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  1. Beer-phile
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    Hi all,

    I'm ready to move onto greener pastures.....I currently have a WDTV Live (Gen 3) as my media player. I have a 500GB external hard drive attached to it. I have a lot of local files (relatively) and it's an important feature for me which is why I ended up with a WDTV Live in the first place.

    WDTV Plus (Gen 3)

    Pros (for me):
    -Plays everything
    -Simple Interface
    -Netflix

    Cons:
    -No 30sec skip forward / 7 sec back (terrible remote in general)
    -A bit slow/laggy/clunky


    The lack of quick skip and replay functionality (I really dislike the remote), teamed with a clunky response time has finally gotten to me and I want something new. Roku 3 seems to be the best reviewed, generic, media player out there but I'd rather get opinions from tech savvy folks who know about the 'not advertised' advantages of certain players. I recently flashed homebrew firmware onto the WDTV Live but it didn't add any remote functionality so I went back to stock. I should also note that I'm in Canada so many of the streaming services of generic players do not work here.


    Musts:
    -Play a wide range of file types
    -Support External hard drive
    -Good remote (MUST, Must, must have 30 sec advance / 7 second back; or some variation of that)
    -Netflix/Youtube
    -Quiet
    -Fast processor
    *Flexible budget for the right product

    Oh, and no AppleTV suggestions please. More of an Android user...


    Thanks in advance for your help
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  2. Member
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    Amazon FireTV and install Kodi for local playback.
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  3. Member
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    I am looking to replace my WDLive system as well. Amazon Fire TV looks like a good possible solution, but it is crucial that my local NAS material be able to be played back easily. I haven't used Kodi, but have read great things. Can someone confirm that it can be installed (as a reasonable project that won't kill my entire summer) on a Fire TV?

    Any insight here would be much appreciated. I am basically looking for a turn-key replacement for my WDLive. I haven't found any slam-dunks yet, though I am willing to spend enough to get the right system. Stability is definitely part of the "right" system. Wife suitability is a big factor.

    Originally Posted by smitbret View Post
    Amazon FireTV and install Kodi for local playback.
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  4. Beer-phile
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    Amazon Fire TV is not for sale on Amazon.ca (Canada) yet...
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  5. Member
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    Crud.

    The NetFlix requirement could make this difficult.

    My other suggestion would be to dual-boot a Chromebox with OpenELEC/Kodi. You'd use Kodi for local streaming and most other things but could boot into Chrome and access NetFlix that way. Kind of ruins the whole remote control simplicity thing when you want to do a streaming web service, though.
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  6. Banned
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    Get a HTPC!

    A no-brainer!

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  7. Member
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    This is why I wouldn't go for a Roku:

    http://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=66460&start=0&sid=ff0a872b51811e1ab85dab51004e3bf1

    I've been waiting for someone to re-release Fantastic Four in AVC, and it's not the only Blu Ray I own that uses MPEG2 video. Plus, it would mean the end of being able to watch my original DVD rips on my TV (not that I do that all that often).

    I have a WDTV g3 too, and I'd like to upgrade to a proper HTPC... I just don't have that kind of money lying around at the moment.

    https://www.google.com.au/?gws_rd=ssl#q=netflix+HTPC
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  8. Beer-phile
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    Yeah, a HTPC would be my choice too, but this will likely be going in my bedroom and I do not want to hear fans. I deactivated the fan in my old Patriot Box Office just to quiet it down......and that was a small fan.

    Any thoughts on these:

    Matricom G-Box MX2

    KDLINKS® A200

    KDLINKS HD720 Extreme


    And yes.....I am aware of the near-immediate contradiction in my (above) fan statement.......but if these are world beaters, then I will put up with a fan. ;]
    Last edited by BobLoblaw; 22nd Apr 2015 at 19:55.
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  9. Beer-phile
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    Anyone? Please? Any comments regarding the three players listed above?
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  10. Perhaps not many people have those Android units yet. Whatever reasons, bad reviews of those early models. Latest models might be alright.
    As it usually is, you might try one of these and report back. Or read reviews on Amazon site, it gives you some ballpark what to expect.
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  11. Beer-phile
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    Thanks for the reply _Al_.......was there a common theme on why those early Android units were not good? The reviews on amazon.com seems largely good and supportive of them
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  12. They were just not powerful enough to play full BD rips etc. And they should play those and all kinds of audios that can come with BD.
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  13. Member
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    Side-loading Kodi on the FireTV is supposed to be fairly straightforward. However my experience with trying Kodi on a PC is that tweaking it to one's exact liking after doing the initial set up can become a long-term project.
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    I don't mind a long-term project that I can handle in my spare time. In fact, I rather enjoy that. However, it would need to be functional until those few hours here and there I can take it off line to tinker with it. Does that describe the Kodi experience by any chance?
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  15. Member
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    I didn't find Kodi to be any where near usable immediately after installation, which is not surprising because Kodi is aimed at those who want to create a perfect custom media center experience.

    There are many skins to choose from. Some are only for use with a remote and others support a mouse and keyboard. Ultimately I found that I was just not very interested in spending my time customizing, tweaking, organizing and beautifying. I wanted to get down to business watching/recording TV with a sort of home-brew TiVo, so I ended up using less customizable programs for my PCs (Windows Media Center and NextPVR), which happen to be for Windows only. Family members prefer the cable box they know to the HTPC they don't.

    If you still want to use Kodi, the fTV skin was suggested as a good one to try because it blends in with the FireTV's user interface.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 25th May 2016 at 12:37. Reason: typo
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  16. Member
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    Any idea if the Fire TV is able to play avi, mkv, etc... files natively from a wireless network?



    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I didn't find Kodi to be any where near usable immediately after installation, which is not surprising because Kodi is aimed at those who want to create a perfect custom media center experience.

    There are many skins to choose from. Some are only for use with a remote and others support a mouse and keyboard. Ultimately I found that I was just not very interested in spending my time customizing, tweaking, organizing and beautifying. I wanted to get down to business to watching/recording TV with a sort of home-brew TiVo, so I ended up using less customizable programs for my PCs (Windows Media Center and NextPVR), which happen to be for Windows only. Family members prefer the cable box they know to the HTPC they don't.

    If you still want to use Kodi, the fTV skin was suggested as a good one to try because it blends in with the FireTV's user interface.
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  17. Member
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    Originally Posted by Jay4 View Post
    Any idea if the Fire TV is able to play avi, mkv, etc... files natively from a wireless network?



    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I didn't find Kodi to be any where near usable immediately after installation, which is not surprising because Kodi is aimed at those who want to create a perfect custom media center experience.

    There are many skins to choose from. Some are only for use with a remote and others support a mouse and keyboard. Ultimately I found that I was just not very interested in spending my time customizing, tweaking, organizing and beautifying. I wanted to get down to business to watching/recording TV with a sort of home-brew TiVo, so I ended up using less customizable programs for my PCs (Windows Media Center and NextPVR), which happen to be for Windows only. Family members prefer the cable box they know to the HTPC they don't.

    If you still want to use Kodi, the fTV skin was suggested as a good one to try because it blends in with the FireTV's user interface.
    The FireTV is primarily designed to run Amazon's apps plus apps available from the app store that allow the device to use various third-party streaming services and play locally streamed content. Kodi isn't officially supported, so it is not in the App store and must be side-loaded. Plex and Emby clients are supported and available from the App store for free, but I have never used either, so I cannot tell you how they work other than related server software has to run on another device to stream media to the client. If you want to know more, you will need to research these yourself or wait for someone else to tell you about them.
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  18. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by Jay4 View Post
    Any idea if the Fire TV is able to play avi, mkv, etc... files natively from a wireless network?



    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I didn't find Kodi to be any where near usable immediately after installation, which is not surprising because Kodi is aimed at those who want to create a perfect custom media center experience.

    There are many skins to choose from. Some are only for use with a remote and others support a mouse and keyboard. Ultimately I found that I was just not very interested in spending my time customizing, tweaking, organizing and beautifying. I wanted to get down to business to watching/recording TV with a sort of home-brew TiVo, so I ended up using less customizable programs for my PCs (Windows Media Center and NextPVR), which happen to be for Windows only. Family members prefer the cable box they know to the HTPC they don't.

    If you still want to use Kodi, the fTV skin was suggested as a good one to try because it blends in with the FireTV's user interface.
    The FireTV is primarily designed to run Amazon's apps plus apps available from the app store that allow the device to use various third-party streaming services and play locally streamed content. Kodi isn't officially supported, so it is not in the App store and must be side-loaded. Plex and Emby clients are supported and available from the App store for free, but I have never used either, so I cannot tell you how they work other than related server software has to run on another device to stream media to the client. If you want to know more, you will need to research these yourself or wait for someone else to tell you about them.

    From past experience with some other topics, I would suspect that you can find more detailed info about this on AVSforum . . . but the tech quotient will likely go UP, leaving many of us behind. And the much greater volume of threads and sub-threads may require more patient searching.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  19. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by Jay4 View Post
    Any idea if the Fire TV is able to play avi, mkv, etc... files natively from a wireless network?



    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I didn't find Kodi to be any where near usable immediately after installation, which is not surprising because Kodi is aimed at those who want to create a perfect custom media center experience.

    There are many skins to choose from. Some are only for use with a remote and others support a mouse and keyboard. Ultimately I found that I was just not very interested in spending my time customizing, tweaking, organizing and beautifying. I wanted to get down to business to watching/recording TV with a sort of home-brew TiVo, so I ended up using less customizable programs for my PCs (Windows Media Center and NextPVR), which happen to be for Windows only. Family members prefer the cable box they know to the HTPC they don't.

    If you still want to use Kodi, the fTV skin was suggested as a good one to try because it blends in with the FireTV's user interface.
    The FireTV is primarily designed to run Amazon's apps plus apps available from the app store that allow the device to use various third-party streaming services and play locally streamed content. Kodi isn't officially supported, so it is not in the App store and must be side-loaded. Plex and Emby clients are supported and available from the App store for free, but I have never used either, so I cannot tell you how they work other than related server software has to run on another device to stream media to the client. If you want to know more, you will need to research these yourself or wait for someone else to tell you about them.
    I still like my Gen 2 WD Live TV very much (after having rolled their f/w back to a level that was stable and -- for the most part -- does not glitch on me), which I use all the time. That is, mainly for playback of varied content in .AVI, .WMV., .MP4, .MKV formats, etc., whether this was from PAL or NTSC, and regardless of region. It excels at this, probably well beyond Roku and any of its better known competition that has come along. That includes DVD format or ISO structures, and much greater-than-DVD resolution material. It could play stuff over the home network from a computer or NAS, if I so desired, but I never had enough interest to pursue that. It does have a few blind spots, though: it won't play back HEVC or x265 or a couple less common flavors of AVC or .WMV. These are in the minority though, in terms of what I tend to run into, so for me these are negligible.

    Lately, a friend has been telling me that I simply must try Kodi, probably via one of the Amazon Fire players or the Chromecast. Based on recent reviews, I was leaning towards the Amazon player. The one clear benefit seemed to be access to Amazon's own streaming service, which gateway the other players don't seem to offer. Where Kodi adds value was not immediately evident. If I correctly understood what my friend was saying, this might include access to many varied (free ?) channels or services abroad, with content that is otherwise not available here. That sounded promising. Whether or not you may have noticed, foreign / arthouse / Indie / more obscure titles have been disappearing from Netflix faster than the polar icecaps have been melting. There are many distinguished directors who used to have 10 or more titles in the NF library, but which are now down to 1 or 2. Or, sometimes none. So, in principle, access to more sources sounds like a good thing.

    There seem to be some decent instructions for installing Kodi (to a player, not just to a PC) that you can find online. However, I have a few initial questions. What is this "side-loading" business ? Will it wipe out the native software / firmware of the Amazon player, or compromise it in some fashion, vs. peacefully co-existing with it as just one more alternative ? Beyond that, can you have Kodi + Plex or one of the other such apps co-exist and co-function on the same Amazon player ? Any issues I should watch out for ?
    Last edited by Seeker47; 6th Sep 2016 at 20:18.
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  20. Member
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    The HTPC option doesn't have to be either expensive or noisy.

    There are some android boxes that are pretty decent now. There are also some small Windows units (Intel NUC, Gigabyte Brix, ASRock Beebox) that can be picked up quite cheaply, and outfitted with a SSD to keep heat and noise down. Some are even fanless.

    As for external hard drives, most of them will do that. However, if you are serious about a media collection, I would personally recommend a network (ehternet over powerline is fine) and at least a low-end NAS. Fault tolerant, and move the storage element to one central pool that's accessible around the house.
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  21. I have no personal experience with the Fire TV. But in general, media player manufacturers who also sell content are mostly looking to lock you into their content and their service.
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  22. kodi + ps3 remote(1st version)+ bluetooth adapter + eventghost (free) to control kodi (and every possible app)
    ain't nothing better than this
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    Originally Posted by themaster1 View Post
    kodi + ps3 remote(1st version)+ bluetooth adapter + eventghost (free) to control kodi (and every possible app)
    ain't nothing better than this

    In this setup, do you mean you run Kodi on a htpc? Any recommendations on a good choice?
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  24. Originally Posted by themaster1 View Post
    kodi + ps3 remote(1st version)+ bluetooth adapter + eventghost (free) to control kodi (and every possible app)
    ain't nothing better than this
    except you want to play interlaced video, ..., kodi sucks with deinterlace, basically it is very bad, ....,so to have better deinterlace , there are better apps
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  25. deinterlacing is fine for me with a nvidia card (gtx660 oc) . But if that's the problem you can use kodi + mpchc there are tutorials about this
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  26. I thought that was regarding Fire TV + Kodi.
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    Originally Posted by _Al_ View Post
    I thought that was regarding Fire TV + Kodi.
    Not originally, but it is now since the thread was woken up by someone new, Jay4, who wants to use a FireTV.

    The problem is that Jay4 wants an inexpensive hardware solution running software that is usable by the whole family (without needing a lot of work on his part initially) for watching locally streamed video from a NAS . That is why I suggested he look at Emby and Plex for use with a FireTV.

    I have an HTPC and I have tried Kodi. In my opinion, neither the hardware not software parts of that solution meets Jay4's requirements.

    [Edit]It looks like the FireTV Plex and Emby clients are only free during a trial period. After the trial period ends they cost $5.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 28th May 2016 at 14:59.
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  28. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    For me I decided on the Popcorn A-500 plays pretty well everything including H265 but not VP9 encodes nor Netflix, but I have that via Chromecast plugged into my Yamaha A/V
    BeyonWiz T3 PVR ~ Popcorn A-500 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 64bit ~ Yamaha RX-A1070 ~ QnapTS851-4G
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    I want to thank everyone for the comments here, they were really helpful. Because it was a cheap experiment, I ordered the Amazon Fire for $100 with the intention of putting the Kodi software on it and using that.

    What I found is that it well addresses my needds, but not the way I expected. I downloaded the VLC app. Using it, I can play all the .mkv, .avi (xvid) and .mpg files I have thrown at it thus far, and it sees them on my local network. It doesn't play the FoxSoccer2Go app that I side-loaded to it, which is a bummer, but that is the only weakness I have found. It is better that the WDTV for performance, by a good bit. I loaded Kodi successfully, but so far I prefer just navigating through VLC to find my files.

    I am not a fan of the "ads" that come with the Fire. By ads I just mean the ads for shows that you can watch on it. I will continue to have my kids use the WDTV for this reason. To me, this is the biggest drawback of the device, by a lot.
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  30. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jay4 View Post
    I want to thank everyone for the comments here, they were really helpful. Because it was a cheap experiment, I ordered the Amazon Fire for $100 with the intention of putting the Kodi software on it and using that.
    And that's why I would be doing it. But the questions I raised are still awaiting answers. (Forgot about VLC though: another option, besides Plex and Kodi ?.)

    I'm downloading the manual for the Dune. At first glance though, I'm not seeing where this offers much that I don't already have with my old WD Live. Will research the new Popcorn Hour also.
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