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Discussion Starter #1
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! :)
 

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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"?
 

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What are "regular formats"?

Anyway, I'd tend to agree with the Apple TV recommendation unless you want to play a specific format that the Apple TV doesn't support, which brings me back to the above question.
 

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Yeah, looks like you would need to set the DNS on the router for the Roku.

But I can vote for the simplicity, of the PLEX server back end for file access.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Haha, by 'regular formats' I just mean ones that aren't strictly required by iTunes to stream properly, so all the most common formats/codecs that you see around the interwebs.

But by the sounds of it, Roku is the clear winner anyway. I'm glad that the DNS stuff wont interfere with Plex!
 

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on my roku with un-blockus I didn't have to touch my router at all unblockus did it all
So you were able to change your DNS settings on the Roku itself? The setup instructions on Unblock-Us indicate that Roku's do not allow you to change the DNS and so it has to be done on the router.
 

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I use the WD TV Live box, very happy with it. For US netflix - just a matter of changing the DNS on the WD TV box manually (no unblock us subscription required).

The WD TV box has been able to play every format I have tried streaming direct from computer or USB. We also ended up taking the WD Box in our RV - to direct play movies via the USB port.

Not sure about the Roku - but we have also used the WD box to stream directly from Android phones via DLNA (Skifka app).
 

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dabell said:
just a matter of changing the DNS on the WD TV box manually (no unblock us subscription required).
Can you explain how this works? If you're not subscribing to unblock-us, why are you changing the DNS servers from whatever got DHCP'd in the first place?
 

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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.
 

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Installed what, where? Unblock is not something you install on a Roku, you can install an app on your PC but that just changes the DNS on the PC. To configure Unblock-Us on a device you simply change the DNS to their settings, which is something you cannot do on a Roku as it doesn't allow you to change those settings.
 

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You have to change it in your router. If you have telus where you cannot change it in their supplied router then you need to add your own router behind it, change the DNS settings in it, and have the roku connect to that.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
 

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audacity - do a google search for US netflix Canada DNS - will show latest batches of working dns. Right now have 109.123.111.24 on my WD box /xbox - give US netflix.

(side note - if using a computer , use Google Chrome and install mediahint entension - enables netflix.com )
 

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If you aren’t going the iTunes route then go the WDTV Live - all you have to do is share the Media or Windows drive on the network and the WDTV will pick it up - it works beautifully with no other software involved.

I have the Apple TV with iTunes and WDTV Live with my Linux and Windows machines - they all work flawlessly!
 

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Serviio I have found to be a nice addition for my media sharing, sometimes WMP would be slow in picking up new files. Serviio is a nice add on to choose the type of media and how it shows - can be by name, folder, director, year, etc, etc.

The WDTV live can be a little slow to respond to the remote sometimes but overall I am very happy with this device. Recent firmware update added a bunch more apps as well for music, news, tv, music as well - some subscription, some free.
 
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