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(Some Guy)   If you notice that you've hit your monthly data cap after installing Amazon's FireTV, it's because it's probably downloading the entire internet to try and guess what you'll watch next   (liisten.com) divider line 115
    More: Fail, Cox Cable, streaming media  
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5839 clicks; posted to Geek » on 30 Jun 2014 at 12:11 PM (21 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-30 08:44:48 AM  
I am sure they will roll out a bandwidth cap feature and this problem will go away.
 
2014-06-30 12:16:05 PM  
Up next... NSA TV.
 
2014-06-30 12:21:29 PM  
1.bp.blogspot.com

Thanks, Obama...
 
2014-06-30 12:30:29 PM  

EvilEgg: I am sure they will roll out a bandwidth cap feature and this problem will go away.


Like many user reviews on Amazon, they may show a fundamental misunderstanding of the product and its purposes.  Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.

I remember looking for a tree pruner, and one had numerous one star reviews.  Geez, I thought, this thing must be bad.  Nope.  Many of the people complained that when they sawed the branch off, the branch fell on them.  That was somehow the pruner's fault.
 
2014-06-30 12:33:20 PM  
Yeouch. I'm not considering the Fire TV anymore.
 
2014-06-30 12:44:32 PM  
Amazon and Google have both discovered that you're quite willing to hand over any and all information about your personal lives in return for a "free" service. You're actually surprised that they're hogging bandwidth to spend more time scoping out your choices so that they can sell the resulting data mining and analysis to content producers & distributors for money?

It always, always bears repeating: If you're using a free service, you're not the customer, you're the product. The tiny charge you pay for the dongle covers the dongle - your activity covers everything else. What did you think was paying for the rights to all that content? What did you think was ensuring that your content was streaming without interruption?
 
2014-06-30 12:49:16 PM  

whizbangthedirtfarmer: EvilEgg: I am sure they will roll out a bandwidth cap feature and this problem will go away.

Like many user reviews on Amazon, they may show a fundamental misunderstanding of the product and its purposes.  Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.

I remember looking for a tree pruner, and one had numerous one star reviews.  Geez, I thought, this thing must be bad.  Nope.  Many of the people complained that when they sawed the branch off, the branch fell on them.  That was somehow the pruner's fault.


It really wouldn't be an issue if the U.S. didn't have these ridiculous artificial limits on internet services.  Internet is too expensive, too slow, and too limited.
 
2014-06-30 12:50:40 PM  

whizbangthedirtfarmer: Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.


Yeah, but are people really expecting it to precache EVERYTHING? It's one thing for it to pull down a few shows... for it to be responsible for THAT much data usage (as reported in TFA) is indicative of a real problem.

The author doesn't really say when he installed the Fire box so it's a little tough to tell when the data usage went through the roof. Even so, his monthly usage went from somewhere around 115GB (in his most used month of Nov 13) to maxed out (250GB... more than double) in Apr 14 and over 800GB in June. Since it came out in April 14, I'm fairly certain none of the months before that reflect that device's usage but April and June certainly do.

In other words, it looks like that Fire TV not only doubled his internet bandwidth usage in April and increased it by over 700% in June. That's precaching a whole hell of a lot. Something is either wrong with his box or with the firmware itself. That's a massive amount of stuff it's been pulling down.
 
2014-06-30 12:52:38 PM  

FormlessOne: Amazon and Google have both discovered that you're quite willing to hand over any and all information about your personal lives in return for a "free" service. You're actually surprised that they're hogging bandwidth to spend more time scoping out your choices so that they can sell the resulting data mining and analysis to content producers & distributors for money?


If by free you mean paying $99 for the device, and about $100 a year for Amazon Prime?
 
2014-06-30 12:53:28 PM  
I'll stick with my Netflix on my media PC downstairs and the Roku HD upstairs.  Seems like Amazon still trying to understand the product they pushed out.
 
2014-06-30 12:54:20 PM  

DivorceWar Veteran: Seems like Amazon still trying to understand the product they pushed out.


Yup.

For those heavily invested into Amazon as a media provider it looks like an attractive proposition but this thing may need some figuring out on their part.
 
2014-06-30 12:57:29 PM  

DivorceWar Veteran: I'll stick with my Netflix on my media PC downstairs and the Roku HD upstairs.  Seems like Amazon still trying to understand the product they pushed out.


And you can stream Amazon with the Roku anyway.
 
2014-06-30 12:58:23 PM  

akula: whizbangthedirtfarmer: Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.

Yeah, but are people really expecting it to precache EVERYTHING? It's one thing for it to pull down a few shows... for it to be responsible for THAT much data usage (as reported in TFA) is indicative of a real problem.

The author doesn't really say when he installed the Fire box so it's a little tough to tell when the data usage went through the roof. Even so, his monthly usage went from somewhere around 115GB (in his most used month of Nov 13) to maxed out (250GB... more than double) in Apr 14 and over 800GB in June. Since it came out in April 14, I'm fairly certain none of the months before that reflect that device's usage but April and June certainly do.

In other words, it looks like that Fire TV not only doubled his internet bandwidth usage in April and increased it by over 700% in June. That's precaching a whole hell of a lot. Something is either wrong with his box or with the firmware itself. That's a massive amount of stuff it's been pulling down.


It only has 8GB of internal storage. Where the hell is it putting all that data?
 
2014-06-30 12:59:11 PM  

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: FormlessOne: Amazon and Google have both discovered that you're quite willing to hand over any and all information about your personal lives in return for a "free" service. You're actually surprised that they're hogging bandwidth to spend more time scoping out your choices so that they can sell the resulting data mining and analysis to content producers & distributors for money?

If by free you mean paying $99 for the device, and about $100 a year for Amazon Prime?


You're confused. Amazon FireTV, as far as I know, doesn't require Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime is only needed if you want to watch Amazon Prime content, like instant movies & TV, on devices like FireTV, Roku, Chromecast, your PC, etc. FireTV is Amazon's competitor to products like Roku and Chromecast.

I have an Amazon Prime account - I don't use Amazon FireTV.
 
2014-06-30 01:00:21 PM  

Tobin_Lam: akula: whizbangthedirtfarmer: Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.

Yeah, but are people really expecting it to precache EVERYTHING? It's one thing for it to pull down a few shows... for it to be responsible for THAT much data usage (as reported in TFA) is indicative of a real problem.

The author doesn't really say when he installed the Fire box so it's a little tough to tell when the data usage went through the roof. Even so, his monthly usage went from somewhere around 115GB (in his most used month of Nov 13) to maxed out (250GB... more than double) in Apr 14 and over 800GB in June. Since it came out in April 14, I'm fairly certain none of the months before that reflect that device's usage but April and June certainly do.

In other words, it looks like that Fire TV not only doubled his internet bandwidth usage in April and increased it by over 700% in June. That's precaching a whole hell of a lot. Something is either wrong with his box or with the firmware itself. That's a massive amount of stuff it's been pulling down.

It only has 8GB of internal storage. Where the hell is it putting all that data?


"Retrieval" != "storage", basically. It's churning through data because of caching & analysis.
 
2014-06-30 01:03:31 PM  

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: DivorceWar Veteran: I'll stick with my Netflix on my media PC downstairs and the Roku HD upstairs.  Seems like Amazon still trying to understand the product they pushed out.

And you can stream Amazon with the Roku anyway.


Yep, just that I'll do that from the media PC - not buying into the hype of FireTV.
 
2014-06-30 01:03:40 PM  

FormlessOne: Tobin_Lam: akula: whizbangthedirtfarmer: Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.

Yeah, but are people really expecting it to precache EVERYTHING? It's one thing for it to pull down a few shows... for it to be responsible for THAT much data usage (as reported in TFA) is indicative of a real problem.

The author doesn't really say when he installed the Fire box so it's a little tough to tell when the data usage went through the roof. Even so, his monthly usage went from somewhere around 115GB (in his most used month of Nov 13) to maxed out (250GB... more than double) in Apr 14 and over 800GB in June. Since it came out in April 14, I'm fairly certain none of the months before that reflect that device's usage but April and June certainly do.

In other words, it looks like that Fire TV not only doubled his internet bandwidth usage in April and increased it by over 700% in June. That's precaching a whole hell of a lot. Something is either wrong with his box or with the firmware itself. That's a massive amount of stuff it's been pulling down.

It only has 8GB of internal storage. Where the hell is it putting all that data?

"Retrieval" != "storage", basically. It's churning through data because of caching & analysis.


It has to put that cache somewhere. A caching algorithm that only has up to 8GB of space to work with isn't being particularly intelligent if it is downloading 100x its max available storage amount.
 
2014-06-30 01:07:01 PM  

whizbangthedirtfarmer: EvilEgg: I am sure they will roll out a bandwidth cap feature and this problem will go away.

Like many user reviews on Amazon, they may show a fundamental misunderstanding of the product and its purposes.  Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.

I remember looking for a tree pruner, and one had numerous one star reviews.  Geez, I thought, this thing must be bad.  Nope.  Many of the people complained that when they sawed the branch off, the branch fell on them.  That was somehow the pruner's fault.


250 GB is't "precaching". That's downloading an "insane amount of shiat". Precaching would be downloading the first 10-15 minutes of a show to reduce buffering,
 
2014-06-30 01:09:05 PM  
I own an Amazon Fire TV. What TFA author is saying is kinda bullshiat. Yes, it pre-loads some video by predicting what you're going to watch next, but it's usually limited to the show you've been watching. i.e. if you have been binge-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix, and letting it go from episode to episode, then it will preload the next episode. That's it.

And if you have any decent number of apps installed, there's REALLY not that much space to cache your upcoming episodes. As stated, it has 8GB of storage space, and that's tied up with all your on-board apps, too.

I haven't noticed any major change in my bandwidth usage or data (but then, I don't have a crappy ISP that imposes a data cap, either). I love the thing when it comes to binge-watching, and I've enjoyed playing some games on it, too. It's a nice device, and I think TFA is making some pretty unfounded statements. I can't prove he's wrong, but I can say I haven't had a similar experience.
 
2014-06-30 01:10:36 PM  

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: FormlessOne: Amazon and Google have both discovered that you're quite willing to hand over any and all information about your personal lives in return for a "free" service. You're actually surprised that they're hogging bandwidth to spend more time scoping out your choices so that they can sell the resulting data mining and analysis to content producers & distributors for money?

If by free you mean paying $99 for the device, and about $100 a year for Amazon Prime?


Well, you don't NEED Prime to use it. It's just not as useful when using Prime.
 
2014-06-30 01:11:12 PM  

Nix Nightbird: Abe Vigoda's Ghost: FormlessOne: Amazon and Google have both discovered that you're quite willing to hand over any and all information about your personal lives in return for a "free" service. You're actually surprised that they're hogging bandwidth to spend more time scoping out your choices so that they can sell the resulting data mining and analysis to content producers & distributors for money?

If by free you mean paying $99 for the device, and about $100 a year for Amazon Prime?


Well, you don't NEED Prime to use it. It's just not as useful when NOT using Prime.


oops. That "not" was important.
 
2014-06-30 01:12:28 PM  
That's a can-do attitude. Smithers, promote that TV box.

I've got the holiday weekend coming up and I was planning on binge-watching everything on the internet anyway.
 
2014-06-30 01:13:21 PM  

FormlessOne: Abe Vigoda's Ghost: FormlessOne: Amazon and Google have both discovered that you're quite willing to hand over any and all information about your personal lives in return for a "free" service. You're actually surprised that they're hogging bandwidth to spend more time scoping out your choices so that they can sell the resulting data mining and analysis to content producers & distributors for money?

If by free you mean paying $99 for the device, and about $100 a year for Amazon Prime?

You're confused. Amazon FireTV, as far as I know, doesn't require Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime is only needed if you want to watch Amazon Prime content, like instant movies & TV, on devices like FireTV, Roku, Chromecast, your PC, etc. FireTV is Amazon's competitor to products like Roku and Chromecast.

I have an Amazon Prime account - I don't use Amazon FireTV.


Nope, not confused. You don't have to have FireTV to stream prime content. But one of FireTVs selling points is predicting and caching programs you watch on Prime. I also have Prime, but have no plans to get FireTV, since Roku works just fine.
 
2014-06-30 01:16:20 PM  

Nix Nightbird: I think TFA is making some pretty unfounded statements. I can't prove he's wrong, but I can say I haven't had a similar experience.


Look at the Daily Usage. I wish it went all the way back to April, but most days the usage is over 20GB. 19 out of 22 days before June 10 the usage is over 20GB/day and at least double that on 5 days. Starting June 10, usage is only 10-15GB/day. Clearly, something went wrong.
 
2014-06-30 01:20:32 PM  
I have a FireTV. I also have very fast, uncapped internet access that I nonetheless monitor fairly closely.
The FireTV gets used to watch something on Amazon or Netflix perhaps three times a week. In my home, it's a tertiary media device that's mostly used by a part-time roommate, but it DOES get used.

And I have to say, I haven't observed any meaningful increase in my daily data transfer for having or not having a FireTV.
 
2014-06-30 01:22:53 PM  

Mikey1969: whizbangthedirtfarmer: EvilEgg: I am sure they will roll out a bandwidth cap feature and this problem will go away.

Like many user reviews on Amazon, they may show a fundamental misunderstanding of the product and its purposes.  Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.

I remember looking for a tree pruner, and one had numerous one star reviews.  Geez, I thought, this thing must be bad.  Nope.  Many of the people complained that when they sawed the branch off, the branch fell on them.  That was somehow the pruner's fault.

250 GB is't "precaching". That's downloading an "insane amount of shiat". Precaching would be downloading the first 10-15 minutes of a show to reduce buffering,


My suspicion is that the guy has manipulated it somehow or he has a faulty device.  Or maybe he just watches shiatloads of TV.
 
2014-06-30 01:24:38 PM  
I have yet to see the benefit of any of these TV boxes, they all seem to do the exact same thing.

The GF's ex has built her a pretty beefy PC which was collecting dust in the attic since she's a one-button fangirl.  I popped it open and noticed it actually had a decent mobo/cpu/memory setup so I bought a bunch of 3TB drives on sale, crammed them in the case, and installed Win7 and WMC.  The new 'media server' sits headless in my mini-chat rack and downloads/streams all of our movies/TV shows to the WMC client app on the xbox plugged into the TV.  Sickbeard handles all the TV shows/movies, hands off.

A couple weeks back Amazon had a warehouse sale on Samsung TVs so I replaced the GFs 12 year old Sharp flatscreen coal-burning dinosaur with a nice new 'Smart TV'.  I spent about ten minutes playing around with all the 'Smart' features before shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Meh..."  the xbox/WMC combo does more without the clunky UI and bad remote layout.
 
2014-06-30 01:25:26 PM  

whizbangthedirtfarmer: Like many user reviews on Amazon, they may show a fundamental misunderstanding of the product and its purposes.  Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.


Its one thing to be a major selling feature.  Its quite another to have badly implemented it and then offer no way to turn it off.  It also goes to show you that the product managers at Amazon are clueless on how most people get their internet in the US.  Wonder what other "major selling features" will have unintended consequences for the product and its use.
 
2014-06-30 01:26:00 PM  
We've got one and couldn't be happier. Haven't really noticed any increased traffic.The apps on our smart tv were slow as hell and had clunky interfaces. The fire tv is slick and fast. I ditched xbmc on my htpc and installed plex. The plex app is much nicer to navigate with the remote.

I hope that amazon pushes an update that will turn on the usb port. There must have been some development snafu that caused them to ship without it be enabled. That and plex media server running on the fire tv with a usb drive and I'll retire my old and inefficient htpc.
 
2014-06-30 01:28:18 PM  

moike: A couple weeks back Amazon had a warehouse sale on Samsung TVs so I replaced the GFs 12 year old Sharp flatscreen coal-burning dinosaur with a nice new 'Smart TV'.  I spent about ten minutes playing around with all the 'Smart' features before shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Meh..."  the xbox/WMC combo does more without the clunky UI and bad remote layout.


I think I see your problem.  But seriously - these boxes aren't made for you or me.  They are made for our parents.
 
2014-06-30 01:36:17 PM  

whizbangthedirtfarmer: Mikey1969: whizbangthedirtfarmer: EvilEgg: I am sure they will roll out a bandwidth cap feature and this problem will go away.

Like many user reviews on Amazon, they may show a fundamental misunderstanding of the product and its purposes.  Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.

I remember looking for a tree pruner, and one had numerous one star reviews.  Geez, I thought, this thing must be bad.  Nope.  Many of the people complained that when they sawed the branch off, the branch fell on them.  That was somehow the pruner's fault.

250 GB is't "precaching". That's downloading an "insane amount of shiat". Precaching would be downloading the first 10-15 minutes of a show to reduce buffering,

My suspicion is that the guy has manipulated it somehow or he has a faulty device.  Or maybe he just watches shiatloads of TV.



Maybe he'll accumulate the 4,000,000 points you need on Viggle to win a cruise. For the record, outside of special deals, you seem to acquire a point per minute on Viggle. In other words, 4,000,000 minutes of farking TV. Holy mother of God!
 
2014-06-30 01:39:42 PM  

likefunbutnot: The FireTV gets used to watch something on Amazon or Netflix perhaps three times a week. In my home, it's a tertiary media device that's mostly used by a part-time roommate, but it DOES get used.


Stealing "Tertiary Media Device" for a band name.

/stealing "Part-Time Roommate" as a band name for TMD's opening act.
 
2014-06-30 01:44:51 PM  

moike: I spent about ten minutes playing around with all the 'Smart' features before shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Meh..."  the xbox/WMC combo does more without the clunky UI and bad remote layout.


The one "smart" TV I fiddled with didn't impress me. Honestly, I'm of the opinion that apps on a TV are BS, and the ones on Blu-Ray players aren't far behind. Dedicated playback STBs like Roku, AppleTV, and likely Fire TV will get it done better and quicker. Video game consoles will also be able to do it better than the devices themselves.
 
2014-06-30 01:52:36 PM  

SafetyThird: We've got one and couldn't be happier. Haven't really noticed any increased traffic.The apps on our smart tv were slow as hell and had clunky interfaces. The fire tv is slick and fast. I ditched xbmc on my htpc and installed plex. The plex app is much nicer to navigate with the remote.

I hope that amazon pushes an update that will turn on the usb port. There must have been some development snafu that caused them to ship without it be enabled. That and plex media server running on the fire tv with a usb drive and I'll retire my old and inefficient htpc.


You know that Plex is just xbmc with a skin, right?
 
2014-06-30 01:54:10 PM  

gingerjet: moike: A couple weeks back Amazon had a warehouse sale on Samsung TVs so I replaced the GFs 12 year old Sharp flatscreen coal-burning dinosaur with a nice new 'Smart TV'.  I spent about ten minutes playing around with all the 'Smart' features before shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Meh..."  the xbox/WMC combo does more without the clunky UI and bad remote layout.

I think I see your problem.  But seriously - these boxes aren't made for you or me.  They are made for our parents.


If I could have bought the TV without the 'Smart' crap I'd have been fine.  I love the picture, it's stupidly amazing how far flat panel technology has come.  I also got to learn about how high refresh rates and interpolation cause 'soap opera effect'.  Which when enabled makes watching Orange is the new Black disturbingly wierd, but awesome watching Dr. Who and MotoGP.

Remind me to tell you about the time my Dad kept cranking up the volume on the DVD he was watching because the storm outside was getting loud and somehow managed to miss the tornado that tore right past the house and leveled the brand new condo complex in the next lot over.
 
2014-06-30 01:56:55 PM  

akula: moike: I spent about ten minutes playing around with all the 'Smart' features before shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Meh..."  the xbox/WMC combo does more without the clunky UI and bad remote layout.

The one "smart" TV I fiddled with didn't impress me. Honestly, I'm of the opinion that apps on a TV are BS, and the ones on Blu-Ray players aren't far behind. Dedicated playback STBs like Roku, AppleTV, and likely Fire TV will get it done better and quicker. Video game consoles will also be able to do it better than the devices themselves.


In my situation, I like having apps on the TV. If I want to watch Netflix, I only have to turn on the TV. If I want to add surround sound, I turn on my receiver, too. That's 2 devices. If I got an STB, that would be 3 devices, and due to the age of my receiver, I wouldn't get surround sound from that STB. My TV and DVD player occupy the only surround-sound-capable inputs on my receiver. When it stops working, I'll upgrade to a receiver that can actually work with HDMI Audio.
 
2014-06-30 01:59:04 PM  
I got to have my wife read this.  I guess FireTV really didn't know too much about me so it just downloaded random stuff including 46 hours of porn this weekend alone.
 
2014-06-30 02:18:58 PM  
akula:
The one "smart" TV I fiddled with didn't impress me. Honestly, I'm of the opinion that apps on a TV are BS, and the ones on Blu-Ray players aren't far behind. Dedicated playback STBs like Roku, AppleTV, and likely Fire TV will get it done better and quicker. Video game consoles will also be able to do it better than the devices themselves.

Because...

gingerjet:
I think I see your problem.  But seriously - these boxes aren't made for you or me.  They are made for our parents.

That's it right there.  I'm in the same boat with moike, I stood up a dedicated HTPC a while back, hooked it up to a HDHomerun network tuner, and haven't looked back.  When it came time for TV replacement, I bought the best TV I could find that wasn't Smart or had 3D, and have been enourmously happy.

TV manufacturers build good TV's, but really shiatty GUI's and UX's.  Leave the programming for companies that are better and cheaper at it, like Roku.
 
2014-06-30 02:28:18 PM  
madgonad
2014-06-30 01:52:36 PM

SafetyThird: We've got one and couldn't be happier. Haven't really noticed any increased traffic.The apps on our smart tv were slow as hell and had clunky interfaces. The fire tv is slick and fast. I ditched xbmc on my htpc and installed plex. The plex app is much nicer to navigate with the remote.

I hope that amazon pushes an update that will turn on the usb port. There must have been some development snafu that caused them to ship without it be enabled. That and plex media server running on the fire tv with a usb drive and I'll retire my old and inefficient htpc.

You know that Plex is just xbmc with a skin, right?


It is and it isn't. They are pretty distinct products.

For me xbmc was a PITA and I didn't like using my wireless keyboard or tablet app to control it. The Plex app for Amazon (occasionally free) works great and now everything is on one device.
 
2014-06-30 02:45:09 PM  

FormlessOne: Amazon and Google have both discovered that you're quite willing to hand over any and all information about your personal lives in return for a "free" service. You're actually surprised that they're hogging bandwidth to spend more time scoping out your choices so that they can sell the resulting data mining and analysis to content producers & distributors for money?

It always, always bears repeating: If you're using a free service, you're not the customer, you're the product. The tiny charge you pay for the dongle covers the dongle - your activity covers everything else. What did you think was paying for the rights to all that content? What did you think was ensuring that your content was streaming without interruption?


Has nothing to do with this article. Stop trolling and go home.
 
2014-06-30 02:48:23 PM  

FormlessOne: Tobin_Lam: akula: whizbangthedirtfarmer: Fire's precaching programming was one of it's major selling features in the day before it's release.  To buy one and then complain that the precache is there is a bit disingenuous.

Yeah, but are people really expecting it to precache EVERYTHING? It's one thing for it to pull down a few shows... for it to be responsible for THAT much data usage (as reported in TFA) is indicative of a real problem.

The author doesn't really say when he installed the Fire box so it's a little tough to tell when the data usage went through the roof. Even so, his monthly usage went from somewhere around 115GB (in his most used month of Nov 13) to maxed out (250GB... more than double) in Apr 14 and over 800GB in June. Since it came out in April 14, I'm fairly certain none of the months before that reflect that device's usage but April and June certainly do.

In other words, it looks like that Fire TV not only doubled his internet bandwidth usage in April and increased it by over 700% in June. That's precaching a whole hell of a lot. Something is either wrong with his box or with the firmware itself. That's a massive amount of stuff it's been pulling down.

It only has 8GB of internal storage. Where the hell is it putting all that data?

"Retrieval" != "storage", basically. It's churning through data because of caching & analysis.


Wow, you're really batting a zero on this thread.

The point is the device has to practically be continually writing to cache all day every day to eat through that much data.
 
2014-06-30 02:49:17 PM  

semiotix: /stealing "Part-Time Roommate" as a band name for TMD's opening act.


Stripper friend. She drinks on the job, so she has a key and an open invitation to sleep it off in my spare bedroom since I live down the street from her, er, office. She used to be a TFette, too.

moike: I have yet to see the benefit of any of these TV boxes, they all seem to do the exact same thing.


I use an Intel NUC with XBMC that's velcro'd to the back of my TV for my HTPC needs, but here's the thing with TV boxes
1. No noise, low power. My NUC uses 19W or something, but a media streamer is probably under 5W.
2. Uniform interface and control scheme. XBMC can't do everything, even with Plugins, so you're always having to switch back to your desktop OS for something-or-other (e.g. Hulu). And then you're dealing with using a keyboard/mouse vs. one remote or some different remote or whatever.
3. Access to mobile-style ecosystems. Depending on the platform, obviously. This is less true for the FireTV than it is for something like a Pivos XIOS or AppleTV.
4. No maintenance. An HTPC needs updates and crap.

On the other hand, the PC will support every file format known to man, every streaming service, probably has much better support for audio formats (most streaming boxes downmix everything to stereo unless it's natively multichannel AC3)  andcan read discs or be a gaming machine if care about doing those things.
 
2014-06-30 02:49:36 PM  
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Stream local files and damn near any service (free and subscription) to damn near any device, local or remote.
 
2014-06-30 02:50:09 PM  

Nix Nightbird: I own an Amazon Fire TV. What TFA author is saying is kinda bullshiat. Yes, it pre-loads some video by predicting what you're going to watch next, but it's usually limited to the show you've been watching. i.e. if you have been binge-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix, and letting it go from episode to episode, then it will preload the next episode. That's it.

And if you have any decent number of apps installed, there's REALLY not that much space to cache your upcoming episodes. As stated, it has 8GB of storage space, and that's tied up with all your on-board apps, too.

I haven't noticed any major change in my bandwidth usage or data (but then, I don't have a crappy ISP that imposes a data cap, either). I love the thing when it comes to binge-watching, and I've enjoyed playing some games on it, too. It's a nice device, and I think TFA is making some pretty unfounded statements. I can't prove he's wrong, but I can say I haven't had a similar experience.


You haven't even looked at how much data yours is using, but you're denying the facts published about the device's data usage?

You'll get that GED someday...
 
2014-06-30 02:50:51 PM  

Comic Book Guy: akula:
The one "smart" TV I fiddled with didn't impress me. Honestly, I'm of the opinion that apps on a TV are BS, and the ones on Blu-Ray players aren't far behind. Dedicated playback STBs like Roku, AppleTV, and likely Fire TV will get it done better and quicker. Video game consoles will also be able to do it better than the devices themselves.

Because...

gingerjet:
I think I see your problem.  But seriously - these boxes aren't made for you or me.  They are made for our parents.

That's it right there.  I'm in the same boat with moike, I stood up a dedicated HTPC a while back, hooked it up to a HDHomerun network tuner, and haven't looked back.  When it came time for TV replacement, I bought the best TV I could find that wasn't Smart or had 3D, and have been enourmously happy.

TV manufacturers build good TV's, but really shiatty GUI's and UX's.  Leave the programming for companies that are better and cheaper at it, like Roku.


A set-top box is also going to consume a LOT less electricity, produce a LOT less heat, make a LOT less noise, and take up a LOT less space than a dedicated HTPC, unless you custom-build the HTPC to be super-small, light, cool, energy-efficient, etc, and then you're getting into big money for the liquid-cooled, top-of-the-line, super-duper components. I know. I built one. It's still hotter, louder, bigger, and uses more electricity than my set-top boxes do.

There's also the UI to consider. I've used XBMC extensively, and it STILL has a lousy user interface that isn't very friendly to non-techie folks. I don't want to put Mrs. Nightbird or the kid through some convoluted junky interface that requires a shiatton of workarounds and accessories to behave like the set-top boxes do with a simple remote. I  can do it, but it's just not worth what you get out of it.

I use a combination of set-top boxes. A streaming box plus a Micca box (for local playback of my video library when I don't want to use the network connecting to my media server) covers just about everything, and still takes up less space and uses less energy while maintaining a decent, easy-to-use interface.

I gave up on XBMC after years of messing with it, tweaking it, and finding out that it's mostly garbage compared to a good user interface designed with average consumers in mind. The problem with XBMC is it seems to be designed by nerds for nerds who just don't "get" how normal people think.
 
2014-06-30 02:57:43 PM  

likefunbutnot: On the other hand, the PC will support every file format known to man, every streaming service, probably has much better support for audio formats (most streaming boxes downmix everything to stereo unless it's natively multichannel AC3)  andcan read discs or be a gaming machine if care about doing those things.


You were right about everything up to this point.

The high-end Micca and WD TV devices support audio pass-through with no problems for DTS HD, Dolby standards, etc. (or they can downmix if you want it). They play pretty much every file type without the need for plugins or new applications. My Micca has a 3TB hard drive inside of it, and it's loaded with M2TS, MKV, MP4, and AVI movies and TV shows. I don't bother with VOB, VIDEO_TS or any other disc structure (I like to save a little space where I can) but they can handle those, too.

They aren't particular good at gaming, but then that's why you have a console next to it in your entertainment center.

The major downside of the Micca is that it has an ugly interface. It does support thumbnails, but the actual interface is kinda cheap-looking. It's fast, though-- WAY faster than the WD TV.
 
2014-06-30 02:58:21 PM  

moike: I have yet to see the benefit of any of these TV boxes, they all seem to do the exact same thing.

The GF's ex has built her a pretty beefy PC which was collecting dust in the attic since she's a one-button fangirl.  I popped it open and noticed it actually had a decent mobo/cpu/memory setup so I bought a bunch of 3TB drives on sale, crammed them in the case, and installed Win7 and WMC.  The new 'media server' sits headless in my mini-chat rack and downloads/streams all of our movies/TV shows to the WMC client app on the xbox plugged into the TV.   Sickbeard handles all the TV shows/movies, hands off.

A couple weeks back Amazon had a warehouse sale on Samsung TVs so I replaced the GFs 12 year old Sharp flatscreen coal-burning dinosaur with a nice new 'Smart TV'.  I spent about ten minutes playing around with all the 'Smart' features before shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Meh..."  the xbox/WMC combo does more without the clunky UI and bad remote layout.


Well, you see, there are those of us who pay for shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black through our Netflix subscriptions instead of just freeloading and downloading the shows off the torrents and newsgroups. For us, it is useful to have a small, cheap, quiet box that we can just hook into the spare TV in our bedroom to watch shows without spending a lot of money on hardware or upping our power bill.

I personally find the Apple TV to be really useful, because I can also use it to wirelessly mirror my iPad's screen or stream. Plus I also have HBO Go access for their content On Demand as well. It's just a nice, cheap solution for getting stuff to my TV.

The Chromecast is even more competitive, because I guarantee you that you aren't going to find a decent media center PC for $35 unless it comes out of a dumpster.
 
2014-06-30 02:58:37 PM  

SafetyThird: You know that Plex is just xbmc with a skin, right?

It is and it isn't. They are pretty distinct products.


Yeah. Not any more. XBMC is just a front end to a media player. It can act as a DLNA server and it has a web server component for control.

Plex Media Server adds sharing remote content through sign-in based authentication. It has a mobile ecosystem all its own (It's possible to sync content from your personal libraries to a tablet, for example) and it's capable of transcoding content to clients that don't support the full datastream of the source media as long as it has the CPU resources to do so.

One down side to using Plex on any mobile device is that it will only ever deliver stereo audio, even on a device that can otherwise deliver multichannel. For example I've noticed that Netflix can deliver 6 channels through FireTV or Windows RT but Plex will only deliver two on those platforms.
 
2014-06-30 03:04:34 PM  

Nix Nightbird: You were right about everything up to this point.


I said most streaming boxes. I have an LG Smart TV Upgrader - a device that came out in 2011 and was only made for about six months - that likewise seems to play every bit of local content I throw at it (it pukes on 4k video, though I don't think that's surprising). It can also mount SMB, AFS and NFS shares and access local drives at least as large as 4TB. The UI is ugly and slow as shiat, and it only supports a handful of streaming services.
 
2014-06-30 03:08:31 PM  
likefunbutnot:

I use an Intel NUC with XBMC that's velcro'd to the back of my TV for my HTPC needs, but here's the thing with TV boxes
1. No noise, low power. My NUC uses 19W or something, but a media streamer is probably under 5W.
2. Uniform interface and control scheme. XBMC can't do everything, even with Plugins, so you're always having to switch back to your desktop OS for something-or-other (e.g. Hulu). And then you're dealing with using a keyboard/mouse vs. one remote or some different remote or whatever.
3. Access to mobile-style ecosystems. Depending on the platform, obviously. This is less true for the FireTV than it is for something like a Pivos XIOS or AppleTV.
4. No maintenance. An HTPC needs updates and crap.

On the other hand, the PC will support every file format known to man, every streaming service, probably has much better support for audio formats (most streaming boxes downmix everything to stereo unless it's natively multichannel AC3)  andcan read discs or be a gaming machine if care about doing those things.


I like keeping things simple. 'media server' in a two post rack in a closet.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Software set up to just grab TV shows/Movies as they are aired and drop them in the MPC video library transcoded for the xbox 360.

(R2D2) Xbox 360 in the living room connecting using the built in MPC app.  All the other apps like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and a bunch of other crap I don't use are in the Xbox as well.

Bonus:  Xbox remote.  I hate navigating a GUI with a TV remote, but the Xbox remote just flies.  Love it.

If I could control the volume on the TV with the xbox remote, I'd be set.

It's the GF's Xbox, I'm not a console guy.  But I'll be damned if the things don't make excellent media joysticks.  I get home, hop on the couch, turn on the TV, grab the xbox controller, and see what new stuff the media server downloaded for me to watch.  It's pretty neat, and KISS compliant.
 
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