drgeoff wrote:It uses the same CPU/GPU as the RPi
Was that actually confirmed? I know there are teardown photos of it and it was speculated that it was the same Broadcom chip, but I don't see how they can confirm that from looking at a BGA package-on-package when the only spec you're seeing is on the memory chip... Granted, it probably is the BCM2835, but I don't know if anyone has actually confirmed that.
drgeoff wrote:but the firmware only supports 60Hz field rate. That has two potential drawbacks.
1. Although most, perhaps even all HDMI equipped TVs can handle 60Hz, if you want to use the composite video out to an older TV you will discover that the signal is NTSC not PAL. Many older TVs will display colour when fed PAL60 but only black and white when fed NTSC.
2. Even if your TV is OK with 60 Hz video, much of the content from the NOW TV box was shot at 50 Hz. Motion, especially panning shots and scrolling credits, is not smooth.
An HDMI connected display must support HDCP, else you get a purple screen where you should see video. (Yes there is Macrovision on the analogue video out too.)
The Now TV does not have composite video; it's HDMI or nothing. The Roku models it's based on do have composite, but that's been stripped out of the Now TV implementation (presumably to slim down the BOM and reduce cost).
Just bear in mind that these are designed to stream content to a TV, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a commercial TV with a HDMI socket that doesn't
support HDCP. Plus, not even 24p bluray displayed at 24p is "smooth" - you still get tearing and judder in panning shots. You can largely blame the "movie industry" sticking to an antiquated framerate for that...
drgeoff wrote:AFAIK the NOW TV box (and the Roku LT from which it is derived) do not support MPEG-2 video decoding.
Nope, but Plex Media Server can transcode to a compatible format.
drgeoff wrote:The NOW TV box does not have the full set of channels available in the Roku channel store.
I know, I said that
blc wrote:The "app store" is a heavily cut-down version of the Roku app store, and doesn't offer all of the normal Roku apps.
drgeoff wrote:The NOW TV box (even with the PLEX app sideloaded) is unable to play content from UPnP/DLNA media servers.
That's not a loss for me, to be honest. I have a UPnP/DLNA media client built in to my TV and even if the interface was better, it still doesn't offer half the features that Plex Media Server does (metadata, thumbnails, background theme music, etc). PMS is just a nicer experience, as is XBMC.
drgeoff wrote:There is no guarantee that Sky will not remove (via a firmware upgrade) the "developer mode" needed to install PLEX.
Indeed, but at a tenner I was willing to take a punt on developer mode being disabled by the time I got it!
. Developer mode, from what I understand, is a pretty standard feature of the base Roku software; of course there's always the chance that it'll be locked out, but that's also part of the reason I'm considering one of the "full fat" Roku boxes... (that, 1080p and Direct Play in PMS...)
drgeoff wrote:So yes, a nice little ready to use box for £10* but not as flexible as an RPi.
I said that, too
blc wrote:Not to denigrate the Pi in any way - the Pi can also function as a dedicated Plex client, play videos directly, and do so much more than just play videos
I'm not trying to say that this is a "Pi-killer", and never meant it to sound that way (this is the "Off Topic" section after all). But this thing costs a tenner and - unless the functionality is disabled - offers a relatively easy way to get your content off your computer and on to your TV. It may not satisfy an avid Home Cinema "purist" but it's a tenner
- I can easily spend that much every day just buying lunch & tea/coffee at work!
If you ask me, more competition can only be a good thing - especially at these sort of prices. First we had the Raspberry Pi at $25, which does an excellent job as a media centre; more recently we have the Chromecast at $35, which admittedly has limited applications; and now we have the Now TV box at £10. What's not to like?!