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Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: p8712
Date: June 08, 2013 09:16PM
So, I bit on the $55 Roku XS Deal. I like it, but I'm wondering if there's any way to directory connect it to My iMac, which acts as a plex server? I can use plex over my wireless network just fine, but I only have a G router (it has a huge antenna with nice reception, and I have no funds to upgrade to N) so I can't really play HD content at all, which is what I want.

Is it true that the Roku has to connect through a router, instead of directly to a server? Even though internet access is being shared. I've used the imac with network sharing (from Airport to Ethernet) many times, with many devices, and it's always worked w/o issue. If I can't get it to work, it's kind of a dealbreaker.
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: June 08, 2013 11:05PM
it should work.



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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: silvarios
Date: June 09, 2013 07:54AM
How many devices are you trying to stream HD video to at the same time. Seems like even 802.11g could be enough bandwidth.

I think Amazon Prime was only using something like 2500kbps for their HD. Sure, local HD files could be bigger, but you can get the bandwidth down by compressing the video after you rip it. At least down to 8Mbps possibly less, depending on the settings used. Assuming your iMac and Roku are both using WiFi, the effective bandwith for each device might be 10 Mbps, right? Since whether this works depends on the quality of your HD content. What's the bit rate on those files?

Oh yeah, don't forget Plex can trancode your files to fit them into your bandwidth allowances. Also, the Plex client on the Roku defaults to 3.0 or 4.0 Mbps anyway, so you might want to try bumping that setting up. Food for thought, the maximum setting is still far lower than a straight MKV of the Blu-ray disc.

Remember it's early enough in the morning that my brain could still be half asleep. Your mileage may vary.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2013 07:59AM by silvarios.
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: TheTominator
Date: June 09, 2013 08:10AM
Connect it using an ethernet cable to your router. That should take care of any bandwidth worries.

The Roku 2 XS model is supposed to have an ethernet port (unlike many of the other Roku models which have only WiFi).


Quote
p8712
Is it true that the Roku has to connect through a router, instead of directly to a server?

To stream content from your iMac server the Roku has to be on the same network. The router manages your network so, yes, it has to connect "through" a router. But the stream doesn't have to actually go through the router itself if you set up your network hardware with a hub.

Connect a 10/100/1000 ethernet hub as a client to your router. Then connect both the Roku and your iMac to the hub. The iMac and the Roku can talk at high speed without bogging down the rest of your local network.

I expect you'll do just fine connecting the Roku directly to your router without needing the additional ethernet hub.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2013 08:23AM by TheTominator.
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: p8712
Date: June 09, 2013 09:28AM
Quote

Connect it using an ethernet cable to your router. That should take care of any bandwidth worries.

I can't, it's a few hundred feet away.

After googling, I'm not the only one to have this issue. I'm not too fond of the Roku; it seems like a beta product to me. Back it goes.
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: June 09, 2013 10:21AM
P8712,

You're being unfair to Roku and its hardware. The source of the problem isn't with the box. It's your existing hardware and configuration. The issue you're describing is something you should have considered prior to purchasing the Roku box.

Robert
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: p8712
Date: June 09, 2013 11:48AM
Quote
Robert M
P8712,

You're being unfair to Roku and its hardware. The source of the problem isn't with the box. It's your existing hardware and configuration. The issue you're describing is something you should have considered prior to purchasing the Roku box.

Robert

No, I'm just not crazy about it even when using it correctly. I think I'd just be happier with a full blown htpc.
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: June 09, 2013 12:28PM
p8712,

That's a different matter entirely - lol! However, you face the same problem unless you plan to connect the TV directly to the HTPC. That and using an HTPC to drive a TV has its own pros and cons. I've done it and found leaving the HTPC running as a server (for multimedia and backups) and using a Roku or similar device on the TV itself more user friendly overall. smiling smiley

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2013 12:28PM by Robert M.
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: p8712
Date: June 09, 2013 12:34PM
Robert,

I can see why people like the Roku, but somehow it just rubs me the wrong way. I'd still serve media from the imac, but an HTPC would let me use plex/xbmc/vlc with the full interface, at full speed. I have access to a C2D imac with a bad screen, which would make a good client machine, but for it's clunky shape. I might look in into using it with the tv instead.
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: June 09, 2013 02:11PM
p8712,

That's the thing. You can let the HTPC do _all_ of the work. Serve media. Drive the TV. No need to use the imac for the task. Heck, the imac can be a client of the HTPC.

The problem with HTPC systems connected directly to a TV is interface and controlling the HTPC from the couch. I've done it and can say it's clunky at best and a major pain at times at worst. Definitely not for the average home user.

FWIW, you'll spend more $$$ on an HTPC than you would on a replacement router, i.e. 802.11n and the Roku or modding your network with a different means of connecting the Roku to the network (MoCA or Powerline networking and a Roku.

Robert
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: silvarios
Date: June 09, 2013 10:14PM
Quote
Robert M
FWIW, you'll spend more $$$ on an HTPC than you would on a replacement router, i.e. 802.11n and the Roku or modding your network with a different means of connecting the Roku to the network (MoCA or Powerline networking and a Roku.

Since there is no discussion of bit rates, I'm not sure if the WiFi network is even a problem.
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: p8712
Date: June 10, 2013 10:41AM
Quote
silvarios
Quote
Robert M
FWIW, you'll spend more $$$ on an HTPC than you would on a replacement router, i.e. 802.11n and the Roku or modding your network with a different means of connecting the Roku to the network (MoCA or Powerline networking and a Roku.

Since there is no discussion of bit rates, I'm not sure if the WiFi network is even a problem.

Large, high bit rate files.
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Re: Connect Roku directly to iMac?
Posted by: silvarios
Date: June 10, 2013 06:22PM
Quote
p8712
Large, high bit rate files.

I have a straight MKV conversion of the Nightmare Before Christmas Blu-ray and Plex transcodes to an acceptable bit rate for my original, 802.11g only Roku DVP.

If I may be so bold, what type of file and what's the average bit rate?
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