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  1. Is there any hardware I can buy to play back mp4 files, mkv files using hevc, and other common video file formats that will do as good a job as the best pc and video card but cost a lot less?

    I'm thinking of hardware such as the Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, etc (or any other hardware you may know of that will do the job well) because those cost a lot less than the latest pc with video card.

    I did buy an Amazon FireStick TV and although its quality is very good for streaming video from the Net, when I load mp4 files into it and play them using vlc and other apps that are there, the playback is very dark and losses a lot of resolution when compared to playing the identical files on my old pc with its old video card. So for sure, the FireStick TV will definitely not be one of the hardware choices to replace a new pc with video card.
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  2. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    build a media center pc if that's what you are after. no $100 media box is going to compete with a $1000 pc.

    the newer fire tv(4k version) isn't bad. it's hooked up with a gb network cable and i installed the free vlc app that plays all the mkv files off my nas boxes perfectly.
    --
    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  3. If you're adventurous try a Raspberry Pi 3 with Kodi.
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  4. Hi Aedipuss,

    Thanks for the help.

    Do you think the improvement in video playback with a $1000 multimedia pc compared to the Amazon Fire TV would be easily noticed with the naked eye or would it just be more like barely noticeable? Any idea of which video aspects would look the best on the pc (flicker, contrast, color accuracy, or whatever)? To save around $1000, I'd sacrifice a small amount of video quality, but not a lot.

    I recently had a lot of trouble playing back a mkv file that used hevc compression (10 bit). My old pc and video card has been playing video files of all types perfectly to my eye for years and this is the first time I've had trouble playing a video file in a long while.

    I'm wondering if an hevc mkv file is something fairly new because my pc and video card has played back all the other common video formats just fine for at least 5 years until very recently when I noticed some mkv files wouldn't play well.

    Is playing back an hevc mkv file something that is so demanding that only a fairly new/good pc and video card (or new/fast laptop) can play them?

    Thanks again for your help.
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  5. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    a fast new pc with a good video card can play a greater variety of videos than a media player. and yes newer high compression videos require a fast pc. with a media player you can't stick a blu-ray disc in one or play a file in a format not in the supported list of the player and they are not usually up-gradable. that said you can always re-encode to something the player does handle.

    for 100 i'm happy enough with the new fire tv unit. plays what i need it to, it's wired into my local network, has a usb port, memory card slot, comes with a workable remote, it's an android box and can install apps/play android games on the tv with a wired or blu-tooth game controller. and if i upgrade to a 4k tv it will output at 4k.
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    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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