do you mean £20 box price + added pass price or do you mean the 'all in' price?.

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