I have been thinking for awhile of getting an Android Box. They seem capable of doing so many things. I realize they are not as powerful as a computer, but the different slots such as Ethernet, sometimes two USB slots and media card slot and the little keyboard you get they seem like a good way of turning your TV into a media center for a reasonable price. I have heard nice things about Roku boxes, but unless it is a high end model you don't get slots for Ethernet or USB.
The one thing that makes me trepedacious is installing apps. I read these "permissions" things and they seem like they are not worth the trouble.
Any advice on what to look for as there is a myriad of choices. The only games I would want to pay are Sudoku, Card Games and Solitaire. Thanks in advance for any advice. This is such a wonderful place to get advice and to learn.
Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker or buy PlayOn and record Netflix! :)
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker or buy PlayOn and record Netflix! :)
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 20 of 20
Roku is a better choice for those who are mainly interested in watching popular streaming services than for for those interested in playing a large variety of media file types. From https://support.roku.com/article/208754908-how-to-use-roku-media-player-to-play-your-v...ic-and-photos:
The following file formats are supported:
Video H.264/AVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV)
Audio AAC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); MP3(.MP3, .MKV); WMA (.ASF, .WMA, .MKV), FLAC (.FLAC, .MKV), PCM (.WAV, .MKV, .MP4, .MOV), AC3/EAC3 (.MKV,.MP4. .MOV, .AC3), DTS (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV,.DTS), ALAC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV, .M4A)
Playlists .M3U, .M3U8
Image JPG, PNG, GIF (non-animated)
The following media formats are supported on Roku devices that support 4K
4K Video H.265/HEVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); VP9 (.MKV)
4K Video H.264 (Roku Premier, Premier+, and Ultra only)Ignore list: hello_hello, tried
usually_quiet: Thank you for this information. It was kind of you to take the time.
The NVIDIA Shield TV is the emperor of Android boxes, and maybe the most expensive. The basic Shield TV model costs about $180 (US) and comes with with a remote and 16 GB of storage. For $300 (US) the Shield TV Pro gives owners a better remote, a game controller, an SD card slot, an IR receiver (for using a universal remote) and a 500GB hard drive built in. Both models have an ethernet port. I think the major streaming services are well supported and so is the official Android version of Kodi.
I have trouble keeping track of the other Andriod boxes. Minix has a good reputation but they aren't inexpensive. Some Minix models cost almost as much as the Shield TV. I would have to do some research to find out which ones are significantly better than average.Ignore list: hello_hello, tried
There are a lot of interchangeable, generic Chinese-made Android tv boxes being sold. I did not get around to testing the Nvidia Shield, but definitely had some interest in doing so. (I think they were between model changes, at the time.) From my own surveying, I thought the two standouts were Minix -- specifically the U1 -- and boxes from Skystrream. I've had the Skystream One, and just recently got the Skystream Two, which runs around $200. and was recently sold out and in a backorder status. The Two noticeably improves upon the hardware specs of the One, albeit at close to double the price. Both the Minix and the Skystream came with proprietary-fork versions of Kodi, under alternate names. This can be good or bad. The one on Minix proved a major disappointment, but I side-loaded a standard Kodi onto that and made it more usable. The one Skystream has is well maintained and updated by them. I think both mfr.s have active user forums online. Both companies are said to have above-average support and customer service, although I have not put this to the test myself. With the typical generic Android boxes, those aspects are going to be zilch, so if those indications are correct that could represent a significant added value.
[Getting into Kodi can quickly become more of a techie exercise than many potential users expected or desired -- particularly when compared to operation of the Amazon Fire TV or Roku. I also think it an open question as to how much Kodi lives up to its all hype . . . .]
Last edited by Seeker47; 6th Jan 2018 at 18:33.
Option 1) For simplicity, a Roku is the way to go. Though as you've noted, you pay a premium for an ethernet port, SD slot and USB. Also,
Option 2) If you're a bit more adventurous (as Seaker47 points out, Kodi takes a bit of learning), start a cheap (<$50) Android box and see how you like it. Most of the boxes come standard with an ethernet port, SD slot and USB and you can link a Bluetooth gamepad if you want.
Option 3) Use a laptop with Kodi connected directly to your TV. You can play your installed games and have all the ports you need.
Option 4) Build a HTPC. For <$100 you can get a Raspberry Pi Media Center kit. It takes a bit of knowledge to get it working, but potentially more versatile than an Android box. I'm thinking of getting one as a potential replacement for my beloved WDTV since my Roku, Android and Chromecast are as easy to use as my beloved WDTV.
As for Android app permissions, there an interesting article about what each one potentially means: [URL="https://www.androidcentral.com/look-application-permissions" [/URL]
The nice thing is that in an Android box, the scariest ones don't apply since you won't have SMS or phone call capability. In addition, as long as you stick to high-rated/reviewed apps from Google Play, you can be assured they're likely safe.
In my regular visits to Fry's, I've also noted the NUC (?) boxes, which may fall midway in size between the RP and the narrow-Shuttle units, but they look to be pricey.
If any of you will be attending CES, I'd very much like to hear reports of interesting developments you observed -- perhaps in a separate thread, if that seems more appropriate.
The current version of FireTV is a little square that dangles at the end of its HDMI cable, like a Google Chromecast. Ethernet is supported via an Ethernet to USB adapter. Amazon doesn't make a larger FireTV box anymore. I think Kodi ran on all the older FireTV sticks and boxes, but I don't know if Kodi runs on the latest incarnation. Since FireTV doesn't support DLNA natively, if Kodi isn't an option, maybe Plex for Amazon Fire TV (with Plex Media Server installed on a NAS or PC) would work for streaming video files from someone's private collection.Ignore list: hello_hello, tried
Shield TV. It's cornered the market in terms of Smart TV boxes with the exception of the Fire TV Stick. Either way the Shield will play anything you throw at it and as you wanted it has ethernet, 2 x USB 3.0 5V ports and a SD card slot. Would be the better investment compared to other options.
i've been using chromecasts, firesticks, and firetv units for a couple years now. i prefer the latest 4k firetv boxes. they are fast, and very usable. i install vlc on all the fire devices to be able to play any media files on the home network. mostly the 3 nas boxes here but if you "share" a drive on a windows computer you can also access the media files from those. and most routers these days have usb ports for attaching shared hard drives.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
Thank you all for taking the time to post this information. I have a lot to consider. That information about permissions will be quite useful. I have learned so much here at VideoHelp over they years.
I used to have a WDTV Live but switched to a Raspberry Pi 3B with OpenElec (linux) and Kodi about a year ago. Kodi has it's quirks but is workable. The device plays quite a wide variety of AV files but is missing one feature that some people might find important. It has no hardware h.265 decoder. It can play h.265 files with a soffware decoder but the CPU isn't fast enough to handle HD h.265. Version 4 will probably include h.265 hardware but that probably won't be available until 2019 or later (no word from RPi corp).
Yes, OSMC (a stripped down Debian Linux and KODI) is what I'm using on the RPi.
Note that the RPi itself only costs US$35 but you'll need a 2.5 Amp micro USB power supply, a micro SD card, a remote control, and you'll probably want a case to put the RPi in. During setup will be nice to have a USB keyboard and pointing device.
jagabo: I have watched some YouTube videos about the RPi and I am impressed. From what I gather each generation of Raspberry Pi is more powerful and the OS is easier for more people to get a grasp on. I think this is a good way for computing to be heading and it is nice to migrate slowly away from the behemoth Microsoft.
I do enjoy and find the tasks that can be done with my Windows 7 i5 computer to be very useful. I find this quite fascinating and I like that it is fairly inexpensive. Can you run Pysol Solitaire on your Raspberry Pi 3? I heard something about python in one of the YouTube videos, and python has something to do with Pysol Solitaire.
Thank you for telling us about your Raspberry Pi experience and I look forward to buying one.
Python is the main programming language on the RPi. The Pysol web site says the program is written in "100% pure Python". It sounds like it should work. I program embedded systems these days but I haven't done any programming on the RPi yet.
There was something else quite exciting about Raspberry Pi that I watched some videos on YouTube about. It is called RetroPie and they showed people playing classic console games. My Sister loved playing Super Mario 1, 2 and 3 on the NES way back when. Actually she ended up buying a Super Nintendo and a Nintendo Wii as the years went on and the Super Mario Brothers games were the motivator for that. I am unsure about RetroPie as it is hard to imagine being able to play all those games without paying something to someone somewhere along the line. I have to do more research on that.
jagabo: Thank you for that information. I will not bother with the RetroPie. It is good to know these things and there is so much other stuff to do with the Raspberry Pi that one can keep themselves entertained even without this aspect being explored. I am going to see if Nintendo Wii ever released a Nintendo Wii disc for Super Mario Brothers 1,2 and 3. I hope they did because that would be a good disc to buy.