1. mh1983's Avatar
    Hi all,

    Long time poster here and am a "take the PB for what it is" advocate. Have had it since 2012 and it's still going strong for certain things. Many post about how the hardware shines but sadly can't say the same for the software. Am in full agreement. Just wanted to share some thoughts about how the PB still remains relevant for me today.

    Have recently dabbled in HTPCs/smart TV dongles. Initially had a dedicated HTPC for our main TV -- handled all kinds of streaming and media properly, being a full Windows system. Being in Canada, our channel streaming options are limited, and the ones that are available (CBC, CTV, HGTV, City TV, etc) all use Flash. For that purposes, the PC worked great, but I found it was clunky, loud, and a bit of a power hog, so decided to go with something more lightweight (essentially Android on a stick).

    Did a lot of due dilegence and bought the CX-919. Great little stick that plugs into the HDMI port of our TV. High power, low footprint, and lots of flexibility, just as I wanted. Gives us all the apps we want for content viewing -- Netflix, Show Box, Crackle, etc etc. Though, being dependent on Flash, I wanted to know that this stick could handle that sort of streaming. Technically it's possible; as many others here have pointed out, even though Flash isn't officially supported on Android, you can "make it work" through third party browsers. Knowing this, I was certain the stick would handle all of our local file and streaming media needs.

    Well, let me say that it handles everything beautifully except Flash. Flash stinks on Android, at least the Androids I've tried on this stick (a stock 4.2 Jellybean rom and a clean install of a custom Kitkat 4.4 rom, so not exactly outdated). I tried the 11.1 Flash APK alongside many browsers that claim to run it -- Dolphin, Firefox/Beta, Boat Browser, Light Browser, [insert name here] Browser, all to no avail. I found browsers that have Flash integrated in some way (through the cloud?) Puffin Browser, for example. Nothing. At best, when streaming did work, it was choppy/low quality. 99% of the time, it just failed to play.

    I found a workaround in the form of a plugin through XBMC, which is working out fine, but still has the odd crash, and the plugin can quickly become out of date (streams for a few channels don't work, and others have dropped off lately). But my preference for streaming my favourite Canadian TV channels aside from the standard PC route? The PlayBook.

    So the use case for us lately is: in the evening, start a show downstairs on the Android stick; become sleepy; turn in and resume the show on the PB. Say what we will, I still think the PB has an edge in the media consumption department. Flash feels so "native" on this tablet; other flavours of it on different tablets are workarounds, akin to how the Android emulator feels on the PB.

    I'm fully aware that "HTML5 is taking over." Well, that's not exactly happening overnight; tech articles and posters keep putting up banner statements that "Flash is dead, make way for HTML5", but a lot of sites still rely on Flash. The PB handles this beautifully. Others have mentioned sites that don't load for them any more, but for me everything I typically watch "just works" on the PB. I can even bypass advertisements using the ad blocker in Origami. Sometimes we even hook it up to our TV's other HDMI port and stream CBC on that.

    It's well established in these forums that the PB is long in the tooth, and I agree -- especially browsing which leaves something to be desired. Say what we will, what the PB does, it does very well. What could have been...
    02-10-15 03:44 PM
  2. Gooseberry Falls's Avatar
    I'm in the same boat trying to desktop browse and stream my cable service. Just keep adding to my mobile devices, Windows 8.1 tab, 2 JB4.1 tabs, 2 Lollipop tabs, and 2 PBs. In terms of flash, if I can use my PB, I will because of the superior audio, e.g. Crackle.com. You actually have to go backward for android flash to work decently, e.g. JB4.1 or lower. Yeah, Puffin works but performance depends on their servers, which is unreliable. The Lollipop and Windows tabs stream nicely via Miracast/WiDi. Have a Chromecast, PTV2000, and recently acquired Roku Streaming Stick. Unfortunately, I have to juggle all these techs because there isn't one device that does everything I want.
    mh1983 likes this.
    02-11-15 09:08 AM
  3. mh1983's Avatar
    I'm in the same boat trying to desktop browse and stream my cable service. Just keep adding to my mobile devices, Windows 8.1 tab, 2 JB4.1 tabs, 2 Lollipop tabs, and 2 PBs. In terms of flash, if I can use my PB, I will because of the superior audio, e.g. Crackle.com. You actually have to go backward for android flash to work decently, e.g. JB4.1 or lower. Yeah, Puffin works but performance depends on their servers, which is unreliable. The Lollipop and Windows tabs stream nicely via Miracast/WiDi. Have a Chromecast, PTV2000, and recently acquired Roku Streaming Stick. Unfortunately, I have to juggle all these techs because there isn't one device that does everything I want.
    Glad you can relate. I understand completely about juggling the tech to achieve a patchwork solution. I wanted to highlight that I'm aware that the PB has more than a few shortcomings/unrealized potential, but it still handles media like a champ. It'll be a sad day when the version of Flash that's integrated into it won't be compatible with sites any more, but for now it fits the bill and is our go-to for pre-sleep viewing. Have used it a few times while travelling abroad, too; simply hook it up to an HDMI port in the hotel room, and stream over their WiFi; beats adding to the room bill! It even doubles up as a backup remote/virtual gamepad for my Android stick (Droidremote client), so still some usefulness to be extracted if you're willing to tinker, experiment, and give it a chance.

    I didn't consider Windows 8+ tabs, and they now even have Win 8 equivalents of the Android stick I bought (check liliputing.com for some reviews of various options). No doubt that line of products can handle just about anything you throw at it. Probably the closest thing to an all-in-one media centre/HTPC these days. Other options, in my experience, are too walled-in (Apple TV, Roku) or can't handle the "rich web" (Android).
    02-11-15 12:47 PM
  4. Masta Snack Cracka's Avatar
    Hold the phone... are you saying you're able to stream cbc on your PB? I'd love to know the secret. I haven't been able to watch HNIC on mine (or even my Z30 for that matter) for years.

    Posted via CB10
    02-26-15 07:32 AM
  5. mh1983's Avatar
    Hold the phone... are you saying you're able to stream cbc on your PB? I'd love to know the secret. I haven't been able to watch HNIC on mine (or even my Z30 for that matter) for years.

    Posted via CB10
    Yep, CBC TV streams beautifully on the PB! (from cbc.ca/video or cbc.ca/player)

    No major secret: I just use Origami Browser in desktop mode with ad blocking (though others have reported that ad blocking halts the video from playing, so your mileage may vary).

    You're trying to get HNIC live stream to work, I presume? I've never tried that; we just watch the archived shows, but I don't see why HNIC wouldn't work, too.

    HTH!
    02-26-15 08:43 AM
  6. tovento's Avatar
    I'm in Canada as well, and have been frustrated in the past with live streaming special events from Canadian broadcasters. Reason being that some providers using flash have upgraded their flash "server" which requires a more recent version of Adobe flash to be viewed. Yes, so while the playbook supports flash, the flash can't be upgraded, and I have been to sites (CTV superbowl last year and this past new year's stream) where I get a message saying I need a newer version of flash to view.

    I was able to use the Z10 or the laptop without issue, though. With the latest BB10 OS, flash support has now been removed. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for places to switch to another streaming technology. CityTV for example works fine on the iPad we have at home, obviously meaning they aren't using flash.

    I have to look into these windows sticks you are talking about. I'm guessing they'll be under powerered, but still something to look into.
    02-27-15 08:14 AM
  7. mozartpc27's Avatar
    Hell, I just lost my original 16GB Playbook (so angry about this; grrr...), and, after some research, decided that there STILL isn't a better tablet for my purposes - that BlackBerry Bridge bluetooth Internet sharing thing the PB does with BB smartphones was a SERIOUSLY underrated feature that RIM should have screamed from the mountaintops - so I got a "new to me" 64GB Playbook.

    Still considering a Windows 8 tab, but it's hard to find one that is 8 inches that doesn't seem like a piece of junk.
    02-28-15 07:35 AM
  8. birdman_38's Avatar
    that BlackBerry Bridge bluetooth Internet sharing thing the PB does with BB smartphones was a SERIOUSLY underrated feature that RIM should have screamed from the mountaintops
    Especially with legacy BlackBerry devices as they compressed data.
    02-28-15 07:53 AM

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