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  1. Hello all,

    I previously had a WDTV Live which stopped working and I see that they are very expensive used on Amazon. Does anybody know of a good alternative? Ideally, I would like something that can:

    -Play H264 MKV files from an NTFS external HDD/SSD
    -Supports lossy DTS 5.1 in addition to AC3 5.1 (at least decodes it as 2.0 like the WDTV Live could)
    -HDMI output for video
    -Can work with Hulu for streaming TV/movies

    Are there any Blu-ray players that can do these things? Because the ability to play my storebought Blu-ray discs would be great as well.

    I am looking to spend anywhere up to $250 if needed. HTPC is not really a consideration for me.

    Thank you,

    Mike
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  2. Is the LG BP550 any good for what I want to do? I was looking over some of the tech specs and it seems it can do most of what I want but not sure if it supports an NTFS-formatted external HDD.
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  3. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    I don't know about Hula capabilities but the Popcorn A-500 does all of your other requirements and is 4K capable. I have all my video files on line from my NAS and it works quite nicely. The Video Jukebox looks good and it does Music streaming as well. I bought mine as a replacement for my C-200 that is getting a bit long in tooth and doesn't do 4K

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njUXJRYpLSw

    I'm running the firmware on a 32GB memory card as I have my video's on network but you could use an external USB3 drive NTFS or Ext4 or an internal drive easily swapped out.
    Last edited by netmask56; 6th Jul 2016 at 21:26. Reason: assitional info
    BeyonWiz T3 PVR ~ Popcorn A-500 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 64bit ~ Yamaha RX-A1070 ~ QnapTS851-4G
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  4. Originally Posted by netmask56 View Post
    I don't know about Hula capabilities but the Popcorn A-500 does all of your other requirements and is 4K capable. I have all my video files on line from my NAS and it works quite nicely. The Video Jukebox looks good and it does Music streaming as well. I bought mine as a replacement for my C-200 that is getting a bit long in tooth and doesn't do 4K

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njUXJRYpLSw

    I'm running the firmware on a 32GB memory card as I have my video's on network but you could use an external USB3 drive NTFS or Ext4 or an internal drive easily swapped out.

    Thanks for the reply. I have heard of the Popcorn Hour. My concern though is I would like Blu-ray playback too. I am considering the LP BP550. It looks like an attractive price and appears to do all the things I want it to at $99.
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  5. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I have a Samsung set top BD F5100 Blu-ray player that I've had for a couple of years that plays my BD and DVD MKV
    conversions with no problems from a hard drive.

    It also plays some internet content, such as Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube. You might check out the newer Samsung players.
    Last edited by redwudz; 6th Jul 2016 at 23:06.
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  6. Member
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    Sigh...guess 2016 isn't the year for WDTV as my beloved Gen 3 is gasping it's last.

    After resarching and mulling over my possible options (including building an HTPC), I've decided to get another Gen 3 (found a "Like New" listing for $75.00 w/ shipping and awaiting delivery this week). The primary reasons for my choice are: 1) It natively supports HDs through a USB hub (A lot of media players are iffy about this) and 2) 4K and H265 content is becoming commonplace and I can get a cheap <$100 Android box running Kodi to handle that plus any steaming media.

    If I decided to play by Blu-Rays directly from disc (I personally find menus annoying and always RIP to MKV), I could spend another $100 and have all bases covered (for the next couple of years) for less than $300.

    If you're interested in staying with a WDTV, there's a seller on Ebay with refurbed Gen 3's for &58.00 shipped. Note that this is the PAL version, but all reports are that this can be set to output NTSC. It's also sold at Newegg (same seller) for a couple of dollars more. I didn't get one because they don't ship to Hawaii.

    There was another seller on Ebay last week that had NTSC Gen 3 refurbs for ~$100. Would have ordered one, but I lucked out on Amazon (keep watching, you might too!).
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  7. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by stonesfan129 View Post
    Originally Posted by netmask56 View Post
    I don't know about Hula capabilities but the Popcorn A-500 does all of your other requirements and is 4K capable. I have all my video files on line from my NAS and it works quite nicely. The Video Jukebox looks good and it does Music streaming as well. I bought mine as a replacement for my C-200 that is getting a bit long in tooth and doesn't do 4K

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njUXJRYpLSw

    I'm running the firmware on a 32GB memory card as I have my video's on network but you could use an external USB3 drive NTFS or Ext4 or an internal drive easily swapped out.

    Thanks for the reply. I have heard of the Popcorn Hour. My concern though is I would like Blu-ray playback too. I am considering the LP BP550. It looks like an attractive price and appears to do all the things I want it to at $99.
    You can rip your Blu Ray discs to HDD and it will play the file structure - here is an example of one of my BD's on the network
    Code:
    Inglourious Basterds
    BDMV
    index.bdmv
    MovieObject.bdmv
    AUXDATA
    BACKUP
    index.bdmv
    MovieObject.bdmv
    BDJO
    CLIPINF
    00010.clpi
    JAR
    PLAYLIST
    00000.mpls
    BDJO
    CLIPINF
    00010.clpi
    JAR
    META
    PLAYLIST
    00000.mpls
    STREAM
    00010.m2ts
    CERTIFICATE
    BACKUP
    BeyonWiz T3 PVR ~ Popcorn A-500 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 64bit ~ Yamaha RX-A1070 ~ QnapTS851-4G
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    Originally Posted by stonesfan129 View Post
    Is the LG BP550 any good for what I want to do? I was looking over some of the tech specs and it seems it can do most of what I want but not sure if it supports an NTFS-formatted external HDD.
    i have that LG, BD player, i only recently bought it, and yes it supports NTFS i just tested it , to be sure
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    Originally Posted by stonesfan129 View Post
    Thanks for the reply. I have heard of the Popcorn Hour. My concern though is I would like Blu-ray playback too. I am considering the LP BP550. It looks like an attractive price and appears to do all the things I want it to at $99.
    Streaming media players are sometimes not the best at playing media files, and dedicated players for media files are often lacking when it comes to the availability of streaming services. If you are interested in playing commercial Blu-ray discs, you have no choice but to get a Blu-ray player.

    The LB BP550 does appear to be a good choice as a general-purpose player as well as an optical media player. It supports all the major streaming services, and although you shouldn't expect it to play everything a PC could play, it does support most common media file types and audio and video formats (with some restrictions), other than HEVC.
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  10. Thanks theewizard and usually_quiet, that is what I needed to know. I think this has convinced me to go with the LG BP550. Thank you to all the other posters who helped out too.

    This thread may be locked/closed as this question has been answered.
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  11. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Sigh...guess 2016 isn't the year for WDTV as my beloved Gen 3 is gasping it's last.

    After resarching and mulling over my possible options (including building an HTPC), I've decided to get another Gen 3 (found a "Like New" listing for $75.00 w/ shipping and awaiting delivery this week). The primary reasons for my choice are: 1) It natively supports HDs through a USB hub (A lot of media players are iffy about this) and 2) 4K and H265 content is becoming commonplace and I can get a cheap <$100 Android box running Kodi to handle that plus any steaming media.

    If I decided to play by Blu-Rays directly from disc (I personally find menus annoying and always RIP to MKV), I could spend another $100 and have all bases covered (for the next couple of years) for less than $300.

    If you're interested in staying with a WDTV, there's a seller on Ebay with refurbed Gen 3's for &58.00 shipped. Note that this is the PAL version, but all reports are that this can be set to output NTSC. It's also sold at Newegg (same seller) for a couple of dollars more. I didn't get one because they don't ship to Hawaii.

    There was another seller on Ebay last week that had NTSC Gen 3 refurbs for ~$100. Would have ordered one, but I lucked out on Amazon (keep watching, you might too!).

    I still rely heavily upon my favored WD-Live, the same model I think -- the last one to provide Netflix and certain other features. That is why I socked away a spare, back when the price had only climbed to around $150. (50 % above its original price, when introduced), against the day when my in-service unit finally bit the dust. Thanks to a firmware rollback, which cured a lot of problems, that day is not yet on the horizon. (Unlike, say, my 2nd. / replacement DirecTV receiver, which, like its predecessor, is starting to fail after around the 3-year mark.)

    You mention refurbs sold on eBay. I don't know for sure whether any NOS (New Old Stock) on this remains, but Amazon did have some of those in the past, for which the price kept steadily escalating. Since they still show up there, priced at around $329., I would hope that is not a price for refurbs

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005KOZNBW/ref=cm_cr_asin_lnk

    which would be even more ridiculous. Even the price for (some kinda stock on) the immediate next model has reached $249. I've lost track of whether WDL still makes any latter-day models. Quite possibly Roku and others have chased them out of the market. Today, alternatives may come down to Amazon Fire -- with or without Kodi -- and units like Dune or latest model Popcorn Hour picking up the higher price point.

    The BR optical thing is another venue entirely, and in my view also necessary. I find it desirable to cover all of these bases. So far, I have not bothered to add an HTPC to the roster, but I have not ruled it out either. Being able to stream content from NAS has just not seemed like much of a priority for me.
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  12. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I bought two WD refurbs on Ebay a few years ago, after WDs software upgrade bricked so many, for about $50 US each, a great deal at the time. They still work very well.

    If you are adventurous, the Raspberry Pi 3 PCs with case and accessories are still around $50 US and have HDMI output.
    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_5?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=rasp...=3U6LZ9I393B77

    You can run Kodi on them for a inexpensive media center.
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  13. I'm using a Raspberry Pi 3 with OSMC (Kodi) now. It works pretty well and plays many files my old WDTV Live didn't. It uses software decoding for h.265 so it can't handle higher res h.265 videos.
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  14. I ended up getting an LG BP550 Blu-ray player that can do what I'm seeking. I bought the 2015 model for $100 new on Amazon. Still works great, no issues to report. It also can do Vudu, Hulu, Netflix streaming. Overall not a bad machine. It can also play MKV/H264 files off of external USB HDD. I'd call it better than the WDTV Live other than its size.
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  15. In another room we have an older LG BD670 for playing media files. It works pretty well too.
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  16. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    amazon fire stick/tv units work also. install vlc player on them and you can access your network and play anything you have online; shared folders, drives, nas boxes... chromecast is another choice.
    --
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  17. Member
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    never mind. I confused Android VLC with iOS VLC.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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  18. Firmware devices look like dinosaurses now. Looks like OS devices are versatile and can be tweaked what user demands. Devices with fixed firmware are limited. Though, WDTV Live is still good if you are satisfied with it. But as soon you get some OS device with wireless USB remote control and you get used to it, WDTV seems kind of basic, even if that model works, because sometimes those units can act up in a way. I still think that those WDTV Live PLUS models were the best.

    WDTV Live is good enough for interlaced source though. If interlace home videos are needed to be played. Devices using Kodi for example may surprise you,not in a good way, developers do not implemented proper deinterlace for example there. In that case it is better to use another software player. But this is the point. Using OS device, there is always a way to find a proper way if device is powerful enough, so it should be always latest one. Be aware, there is lots of older devices on Amazon, lots of stars , but those stars were given years back. Two year old, or even one year old device could be old already, having slower chipsets.
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  19. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    A-500 has regular firmware updates, has a native Kodi style interface and simply works. Plays any thing including H265. I've retired my Blu Ray player to the storeroom. With my Beyonwiz PVR for free to air stuff (also records cable and Netflix etc to my NAS) got most bases covered..
    BeyonWiz T3 PVR ~ Popcorn A-500 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 64bit ~ Yamaha RX-A1070 ~ QnapTS851-4G
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    KDLinks has a number of boxes similar to the WDLive which I also have. I have a HD700 which currently shows out of stock and there is also an HD720 with built in Hard Disc capability which shows that it is in stock.

    The unit will play many but not all Blu-Ray ISO files with the menus. If the menus do not work you can still play the video (at least on the few I tried).

    The company have a couple of Android driven devices but they claim the HD700 or HD720 have better video capability


    http://www.kdlinks.com
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  21. Member
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    Amazon.com has a refurbished WDBYMN0000NBK (Gen 3 / WDTV Live Streaming) for $59.95 (Free shipping with Prime). This was the final WDTV Gen 3 that doesn't have Netflix but added Miracast. Link here: https://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-WDBYMN0000NBK-Streaming-Refurbished/dp/B00X60CG...=WDBHG70000NBK

    I've ordered one as back-up since I don't use Netflix anyway.
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  22. way to Rigel 7 cornemuse's Avatar
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    !!??

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B005KOZNBW/ref=olp_page_2?ie=UTF8&startIndex=10

    Do people really pay this much for one of these things?? I have one of these I only used for maybe 10 hours before getting a Dune303d. That wd is in its box under the desk, I think. I hated it, , , , the Dune is a little better, I love my Argosy <- my goto player.

    (I would pay these prices for an Argosy)

    -c-
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  23. For the record $300 or close to $300 devices better have a good firmwares and remote controls, I was referring to much cheaper devices. Also at that price HTPC's start to be interesting choice as well (watching whatever internet on TV, games, browsing, not a subscribed content) but I understand those firmware devices are dedicated video players, more simple to navigate, to upkeep or better to say no upkeep at all, rather just buying it, getting it out of the box and using it right away.

    I'm sure many folks get taken in buying 5 year old device for much higher price on Amazon, like in WDTV case. Those devises should have had a name with year release in it or at least a different name or something. WDTV naming is a nightmare, nobody knows when was a particular WDTV Live released, only after some careful research. Buyers might ignore year of release and concentrate on ratings, which could be great, but of course 5 years old.
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  24. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cornemuse
    !!??

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B005KOZNBW/ref=olp_page_2?ie=UTF8&startIndex=10

    Do people really pay this much for one of these things??
    Provided sufficient scarcity, usefulness, and demand, history suggests the answer is 'Yes.' This example is pushing that principle rather far, but it is not that unusual.

    Originally Posted by _Al_ View Post
    For the record $300 or close to $300 devices better have a good firmwares and remote controls, I was referring to much cheaper devices. Also at that price HTPC's start to be interesting choice as well (watching whatever internet on TV, games, browsing, not a subscribed content) but I understand those firmware devices are dedicated video players, more simple to navigate, to upkeep or better to say no upkeep at all, rather just buying it, getting it out of the box and using it right away.

    I'm sure many folks get taken in buying 5 year old device for much higher price on Amazon, like in WDTV case. Those devises should have had a name with year release in it or at least a different name or something. WDTV naming is a nightmare, nobody knows when was a particular WDTV Live released, only after some careful research. Buyers might ignore year of release and concentrate on ratings, which could be great, but of course 5 years old.
    If the unit continues doing the job well -- as in my case -- there is no reason to make a change. No matter how old it is. (Firmware level is important though, as some serious glitches crept in with newer f/w releases, after a certain point. I had to roll my f/w level back, to render the WDTV usable again. After that, pretty much smooth sailing. And it still handles Netflix well.)

    You seem to overlook the small, light-weight, and very portable nature of this device. The HTPC of course gives you a lot more features and options, but it does not compare on those particulars . . . plus, you have to boot up an OS and maintain it, install and run individual apps, etc. But yeah, the leftover stock for these WDTV boxes has long exceeded any remotely reasonable price.
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  25. Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    You seem to overlook the small, light-weight, and very portable nature of this device. The HTPC of course gives you a lot more features and options, but it does not compare on those particulars . . .
    There are PCs in the same size range. Intel NUC, Asrock BeeBox, etc.
    Last edited by jagabo; 5th Nov 2016 at 17:56.
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  26. All devices are small now, for about 1 year I use Android Tronsmart S95 Meta but downloaded new Kodi on it, it's version was not reliable (among many others android aps), now with wireless USB remote mini keyboard (included remote was useless). Today there is a lots of devices available. But I mention this, trying to bring up its price, device and remote for under $100, with keyboard, very nice for searches, you could have three of these instead or just one of that above mentioned popcorn or maybe Dune as well and not sure if they have included keyboard. These devices are good for three years, then something new exiting is launched, or it is needed so I would not spent $300. Just my opinion. I would not go into any arguments, we can all do whatever we want with money, give anything to feel comfortable etc. Hard to press any resolution what anyone should get.
    Last edited by _Al_; 5th Nov 2016 at 17:59.
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  27. Member
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    I stay with the WDTV primarily because it fits one specific need very well. I have multiple 4TB hard drives in multi drive enclosures connected via a USB hub. I considered both the KD-Links and Popcorn Hour, but I can't find a definitive answer as to whether it will handle multiple hard drives (in multiple enclosures) well.

    I prefer direct direct access versus a NAS for efficiency since I can turn on only the enclosure(s) I need. My backup is mulitple HDs in my main PC. Since I'll always need a second set of HDs as backup (I count the original discs as the secondary backup).

    I use a Android box with Kodi for streaming other than DLNA. This may support my multiple enclosures, but the interface to search and play a video is much slower and cumbersome than my WDTV.

    That said, I'm considering a switch to something else as an all in one device because my other beloved media player, a Seagate Goflex Theater is dying. I use this because it has a unique feature I can't find in any other device (perhaps a HTPC?). It can variable speed slow motion playback (forward and reverse) and variable zoom in (choosing the screen area) with a couple of button presses. The only videos I have issues with are newer .mp4s, probably with VFR.

    I have the spare parts to easily build a HTPC (including a remote), but AFAIK, even MPC-HC can't do variable speed slow motion foward and backward (I figure I could easily configure the zoom to a remote button combo). But if there's a media player that can handle multple 3+ multi-drive HD enclosures, variable slow motion (forward and back), variable zoom (with area selection) and DVD menu playback (another iffy issue I haven't seen a definitive answer about), let me know!

    Edit: In keeping in line with the original topic, I'm not concerned about streaming since I'll use by Android box for that.

    Edit 2: Don't need or really want a Blu-Ray player. I always RIP my discs as soon as I get them and put them away immediately. Much easier to play them from a HD. Blu-Ray menus aren't an issue, but it would be nice if the device played them (I know, very rare) so I could keep my Blu-Rays as .iso. Perhaps an Oppo?
    Last edited by lingyi; 5th Nov 2016 at 19:36.
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    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    amazon fire stick/tv units work also. install vlc player on them and you can access your network and play anything you have online; shared folders, drives, nas boxes... chromecast is another choice.
    I recently replaced a WDTV with an Amazon Fire TV. I access multiple hard drives attached to my network via VLC. It has worked great. I don't use the other apps on the box, but they may be a great plus to some other users.
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  29. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    I use a Android box with Kodi for streaming other than DLNA. This may support my multiple enclosures, but the interface to search and play a video is much slower and cumbersome than my WDTV.
    You define directory in Kodi that appears right after choosing VIDEO. You have it right there. You have multiple programs open. You can choose right app the same way like on the phone. I just click a button at the bottom of the screen to select an app. The idea is to think and operate it like with phone or computer (wireless keyboard with touch-pad) not strict firmware device, so that touchpad mini keyboard is a must. Using remote controls that come with Android devices is insane and not using fully the potential operating system has. That is the reason folks might not like Android devices I think. Also early Android devices were not powerful enough, that is sorted out also now. If you just want to use remote control point at the screen and navigate, like WDTV, Android might not be the best choice.

    Not sure about zooming and slowing down or reversing video with Android apps. Perhaps they do not exist, not sure, VLC has speed selection. Kodi, not sure now. For your specific needs maybe Android is not a right choice.
    Last edited by _Al_; 6th Nov 2016 at 00:00.
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