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View Full Version : Why is Slim better than Roku?



BrentlyL
2005-10-26, 23:30
Hello everyone. I'd like to hear some reasons this Slim device is better or different than the Roku device. It sure looks and sounds similar. I personally use an Audiotron and a Roku but am always looking for something better.

My perfect device would do internet radio flawlessly (I think the Audiotron does this well) and would be able to output a display on my TV so I wouldn't have to walk up to the device all the time. Most of these devices to a decent job streaming tunes off the PC, my real interest is Internet radio.

THANKS

seanadams
2005-10-26, 23:37
Hello everyone. I'd like to hear some reasons this Slim device is better or different than the Roku device. It sure looks and sounds similar. I personally use an Audiotron and a Roku but am always looking for something better.

My perfect device would do internet radio flawlessly (I think the Audiotron does this well) and would be able to output a display on my TV so I wouldn't have to walk up to the device all the time. Most of these devices to a decent job streaming tunes off the PC, my real interest is Internet radio.

THANKS

Sweet Jesus - where to start here?...

I'll step aside here and let the community speak.

JJZolx
2005-10-26, 23:57
Sweet Jesus - where to start here?...

I'll step aside here and let the community speak.
Well, I imagine you're the only person who can address his ideal device that uses TV for the display and whether that's ever likely for Squeezebox or a related product from Slim Devices.

TV video also strikes me as the preferred display method for a consumer audio device, but I'm having a particularly hard time lately figuring out whether the Squeezebox is targeted for the consumer market. It also doesn't appear to be aimed at the audiophile market, although you've obviously recognized the appeal and I think it's found a niche there.

Bruce Hartley
2005-10-26, 23:58
I'll chime in first with a few things I've absorbed by hanging around here.

advantages of Squeezebox...........

1. Strong community support - you have a problem or a bug, it will be fixed fast, you want a new feature, if it's a good idea it will be written fast

2. Open Source - If the community won't write what you want you can write it yourself

3. Superior audio circuitry, I'll let the audiophiles speak here but I think it is just "better"

4. native support for FLAC (lossless) don't think the Roku does?

5. .....................

kdf
2005-10-27, 00:17
On 26-Oct-05, at 11:37 PM, seanadams wrote:

>
> BrentlyL Wrote:
>> Hello everyone. I'd like to hear some reasons this Slim device is
>> better or different than the Roku device. It sure looks and sounds
>> similar. I personally use an Audiotron and a Roku but am always
>> looking for something better.
>>
offhand:
higher display resolution vs M1000 in similar footprint.
native FLAC support
open source software that gets updated daily
works properly with SlimServer (the above open source software), with
bitmapped display.
802.11G support (last I checked, roku ships 802.11b)
IR blasting support via the 'headphone' jack.
replaygain (automatic volume adjustment) support
access to Squeezenetwork for internet radio and favourites management
(no need for a pc running a server)

-k

Fifer
2005-10-27, 00:25
TV video also strikes me as the preferred display method for a consumer audio device
I have to disagree. Why would I want to turn the TV on just to listen to music? It seems like an awfully clumsy solution to have to switch on an extra device then mute it or turn down the volume, wasting all the energy that the TV consumes just to do something that the SB does fairly elegantly already?

Adding to the list:

Plug-ins
Acts as a wireless bridge
Softsqueeze

tass
2005-10-27, 00:39
SqueezeNetwork - whereby you don't need to leave your computer on to listen to internet radio and you still get an elegant and easy to navigate list of said radio stations.

Wake On Lan - turn your computer on via the remote control (for when you want to do more than listen to internet radio!)

WPA and WPA2 wireless encryption - this is one of the major things that sold me on it over things like the Roku as I HATE devices that only support WEP.

As for TV display support, I don't believe it is much of a benefit. The display on the SqueezeBox can be read from several meters away on it's largest font, and if you really want a TV type display you can always use the web page interface.

tass
2005-10-27, 00:43
Oh, and to add...
What do you mean by flawless internet radio???

The squeezebox can play all (in my experience) MP3, WMA and FLAC streams and most of these without even needing your computer on - and as long as your internet connection can handle it they will play flawlessly.

You won't be disappointed

JJZolx
2005-10-27, 00:47
I have to disagree. Why would I want to turn the TV on just to listen to music? It seems like an awfully clumsy solution to have to switch on an extra device then mute it or turn down the volume, wasting all the energy that the TV consumes just to do something that the SB does fairly elegantly already?
I wouldn't, and you wouldn't, but many people would. I'd venture that there are very few people using network attached music players that aren't hooking them up to their multi-channel home theater receiver connected to a TV. Devices like the Roku PhotoBridge are a logical extension of that setup. It probably plays all the music and has all the music playback features that 99% of consumers care about, plus gives the ability to view photos on the TV. Other devices do digital video. With such a device it would make little sense to use anything other than the television for the user interface output.

snarlydwarf
2005-10-27, 01:08
Why would I want to turn the TV on just to listen to music?

I'm often sprawled on the couch playing FFXI on the PS2... with the SB2 providing music....

The -last- thing I'd want to do would be have to switch video inputs from the ps2 to something else to choose a new album...

Mandatory things for me that SB has that Roku doesn't:

. works on Linux (so the server is a box sitting in a closet that I don't even have a monitor or keyboard plugged into... a state of the art machine.. in 1998, now recycled into a music server).

. plugins. The new-and-improved Random Play plugin is why I moved to the betas and should be a reason people move to 6.2. Add in cool things like SlimScrobbler and LastFM. MusicInfoSCR is also on my list. And WebLogger. And RSS feeds....

. the opensource nature of development. Got a bug, got a "you know this would be cool..." you can say it and get an answer. Look at threads here about the LastFM plugin and RandomPlay for the past few weeks and see how 'it would be neat if...' comments became code. You don't have to be a coder: just have to have an idea that someone who knows Perl and SlimServe thinks is cool.

This leads to all sorts of nifty features like having multiple SB's that are either distinct or sync'd. (Or with playlists that you can migrate from one to the other...) Using the SB for an alarm clock (waking me to the 'Ambient' playlist 20 minutes before my alarm-clock-from-hell starts the "get your butt outta bed" annoying alarm), stupid-computer-tricks to update a web page with whatever I'm listening to, and an RSS news ticker that I actually look at sometimes.

(At some point I'm going to figure out how to set up a proxy for IM's so that incoming IM's send a notice to the SB's since I'm often nowhere near a PC, but within sight of the SB. If only I could invoke programs from Trillian on 'events'... but then I'd have to deal with Windows code..)

Add in: 802.11b is icky. WEP is icky and easy to compromise. Any hardware that refuses to do WPA shouldn't be doing wireless. The SB does 802.11g and WPA/WPA2.

MrC
2005-10-27, 01:20
Hello everyone. I'd like to hear some reasons this Slim device is better or different than the Roku device. It sure looks and sounds similar. I personally use an Audiotron and a Roku but am always looking for something better.

My perfect device would do internet radio flawlessly (I think the Audiotron does this well) and would be able to output a display on my TV so I wouldn't have to walk up to the device all the time. Most of these devices to a decent job streaming tunes off the PC, my real interest is Internet radio.


If all you're doing is listening to 64k or 128k inet-radio stations, I suppose there won't be too much difference to your ears in any of these devices. For that matter, your PC and its sound card will be fine too.

But if you want much, much more, try downloading the slimserver software and use the SoftSqueeze player to get a feel for the server and interface. Then get yourself an SqueezeBox and enjoy.

sleepysurf
2005-10-27, 03:08
While the Roku may be "good," the Squeezebox is "phenomenal." Although aimed at the mass market, the Squeezebox incorporates audiophile sensibilities, which continually push the envelope on how incredible digital audio streaming can sound. A great example of Slim's responsiveness to community suggestions is the newly implemented "Preamp Volume Control" option, which allows "audiophiles" to feed the Squeezebox directly to their amp. IMHO, this single option has elevated the Squeezebox to new heights. Every time I listen to my music now, I worship Sean, and the entire Slim Community!

audiofi
2005-10-27, 03:16
As someone who both used to own and sell Roku's, I noticed some huge advantages the squeezebox has:

1) It sounds better, the Roku needed a DAC
2) Wireless G support
3) VU Meters (I had one customer almost place an order there and then when I switched them on!!)
4) Web interface, this is something the Roku needed but when I stopped stocking it still didn't have. The ability to control it from any PC or PDA on the network is very useful!
5) Search facility, the lack of extra buttons on the remote made it more difficult to find tracks when using the browse facility.
6) Reliability - my Roku had a display fail which seemed to be fairly common when I looked on the forum. The replacement was then missing the wifi card so I had to send it back (they wouldn't send me a card!). It took me over two weeks to finally get a new one.


Andrew

bernt
2005-10-27, 03:25
I've been hanging around both Slimdevices and Rokulabs forums for a couple of month and research the webb for similair products to get the best thing for the money.

And the winner is Squeezebox3. I ordered two today. :)

Native support for FLAC.
802.11G support.
Sync between players.
Alarm
RSS
Squeezenetwork
NO NEED FOR A TV.
and....
and....
and...
Rock solid server software.
and...
Streaming over internet.(Is that possible with a upnp server?)
and...
Well, back to work.

Paul Webster
2005-10-27, 05:04
I have gone similar route - Audiotron has been relegated to spare bedroom (noisy power supply meant that if I woke up on a quiet night I couldn't get back to sleep because I heard a low buzzing - and turning it off and on every day was annoying).
I looked all around - and even played with a Mediatron before they pulled the plug.
I did consider the Roku kit - but at the time I thought they were slipping shipment dates and didn't seem to have such an active community or believable roadmap.
Things have moved on.
I now have 2 SB2 - and am happy - especially as I can run the SlimServer on my NAS box which then allow the old server PC to be powered off at night (the new firware with wake-on-lan support is interesting though - but I doubt I'll go back now unless the NAS box becomes too slow as the music collection grows).

Here is something that was developed by someone in the Roku community.

I'm not saying that it removes many of the differences highlighted in earlier posts - but it does show how SlimServer 6 can "look".
It has its limitations (listed on the page).
http://www.permanence.com/SlimRoku/

Seems a shame to me that the communities seem to be working in an isolated fashion.

On the plus side for Roku -

Price

They have uPnP built-in - implying uPnP application software can drive it. Not an issue if SlimServer does all that you need and want.

Basic web interface out of the box - plus 3rd-party web interface and sync software that uses uPnP - freeware with source (Java) http://www.cidero.com/

They have server-less internet radio - but I think I read somewhere that it is just 15 stations that can be stored. I got the impression from a feature request post that they initiated that they plan to offer a SqueezeNetwork like facility.

For internet radio (without TV out) they say that they have a new device coming out - big picture on their web site. Looks like an old fashioned radio. Indeed it has AM/FM as well.
http://www.rokulabs.com/products/soundbridge/SoundbridgeRadio/index.php

From "their" community
http://www.rokulabs.com//forums/viewtopic.php?t=4150
and
http://www.rokulabs.com//forums/viewtopic.php?t=4116

clumsyoik
2005-10-29, 04:41
My perfect device [...] would be able to output a display on my TV so I wouldn't have to walk up to the device all the time.
THANKS

The SB2 has a fantastic display, and can be read from across the room. You won't need to walk up to it.

Also, I can hear when a TV is on - a very high pitched whine, annoying enough that I can't listen to music with a TV on (tried it with a Hauppauge MVP)

eq72521
2005-10-29, 20:26
The SB2 has a fantastic display, and can be read from across the room. You won't need to walk up to it.

Also, I can hear when a TV is on - a very high pitched whine, annoying enough that I can't listen to music with a TV on (tried it with a Hauppauge MVP)

Consider yourself lucky. I have a late 90s 19" Philips television that I can hear when it's *off*.

Michaelwagner
2005-10-29, 21:00
Consider yourself lucky. I have a late 90s 19" Philips television that I can hear when it's *off*.What on earth is happening in the audible range when it's off? The usual thing to hear in an on TV is the flyback transformer (I hear them too ... drives me nuts. I'm the only one in the house who hears it, tho ... so I get voted down all the time). But all they need to keep running on an off TV is enough electronics to listen for the IR signals, and that's all IR frequency. Surely you can't hear that! Or are you hearing power supply harmonics? Chopper power supply, perhaps?

mikerob
2005-10-30, 02:12
Looks are subjective but when I compared the SB3 and Roku products on nearby stands at a show, I thought the SB3 looked much better than the Rokus and the larger Roku in particular (don't know the model names) was far too big.

The display on the larger Roku was less legible than the SB3 because of the SB3's higher resolution and the smaller Roku was a lot less legible because of the size and resolution

eq72521
2005-10-31, 08:44
What on earth is happening in the audible range when it's off? The usual thing to hear in an on TV is the flyback transformer (I hear them too ... drives me nuts. I'm the only one in the house who hears it, tho ... so I get voted down all the time). But all they need to keep running on an off TV is enough electronics to listen for the IR signals, and that's all IR frequency. Surely you can't hear that! Or are you hearing power supply harmonics? Chopper power supply, perhaps?

I don't work around that kind of stuff and don't have the experience to be certain. It could be a cheap power supply that hums. I'm also the only one in the house that can hear it. I have it (and the associated VCR and DVD player) on a switched power strip and just turn off the power at that point when its not in use, which has the added benefit of removing the phantom load.

ModelCitizen
2005-10-31, 09:57
My perfect device would do internet radio flawlessly (I think the Audiotron does this well) and would be able to output a display on my TV so I wouldn't have to walk up to the device all the time. Most of these devices to a decent job streaming tunes off the PC, my real interest is Internet radio.THANKS
Surely using the SqueezeBox remote means you don't have to walk up to the device all the time? Oddly my remote seems to work even when the Squeezebox is facing in the other direction (how?).

As for TV...
I don't know which country you're in but I'm in the UK and we have Freeview digital TV (so does at least France it seems). In 2008 (I think) the analogue TV signal is ceasing and for those that are not interested in cable or satelite TV there are very cheap Freeview TV boxes (under 40 UK Pounds). I bought an iPlayer (although it might now be called a NetBox) from Netgem - http://www.netgem.com/EN/index.php. The software is based on a Linux OS and includes a USB 1.1 port and drivers for (at least) the most popular 11gb wireless adaptors (I use a Belkin). It's a long time (over a year) since I looked at their web site and it seems a lot has changed so maybe more is supported now (54?).
It comes with a wireless keyboard. I made SlimServer my home page and used a simple SlimServer skin (can't remember which one now, but then someone has adapted a skin especially for the Netgem).
There's a forum here: http://forum.netgem.com/

The TV/SlimServer display with all the album covers etc is nice and quite impressive... but I use the remote much more as I find it much quicker and easier to use than a wireless keyboard stuck on my knees or the arm of the sofa. And even with my dodgy eyes the display is easy to read from across the room.

Overall I think the Squeezebox/Roku decision is a bit of a no-brainer, Netgem NetBox notwithstanding.... as long as the extra 100 UK Pounds does not hurt!

MC