Live TV On Your Roku? Simple.

  One of my Cord Cutting goals has always been to make our TV viewing experience streamlined and simple. As a nerd, I personally have no problem with fumbling through this and that just to get something to work. But that gets annoying after a while. Aside from that, my wife (the most non-nerd person I know) just wants things to simply work. And honestly, I can’t blame her.

   After I got our Roku boxes set up, my search began for a channel that would allow live TV streaming. Sure – it’s simple to switch from HDMI to TV and vise-versa, but I couldn’t help but think about how awesome it would be if all viewing could be done from the Roku alone. In my opinion, that’s one advantage the cable and satellite providers have: you use 1 box, and simply change channels.

   There are several options out there and I believe this market will continue to grow. The first option I came across was the much talked about Aereo.  As it wasn’t initially available where I live, I waited (somewhat) patiently for it to arrive. When it did, it unfortunately wasn’t the experience I had hoped it would be.

   Another option I tried out was NimbleTV. However, Nimble TV isn’t as much live TV streaming as it is quite simply a satellite service provider. In fact, upon signing up for the service, you will receive an email from Nimble TV telling you to expect an account letter from Dish (which I did) that they tell you to simply ignore. On top of that, Nimble TV’s lowest priced plan is $29.99. There is a free plan, but the channel offerings are lack-luster to say the least. My Spidey Senses immediately began to tingle – if I’m going to pay at least 30 bucks a month for a service that’s merely streaming satellite television, why wouldn’t I just pay for satellite television?

   This week, I decided to give simple.tv a try. I had seen it before while searching other options, but for some reason I kept saying to myself, “I’ll get back to that one.” I have to say, I’m glad I did. Simply put, I literally saved the best for last.

   Quite frankly, what the folks at Simple have done is nothing short of genius. As there is no way to directly connect your over-the-air HD antenna to your Roku, simple.tv provides the “bridge” to make it possible. And to add extra icing to the awesome cake, simple.tv gives you DVR functionality by having you connect
an external hard drive. And this is the full DVR functionality you expect from cable and satellite – you can pause, rewind, fast forward, schedule recordings of upcoming shows, or an entire series of shows.

  ALL from the simple.tv Roku channel, the Android app, or the IOS app! Or, if you don’t happen to have your mobile device handy at the time, you can always simply schedule your recordings from the simple.tv website. Not only can you schedule shows from the apps or the website, you can watch YOUR shows as well – either your recordings or live TV being picked up by your HD antenna. Like I said, nothing short of genius!

   As I wanted to tread lightly to give it a test drive, I picked up the 1st generation simple.tv unit (pictured above and left). It’s a single tuner unit, meaning that if anyone else wants to tune in while I’m watching, they either have to watch what I’m watching or they will change the channel and interrupt my viewing. This really isn’t a big deal in my house though – we all tend to watch the same things at the same time. Simple.tv has since partnered with SilliconDust to offer the dual tuner pictured below.

 The Pros:

   My experience with simple.tv has been exactly what I expected from this type of technology, even slightly above my expectations. The picture quality is perfect – there appears to be no signal compression so the picture looks exactly as it would if my antenna was directly connected to my TV. The unit I’m using also has a pass-through output, so on the possible occasion that I would need to simply switch back to “TV”, the signal is available. The DVR functions as expected as well. I scheduled a few recordings, they recorded, and I watched them. Simple. Watching remotely delivers the same experience – I watched from my Nexus 7 tablet as well as my Moto X while away from home, as well as from my PC in the office. 
   One drawback that I noted about Aereo was that it listed almost less than half of the over-the-air channels I can receive from my antenna. Since my antenna is directly connected to the simple.tv unit, it makes available all 36 channels I receive otherwise. I even experimented a bit, as suggested in the user manual, and moved the unit upstairs where all the channels come in stronger and clearer. 

The Cons:

   The biggest negative I experienced was the initial setup. Simple.tv isn’t necessarily “out of the box” ready, which is understandable. It of course has to scan for and set your available channels. Also, if you decide to give it a try, be warned about the external hard drive you connect – simple.tv will completely format it upon setup. You may want to purchase a new one to dedicate to the unit, or if you’re a nerd like me, use an extra one that you may happen to have lying around (I happened to have a 500GB Western Digital in my hardware closet). I’m not 100% sure why formatting is necessary, but at least you are given a warning about it during setup. Overall, the setup time was extremely long. Granted, part of the extra time I experienced could be attributed to the fact I’m running the 1st generation unit that had to download an update, but I felt the drive formatting and channel scanning process were a bit excessive time-wise.

   Requiring Microsoft Siverlight for desktop viewing is also a bit of a con, especially for us Chromebook owners.

Another thing that may be considered a “con” to some is the channel load time. I personally understand that this type of streaming requires a little patience, but you channel surfing types may be a bit turned off by the “Please wait while we tune into channel ___” screen. Simple.tv does a great job explaining this in the owner’s manual that comes with the unit as well.

The Verdict:

  Overall, from a Cord Cutting perspective, I give simple.tv a solid 5 out of 5 stars. I’ve only seen one slight hiccup in which the live shows that simple.tv was displaying were at one point almost 15 minutes behind what was actually being aired live. And when I changed the channel, then went back to the original broadcast made it start over. I emailed support and got an almost immediate response – another one for the “pros” column. However, a simple reboot of the unit appears to have cleared up that issue.

   If you’re looking for a simple solution that lets you watch live TV through your Roku, mobile devices, and computers, I highly recommend simple.tv!

13 thoughts on “Live TV On Your Roku? Simple.

  1. Hello.How are you?The TV channel “”Simple TV “” is very interested channel say this channel online. Geo News livei like the Simple TV. Because it is basic on fact and true.i will suggest my all friend to say the this TV channel.And remember me in your prays By and Thank.

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  2. Hello.How are you? It is so lovely.Like your website becauseits style so nice. The online TV live cricket is very great Feature. We can getinformation about current affairs through online TV website at any time and everywhereI will suggest my friends to visits this site.

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  3. Thank you! I just watched the video – this unit looks incredible! Parental controls from the unit level and even the channel level: this truly is futuristic! I would love to get my hands on one!

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  4. My experience with simple.tv has been exactly what I expected from this type of technology, even slightly above my expectations. The picture quality is perfect – there appears to Geo TV live be no signal compression so the picture looks exactly as it would if my antenna was directly connected to my TV. The unit I'm using also has a pass-through outpu

    Like

  5. Such a nice website template and design, i liked it, especially the color scheme, awesome collection of live tv. i have a question, do you guys offer VODs (videos on demand)? if yes then please let me know, i am very much interested in VODs. As people prefer VODs now a days due to busy routines and the favorite programs they missed watching. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks bye 😉

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  6. I know of a private Roku channel you get around 200 live TV network channels,800 movies ,100 TV series for a small monthly fee. For information on it if interested Email me 1iptvguy@ gmail.com

    Like

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