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):
-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.
-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)
*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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Amazon Fire TV is not for sale on Amazon.ca (Canada) yet...
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.
Get a HTPC!
This is why I wouldn't go for a Roku:
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.
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 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 18:55.
Anyone? Please? Any comments regarding the three players listed above?
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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 11:37. Reason: typo
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.
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.
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.
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 13:59.
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 19:18.
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/VSONY 75" Full array 200Hz LED TV, Yamaha A1070 amp, Zidoo UHD3000, BeyonWiz PVR V2 (Enigma2 clone), Chromecast, Windows 7 Ultimate, QNAP NAS TS851
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.
Dune 303D TV??
-c-Cranky Old Man