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Old 09-10-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
bacevedo
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Roku 3 with Play On vs Tivo Premiere

Does anyone here have any experience using a Roku 3 with Play On to watch network shows via the network's website?

We currently have 2 premieres; one for the main family room TV and one in our master bedroom. I am getting tired of paying Tivo $130 each for the annual plan when we only record a few shows. We mostly use them for Netflix and it's a subpar experience for that. It locks up and becomes unresponsive all of the time.

So I am thinking about replacing them with Roku 3s and Play On to stream the few OTA shows that we watch. This includes Amazing Race, Mentalist, Revolution, etc.

If you have used this set up before, how well does the Play On work with CBS shows on their site? Picture quality and sound quality acceptable? I don't need them to be perfect, but I don't want to feel like I am watching an amateur youtube video either. I have read great things about the Roku 3 but want to make sure I know what I am getting into before going through the hassle of switching everything out.

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Old 09-10-2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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Using a tivo only for netflix? Ouch. netflix for tivo premiere is a nice add-in but not a primary feature, especially with the issues the new app has had recently on the premiere.

Why not have more season passes, at least to give you more viewing options? Since you did not purchase lifetime service, probably a moot question at best. If you used the tivo more, I would point you to the new box, the roamio. I'm sure you'll get lots of replies on the Roku, many here have one alongside their tivo for the various apps.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:44 PM   #3
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Using a tivo only for netflix?
We used to record more and started using Netflix after we already had the Tivos.

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Originally Posted by jrtroo View Post
Why not have more season passes, at least to give you more viewing options?
I would record more if there was anything worth watching. We aren't the typical family that watches a lot of the crap on network TV. My kids watch their Disney stuff from Netflix and my wife and I watch a few shows. We watch Amazing Race as a family - we enjoy the challenges and travel locations.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
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I think Plex has a much better picture than PlayOn, but that may be because I now have Plex on a newish Mac and I used PlayOn on a windows pc from 2007. Plus you'd have to pay for PlayOn and Plex is free, but Plex apps for ios and android devices will cost a few dollars.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:26 PM   #5
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Does Plex work well? I looked into that, too, but read that it was finicky and the "plugins" didn't work like they say the do. I am highly technical, but I don't want to have to fiddle with it while my family just wants to sit down and watch TAR.

I know Play On will cost like $60, but I would rather spend the money and know that it will work. I am under the impression that Play On works well with the Roku and network website streaming.

It's either spend $260 ($130 annual for each Tivo) on Tivo again for service for a year or spend $260 on two Rokus and Play On and be done with spending more money just for the hardware.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:38 PM   #6
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You should get a one month subscription to PlayOn and try it using the free XBMC client running on the same PC that runs PlayOn, or on any other networked PC. There is also a free PlayOn client app for iPad. That is by far the best way to assess whether it satisfies you. They have a 30-day money back policy (see their FAQ's on www.playon.tv).

There is also a free pyTivo plugin that lests you push or pull PlayOn videos to your Tivo (which requires a free pyTivo installation of course).

PlayOn videos are not HD resolution although they look quite decent on my little 40" LCD flat panel TV. PlayOn uses the Internet Explorer engine to grab videos that would normally appear in your browser and serve them to a client.

PlayOn is an interesting product that is well done and well supported. But it can't give you any better video quality than what comes over the internet to a browser, and is subject to any download interruptions your system experiences.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:48 PM   #7
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Thanks dlfl, I was going to do their free trial and use my Sony Bravia TV's built in app to stream it and see how it goes before I get the Rokus.

I just wanted to know what other's experience was with this kind of set up before I spend the time trying it out myself. I know Play On can't improve the quality of the video it's served, I was just wondering how good that quality looks on a big screen TV.

As far as pyTivo. I did that a while back. I am pretty much done with trying to use the Tivo for anything other than recording OTA TV. Once I have Play On, there is really no need to ever record OTA TV, so the Tivo becomes pointless. I am hoping I can sell them and get a little bit back to offset the cost of the Rokus and Play On.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:44 PM   #8
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Some of the Plex plugins don't work very well at all, but I've never had a problem with the CBS or CW channels - the only network tv channels that I ever use on Plex.
I'd recommend trying the free option first. If it works to your liking great, If not, give PlayOn a try and see if it's any better for your needs.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:09 PM   #9
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Yeah plex is awesome. Plex + Netflix + Vudu is a pretty good combo - stream your own movies, stream from a movie library, or rent a movie. Plus there's Redbox Instant now, as well as Amazon Prime streaming. I think its pretty awesome
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:58 AM   #10
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Yea, I would definitely give PlayON a trial run. I have a lifetime subscription, but its from a few years ago and when they were much cheaper. I tried using PlayON to watch HBOGO go on an HDTV and the quality was horrible and there were issues. I emailed them about it and they claimed they could help tweek it, but I never pursued it & just wound up using HBOGO on a tablet that I got instead.

Now, this was a few years ago so maybe things have gotten better. I am sure it was also due to the PC I was using as it wasn't SUPER fast, but still only a few years old. I should actually try mine again since I have a newer PC and see if things improve.
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:51 PM   #11
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I wanted to post an update for anyone that reads this in the future.

I bought two Roku 3s from Costco (they even include an HDMI cable) and set them all up. I then installed Plex and installed some of the Plex channels (CBS, NBC, Youtube) and tested it all out.

First, the Roku 3s are amazing little devices. It's hard to believe something that small can deliver such great performance. It's fast and instantenous in the UI. Absolutely no lag whatsoever. Netflix fires up in a few seconds and begins streaming quickly. The difference compared to a Tivo is amazing.

Plex worked much better than I expected. It took me about 5 minutes to set up, add the Plex channels, and add the Plex channel to the Roku. Streaming from CBS for shows like The Mentalist and Amazing Race were quick and worked great. The picture quality was actually very good. You can tell the frame rate is kind of choppy sometimes, but perfectly acceptable for watching these shows.

I was thinking about keeping the Tivos without a subscription and using them as a digital VCR, but I see that Tivo has disabled all functionality without a subscription. That's ridiculous and is exactly the reason I am getting away from Tivo. I don't like having to pay a fee just to use a device I already bought and paid for. Off to craigslist these will go as soon as I have a few weeks of use on the Roku.

Edit: The only downside is that I now need to buy a new AV Receiver (looking at the Denon X2000) to replace my trusty Denon 3802. It doesn't have any HDMI inputs and can't process DD+ from Netflix and other streaming services. My Sony TV can pass through the signal over optical to the AVR, but it can't decode it so I have to downgrade everything to 2ch stereo. I didn't realize that the Tivo was either down-converting the DD+ or using a different stream that didn't include DD+.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:35 PM   #12
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Search for the Plex channel SS-Plex if you enjoy streaming shows.
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:27 PM   #13
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You should get a one month subscription to PlayOn and try it using the free XBMC client running on the same PC that runs PlayOn, or on any other networked PC. There is also a free PlayOn client app for iPad. That is by far the best way to assess whether it satisfies you. They have a 30-day money back policy (see their FAQ's on www.playon.tv).

There is also a free pyTivo plugin that lests you push or pull PlayOn videos to your Tivo (which requires a free pyTivo installation of course).

PlayOn videos are not HD resolution although they look quite decent on my little 40" LCD flat panel TV. PlayOn uses the Internet Explorer engine to grab videos that would normally appear in your browser and serve them to a client.

PlayOn is an interesting product that is well done and well supported. But it can't give you any better video quality than what comes over the internet to a browser, and is subject to any download interruptions your system experiences.
PlayOn still isn't in HD??

I've had it for a while and got the lifetime service deal when they gave a free ROku with it. But I haven't really used it since it's not HD. I figured by now they would have changed it to HD.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:07 AM   #14
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Yeah. I posted an inquiry on their forum about their FAQ stating that HD is in the works and they eventually provided a snarky reply.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:29 AM   #15
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Yeah. I posted an inquiry on their [PlayOn] forum about their FAQ stating that HD is in the works and they eventually provided a snarky reply.
It is disappointing that HD doesn't seem to be forthcoming. And they did take almost a month to respond to your inquiry post. In my experience this response delay isn't typical -- I suspect it was just an error. IMHO calling their response "snarky" is a little harsh. Here is a link to their response and others can make their own judgement about it:
http://www.playon.tv/forum/feedback/...#comment-36781
At least they say it could still happen.

There is a post on their forum from one user who states the current quality looks very close to 720 resolution on a 50 inch TV.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:45 AM   #16
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I wanted to post an update for anyone that reads this in the future.


I was thinking about keeping the Tivos without a subscription and using them as a digital VCR, but I see that Tivo has disabled all functionality without a subscription. That's ridiculous and is exactly the reason I am getting away from Tivo. I don't like having to pay a fee just to use a device I already bought and paid for. Off to craigslist these will go as soon as I have a few weeks of use on the Roku.

Edit: The only downside is that I now need to buy a new AV Receiver (looking at the Denon X2000) to replace my trusty Denon 3802. It doesn't have any HDMI inputs and can't process DD+ from Netflix and other streaming services. My Sony TV can pass through the signal over optical to the AVR, but it can't decode it so I have to downgrade everything to 2ch stereo. I didn't realize that the Tivo was either down-converting the DD+ or using a different stream that didn't include DD+.
I would appreciate any updates to this that you might feel comfortable providing. I'm currently on Premiere(s) (2 XL4s and a standard) and 2 minis - using FiOS. I've been thinking a lot about this and am leaning toward leaving Tivo and moving the same direction as you have. I'm very unhappy with the Premieres and the cost, and while the Roamio feature set seems a little better, I have zero interest in investing so much all over again. I'd like to get off the Tivo train.
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:02 AM   #17
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I bought PlayOn about 2 years ago and added it to my Roku channels, but I rarely use it.

I have to have the program open on the PC to have it work, which is a pain.

It often glitches and buffers. Picture quality is awful.

It just simply never worked very well.

I use my Tivo with lifetime now exclusively for current shows I want to watch. The ability to record shows is the biggest thing I missed when we gave up satellite TV. We aren't home a lot during prime time TV watching, so a Tivo with an antenna has been perfect.

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Old 09-24-2013, 07:28 AM   #18
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I wanted to post an update for anyone that reads this in the future.

I bought two Roku 3s from Costco (they even include an HDMI cable) and set them all up. I then installed Plex and installed some of the Plex channels (CBS, NBC, Youtube) and tested it all out.

First, the Roku 3s are amazing little devices. It's hard to believe something that small can deliver such great performance. It's fast and instantenous in the UI. Absolutely no lag whatsoever. Netflix fires up in a few seconds and begins streaming quickly. The difference compared to a Tivo is amazing.

Plex worked much better than I expected. It took me about 5 minutes to set up, add the Plex channels, and add the Plex channel to the Roku. Streaming from CBS for shows like The Mentalist and Amazing Race were quick and worked great. The picture quality was actually very good. You can tell the frame rate is kind of choppy sometimes, but perfectly acceptable for watching these shows.

I was thinking about keeping the Tivos without a subscription and using them as a digital VCR, but I see that Tivo has disabled all functionality without a subscription. That's ridiculous and is exactly the reason I am getting away from Tivo. I don't like having to pay a fee just to use a device I already bought and paid for. Off to craigslist these will go as soon as I have a few weeks of use on the Roku.

Edit: The only downside is that I now need to buy a new AV Receiver (looking at the Denon X2000) to replace my trusty Denon 3802. It doesn't have any HDMI inputs and can't process DD+ from Netflix and other streaming services. My Sony TV can pass through the signal over optical to the AVR, but it can't decode it so I have to downgrade everything to 2ch stereo. I didn't realize that the Tivo was either down-converting the DD+ or using a different stream that didn't include DD+.
Wish you lived closer so I could try to talk you into parting with that 3802 cheaply.

(the 3805 I lucked into for $65 kinda got drafted to make the system I set up for my mom sufficiently versatile.)

As for paying a fee to use a device you already paid for, technically you already paid for the hardware, it's just a license to use the software that the monthly fee covers.

Of course the hardware being dependent on the software to actually function as a TiVo is inconvenient if you don't have a sub.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:51 PM   #19
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It is disappointing that HD doesn't seem to be forthcoming. And they did take almost a month to respond to your inquiry post. In my experience this response delay isn't typical -- I suspect it was just an error. IMHO calling their response "snarky" is a little harsh.
I'm referring to his first response -- not the last one. He waits a month to respond and then only says to read the one year old thread? It was a dismissive reply to a customer, IMO. An apology for the delay and a brief update or what he said in the second response would have been more appropriate.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:12 PM   #20
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I'm referring to his first response -- not the last one. He waits a month to respond and then only says to read the one year old thread? It was a dismissive reply to a customer, IMO. An apology for the delay and a brief update or what he said in the second response would have been more appropriate.
Quote:
There is nothing else we can add to what has already been discussed here and in other threads. If you read through this thread you will be caught up with the most recent information.
Nothing Snarky about it at all, but your response to this was snarky.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:40 PM   #21
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Apparently PlayOn is still commited to providing HD per this recent post on their forum:
http://www.playon.tv/forum/help/inst...#comment-36924
That post also says they're working on something for Chromecast and that they don't plan to have a supported PC browser client. (XBMC can be used for that).

I've used PlayOn for 1.5 years now. It's not perfect but if you have major problems with video buffering and pauses it's probably not the PlayOn software at fault -- rather some problem with your PC, network, or internet.

While support via their forum can sometimes be hit-or-miss, they have a very effective support problem reporting system built into the software itself. You provide just a few details and the system sends that plus a detailed set of log information into their support system, creating a ticket. I don't think it's ever been more than a few hours before I've had a response using this.
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:56 PM   #22
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I would appreciate any updates to this that you might feel comfortable providing. I'm currently on Premiere(s) (2 XL4s and a standard) and 2 minis - using FiOS. I've been thinking a lot about this and am leaning toward leaving Tivo and moving the same direction as you have. I'm very unhappy with the Premieres and the cost, and while the Roamio feature set seems a little better, I have zero interest in investing so much all over again. I'd like to get off the Tivo train.
I have also purchased a lifetime Playon + PlayLater license to try it out for 30 days to compare to Plex. This week is the first week that everything will be put to the test because Amazing Race, Mentalist, and Revolution all just started back up. I still have the Tivos plugged in and recording as back up to make sure everything works before I ditch them.

Based on what I saw this weekend, it looks like the shows are put on the website the day after. So we won't ever be able to watch the night of the show unless we watch it live OTA. However, most of the time, we don't watch it that night anyway because we are busy and have to watch it later in the week. We'll see how much of an issue this is as the season progresses.

As for Playon, I was mostly dissapointed with it as compared to Plex. The picture quality isn't as good as Plex and it seems to be a resource hog on my PC when watching a show. I have a fairly powerful PC (a few years old, but an Intel core i7, 8GB RAM, Win 7 64 bit, high end graphics card, etc.) but Playon seems to burden it. Plex didn't seem to be as hard on it. The only positive for Playon is the much larger channel support, including regular Hulu.

After we watch our shows this week, I'll have more feedback on the Tivo cutting. So far though, my kids love the Roku. It's so fast, has great picture quality and let's them get to their Netflix shows quickly.

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Wish you lived closer so I could try to talk you into parting with that 3802 cheaply.

(the 3805 I lucked into for $65 kinda got drafted to make the system I set up for my mom sufficiently versatile.)

As for paying a fee to use a device you already paid for, technically you already paid for the hardware, it's just a license to use the software that the monthly fee covers.

Of course the hardware being dependent on the software to actually function as a TiVo is inconvenient if you don't have a sub.
I ended up getting the X2000 from Fry's (it was on sell last week for $499). I thought that was a great deal for a $650 receiver. I am very happy with the "upgrade". It's technically a downgrade in the Denon model line up, but the trickle down technology over the last 12 years has made it a huge upgrade for me. Plus, with Klipsch speakers, I wasn't using any of the power the 3802 had. The Audyssey XT really improved the sound and made setup a breeze. The X2000 is much shallower and lighter than the 3802. I forgot what a beast the 3802 was - the power supply is huge.

I have the 3802 listed on Craigslist for $150 (which I suspect is too high). No hits yet. I have learned to list it for a little higher than I really want for it so there is some haggle room. And sometimes you get a bite from the person who just gets it for your asking price right off the bat.

As for Tivo, yes, I get that I am paying their software licensing model fee, but in the end I don't care what it is - I don't want to keep paying monthly/yearly for something that I don't feel that I am getting a value out of. And no way am I paying $400 or $500 each for a lifetime fee. Technology moves too fast to invest that kind of money for something like this. If they offered up a $99 lifetime now that the Roamio is out, I would probably do that and keep them just for OTA recording and nothing else.

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Old 10-10-2013, 05:53 PM   #23
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It's official, the Tivos are out. I already factory reset one of them and will be listing on craigslist in the next few days. I'll probably do the other one in a day or so as well.

I got a refund for PlayOn. We tried to watch a Hulu show through it and it was painful, presenting 2+ minute commercials for every break that you couldn't fast forward through. And the worst thing is that they were mostly the same commercials. How effective is that to see the same annoying commercial over and over?

The picture quality on our 52" and 55" TVs were not up to par as compared to Plex, either. The other thing that is weird is that it was obivous it was just passing through the IE window to our TV. When the show first started it was showing the player controls like I was watching in the browser. Also, it didn't really know how much time was left in the show. It always showed 00 of 00 minutes. How they think they can charge that kind of money for that poor implementation is crazy.

Another thing I didn't realize is that my TVs have built in TV Guide in them and can display a lot of info about the show that's airing. We won't really miss the Tivos and their fees!
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:24 PM   #24
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The picture quality on our 52" and 55" TVs were not up to par as compared to Plex, either. The other thing that is weird is that it was obivous it was just passing through the IE window to our TV. When the show first started it was showing the player controls like I was watching in the browser. Also, it didn't really know how much time was left in the show.
Google for and install the SS-Plex channel. I think you will be very happy with it.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:36 PM   #25
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Google for and install the SS-Plex channel. I think you will be very happy with it.
I tried doing that earlier (when you first suggested it) but it didn't work. It wasn't showing up in my plex channels. I am thinking that maybe I needed to uncheck the compatibility setting. I recently had to do that to get the ABC channel to show up.

I'll try installing it again this weekend to see if I can get it to work.
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:26 PM   #26
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I tried doing that earlier (when you first suggested it) but it didn't work. It wasn't showing up in my plex channels. I am thinking that maybe I needed to uncheck the compatibility setting. I recently had to do that to get the ABC channel to show up. I'll try installing it again this weekend to see if I can get it to work.
Sorry for repeating. I find that channel one of the best ones on Plex and use it extensively on my Rokus and Apple TV (via Airplay).

It is frustrating when channels don't show up. I'm having a similar problem with TiVo.Bundle not showing up. The compatibility setting is checked (disabled) in my settings.
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:50 PM   #27
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So I installed the channel. My issue is that I was installing it in the wrong folder. Once I found the real plug in folder and dropped it there, it showed up.

But now I can't seem to get it to play any video. I tried White Collar. It found the video, but then it can't seem to play it on my Roku. At the same time, my anti-virus on my PC alerted me to a block for billionuploads.com, which was one of the sources SS Plex was trying to hit.

So I am a little leery at the moment of what this plug in is actually doing.

Did you have to do anything else to get video to play? I literally just downloaded the bundle and dropped it in the plug in folder. Any settings that need to be changed?

I know this isn't the SS Plex support forum, so if you don't have any quick tips I'll take my questions elsewhere.
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:49 AM   #28
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Roku 3 with Play On vs Tivo Premiere

SS-Plex wasn't working for anyone for a few days. There is a newer version that must be renamed -- remove the "stable" in the file name, install, and restart Plex. You can read more about it in the Plex forum.

There is also a newer version of Plex Media Server which may have be the reason the TiVo channel didn't want to show up for me. PMS "check for updates" told me that I had the latest but I didn't.
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Old 11-29-2013, 06:42 AM   #29
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Since it's been discussed in this thread, I note that PlayOn now can stream HD:
http://www.playon.tv/features/hd
It's currently an option that costs a few bucks, and it seems to work. It will provide up to 1280x720p provided (1) the source has more than SD resolution and (2) the PlayOn client device supports more than SD.
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Old 11-29-2013, 11:38 AM   #30
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Thanks dlfl. $8 for the upgrade isn't too bad.
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