26 posts in this topic

Posted

I need a streaming media player (I dont even know what name they give to these devices anymore) that is capable of the following:

- Netflix 

- Comprehensive MKV playback (high profiles for h264, subtitle support, resume playback, the usual)

- Ethernet a must, WiFi a plus 

- NTFS support for USB drives

- 1080p support for everything (netflix, mkvs, etc)

- network playback (something that will let me stream high bitrate video files regardless of format, network conditions permitting)

 

I have a 2013 Samsung SmartTV that plays everything I throw at it. The thing can handle 25GB MKV files like a champ.  And you can also install netflix, youtube, etc. 

 

Now I need something similar for a different TV that doesnt have samsung smart tv software, and I wonder what device will do the trick. ive been looking into:

- roku 3

- wdtv live

 and some bluray players (apparently some samsung BD players DO have the smart tv software, but Im pretty sure they lack the network playback support unless it is DLNA). 

 

 

Any recommendations?? 

 

 

Thanks in advance

 

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Posted

Honestly in my experience as an apple hater. Nothing even compares to the AppleTV as a media box. All the other one sap have a terrible UX they're slow or unstable. My WDTV live or whatever remain unused after even the netflix app on it can't predictably play stuff, sure SD it plays but HD it'll play one then refuse to play anymore until you hard reboot.

Of course an AppleTV doesn't suit your usecase. Leaving you with only one real option, get a mini PC load windows on it and run plex or media portal, or even XBMC, thoug for many reasons I would suggest the others over it

I suggest you look into the intel NUC mini computers. All ready to go and hook up, some of them come with a IR port for remote control as wel.

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Posted

I needed something similar and I have always been picky with my Media setup. Not sure if this will help your or not, if you require any other info let me know :-)

 

Until I discovered AppleTV + Plex media server + PlexConnect

 

Hardware required:

Apple TV(any Gen incl. 3)

PC with Plex media centre installed(or any other piece of hardware that can handle plex)

 

Software:

Plex Connect to trick your apple tv trailers app in to conencting to your PC. install guide

Plex Media center: Here

 

You can also install the Plex app for your samsung tv via smarthub apps :-)

 

I just have a simple PC running plex and all my stuff on usb in to back of PC(so I can take my content with me whenever I need to)

This has been the best setup I've found my my environment. Not to mention the awesom job plex does at downloading the synopsis and cover art of shows etc.

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Posted

Just FYI WDTV is a hunk of garbage...

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Posted

Raspberry Pi with XBMC ?

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Posted

Thanks for your suggestions. Apple TV doesn't really suits my needs, and while I keep hearing good things about it, Im not in the US so the apps I would have access to would not justify it for me. Great for Netflix, but not so great for anything else. 

 

A mini PC with windows would be ideal, but it's over budget at the moment. I dont really have a centralized media file storage or anything. Ideally I would love to have a NAS and be able to browse the files with flex, for example. 

 

So my options are to check out which of these sub-$100 is actually worth a try. There are some samsung BD players in that price range that seem to have smart tv (good for netflix and flex apps), and theoretically would play MKVs as well. But they flood the market with so many models I dont even know what does what anymore. 

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Posted

Just FYI WDTV is a hunk of garbage...

Very slow indeed and interface quite clunky but a 100$ box that can play DTS... there is none other!

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Posted

Honestly in my experience as an apple hater. Nothing even compares to the AppleTV as a media box. All the other one sap have a terrible UX they're slow or unstable. My WDTV live or whatever remain unused after even the netflix app on it can't predictably play stuff, sure SD it plays but HD it'll play one then refuse to play anymore until you hard reboot.

Of course an AppleTV doesn't suit your usecase. Leaving you with only one real option, get a mini PC load windows on it and run plex or media portal, or even XBMC, thoug for many reasons I would suggest the others over it

I suggest you look into the intel NUC mini computers. All ready to go and hook up, some of them come with a IR port for remote control as wel.

 

Seriously?  The roku 3 is one of the best on the market.  It is lightyears ahead of ATV just by the fact that it allows for 3rd party plugins.  Plus Plex media server is outstanding.

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Posted

Seriously? No one answered Popcorn Hour?

 

http://www.cloudmedia.com/

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Posted

Seriously? No one answered Popcorn Hour?

 

http://www.cloudmedia.com/

 

Never heard of it before. Do you have one? Share your experience.

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Posted

Never heard of it before. Do you have one? Share your experience.

 

Nope. But if I was looking for a media player, i'd go with it. I've only heard great things about it.

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Posted

Moving away from the hardware question, and focusing on the software side, I would go with plex.

 

My setup is a windows 8 machine in hall under the stairs with 3 x 2TB and 3 x 1TB drives all setup using storage spaces as a massive pool with parity (really don't want to lose m collection of 2TB+ media). Plex server runs on this and categorises, downloads cover art, synopsis etc from IMDB and others and presents it all to plex clients on my laptop, phone, Samsung bluray and (hoping) soon the xbox one.

 

It even works outside the network via internet.

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Posted

I would recommend a Raspberry Pi.

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Posted

Moving away from the hardware question, and focusing on the software side, I would go with plex.

 

My setup is a windows 8 machine in hall under the stairs with 3 x 2TB and 3 x 1TB drives all setup using storage spaces as a massive pool with parity (really don't want to lose m collection of 2TB+ media). Plex server runs on this and categorises, downloads cover art, synopsis etc from IMDB and others and presents it all to plex clients on my laptop, phone, Samsung bluray and (hoping) soon the xbox one.

 

It even works outside the network via internet.

Personally I prefer MediaPortal. BUT Plex is what I run now. Simply because I don't need the tuner functionality ATM and because plex synchronizes viewed files automatically without setup. I can do it with MP as well, but it requires putting the config/database on a shared location and setting up all clients to use that file. Messy, and not worth it for the few benefits I get in MP over Plex seeing as I have 2 media center computers and I can play the movies on plex on my computer, laptop, iPad or phone do have it all synced as watched.

I would recommend a Raspberry Pi.

Unless he wants to watch any full HD content with full surround sound, which the raspberry pi can't handle.

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Posted

Not sure if this player can do all that but the best simplest player I prefer using is MPC-HC (Media Player Classic - Home Cinema x64).  Maybe you can head to http://www.mpc-hc.org/ and find out if that player can do what you wanted to do.  It is by far the best MKV player I've come across.

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Posted

Not sure if this player can do all that but the best simplest player I prefer using is MPC-HC (Media Player Classic - Home Cinema x64). Maybe you can head to http://www.mpc-hc.org/ and find out if that player can do what you wanted to do. It is by far the best MKV player I've come across.

I don't think you quite understand what the OP is looking for ;)

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Posted

I do everything except Netflix with a Raspberry Pi and OpenELEC.

 

It automatically indexes shared folders on my laptop and desktop, streams everything just fine over ethernet and actually has no issue with decoding surround audio tracks to 2-channel output. If you need surround output it can bitstream it to your receiver. It plays everything wonderfully, gets subtitles and nice thumbnails for you, easy to control from any smartphone or just with your TV remote using HDMI CEC, ...

 

It's by far the cheapest option you'll find, it's easy to set up and very customizable. I even use mine with the Aeon Nox skin. It's not super-fast to navigate around the UI but waiting three seconds for the Movies to load is hardly annoying and it looks amazing.

 

The best thing about a solution like this is that it can play really almost any format without any transcoding or special configuration. If you're using something like Plex or PS3 Media Server you're probably transcoding on-the-fly, which is still quite a CPU hog for the computer serving the stream. Raspberry Pi with XBMC will just take any file you throw at it over a standard Windows share and play it happily.

 

Aeon_Nox_-_posters.jpg

 

c3na8g08gruq4lt9x.jpg

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Posted

Ummm why would plex be transcoding on the fly? That only happens if you play on a device that don't support the format, which is rare if he uses it on a modern device.

Either way the pi is unable to play 1080p content with surround sound, which may be something to consider if he's going to be using it for movies.

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Posted

Ummm why would plex be transcoding on the fly? That only happens if you play on a device that don't support the format, which is rare if he uses it on a modern device.

Either way the pi is unable to play 1080p content with surround sound, which may be something to consider if he's going to be using it for movies.

 

OK, it depends, but streaming to some more limited devices can be a mess.

 

How do you mean unable to play? My Raspberry Pi has no issue with decoding Dolby (AC3) or DTS/DTS-ES/DTS-HD tracks for output to my TV (which is 2-channel output). If you need surround output you'll be using a receiver that does the decoding for you anyway and bitstreaming Dolby or DTS works just fine on the Raspberry Pi with minimal CPU usage.

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Posted

I think I have some idea what the OP wants with the player.  The problem is I don't know much about MPC-HC capabilities.  Only know it plays MKV very well.  But yeah I don't think MPC can stream nor able to do Netflix.  Was only hinting about MKV player capability.

I don't think you quite understand what the OP is looking for ;)

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Posted

a cheap small pc and install xbmc on it, it will do all of those things. If you aren't in a rush it might be worth waiting to see if people hack the amazon fire tv and install ubuntu on it, then you could install xbmc on it. That is only $100 and comes with a remote control.

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Posted

Just FYI WDTV is a hunk of garbage...

 

Actually they work really well. I gave one to my parents. Streams over the network, NTFS drivers. The only downside is it doesn't support amazon prime. other than that it's a swiss army knife.

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Posted

I think I have some idea what the OP wants with the player.  The problem is I don't know much about MPC-HC capabilities.  Only know it plays MKV very well.  But yeah I don't think MPC can stream nor able to do Netflix.  Was only hinting about MKV player capability.

Hint: The OP is not looking for a software media player. Hes referring to a set-top box (hardware) for streaming video.

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Posted

Roku 3, I would say.  I use a small PC myself, but we have and use a Roku for certain channels.  It's the first-generation one, so a little slow, but wonderful device.

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Posted

THanks everyone for your input. An HTPC is not really an ideal solution for me, because I dont really need that kind of flexibility.  I do have an old computer that could be repurposed, but at this point I dont think its able to handle high bitrate 1080p streams, and frankly a loud machine on a 300-400W power supply is not ideal when there are small devices that can actually do the job quietly for less money and less energy. 

 

I don't think I'm gonna be streaming from my own home network either. I dont have any "permanent" media collection at all, nor do I have any permanently online network storage. I would be playing MKVs over USB (which is not an inconvenience), and watching netflix.  So the only "flexilibity" I want is being able to play high bitrate h264 mkv files (over 20gb, so I need NTFS or exFAT support on that USB) without the player choking on it. Something that won't require me demuxing, recoding, or remuxing anything regarding video, audio or subtitles. So far the 2013 samsung smart tv does a great job at this (Im surprised myself). 

 

 

also, I have no special audio equipment, in fact, I never notice the difference with those things (although I Do notice when it sounds really bad, a crystal clear stereo audio stream will do for me).

 

 

THe raspberry pi sounds like a good solution, but Im reading it may have problems decoding DTS audio or similar (due to the lack of hardware acceleration).

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