09-22-11 - Roku - Amazon Streaming

Not quite ready for prime time. Setup was real easy, that's good. But some things aren't quite right.

(tangential rant : why in the fuck do you bastards still make those fucking plugs with the DC box built onto the plug so that it blocks other outlets !? god dammit, you must know that it fucking sucks and you just don't give a shit. I have to run extension cords just to get the big plugs spaced out away from the power strip or UPS because they would all run into each other). (oh, and you fuckers can't decide if you want to put the protuberance on the side of the plugs or below the plugs, so no matter which way the power strip orients the plugs, there will be some fucking device that doesn't work with it)

(oh, and I decided not to get a Roku a few days ago because I don't want to buy more electronic shit for no good reason, but then I went on the PS3 to watch some Netflix and got the fucking "a system software update is needed" AGAIN; of course the fucking morons can't check that before you get into the Netflix app, so then you have to reboot back out to the dashboard, and they can't just fucking start the update for you then, you have to manually go fucking dig all over the massive convoluted menu to find it; the week before they logged me out of PSN to force me to agree to some new license agreement; WTF WTF have you got no concept of user experience? why are you morons all so bad at taking my money? the fucking plumber won't return my calls, fucking PS3 has chased me right off their console, wtf wtf).

1. The remote sucks balls. It's like a Fischer Price My First Remote. The buttons feel horrible, really stiff and clunky, and they're way too far apart from each other, so you can't just use one thumb and move it around without straining. The whole ergonomics of it are just awful. It has too much weight in the bottom which makes it take extra muscle to balance. The ok button should be in the middle of the arrows. It should be hourglass shaped. Fucking copy the Tivo remote god dammit.

2. Navigation on the Roku is super super slow. Hit "home" and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. Okay, there it went. Of course it's better than going from PS3 Netflix to System Settings or something like that (which requires a reboot), and all these devices seem to be unreasonably slow (the god damn TiVo was always frustrating slow, especially because it was only slow because it was wasting time loading animations, fucking give me a "plain text" option so I can get god damn fast menus!). (* addendum : it seems to have sped itself up; maybe it was doing some background task? dunno; it's still not super fast but it's tolerable; some players seem to be faster than others, Amazon seems to be a particularly slow one).

3. Amazon streaming is just unusable. There's no "queue" type of thing where I can select a subset of stuff I want to watch from my computer, and then choose one of that subset from the Roku. This just makes the whole thing complete shit, because I'm not going to browse through a thousand titles with the fucking arrow buttons on the roku. Mouse and keyboard are good tools for browsing, fucking arrow buttons are not acceptable. (there is a sort of "queue" for things you purchase, just not for the free streaming stuff).

Oh well. Maybe if Amazon really does buy Netflix it will all be fixed.

What I really want is a premium subscription service to torrents. I'd like to pay $5 a month or something, and for that I get to choose what movies and TV shows I'd like, and some kid in Russia finds the best torrent for each movie and TV show and feeds them out to the subscribers. Obviously I can use EZRSS or something right now, but it's just flakey enough that I have to manage it by hand a lot, and I would pay to not have to do that.


Aaron said...

The roku remote: sorry, you were warned :)

Of my many Netflix devices (and those I've seen other people use), the 360 handles it the best. But then, you probably can't afford XBLGold with all your monies going into Porsche tires :). The 360 is not totally silent, though the new ones are about the same as the new PS3's... it'll only bug you before the movie starts.

That PS3 update was the one that said you can't sue Sony in a class action lawsuit if you accept it :)

I dunno about ezrss, but usenext is the shit. Not quite the coverage of torrents, but much more reliable, and you can dumpster dive for torrents in the odd case where you can't find something there.

billyzelsnack said...

These are handy way to solve the AC adapter issue.


cbloom said...

I literally got a cramp in my thumb from using it last night. (and "it" = roku remote you dirty bastard)

Blaine Allen Brown said...

I don't mean this to be rude, it's a legitimate question:

Why are you watching so many movies? The Netflix craze has gotten people watching more and more, but as far as I can tell most of the movies out there are of "Transformers" quality.

I like manually managing a torrent because it means I care about the film I'm about to consume. And it doesn't become tedious to me because I don't watch too many.

If you are watching something good, I'd like to know.

cbloom said...

There are lots of great movies in the world. Why are you watching such bad ones? And WTF else is there to do? Movies are 1000000X better than TV or the internet. They have the least brain-destructive properties of any electronic entertainment IMO.

A few recent successes :

The Paper Chase
Men Who Swim
Mrs Brown
The Proposition
The Pledge
To The Limit
Brokeback Mountain
The Long Good Friday
Thick as Thieves
The Flower of My Secret
Lucky Louie
Michael & Michael
Daniel Tosh
The Day of the Jackal
The Big Bad Swim
Kids Return
Golden Balls
Pumping Iron
Coup de Torchon
Rivers and Tides
Genghis Blues
Up the Yangtze
Bob le Flambeur
Open Hearts

cbloom said...

But you do have a point that maybe I don't need instant watch and should just go back to DVD service.

The main reason I started using instant watch was to watch the non-high-brow-stuff I secretly craved, when my DVD Queue was full of Ingmar Bergman boring depressing shite. So maybe if I just gave it up I would watch better things.

I dunno. You can't deny yourself a certain amount of low-brow entertainment.

nothings said...

Billyz's approach is good, but you can also get a powerstrip that's more tolerant of wall warts, like http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000JE9LD4

cbloom said...

Or, you know, they could not put the DC converter right on the plug. It's got to save them what, 5 cents?

BTW to be fair about the Roku, it is not bad at all for Netflix, way better than a console IMO, it's really Amazon that makes the Roku-Amazon pair unworkable.

nothings said...

I agree it's terrible. But you can make your experience less bad if you want.

Presumably the wall wart approaching is cheaper for manufacturers, but I don't know why.

Thatcher Ulrich said...

I dig the remote but I've never owned a Tivo. I've never tried the Amazon non-pay streaming so I wasn't aware of its suckage; sorry about that.

I think those for-pay torrent services do exist?

old rants