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  1. I'm looking for a standalone media player, for a child over 10 yrs old, that can work while not connected to the internet,
    and also work while not connected to an ethernet/home network.
    If it comes with WiFi, would like the ability to lock it out with a pin number or something.

    It should come with a remote controll, that has the standard buttons:
    FF, RW, Pause, Play, Stop, Next Chapter/File, Previous Chapter/File.
    Should also have a button for Select Audio Stream (Optional).
    Really needs an enable/disable subtitles button.

    A "Back" button, to exit out of the current video playing, and return to the main menu, would be nice, too.
    If the Stop button serves that purpose, that'd be fine.

    Would like the ability to reprogram/change the "Next Chapter" and "Previous Chapter" buttons, so that they will instead skip back or forward within a video file by an amount of seconds I specify, such as 10 seconds. Separate buttons for this would be ideal.

    It needs to be able to read Files directly from a USB Stick, plugged into a USB Port.
    USB 2.0 is fine. As is USB 3.0. None of my videos would require the extra bandwidth of USB 3.0.
    Doesn't need to have a big honking hard drive in it, but could make do if it comes with one.
    A small flash drive would be ideal, or at the very least, some kind of flashable firmware, so settings can be saved, and updates to it's OS (and/or codec updates) can be applied/installed.

    Metadata and Thumbnail Support:
    It should be able to read Metadata encoded into the video files, or from a .txt (or similar kind of) file I can write myself.

    It should support Thumbnails for each file, that I can create myself, and save as a normal type of image file. You know, like bmp, png, jpg, gif, and so on. Size restrictions are ok. I can live without the Thumbnails option, but it would be nice to have.

    Subtitle Support
    It should support both External and Internal Subtitles. External Subtitle files should be automatically recognized if
    in the same Directory as the video file, and has the same name (but different extension to) the video file.

    External Subs Example:
    Batman s01e01.mp4 (Video/Audio)
    Batman s01e01.sub (Subtitle)
    Batman s01e01.jpg (Optional Thumbnail)
    Batman s01e01.txt (Episode Description. If it can't pull the Metadata from the Video/Audio File)

    Batman s01e01.idx (Index/Chapter File) Entirely optional. Don't really need this.

    Directory Structure:
    Would be nice if I could set up directories on the USB Stick, and have them recognized by the Media Player's software, kinda like this:

    Root of USB Stick:
    [Folder 1, named "Batman TAS"]
    [Folder 2, named "Superman TAS"]
    [Folder 2, named "Justice League"]
    Batmas TAS.jpg (Thumbnail for the series as a whole)
    Superman TAS.jpg (Thumbnail for the series as a whole)
    Justice League.jpg (Thumbnail for the series as a whole)

    Then, within each folder, could be Episodes, Movies/Specials/Extras and so on, as separate files,
    as well as thumbnails for each episode.
    All thumbnails are entirely optional. A simple file list would be fine.

    It would be nice to be able to hide the .txt files, as well as the files for the subs and (optional) thumbnails, and the optional chapter files, from the video playback list. To keep it clean-looking.

    Auto-Resume Feature:
    Should give the option to resume playback from the last scene that was played. It doesn't matter to me if the records for auto-resume are kept on memory in the device, or on the USB Stick.
    What does matter is to be able to have the software not automatically delete this info.

    Filetype Support & AV Outputs
    MPEG2, MP4, MKV, H.264, Divx/Xvid.
    AAC, AC3, MP3, LPCM. Dolby stuff is optional. I can just demux, then re-encode to AAC or MP3, then remux, when necessary.
    Internal (soft, selectable) and External (soft, selectable) Subtitles.

    Needs to be able to output via HDMI at 720p or 1080p.
    Needs to support a simple HDMI to DVI Cable, for connection to a speaker-less PC Monitor.
    Need to be able to force 720p, if the monitor can't handle higher resolutions than that.

    Also needs a separate audio output port. Coaxial, Optical, RCA Stereo, or a line-level headphone-style jack is fine.
    If RCA Stereo (or a line-level Headphone-style jack) isn't available, I can just get a 3'rd party adapter to plug in to the Coaxial or Optical Audio port.

    DVD and BluRay ISO filetypes don't need to be supported.
    As I said at the beginning, the device won't be connected to the internet, so there's no need to support any streaming services, such as Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, and so on. Also do not want e-mail or web browsing. If it comes with that stuff, I'd like to be able to uninstall it, or disable it with some kind of parental controlls.

    Now that all that is written
    So. This is for a relative's kid. Not actually gonna send any DC-Comics cartoons, just used that as an example.
    I have been re-authoring DVDs. Removing the age-inappropriate commercials, and any age-inappropriate special features I come across.
    Made sure to send the originals along too.

    Would love to skip the Burn to DVD-R step, and just send USB Flash Drives instead.
    Tales of Zestria for PS3, and the New Zelda for Wii-U, are coming stateside, later this year.
    Would like to have more free time, so I can enjoy the games.

    If such a device doesn't exist, I'm going to need to build the kid a PC. That I can do.
    That I have done for some of my other relative's kids.
    Even made a nice (offline) html-based interface for their shows.



    Want to avoid building a PC, if I can. The kid's parents are weird.
    They don't want their kid to have a PC, for a couple more years.
    It's easy enough to disable internet on a PC, like by not installing a wifi adapter, or the drivers for the onboard lan adapter. XD
    I'm just tired of arguing with em, is all.
    Last edited by Joe The Dude; 7th Mar 2015 at 18:08.
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    I don't believe that you will find a box that has all the features you want and can be prevented from accessing the Internet or the home network. Even current-model Blu-Ray players with a media player** all have built-in Wi-Fi.

    The closest you might find is one of the new Android TV boxes that run Kodi/XBMC, but all probably require Internet access.

    **Added this qualifier since an inexpensive Blu-ray player I looked at did not have Ethernet or WiFi, but didn't include a media player either, or if it did, the product description didn't mention that feature.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 8th Mar 2015 at 12:43.
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  3. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    A couple of devices may do most of what you want. Easy would be a WDTV Live box with remote. You can get them used or refurbished on Ebay for ~$50US.

    Or try the new version of Raspberry Pi. It's a self contained computer for $40US. It has HDMI output and USB ports. Accessories here: http://www.adafruit.com/category/105
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  4. Raspberry Pi2 B is what you are looking for, not older model, make sure you have that latest one. get a nice 8GB microSD card, one HDMI cable, USB keybord and mouse, or in your case getting IR sensor and remote control, or mini wireless keyboard.

    Judging by your post you'd enjoy to get this together and make it work, total for all parts should be less than $100. The thing is, you can search Youtube or http://www.raspberrypi.org/ , all information is there. Nothing like trying to make a linux version to work etc. I did not encounter any problem except realizing I need mpeg2 licence (H.264 is ok). It is like $3, they send you a code that you copy on that microSD card into config.txt.

    The way it works you can upload any image on microSD card and put it in Raspberry and boot it, you download those images from internet: Raspbian (programming, simple web browsing), Fedora (linux version), OPENElec (that is what you need, they use Kodi, former XBMC) and others. Or you can include all those mentioned above using BerryBoot 2.0 It is even more simple. You just copy that BerryBoot 2.0 from web to that microSD card, boot Raspberry and follow what is says, it can download whatever image you want, but you need to be on internet for that time being. Booting between those images is like 10sec or so, it is very fast. I'm getting known to OpenElec for example, having that Raspberry Pi2 B as well now, and it handles even original BluRay mkv's with audio over LAN, but you say you 'd use storage through USB only.
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    Just my 2 cents but why not put those videos on a desktop computer?

    Clearly a 10 year old should be able to operate a computer!

    Why sometimes people want a difficult solution for a simple problem is beyond me.

    Originally Posted by Joe The Dude View Post
    Want to avoid building a PC, if I can. The kid's parents are weird.
    They don't want their kid to have a PC, for a couple more years.
    It's easy enough to disable internet on a PC, like by not installing a wifi adapter, or the drivers for the onboard lan adapter. XD
    I'm just tired of arguing with em, is all.
    Simple, just say you don't want to help them!

    When people want to do idiotic things, the best thing in my opinion is to make them understand they want to do idiotic things, helping them do it only perpetuates the problem and also you become an accomplice to doing idiotic things!

    Last edited by newpball; 8th Mar 2015 at 13:07.
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  6. Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Just my 2 cents but why not put those videos on a desktop computer?

    Clearly a 10 year old should be able to operate a computer!

    Why sometimes people want a difficult solution for a simple problem is beyond me.

    Originally Posted by Joe The Dude View Post
    Want to avoid building a PC, if I can. The kid's parents are weird.
    They don't want their kid to have a PC, for a couple more years.
    What kid (apparently over the age of 10 doesn't use a computer with internet access for homework at least?

    Serious?
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    Originally Posted by Clockwork View Post
    Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Just my 2 cents but why not put those videos on a desktop computer?

    Clearly a 10 year old should be able to operate a computer!

    Why sometimes people want a difficult solution for a simple problem is beyond me.

    Originally Posted by Joe The Dude View Post
    Want to avoid building a PC, if I can. The kid's parents are weird.
    They don't want their kid to have a PC, for a couple more years.
    What kid (apparently over the age of 10 doesn't use a computer with internet access for homework at least?

    Serious?
    Exactly.

    When I read the requirements I first thought perhaps some late baby boomer who is simply too lazy to learn anything new and wanted to have some idiot proof video solution, but a ten year old kid?

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    It is possible that the parents may not want this child to have his/her own computer yet, which is not the same thing as not allowing him/her to use a computer at all. Some parents prefer to have a "family" computer located somewhere convenient for monitoring their children's screen time and online activities.
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  9. exactly, some do not have kids yet apparently ...
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  10. Thanks for the suggestions, all!

    I just finished looking into the Raspberry Pi 2b. Seems perfect.
    Could configure it to do exactly what I want.
    Purchased one, and a case and a lid. Should arrive in a few days

    Unfortunately, there's going to be a rather steep learning curve for me.
    I have very limited experience with compiling programs, and working with Linux. I have the capacity to learn how to work with it, and understand the basic concepts, but have very little free time.
    Could only spare about 3 hours a week on it, tops.

    In the meantime, I'm going to look in to the other suggestions ya'll offered.

    If I have to go with the Raspberry Pi 2b, I will probably wind up hiring a friend, to create (and test) a customized setup (with the appropriate Linux version, and supporting drivers and apps), for the micro SD Card.

    Might have to also have them develop video app that's easier to configure, and simpler to use, than Kodi/XBMC.
    Not sure. Haven't messed with XBMC, since I had it running on a modified Original Xbox.
    If Kodi/XBMC won't work for me, I'll be sure to look into other video apps available for the Pi 2b, before having a new api developed.
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  11. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    It is possible that the parents may not want this child to have his/her own computer yet, which is not the same thing as not allowing him/her to use a computer at all. Some parents prefer to have a "family" computer located somewhere convenient for monitoring their children's screen time and online activities.
    The kid in question knows how to use a computer, and has access to one, but it is as you say, monitored.

    As I said before, an offline PC would be ideal, but me and the kid know more about computers than the parents. XD
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    Originally Posted by Joe The Dude View Post
    ...

    Really needs an enable/disable subtitles button.

    ...

    It should be able to read Metadata encoded into the video files, or from a .txt (or similar kind of) file I can write myself.

    ...

    It should support both External and Internal Subtitles. External Subtitle files should be automatically recognized if
    in the same Directory as the video file, and has the same name (but different extension to) the video file.

    ...

    Then, within each folder, could be Episodes, Movies/Specials/Extras and so on, as separate files,
    as well as thumbnails for each episode.

    ...

    It would be nice to be able to hide the .txt files, as well as the files for the subs and (optional) thumbnails, and the optional chapter files, from the video playback list. To keep it clean-looking.

    ...
    The requirements for "10 year old kids" continue to fascinate me....

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  13. Originally Posted by Joe The Dude View Post
    Unfortunately, there's going to be a rather steep learning curve for me.
    I have very limited experience with compiling programs, and working with Linux.
    It was surprisingly easy to get going, I just followed some instructions that I read, so I mostly I just pass it down again:

    1.make sure you have microSD

    2. go to BootBerry 2.0 website download that zip, that zip for Pi2, watch it, not Pi , unzip it and put those files on formated fat 32 micro SD.
    You can formate that card anywhere PC, tablet, perhaps even in camcorder and for example I do not have SD card slot in PC so I copied those files using tablet , whatever works

    3.put it into Raspberry Pi2 B and hook it up to LAN, just for this one time, just needing for file downloads, explained below and power it up by just plugging it in

    4.follow those instructions from Bootberry 2.0 website, same page that you downloaded that zip, it would tell you exactly what to do

    I downloaded Raspbian (some programming, terminal in case of needing to fix something, etc.) and OPENElec of course for video, just choosing it from menu after I powered Raspberry up
    you can boot between those in less than a minute, it is quite fast
    In case you mess up something and Rasbian is booting into command line terminal, just put for id prompt: pi and for passward: raspberry and then startx , then you can fix it for good so it always go into GUI mode in case you boot into Raspbian going into terminal (black monitor on top) and typing this what is between quotes: "sudo raspi-config" or read it here, then you change boot behivour in that menu (that you are prompt to do during first boot anyway, but just in case)

    Getting mpeg2 licence for DVD's or HD mpeg files
    . needed to get DVD menu navigation or deinterlace or smooth playback using hardware acceleration, otherwise, without licence mpeg2 is rendered only with software not hardware, so getting that licence you might follow those instructions in that link or simply do this:

    1. boot to Raspbian
    2. go into terminal (black monitor icon on top of screen) and type this what is between quotes "cat /proc/cpuinfo"
    3. get your Raspberry serial, it would be at the bottom of that listing
    4. go here to buy a license , mpeg2 licence was about $3
    5 .after getting email with your license number, make some changes to configuration file, follow instructions, or just do this: get your microSD card out of Raspberry, use Notepad and add one line at the end in config.txt:
    decode_MPG2=xxxxxxxxxx
    where that number is your correct one. That config.txt is something like BIOS for Raspberry, one can set more configurations there.


    VC1 licence for wmv video files you might not need, software might handle that if resolution is standard definition , easy to play, it is up to you, also, perhaps you might have mpeg2 files that could be handled by software as well, but I checked, it would not play well HDV video or DVD navigation did not work (navigating in VIDEO_TS), also deinterlace for interlaced mpeg2 did not work ...after getting mpeg2 licence it is ok
    Last edited by _Al_; 12th Mar 2015 at 23:49.
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    I have an AC Ryan Play ON media player, added a 500GB HDD (should have done 1TB but at the time the price difference was enough that I went with less space for much lower price). This device is great. I can't say how good it would run pulling files from a USB thumb drive but the drive is formatted NTFS and it takes about 3 minutes for me to drag 10GB HD files from my Mac laptop to the built in HDD. The menu is very easy to navigate to the HDD then a list of the files shows to me (as a list would show in a folder on one's computer). I click on the file I want to watch and I'm good to go.
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