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Prefab HTPC reviews

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm looking at getting away from DirecTV as my family entertainment source and going to something like a Matricom G-Box Midnight MX2 or Roku 3. My problem is that when I do a google search, the sites review any of a number of such devices but none seem to do any comparisons. I get that Midnight MX2 is an Android box and that Roku is a proprietary UI box, I also understand the hardware and playback specs of each, but what I want is an unbiased site doing side-by-side reviews comparing any number of such HTPC boxes.

I want to see something more than good advertising (Roku) or something that looks good on the internet (Midnight MX2), kinda like how AnandTech does comparison reviews of similar computer hardware components. Are there any such sites out there or am I just out of luck and have to filter through user reviews (Amazon, Newegg, etc...) to figure it out? Thanks in advance guys & gals, any help is greatly appreciated.
Edited by LoneWolf3574 - 8/25/13 at 7:33pm
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ASUS ROG G74SX-A1
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Intel Core i7 G74Sx NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M  Corsair VENGEANCE 
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It's Classified
(17 items)
 
ASUS ROG G74SX-A1
(15 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 G74Sx NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M  Corsair VENGEANCE 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
Corsair Force Series GT Seagate BD Combo Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
17.3" 1920x1080 Integrated Chicklet 150W Brick ASUS G74SX 
MouseMouse PadAudio
ASUS Gaming Mouse Corsair Integrated 
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post #2 of 5
I totally identify with what you were saying about websites and how they write reviews about products. I get the impression that a lot of websites don't even use the products that they review and just look at press releases. This would be why the G box reviews just talk about the fact that the product runs android without saying anything about it. I have both products and I will give you my feelings on them. The two products are as different as apples and oranges. The strength of G box MX2 is that it does a pretty good job of running XBMC. It does not run XBMC as well as dedicated personal computer.but most apps work very well. I have never been able to get Hulu to work on the GBOX though. If you want to pirate content essentially using XBMC with all of its amazing extensions the GBOX is not a bad investment for a hundred dollars. Once you change the settings for how the controls work the controller/ remote works perfectly well as far as hunting and pecking with the keyboard function and there are apparently many compatible keyboard you can by includingbthe air mouse. I have not been impressed with the rest of the apps on the GBox because it is set up as though you're using a cell phone. This is opposed to the actual Google TV platform that's available with other products. If we could use a TV screen as a touchscreens all would be fine but apps like Hulu plus and many other media apps obviously are meant to be used with cell phones because there is no functionality for the controller itself as far as selecting things. Now and then you can find an app originally produced for Google TV but a lot of them are incompatible with the GBOX.
post #3 of 5
As far as set top boxes the Roku three is the best product out there as far as streaming legal content. I'm sure you're familiar with the fact that it has many many apps available in it's App Store. There also so many third-party developers that make apps that fill in the blanks that the official App Store does not take care of. There is a very good Plex app available for Roku across all platforms and the Roku three runs this very smoothly. Movies and TV shows on Plex start within a minute as long as you have a stable strong PC to run the server on. The PlayOn app, which costs about 50 dollars for a lifetime service license is another server based third party app is also a strong addition that increases the range of choices exponentially. PlayOn has third party extensions for project free TV the one channel and many of the sorts of things that are popular on XBMC. If you enjoy Netflix and Hulu and mainstream sources in general as major points for streaming entertainment the Roku three will do you better because XBMC on the Gbox does not run Netflix nor Hulu on the GBOX unless you set it up to run PlayOn. All of these third party extensions are easy to find with a simple search.

I hope this information was helpful for you. I will be launching a site very soon that will address the kinds of things that frustrated you about review sites up to this point.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hmm, based on that, it sounds as if the Midnight XM2 might be something more for if/when I get a little more ambitious and the Roku 3 would be a better introduction to "cutting the wire" for me right now. I'm still looking at more individual reviews over the past day and it was turning into a tossup between those two. I'm not usually one for proprietary equipment, it has been my experience in the past that it can be good in the short term, but it can make for a major nuisance in the long run.
Edited by LoneWolf3574 - 8/26/13 at 12:58pm
It's Classified
(17 items)
 
ASUS ROG G74SX-A1
(15 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 G74Sx NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M  Corsair VENGEANCE 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
Corsair Force Series GT Seagate BD Combo Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
17.3" 1920x1080 Integrated Chicklet 150W Brick ASUS G74SX 
MouseMouse PadAudio
ASUS Gaming Mouse Corsair Integrated 
  hide details  
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It's Classified
(17 items)
 
ASUS ROG G74SX-A1
(15 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 G74Sx NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M  Corsair VENGEANCE 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
Corsair Force Series GT Seagate BD Combo Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
17.3" 1920x1080 Integrated Chicklet 150W Brick ASUS G74SX 
MouseMouse PadAudio
ASUS Gaming Mouse Corsair Integrated 
  hide details  
Reply
post #5 of 5
Roku 3 is a great device to start off with if you cut the cord. If you are able to add Plex to a computer server that accesses the Roku you might not ever see the need to run anything else. If you do get a Roku. 3 make sure to look up how to install video buzz. It is a version of YouTube available for Roku which is very helpful because at the moment there is not an official YouTube app.
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