Need massive help deciding between ATV, Roku3, WDTV!
I'll try to keep this short and sweet. I'm looking at getting one of the aforementioned boxes for a family member for Christmas. I want them to be able to primarily access US Netflix, and stream files from their home computer. I'm aware that I'll probably need to set up a DNS for them to access the international content (unblock us seems to be the most popular), but I want it so that after I've set everything all up, there's a minimal amount of messing around they have to do to keep things working.
From the massive amounts of reading that I've been doing, it seems to me the the Roku3 is probably the best option, using DNS services to get US Netflix, and Plex to stream files from their home computer. Will that work fine? Will the computer and the Roku be able to see each other on the network after altering the network settings to get US Netflix? I'm completely new to all the set top boxes, so I was hoping for a little advice from all you experts here!
If the recipient's home computer media content is all in their iTunes library then go with the ATV. If it's not, then the Roku3.
Also, you didn't mention it in your criteria but do they want to rent, purchase movies online? In which case iTunes via the ATV is probably the easiest way to do it in Canada. For the Roku3 you'll need to subscribe to a US service that is compatible with a DNS trick.
Whether or not you use a DNS trick will not effect the boxes ability to see other internal devices/computers.
Bottom line: the decision on which box probably comes down to "iTunes or no iTunes"?
Although I'm not a huge fan of Apple products the ability to change the DNS on the Apple TV box rather than having to do it on the router, which you would with a Roku, would make me recommend the Apple TV.
I have the Apple TV 2 and Roku3 (actually I have 3 Apple TV's and 2 Roku's) and I would suggest the Roku3 as an overall solution. Reasons for the Roku3:
1. Works with Plex (free), you can access virtually any movie format from your PC/Mac;
2. The Roku 2/3 has hundreds on plug-ins available, the Apple TV has no app store;
3. The Roku3 remote has nice features such as the headphone jack which automatically mutes the TV;
4. No need to use iTunes ( I hate iTunes) to access photo's and music using PLEX.
Reasons for the Apple TV:
1. You can rent movies easily;
2. You can Airplay to the Apple TV.
I used to be a big Windows user, but now have a mac Mini and lots of iPads/iPhones. Plex runs on these platforms as well. It even has an app for my Samsung TV so no media box is even needed!
I use unblock-us at the router level (one time config). I have access to US/British Netflix and I also set up HuluPlus on either box.
Having both, I rarely use my Apple TV's but use my Roku 2/3 every day.
Yes you can get a US DNS but Unblock-Us and UnoTelly (I think) allow to change the Netflix region so you can access the entire global catalogue as there is a lot of stuff on other countries that are not available on the US or Canadian Netflix.